10 Years Old

Like what I said in the 5 years anniversary, I would not imagine that this blog would last for 10 years when I started it in 2007.

I reflected on my professional development journey for the first 5 years of blogging.  See ‘A New Look’.   Along with ‘A New New Look‘,  it is now a good time to do the same for the 2nd 5 years through my blog posts.

I have continued my interests.   On technical aspects, my reflection on questioning continued.  For example, I reflected on various powerful questions I came across (see ‘A question to draw questions’ in Sep 2013 and ‘Useful Questions’ in Feb 2014)   But the reflection on questioning extended into more the executive coaching context (see ‘What story would you like to tell?’ In Dec 2015 and ‘A question on question’ in Sep 2015)

Another development is in the facilitation domain.   I reflected on particular technique e.g. ‘Sit on your hands and shut up’ in Oct 2014, physical set-up in ‘Physical Conditioning’ in Jun 2013, and even learning from a french teacher in ‘A facilitating French teacher’ recently in Mar 2017.   A particular aim of facilitation emerged as my new interest – a very pure form of facilitation for the purpose of collective wisdom (some called Hosting).  See the few posts on ‘Intended Messiness’ in Sep 2016.

Learning / Learning Design is a key theme all along in this blog (see ‘More about learning… from the french class’ in Feb 2017 and ‘Rethinking Experiential Learning’ in Oct 2016)   But I find myself taking on more the organisational angle in the last few years instead of focusing on particular interventions (see ‘When a program has a life of its own’ in Oct 2013 and ‘Be careful about L3 and L4’ in Feb 2014)    In particular, this angle reinforced my inclination towards the ARL approach (see ‘Learning Sustainability’ in Apr 2012 and ‘Action Learning in Action’ in Jan 2014)

Another new development across my interest in coaching / facilitation / learning – I notice myself shifting gradually more from the technical i.e. ‘skill-set’ towards the ‘mind-set’ perspective.   For example, in ‘Rethinking Facilitation’ in Dec 2013 and ‘Never Perfect’ in Apr 2013, I examined the assumptions I was having when I facilitated.   Looking back, such interest actually started earlier, like in the post ‘Be prepared, and prepared not to use what you prepare’ in Oct 2011.    This was probably triggered by a few Leadership Development programs I started to facilitate in 2000 (see ‘Adaptive Leadership’ in Dec 2013) and some external learning experience (see ‘Immunity to Change’ in Sep 2013)

Along this path, I find myself losing interest in talking about highly technical domain like presentation skills, and definitely topics like using visual aid.

Another new area of interest in the last 5 years is ‘Leadership’.   ‘Leadership’ is a big concept like ‘Love’ i.e. can mean completely different things for different individuals.   To me, I am interested at a particular interpretation of ‘Leadership’ (see ‘Really…  what is leadership?‘ In Feb 2014) and ‘Leadership Development’ (see ‘Leadership Development’ in May 2014)    Like facilitation, this angle of ‘Leadership’ is more about mind-set rather than skill-set.   It can be illustrated by ‘Leadership’ on a gravestone’ in Mar 2014 and ‘The Paradox of Confidence and Vulnerability’ in Feb 2013.

I notice another interesting trail when I review my blog – scepticism on some training and facilitation work, including my own previous work.   I have highlighted in the 5 years anniversary my critics on training (see ‘Forget about Training’ in Jun 2011).  But it continued to other area like some kinds of meeting facilitation (see ‘Facilitation Work as a Cover-Up’ in Nov 2016)

What would be some emerging new path of interest going forward?   I mentioned above my shift from the technical to the adaptive perspective.  It started to extend into some deeper works as I moved to Switzerland.   The journey was highlighted by the Tavistock GRC (see ‘Tavistock Experience’ in Jan 2015, my own psycho-analysis (see ‘Drawing out thoughts and emotions’ in Jul 2016) and work in psychodynamics approach (see ‘Unconscious Collusion with Learners’ in Nov 2016.   This post did not exactly describe the work but gave some sense of what it is like)     Pondering on the crossroad between depth psychology and performance at work is definitely one of my on-going interest (see ‘Individuation, Abstract Art and Corporate Learning)

Having the above journey in front of me, I cannot help ponder on a question – To what extent does the blog name ‘Ask, Not Tell’ capture my growing areas of interest?   Or it no longer does?    Probably another blog post to reflect on…..

