Facilitating "The Zone"


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My client, Katie, forwarded to me this article from the Boston Globe on mindfulness teacher George Mumford's work with the Celtics and his equally important other clients. Click here for the article.

With a professional history of my own working with clients who range from recovering addicts to leaders in government, I really loved reading about George's story and his work. I also appreciated his way of talking about how the work works. It's not very linear, but when you're in the zone, you just know it.

My favorite lines in the article are "Mumford himself describes his approach as nonlinear, non-formulaic, and driven by context and personal dynamics — not something that can be outlined in Seven Simple Steps" and "the nature of the work can resist description."

Yes and Yes. As hard as we might try to outline steps and describe the work, facilitating people, teams, and companies into their zone is always accompanied by a slice of that which is unseen and intangible. Learning, trusting, and embracing these notions is also part of leadership.

Here are a few additional snippets on process and results.

On the process:

Mumford says his work with a client often resembles assembling a large and complex jigsaw puzzle. “You have all the pieces spread out, then you start putting the pieces together one by one,” he says. “It takes awhile, but at some point you see what’s happening. . . . It’s ‘circular learning,’ where you go over the same thing . . . and each time, you pick up something.” At a certain point, he says, it just clicks.

On the results:

“When you get in that zone, it’s just a supreme confidence that you know it’s going in. It’s not a matter of if – it’s going in. . . . Everything slows down. You just have supreme confidence. When that happens, you really do not try to focus on what’s going on [around you], because you could lose it in a second. . . . You have to really try to stay in the present, not let anything break that rhythm. . . . You get in the zone and just try to stay here. You don’t think about your surroundings, or what’s going on with the crowd or the team. You’re kind of locked in.”

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