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Episode 75

The Power of Groups to Heal

Vernice Jones
December 30, 2020
52 minutes

It’s been a year of intense emotions and leaders have been under greater pressure than ever, forcing many to lean into their own emotional struggles.

In this conversation with leadership coach Vernice Jones we unpack how to help clients be with strong and complex emotions, different ways of helping them open to change, and creating deep shifts in awareness through shared presence.

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Presencing What Is

This year America has faced deep civil unrest and the emergence of long-held traumas, and the role of coaches in holding space for clients to be with all the emotions these times are bringing up is critical.

Simply asking what it’s like to be feeling what they’re feeling is a way to deeply meet what’s alive in people. Articulating what’s present, particularly in complex situations, is an important part of unpacking what’s going on and being better able to take multiple perspectives.

When done in a group, this kind of collective presencing of what is can be incredibly powerful and even deeply healing. If we can do this on a larger scale we can begin changing whole systems.

Facilitating Change

We can pick up clients where they are by asking ourselves what the growth edge of this person is. The other piece is assessing how they make meaning and understanding how to get engagement and investment in the change process from them.

Some people will be able to open up vulnerably through the safety of the relational field. Others will open up when we connect them to their place of power. Still others will be motivated by a sense of achievement or accomplishment. These are doorways to them be willing to explore other perspectives.

Somatics can be a very good entry point to clients releasing resistance – even just helping them stay present in the discomfort by getting them to stay with you, having them take a breath and expand their capacity to be with an activated nervous system.

Awareness of Awareness

For many people simply feeling deeply seen is a hugely powerful practice. Being in awareness together is itself deeply healing; helping a client learn to be aware of awareness and simply sit with it is transformative for many people when they first experience it.

This teaches people how to access a deeper part of their knowing and opens them up to a space of greater ease. It’s the shift from knowing in the mind versus knowing in your awareness or your being.

Resources Mentioned:
Unlocking leadership mindtraps, Jennifer Garvey Berger
The immunity map
Robert Kegan
Dynamic skill theory, Kurt Fischer
James Finley

About Vernice

Vernice Jones
Vernice Jones

Vernice Jones is Founder and Principal of The Leadership Compass and Director and Faculty of Adult Development at Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She is an Associate at Cultivating Leadership, a global, deliberately developmental, complexity-based organization. With over 15 years of experience with C-Suite executives of global Fortune 500 companies and large nonprofits, Vernice provides executive coaching, and designs leadership development solutions that generate business results.


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