‘Soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the lustre of it will never appear’ Daniel Defoe

At the Technology, Learning and Skills exhibition this week I was promoting coaching and the very personal, human aspect of learning. I feel privileged to be able to work with others in this way, where people share their vulnerabilities and not only allow me to give, but are grateful for, direct feedback. This is where the heart quality shows up most easily and consistently within me.

The show highlighted the contrast between this very personalised learning and the quick, cost effective, technological solutions to people development available on most other stands and, seemingly, on most visitors’ radars.

This got me wondering about the link to and the effect this has when it comes to our conscious leadership quality of Heart in organisations.

Reflecting on what happens during my best coaching sessions, I believe that, as well as positive regard, I bring love and intention to my work. The intention is to serve the person in front of me in the best way I can. I have a sense of opening my heart and soul which creates the space for the other to enter and feel safe to connect to a deeper, higher level of themselves. Often they’ll say something like ‘I have never spoken like this before’ or ‘I didn’t realise I felt like this’. It is in those moments where potential can start to be realised. Where the soul can be polished!

Which brings me back to thinking about the effect of an organisational culture characterised by striving for more for less – quicker, faster, cheaper growth. It is in danger of eroding further the human connection with self and with others. A focus on what can be improved at the expense of what it is each individual uniquely brings that adds to the strength of the whole. As another example, open plan offices that were established to create more connection serve often to minimise people’s ability to create flow and deep attention for any period of time, only adding to more cluttering of the mind and sense of disconnection, dissatisfaction or frustration. In my experience, this cluttering of the mind leads to an inability to get in touch with Heart in any deep way so that we can engage wholeheartedly with others and get a felt sense of our connection and unity.

I have a dream (to coin a phrase) that the new era of work will provide an environment where people are truly seen and valued for who they are, where personal growth happens in service of the person first rather than just for more productivity for the organisation and where ‘humanness’ and kindness are at the top of the agenda. And where technology is seen only as a tool to help human flourishing, giving the space for the lustre of the soul to appear.

Kaaren Brook