Unmasking my Unconscious Competence… Making my Practice Conscious

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust 

How do you have new eyes about your work?

Just the other week, when Jill Langer and I were delivering the Day 2 of the Bikablo Basic Virtual Training course, I facilitated an activity for folks to:

  • discover what they remembered from Day 1
  • see how quickly they could access and re-create/apply the learning
  • observe how they would handle a new layer of complexity

all within a very short timeframe.

It was challenging! Their responses to the experience were swift and clear. It was an eye-opener for most of the folks who had been quite sure in their skills and the habits they had developed since the Day 1 training.

In general, I don’t seek to ruffle people’s feathers, and that’s certainly not the intent of the exercise though it was an unintended consequence for some. I was a bit concerned when I heard how surprised they were by their results (I won’t share some of the colorful language), then I was relieved to see that it provoked them to reset their thinking and primed them for learning with new eyes.

What might you look at/see differently today?

This experience reminds me of a colleague, with many years in the field, who joined one of my bikablo trainings. She had trained with other folks and had used bikablo’s picture dictionaries for years, yet when she took the course she told me that she learned so much more. The concepts and the nuances—that make the method more than looking at a book—the conversations, interactions, and the direct and specific feedback about her work, were defining differences. 

What comes easily to you? What’s a part of you, and therefore, more difficult to see?
What do you know so well that you don’t think about it,  much less question how you do what you do?

What’s easy for me is making a banner. I make it the same way every time— it is second nature, I’m unconsciously competent in drawing it. I love my five steps to banner-making! Surprisingly, when I watched Jill (Langer) draw the same banner in our virtual training, she did it completely differently! I thought that she and I learned it at the same time and in the same way (at the first bikablo Train the Trainer event)—apparently not! I was intrigued. Maybe her way was simpler for folks?! It was amazing and definitely got me thinking about how I do, AND  what I do without being aware of how I do it!

I’m currently taking the bikablo Train the Trainer course for e-xtraklasse, a brand new offering, that will deepen participants’ skills through small group coaching and an extended format. Re-viewing, literally re-seeing, what I have learned and taught in the bikablo Basic Day 1 and 2 courses, and taking it to the next level of sophistication, is such fun—and intensity! I have new eyes for my work! 

Look at those wild ascenders and descenders!

What is challenging for you, so much so that you still think about it often?

I am working to change the way I make a few of my letters—specifically the “a” and the “e”. And, I have to watch my ascenders (“f” and “t” particularly) and descenders (“g”, “j” and “y”), as my expansive writing can be too large for the spaces I need to work in. I pay attention to these letters as I write—which is both good and, at times, tiresome. I will create the new habit over time and increase my speed and decrease my need to attend to what’s different. I can’t wait until that happens!


This question, about habits that I do unconsciously, is relevant to all areas of my life:

  • how I show up in meetings—as leader, co-creator, and/or follower.
  • how I start a project
  • the questions that I ask new clients in Strategy Sessions
  • how I approach collaboration
  • how I plan my free time

How about you? What do you think of how you do what you do? Once you take a look at your habits, which will you embrace and which will you discard?

My thinking is, that I need to “be the beginner”/have beginner’s mind. Be present to possibilities, and shift away from habits that narrow the breadth and depth of my thinking.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few. 

Shunryu Suzuki

Adventures in Virtual Learning! The Good, the Bad & the Ugly—Part 2

Here’s the fruits of my labor! All those thoughts I shared in words the other week, “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” have become an interactive zine!*

The fun begins after you:

  1. download the file (below)
  2. print the zine (as a double-sided page)
  3. make a slice (scissors or x-acto) 
  4. then, fold the zine(directions in the file below)

Read through the zine AND draw your solutions! There’s also a big, juicy panel for you to visualize and draw “The Best” virtual experience you can imagine!

I hope that you will take a photo of your drawings and send them to me, I’d love to see what you’re thinking and how you represent it!

*  It’s my first time making a zine—and while I THOUGHT that designing and developing it digitally would make it easier, in fact, paper and pen/markers would have been way faster!


The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Adventures in Virtual Learning! The Good, the Bad & the Ugly



How are you feeling about the variety of online experiences you are having of late? What are you loving, hating (too strong?), or wondering about?

What would you do differently?

In 2015, I designed, developed, and delivered a course on (wait for it) the design and development of live online deliveries. Even earlier (2013), I had the contract to create a course on successful strategies for facilitating live online training. Both courses attracted hundreds of people for one of the largest training companies in the world.

Probably just like you, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time online over the past three months. I have seen it all, people

  • who are gifted in their delivery and are working with programs with terrific designs and engaging content
  • with good intentions and no skills
  • who are gifted in delivering programs with poor designs and mediocre materials
  • who are not gifted in delivering even good material (though a better design would have improved their delivery)

I decided that I needed to have some fun with the (mostly mediocre) experiences I was having… so I am creating an interactive piece—I’ll share it next week!

