Juicy Insights from Coaching with a Colleague!

You know how you do something for so long… that you don’t even think about how you do it—it’s second nature? Then someone changes the way you think about it or approach it and well… then it’s really different?

A colleague, whom I know through bringing Bikablo to her neck of the woods almost a year and a half ago, is working on her coach certification. In our wide-ranging conversation about what’s new since we last spoke and planning future Bikablo sessions, she asked if I would be one of her practice clients. Who doesn’t love a free coaching session (with someone you know and trust), so I said “Yes!”

We met over Zoom last week—just as the change in our world in the US was becoming starkly clear. Early in our session together, she asked me to not only envision but to draw what I was imagining about what I was telling her. I was struck by my responses to the request:

  • Mmmm, I am not sure I can do that very well… I use templates for my sessions with all my clients that support me in capturing critical information—this was different.
  • I didn’t have my symbolary at the ready to make the pictorial representation easy — I was imagining bits and pieces, and constructing parts to make up a whole that was coming from my head.
  • This was more stream of consciousness rather than a prepared canvas or recording—it felt like I was creating my own universe with galaxies and constellations
  • I didn’t love some of my drawings
  • I did like explaining a loud/to another person what I had created, which is something I don’t often do… It gave me another avenue for reflecting on my thinking. And, it reinforced my love of doing it during Bikablo trainings.

I committed to re-drawing my thinking in a week and sending it to her… I am about to do that now…

What have you done recently that’s been a twist on an established way of doing things? What was it like for you? Did you feel the same disequilibrium as me? Please let me know!

I wasn’t sure we could do it….

Our Setting—Agile Coach Camp at the South Patio Club in Gurugram, India

Imagine a lovely, warm, setting in a venue created for small events… people are milling about, drinking coffee, getting to know one another or reconnecting with colleagues, and there’s a sense of anticipation in the air.

Our Task

Agile Coach Camp, (an initiative of Agile Alliance), uses Open Space Technology to enable participants to easily share questions, experiences, discoveries, learnings, and offers opportunities to generate ideas for solutions to the challenges put forward.

Honestly, I find OST to be a gamble… I have had both excellent and less than stellar experiences as a participant in the process… So I decided to influence the outcome by suggesting a topic, 100 Ways to Use Visuals @ Work.



Our Actions & Results!

Happily, we had an initial group of eight to ten people interested in the topic. With two pieces of flip chart paper taped to the wall and a marker, I enthusiastically wrote the title of the challenge at the top of the page and asked for ideas.

We started strong, ideas bubbled up, and we soared to 17 answers… we paused. People started to look doubtful. With a little prompting, we leaped ahead to 37 answers and then there was a palpable lull in energy… the Law of Mobility started to enter into the mix and we lost a member or two—and we gained a member or two. We were off and running again!

When we reached the high 50’s and the pause lasted a little uncomfortably long, I thought we were done—and I was close to sharing my appreciation for everyone’s good efforts.

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at waiting for people to settle into whatever unfolds, and my patience paid off! We roared ahead to 87 ideas and we all started to believe that we could make it to 100—and we did! We reached our goal! It was amazing!

Upon Reflection

As I transferred the ideas from chart paper to computer file and teased out some of the answers—I discovered that we generated 105 ways to use visuals at work! Okay, MAYBE one or two might be deleted from the list upon closer examination… What do you think?

What’s on your PD calendar?

I hope you will join me in one of these fabulous places!

Here’s the link for the March 13th, NYC session…
 or, if you fancy the adventure of a three-day creativity conference in Santa Barbara, CA, join me, at the Epic International Summit for the Thoughtsketching, on March 26-28…
or perhaps you’re ready for a deep dive into Bikablo! Come to the March 30-31 Bikablo Basic 2 day training in Santa Barbara

Late spring into summer planning!

Then again, if you are a part of Agile New England, I’ll see you at the May 7th meeting. On May 8th, I’m offering the Bikablo Basic 1 day training in the Boston area*, and I’m planning for bikablo basics—both one and two day, plus the two-day advanced program in Austin, Tx*!

And, I’m looking at July 10th or 11th, in NYC*, for the bikablo one day basic—if you have a preference let me know!

*I’ll post links in late March!

As promised! Version 2.0 of “The Work I do!”

I am wondering if you took up the challenge I proposed a few weeks ago… Did you think through, and perhaps sketch out, how you talk about the work you do so you can explain it easily to others? Do you have some drawings to share? I hope so!

