As Jeremy Stover knows, rebuilding a community devastated by a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina is as much about creating new relationships as it is about laying down new bricks and mortar.
Since 2008, Jeremy—a certified coach and member of the Leadership program faculty at CTI®—has been part of a team that has provided coaching and leadership training to a New Orleans’ nonprofit group, The New Orleans Healing Center.
“The group inspired us,” says Jeremy, “by how quickly they had moved away from thinking of themselves as survivors or victims of the storm to leaders working to revitalize the community. They continued to inspire us through their commitment and relentless determination and willingness to stick together even during the tough times when it looked like the project wasn't going to be funded.”
In Spring of 2009, after working with the group virtually, Jeremy and CTI colleagues Reuel Hunt and Kate Rivera travelled to New Orleans to continue their work with the leadership team. The three coaches presented a three-day workshop designed to help the team discover its own leadership and to deepen their sense of community and accountability to one another and to the project.
Jeremy says that while there are clear practical elements of leadership which are important to learn such as running an effective and inclusive meeting, it’s when people get deeply in touch with their purpose and passion that they have their biggest impact.
“What’s gratifying about working with a group of people such as the project team of the New Orleans Healing Center, is that having already made a commitment to create lasting change, it was much easier to go deep quickly and create a level of trust and intimacy that makes collaboration so much easier.”
He adds: “This means they are learning quickly how to really listen and be receptive to each other as fellow collaborators and as human beings. This emphatic understanding begins to dissolve the tension and anxiety that comes from thinking that the only way to get my needs met is by dominating or otherwise manipulating the meetings and the process.”
“When leaders allow an environment of listening and connection to be created, it’s much easier for the team and for individual members to be aware of and to take responsibility for whatever is happening, and to create action and learning from that. That is when things begin to get fun and you see the group move forward together toward their common vision and goals.”
Jeremy Stover, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach®