Supporting societal integration through Integration Coaching
I recently blogged about my coaching niche as a Personal Integration Coach, and also how beneficial it is to individuals to achieve cohesion of our emotional, psychological, vocational, relational, societal and spiritual dimensions.
The beauty of the word “integration” is that it does not just apply to an individual, but also to teams, organisations, communities and society. “Integration” also includes the process of incorporating different groups or races as equals into society – this still remains a challenge in South Africa, and will only be overcome through concerted and targeted efforts. Over the last five years I have been involved in and have facilitated many conversations and dialogues about inter-racial relationships, and overcoming the barriers cannot be a one-sided effort. The only way to move towards integrated diversity is together.
“Why bother?” is a question I have heard mumbled under people’s breaths. “It feels uncomfortable, and I have tried before and failed.” According to Desmond Tutu, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” I believe we experience greater freedom ourselves if we flourish together. We want our organisations to be successful for the sake of all stakeholders (including ourselves). A more cohesive team will achieve better results. And better integration in the workplace can have an overflowing ripple effect into society. A greater societal cohesion could be part of our new normal – a positive application of lessons learnt from the experiences of the pandemic and lockdown over the last few months.
My colleague Khanyi Mthimunye and I are both group facilitators, and often facilitate dialogues (using different methodologies) as a team. In this process, participants offer each other the hospitality of the listening ear and an availability and willingness to work together towards an integrated society/community/team, where greater flourishing for all is possible. During the process the expression of strong feelings is supported, not as a venting release but as an opportunity to connect more deeply with one another, and to motivate the change we want to see in practical, measurable actions. All of our group facilitations end with a measurable and attainable practical application to our own personal or team environment.
Integration Dialogues can be part of an organisational (school, church, business etc.) programme designed to achieve greater integration and systemic change – a process that everyone concerned is able to buy into, be heard and add value to. This should not wait until a suppressed issue attracts media attention. Integration Dialogues can be pro-active, uncover potential problems and start the process of addressing them in community.
We are stronger together than we are divided. If integration is something on your radar, let’s explore how we can approach this important journey together.