Statement of Inquiry
Collaborating and sharing with friends from diverse backgrounds and ambitions may lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves.
The Back story
As my buddy Curt Dracz is quick to point out, I like reps: I’m on a mission to develop my skills as a professional consultant, workshop leader, teacher, and coach. Getting this mission to where I want it requires dedicated and deliberate practice. I am grateful for opportunities like Three Pints, a group dedicated to men’s personal development.
The back story: Curt messages me saying he has an idea, and he wants me to be a part of it. I reply and say, I’m in. I don’t even have to know what it is. I’ve been working on just going with some things, taking a page out of improv, and saying, “Yes and…” quite a bit more. With this one, I am glad I did.
So, Curt’s idea is to take aspects of what I’ve been doing with my one-on-one coaching and make it into a group effort. The collaboration will utilize Curt’s strengths of building community and fostering communication and my strengths in developing action plans related to intentions. The title we came up with during the planning is “Three Pints.” In thinking about men’s personal development and health as well as the stigma of talking about goals, challenges, and accountability, having a few beers helps make the discussion more social.
The mission statement for Three Pints is: “A community that supports honesty, growth, and action through professional development.” Curt’s idea is that once we as a community know what each person wants to achieve, we can support each other to do it. There are other goals, as well. Everyone can benefit from expanding their network and engaging in quality conversations. What Curt really likes about this is making the intentions visible so we can celebrate successes while also keeping guys accountable. This is what Three Pints is all about. Part success club, part support network with a focus on developing your best potential self.
Our first cohort was eight guys. We went through the process with them. Explicitly, we taught them about deep listening and why that is important. The men partnered up and shared their intentions. Everyone was pre-loaded to have a goal, project, or ambition before arrival. My purpose or aim, for example, was to grow my consulting and coaching practice. Curt’s was to continue to develop Three Pints. We shared these goals as examples to show we were also engaging in the process.
Each person prepared a visual. The visual contained their intention, an indication where they are now, and what hurdles stand in their way. The idea of the intention is inspired by Napoleon Hill’s “Definiteness of purpose” and Simon Sinek’s “Starts With Why.”
Through the partner activity and by practicing deep listening, the participants gained some clarity regarding their intentions.
It’s All About Skills
At this time, we broke for another pint. The pints served as both a dividing point and a metaphor on where we are going. Once folks got their pints, we engaged in a gallery walk, where we could see each other’s intentions and ask questions about them. Now, this portion of the programme was directly related to my coaching system. Since it was a group, it was a little bit more challenging to dial people into skills as I usually would reference job descriptions. By using job descriptions, we can find out what skills are necessary to excel in that particular aspect of a job. Since there was going to be much diversity in terms of intention, we got guys thinking about the skills they needed to achieve their aim. Each person was then tasked to further divide those skills up into two categories: things they are good at and things they are not good at. With both groups, there was an understanding that they could improve those skills. They added this to their visual, and then we broke for another pint.
The next pint was about taking those skills and putting together an action plan. This action plan needed to have an objective, actions required to achieve the purpose, and evidence of achievement. Optional categories in the method could be costs associated and other people that could be involved. Our evening culminated in each person sharing and walking us through their vision. This was the most engaging part of the evening, and it went on for nearly an hour and could have gone on much longer.
From our perspective, the evening accomplished our mission. The men left feeling a bit more inspired. The guys also went away with concrete steps they can take to make their aim a reality. This was my first foray in group personal development training outside of the education realm. I learned quite a bit throughout the process of collaborating with Curt, and we will continue to tweak and refine the structure. Living the expatriate life, you often feel like you are making some sacrifice. Thanks to people like Curt, though, we do not have to feel isolated and alone. We have a fantastic community in Beijing, and that in itself makes Beijing an excellent place to live and raise a family. Together, Curt and I were able to contribute to that while also helping to men’s personal development. I hope there are many more opportunities for “reps” with Three Pints.