Sharing my love of the bikablo method

As I put my fingers to the keyboard, I’m chuckling… once again my strength of creativity has gotten me into trouble! While I have a new, hand-drawn, very different version of the visual that “describes” my work… I am already thinking of yet a third design!

In this version, the viewer discovers a bit more about the bikablo Akademie, actually sees how the name “bikablo” came into being, and learns a bit more about the thinking behind visualization. It

  • is a cultural technique
  • addresses the questions of how people solve problems, learn, and collaborate
  • uses graphic elements, icons, and text
  • facilitates understanding







What do you think? Which one do you like better — and why?

I LOVE the photos of folks, to capture the essence of the experience and help people see themselves doing this work. I LOVE the story that’s being told in the hand-drawn visual. I think that I need to combine them—please tell me what you think!

Lessons learned from the newest member of the family, Gus!

Just yesterday morning, while out for our morning walk, I realized that so many of my work-life realities are mirrored in my daily experiences with Gus.

Surround yourself with the people that support you.

To do our best work we need to feel grounded, with folks who understand us, and who will also challenge us in ways that make us grow.

Eat right and make time for play.

It’s basic, yet how often do we overlook our physical, mental, and emotional well-being? How can we make the habit/the time to eat in ways which nourish us (take a break at lunch, eat food that is good for us), get enough sleep and exercise, engage in experiences and interactions that stimulate us to learn and grow, and be kind to ourselves?

Take care of your toys, and they will take care of you!

Our tools and resources enable us to create in the world. Making sure that we give them the attention they need is critical to our work.


Be curious, explore the territory. Some things need a quick sniff and others need a thorough investigation!

The world is full of so many opportunities, yet we can’t do them all… What’s your method for deciding your priorities? How often do you check-in to see if you’re feeling in harmony with/living your values?

Set up limits and boundaries, then protect them.

Limits are what we create for ourselves—we’ll go this far and no further. Boundaries keep others out. Standing firm and yet not rigid is both an art and a science.

Make your feelings and needs known to others.

Get clear about what you’re feeling. Even if we don’t acknowledge our feelings, they’re there, right inside our bodies. Lack of awareness and attention to what we are feeling and/or lack of skill in discerning what we really need can lead to misunderstandings and disturbances (or worse) in our personal and work relationships.

When you’re not feeling great, step away for a short while or find the tasks that you can do easily.

We all have days when we’re not feeling good. We can work to discern the level of care we need to shower on ourselves… Sometimes it’s stepping back from work, other times, it’s finding simpler tasks or less demanding work.


Plan for challenges and yet be present to the reality (which may turn out just fine).

We experienced this last week with Gus—it was his first trip to the vet with us (his third family), and let’s just say that he’s still working on his social skills with strangers. We planned for the worst—talking with the veterinary practice in advance, putting a harness on him, and deciding our approach to the front desk, and the waiting room with so many people and animals of all kinds! We took a deep breath and walked through the front door—and he was perfectly well-behaved the whole time!

We planned, we prepared, we went in with “beginner’s mind,” and had a great experience.

How often do we go in expecting, and then precipitating the worst?

Celebrate your successes. Learn from your mistakes.

When is the last time you paused, much less savored work (a conversation, meeting or project) well done?

I can tell you that once a project is done, I check it off my list and move on to what’s next. I do better when I’m training folks, as I make the time to review and reflect on the feedback forms completed at the end of the session. I LOVE that time… I need to do more of that, how about you?

Work to change habits that don’t serve you.

Wow, I feel like Sisyphus here, continuously pushing that boulder up the hill… I have some pretty stubborn habits—that have served me rather well over time. Yet, it’s time to let go! I am making progress by reading books, ingraining new habits, getting help from my circle of supportive colleagues and friends.

Our habits are EVERYWHERE!  This is a long-term project that’s tough AND rewarding.

Reward yourself for doing the right thing.

While this piece of wise advice from Gus* is related to others, I believe that it stands alone too. How do you reward yourself? Rewards can come in so many different packages! My rewards include a walk in the afternoon, exploring a new course or connection with someone or a group that interests me, and planning for breakfast with a colleague. Some of my rewards are planned in advance (when I know the week looks challenging) and others are spontaneous.

Can you name half a dozen ways you reward yourself?

* He loves his “high value” treats when he does an especially challenging task.

Find a place that makes you feel safe and hang out there when you need to.

Take good care of yourself. Sometimes we need to literally step away from interactions or experiences, other times, we just need to be quiet and come back to ourselves. In other instances, we need to reach out for refuge in our relationships with people who understand and care about us.