What does a stellar delivery look, sound, and feel like to you?

Here are the categories I’m interested in—what’s your thinking? What would you add to this list or how might you re-configure it?


  • Welcome
  • Overview
  • Agenda/Roadmap
  • Agreements/Creation of Safe Space
  • Sharing Expectations
  • Check-in
  • Check-out


  • On-time start and finish
  • Co-creating the experience
  • Holding the facilitator role both firmly and lightly
  • Being open to questions, discussions, and conversations throughout the session
  • Making the space for a variety of view and sharing experiences (if relevant)
  • Hearing from everyone in the room—as they desire it/working with the power dynamics inherent in every gathering


  • Using tech resources to introduce and connect people before the session
  • Cultivating rapport—between facilitator and participants and between participants
  • Ensuring a variety of partners in activities


  • Exploit capabilities of the tech resources
  • Planning for sufficient co-facilitators or facilitator & producer
  • Teaching participants to use the tech (in advance of the session)


  • Knowing the participants—who are they, what are their interests, knowledge, experience…
  • Focus on need- to-know info
  • Provide resources—before and after sessions

Visualizing your future—what are you imagining?

Looking toward the second half of 2020 causes me to pause… so much has changed so fast. I relish the opportunity to sit with markers and paper to savor and learn from my experiences.

  • How are you making time in your busy life to reflect?
  • What’s the nature of the journey you’re experiencing?
  • How are you dancing with the realities, and the possibilities contained within the changes you have experienced?

In the beginning…

My year started at a breakneck pace, it was exciting! By early March, my professional and personal lives had settled into a rhythm, and my plans for the year were unfolding. Friday the 13th of March was the day NYC shut down for business, and the last day of in-person training programs for me until… who knows?

As I make the time to discover the good in what has happened—both what was planned and what happened serendipitously over the past 16 weeks, I realize that there have been BIG developments!

  • How have your working relationships changed?

My bikablo work shifted from in-person to live, online sessions with my colleague, Jill Langer from Canada. What a delight that has been! I won’t overlook some of the initial questions, the challenges, and the ramping up to get comfortable with all the platforms and devices we’re using… I prefer to focus my attention on the new experience of working with a partner and the pleasure of developing stronger relationships with learners because we need to communicate more often.

Many members of the Bikablo global training team decided to teach, share ideas, and practices about online work. I would never have had so many interactions with my colleagues without the stimulus of the pandemic. These meetings have led to new methods, greater collegiality, and last Saturday’s Global Jam with a dozen co-hosts from around the world—an event that we co-created in less than four week’s time!

That experience, shifting from colleagues collaborating with the purpose of fine-tuning our methods to event planners, was a HUGE transformation in dynamics and group structure… happily, we weathered a bit of turbulent water and everyone enjoyed our inaugural event—participants and co-hosts alike! As we’re now talking about more events together, I feel confident we will grow into these new types of relationships—it’s fantastic!

Our final activity in the Bikablo Alumni Global Jam-What are our ideas for hope & inspiration?

  • What are you learning—formally and informally?

Back in January, I started a 45 session coaching course, and, after a dozen sessions, I asked to become part to group that had started work to develop a feedback system that works for the facilitator and the participants. (Don’t even get me started about how this process has put the cart before the horse…) This experience is/continues to be really interesting and challenging for me—I am an outsider! I am the only person who has an instructional design background and I am the newest to the field (of nonviolent communication) of the folks in the group of about six to eight regulars… I speak a different language and, perhaps even more glaringly, I have a very different style and pace of facilitation/using processes to move to solutions. The experience has afforded me the opportunity to be both in the moment, and outside of it. It is challenging work!

I’ve also filled my plate with courses that I’ve wanted to take for a long time—Developing an Appreciative Mindset (David Cooperrider Institute), Compassion Cultivation Training (Compassion Institute), Appreciative Living Learning Circle Facilitator Training (Jackie Kelm) and, (coming up in July) the vAIFT/virtual Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (Center for Appreciative Inquiry). It’s so much fun —and so much work!

  • How are you growing?
  • What’s the good that you have experienced?
  • How will you work with the difficult times, using them as guideposts for a different future?

I am experiencing a difference in my thinking and interactions with colleagues and family as a result of my learning and practice. Integrating these areas of knowledge, watching the changes and growth in my relationships with myself, with others, and myself in relation to others, has been fascinating! It’s been good and challenging, and I know it keeps me on the path to more conscious communication.

  • Where are you visualizing for the second half of 2020—what do you want?
  • Which of your strengths will support you in creating the future you desire?
  • What questions excite you?
  • Where will you focus your attention?

All of these experiences, plus my interest, training, and work in the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and several other fields are leading to the creation of a new coaching program. It is quintessentially me—to learn, practice, do, and create new offerings for my clients. I am thrilled to be on this path!

Please reach out to me with questions that arise for you, or if you seek for a partner in exploring what your future holds.