A New New Look

Time for a change!   Here is the fresh look for Ask Not Tell.  It has a new layout and in particular a starting page containing photos open to various associations.     In memory of the old look (the 2nd version) which has been in place for a few years, let me put up the print-screen here.   The last change was here for those who are interested.

In the next post, I will reflect on my professional development journey through the blog posts.

Adding ‘Share’ buttons

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 10.10.51 AMI am trying to enhance the blog functionalities.   My first attempt is to enable readers to share the posts on social media including Linkedin, Facebook and Wechat.   Wishing to connect more like-minded people.

New Experiment

IMG_8836-0

I wrote a paper with an IMD professor on a few companies in China.    Well, it is not exactly related to the themes of this blog.   Well, but it is an easy post to start with….  a lot other coaching / facilitation experience to reflect on in this blog!!    Anyway, hopefully such new attempt will somehow lead me to the coaching / facilitation field in this part of the world…..

Click Leading-Chinese-Companies-final-11-11-2015 to access the paper.

Sorry, email subscription service suspends…

Hi.  I just realise that Google has stopped the feedburner which I have been using.   I have been trying to find a replacement service but with no success yet.   As such, in the mean time, please read it by RSS feed (e.g. through reader like feedly) or simply visiting the website.

A New Look

2007 ThemeAsk Not Tell has been around for 6 years.    I have long been thinking to give the website a new look.    Why?   I believe that we all need to re-think everything important around us from time to time.   Working on the new look makes me re-think what the blog is about.    Second, I realize more and more that my areas of interest has shifted.    Lastly, I do not want to bore the readers too much.

Let me elaborate more on the 2nd point.   My blog theme used to be ‘thoughts about corporate training, facilitation and presentation’.    I think I have moved on from ‘Training’ and ‘Presentation’.   See my previous posts e.g. 5 Years Old, Forget about Training, etc.

Instead, my areas of interest has become more around ‘Learning’ and ‘Coaching (Teams or Individuals)’.    My latest attempt is on ‘Organizational Development’ but I am not so sure I really understand what it stands for.   Different people attach very different meaning on the term ‘OD’.    Think about the OD-related job titles we came across.   Forget about the term.   What I am really interested is how organizations work and how practitioners can help organizations get better.     But until I get more comfortable with this topic, I better not to put it on the blog theme.

Coming back to my areas of interest.    On reflection, the shift in interest has been driven mainly by:

  • Frustration in how much training events make impact to individuals and organizations
  • Practitioners I met / worked with and now admire e.g. Caroline, Ernie, Elly, Anthony, Patrick, Victor, Graham, Joey, etc
  • My own practice in helping teams and individuals
  • My exposure to ARL practice
  • My new corporate role in leadership development (making me to look closer what leadership is.  Particularly the concept of Adaptive Challenge)
  • Intellectual challenge associated with organizational development work
  • Books like ARL, Skilled Facilitator, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, etc

I enjoy the journey a lot!

Overall, despite the shift in interest, the blog name still stay true – Ask, Not Tell or the importance of questioning.    It matters equally in ‘Facilitation’, ‘Learning’, ‘Coaching (Teams or Individuals)’ and probably organizational development work.

In memory of the old look which has been in place for 5 years, let me post the printscreen here…..

5 Years Old!

‘Ask, Not Tell’ is 5 years old this month!   I cannot believe how fast time has flied!

As I look back, the topics in the blog have shifted.   I wrote a lot about presentation skills and classroom training skills in the beginning.    Bit by bit, I have changed the perspective from training to learning.   For example, there are posts like ‘Learning vs Training’  and the one on ‘How much does training matter?’ .   And my interest in meeting facilitation has been built up.   See ‘Be prepared, and prepared not to use what you prepare’  and ‘Small-group facilitators’ .

I look forward to learning from my own reflection and your thoughts!