How working together in small groups (Pods), over an extended period of time, can enhance learning
Having invested years of time and a lot of money in my own personal development, I have found the greatest benefit to my own growth process has been when I have been working together with others in small supportive groups.
I first came across the idea of working in a so called “Pod” at a leadership course in Spain in 2007. The course was spread over a year with week long modules each quarter; on the course, we were encouraged to create Skype Pod groups to continue our work together between modules. Of the 5 people in my Pod, 3 of us still Skype together on the fourth Monday of the month, from Guernsey, Copenhagen and Frankfurt. Amazingly the three of us came together again on a course in Dorset last year and the deep connection, to continue our work together, was immediate.
Pods are small group learning communities who meet on a regular basis over an extended period of time
In service of creating a safe, supportive space, which allows participants to feel comfortable to go deeper than they might ordinarily on other courses, we operate the groups utilising the principles of The Circle Way . You may have come across “circle” on a yoga retreat or similar non-work adventure. Derived from ancient traditions of democracy, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linea have created a way to use these principles in modern organisations. Click here to read more about Circle Principles.
Circle principles are an ancient, tried and tested way of communicating. They help build trust and a safe, supportive environment for the participants.
Only when we feel held in a caring and supportive way can we really begin to explore our learning edges.
Some Pods bond better than others, some Pods are short lived, others last over many years.
When the Pod bonds do build, then you find you have something unique, because a Pod mate is very different from a normal friend.
• Pod mates agree to a contract of confidentiality so we can trust our stories are safe
• Pod mates agree to listen without interrupting
• Pod mates will encourage us to go deeper and say more when we think we’ve finished
• Pod mates don’t collude with our version of the story
• They will ask questions and challenge us but always with love, and in support of our further learning
• Pod mates are there for each other whatever happens in life
It was one of my dearest wishes to run groups in Guernsey in this way. The longest running Pod is the “Swans” who are a Leadership Pod of senior business women, who have been meeting together for 5 years.
Each Pod creates a name for themselves at the first meeting and come together in a WhatsApp group to communicate outside of the group setting. So far Pod names have included: the Seed Pod, the Jaguars, the Circle of Travellers, and the Super Mooners, amongst others.
The Enneagram workshops are run on Pod Principles, it is also my intention to create a Systemic Constellation Pod further along the way.