Holding questions

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

I’ve learnt a lot from Chris Corrigan and the way I’ve learnt it has been interesting to me.

For example I’d hear Chris emphasise that facilitation is a practice. At first I was a bit puzzled by this idea, I got that he meant something important, had a vague sense of what it might be, and was left wondering exactly what he meant. Rather than push him for a detailed answer, I left it hanging as question. And you know what? Over time, I’ve found myself growing a strong sense of what it means to me and now find myself advocating it too. Being a practice – for me – is in part about commitment to the work, and to understanding that it can never be perfected. I try not make facilitation about success and getting it right, but to do it well and stay open to mistakes, failures and the learning they bring. I said similar stuff here. But I still can’t give you a perfect explanation, because I still find myself exploring what this idea of facilitation-as- practice means to me.

Second example: Chris would talk about “holding questions”. Again, my first reaction was: eh? It sounded a bit crazy to me, but just sensible enough to leave me with this puzzle, what would be good about that?. I was probably only just on the curious side of cynical. And again over time, I’ve started to get clearer, and more enthusiastic about the idea of sitting with questions instead of always anxiously demanding answers. Today, Chris write a bit more about the practice of holding questions, which is, you’ll probably have noticed, what this post is all about.

We’re often very attached to certainty, and to ending meetings with “definite outcomes” and sometimes end up with matching language. (My friend James quips about a meeting where everyone agreed that what they needed was a “measurable, implementable, deliverable”). Sometimes leaving with a good question is much more engaging, even if at first it’s a bit frustrating.

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