Last night, I was delivering a drumming exercise to a compact group of seven senior management participants. This was part of an intensive training day for them and highlighted some themes that external consultants had been working on with them. Drumming, Haka and many of our interactive activities continue to be used to explore and demonstrate training messages (including change, leadership and creative thinking) as an integral part of a larger training session or programme.
Someone who has used drumming within her training work is Anne Stenbom from www.askcoaching.com.
Anne is based in Sweden but her work takes her around the globe, working with individuals and teams on a wide range of coaching and development issues.
Anne, can you tell us about the work you do?
“As a very broad description, I support people in international organisations to become more effective in their roles. This can cover anything from coaching leaders on specific performance issues to engaging and motivating teams of people from different cultures. My work is very varied – and that’s why it’s such fun.”
How do performance activities like drumming fit with your leadership training objectives?
“There are lots of parallels. As with drumming, leadership starts with leading self. It’s about awareness, hearing the inner voice, daring, trusting an inner rhythm, and letting go in order to pick up the beat from what’s happening around us and knowing that we can ‘make music’ together.”
“Putting aside messages and outcomes for a second, we never forget that simply having the time, space and permission to laugh, share and create together, is sometimes the biggest benefit to any training agenda.”
Occasionally, there can be a degree of skepticism at the introduction of such activities. How do you respond to any initial ‘doubters’?
“I encourage people to listen to that inner voice and understand where it comes from. Our inner voice says a lot about ourselves and our inner fears. What is the use of our doubting? How much do we hold ourselves back to protect a self-image? How much more could we gain by daring to give it a go?”
“Music can unravel all sorts of emotions, so I encourage people to go with what they are feeling, and to participate as much as they feel they can. Over the years, I have experienced particular participants stun the observing trainers in the room by engaging fully to making music when they have perhaps been restrained or hesitant before.”
What is it about playing music that sometimes does this?
“Music is a wonderful release. It connects with memories, and drumming is so tremendously loud! It gives people permission to express themselves in a way that some people have not been allowed to do since they were two years old and banged pots and pans.”
Finally, what is the next project you’re working on?
“Apart from running leadership development work, I’m busy right now forming a new company with partners in the UK and Italy, so we can take drumming and rhythm events to even more places across the world! Watch out for Global Business Leaders at www.global-business-leaders.com.”
A big thanks to Anne for her time and please bear these ideas in mind when thinking of new ways to make your training fresh and even more effective.
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