When we attended Alchemy as participants in 2010, we had just finished ORSC, core curriculum. ORSC stands for Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching and is an advanced training program för coaching relationships, groups and teams. We are also Certified Co-Active Coaches.
We had just started a business together, delivering group work and leadership training to organizations. Since then, we have gone separate ways business-wise, but still support each other in business and in life.
These were our expectations and reasons for taking Alchemy:
First of all: We knew that the course would be incredible because it was part of CRR Global (founder of ORSC) and because Jim Patterson and Lori Shook who created Alchemy were both extremely inspiring and skilled leaders.
We were looking for a framework, a model on how to plan out and deliver a workshop with a group. We had lots of methods and skills. We needed a way to deliver them in a way that made sense for us and for the group we would work with.
We were at the starting point as business partners and as co-leaders. Lisa had previous experience with leading workshops and Therese’s experience was in coaching individuals. It was time for us to find common ground, a leadership style that worked for both of us together, we needed to design our way to co-lead.
We also wanted to get more experience and skills as workshop leaders, we wanted to step into the role as a leader, not only with individual clients but with groups and teams.
We had high expectations for this course. Yet it was so much more useful than we could ever imagine. Both of us have attended many courses in different subjects over the years, and there is no course or training that is so easy to recommend.
Some of the skills and insights we got from attending Alchemy
We learned a simple yet powerful framework – which was exactly what we were looking for. It’s a framework that makes sure that the learning we deliver really lands with the participants and that they know what action they are going to take based on the insights they got.
This completely changed how we deliver workshops and training. It’s so much easier now, to plan out the work we do with groups and teams, whether it’s a team building workshop, leadership training or group coaching. We both still use this framework all the time.
The framework and the language that Alchemy provides also makes it easier to co-lead with someone, even if that person hasn’t attended Alchemy. Alchemy teaches you to talk about your content and your message in a way that makes it easier to share with someone.
We learned how to clarify and consciously use our “why”, our purpose, the deeper learning that we want to deliver. This makes all work we do so much more powerful.
As coaches we learn the important work of focusing on the clients agenda, instead of our own. The thing is: we are not “neutral” when we facilitate change. We do have an agenda, a stake. Especially when we work with groups. If we are unconscious of that agenda, it will impact our leadership anyway.
When we take a stand for what we believe in, our work suddenly becomes much more interesting and meaningful, for us and for our clients.
We discovered our impact as a leadership duo. The impact of two people in co-leadership will always have a style of its own. In Alchemy you get to discover that style.
We found that we have different roles in our co-leadership and we discovered ways to use those roles and our differences to complement and support each other. Co-leading is so much easier and more fun after Alchemy. No detailed scripts anymore, no “you say this and then I say that”, but a framework and an alliance that makes it possible to co-create in the moment.
If you have been to any coaching courses within CTI (Co-Active Coaching) or CRR (ORSC) you already know what this kind of co-leadership looks and feels like when you are a participant. That fluid dance that looks so easy and effortless. There you have it: that’s Alchemy. It teaches you the dance.
We became better leaders. We learned how to “read” a group and understand what they need at a certain time. We learned ways to handle things that come up, how to meet different reactions from participants and how to recover if what you are doing isn’t working. How do I handle this situation, in a way that will serve the learning that I want to deliver? Alchemy gives you flexibility. It helps you adapt to different situations, different content, different groups, different co-leaders.
We also discovered our own individual style of leading. Not only how we do things, but how we impact a room just by being who we are. When you understand this, you have the power of choice as a leader.
You can use your personality in your leadership and you can choose what aspects of yourself to amplify. What does the group need from you right now? This part of the training is very concrete and constructive. You will get personal feedback.
What else do you need to know? Well, this.
The leaders makes Alchemy such a treat to attend. They are authentic, generous, super-skilled, completely present with you in the moment and they lead with a lot of humor and wit. You will get an insight into their co-leadership that is absolutely unique. Not only do they modell what they teach (and they really do), they also let you in on some of their leadership secrets.
Alchemy is not a series of lectures that you sit through. You will make lots of notes and listen with huge ears, but a lot of the time you will be on your feet practicing and getting the knowledge and the skills into your bones.
You do not have to be a coach to attend Alchemy. Anyone who wants to lead change, deliver workshops and train groups will benefit from Alchemy.
You do have to be open to experimental learning and have an open mind. Leave your old ways and previous learning at the door and be prepared to try on a style that you might not be used to. If you’re not prepared to be changed by this training, you’re only wasting your time.
Alchemy is not only a training in co-leadership. You will get most out of Alchemy if you want to learn co-leadership, and especially if you take the training together with your leadership partner, but the insights and skills that you get are worth gold in their own right, even if you always lead on your own.
Alchemy is advanced training. You will need some experience of leading workshops or training, and preferable some content that you usually work with, something that you can use as an example. You do not have to be an expert in workshop leading! But if you are, you will learn tons anyway. We have seen some of the best leaders we know get important insights during Alchemy.
So what are you waiting for? Go for it. We certainly would.
Lerhamn and Växjö, February 23, 2018,
Therese Hagstedt (www.hittadinvag.se) and Lisa Moraeus (www.lisamoraeus.se)