Moving Images

Moving Images

My client and I sit knee to knee in in a room we have painted with light for the past hour. My camera is beside me and aimed eye-level, at my client. It will be a completely conspicuous, unblinking and unflinching witness to all that occurs in our encounter, yet its singular interest is only in capturing his beauty. Three lights shine on him while I sit in the shadow: one makes his eyes sparkle with life; one provides a soft halo around his head; one illuminates the space behind him, offering him forward to me, to the lens, and eventually to whomever watches this film. With us, back behind the camera, communing with the technology as sensitively as I hope to connect with our client, is my filming partner, Jon. The three of us are about to offer ourselves to the moment…

This is not coaching as we know it. Neither is this filming as we know it. This is closest to what Nic Askew, who mentored me some time ago, would call a soul biography - a transformational encounter designed to capture and communicate quintessential facets of our humanness. It is a form I don’t yet have a name of my own for, but it reminds me always that beauty, wisdom and love are always deeply linked, and that offering conversations for connection is worthwhile work. We live in a world of apparent connectedness, yet it will never stop being deeply confusing, deeply beautiful and deeply sad that we often find it so hard in our daily lives to discover and sustain moments of real connection to ourselves and others. Film amplifies our various connections and disconnections, and used skillfully can facilitate reconnection. I suspect this is why Jon and I are passionate about this emerging form.

We’ve been seeking out people engaged in transformational work for the last eighteen months – including CEOs, entrepreneurs, teachers, activists, fathers, mothers and others…  We paint them and their surroundings with light and ask them depth-charge questions on camera, such as ‘what matters?’, ‘what is it like to be you?’, ‘why do you do what you do?’, ‘what is your uniqueness?’ and whatever other questions the encounter suggests. These are the kinds of starting-points for dialogue that do not get stock answers, but that show the nitty-gritty struggle to find authentic voice and expression that we can all relate to and feel moved by.

I’m excited about the applications of this work in Organisational and Leadership Development. These short films (each lasts for about as long as a latte) are a million miles away from the tame, top-down, message-managed corporate videos that no-one believes in any more. Instead, they are powerful pause-points, documents of our struggles to find understanding and belief in the ways the world works upon us; they are honesty-trails that map people’s challenges when engaging in the complexities of growth; they portray and encourage reflection, they create emotional engagement; they get people thinking and feeling and often talking together. They change the conversation.

 Here’s an taste, in case you’re interested - Enjoy the latte...

Posted in Change Coaching film conversations on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

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