Reflecting personal leadership in action

 Reflecting personal leadership in action

Name educator: Viktoras Keturakis

Name partner organisation: Kitokie projektai


Description of the course:

The course is part of leadership development project in business organisation.

This long term (duration is 7 month) training project is organized by internal HR partners together with external training consultants. Participants have the task to develop the project on the subject out of 6 options presented by the organizers. The final result is to present the ideas and conclusions to the management board at the end of the programme. Participants received training on creative techniques, project management and personal leadership.

Duration 7 months from. Sept, 2015 to March, 2016.

The training on personal leadership training was used as basis to test reflective practice. The training consisted of 3 parts: essential training on personal leadership (2 days, 16 hours), managing challenging situations with personal leadership (1 day, 8 hrs), summarizing and transferring the learning results (1 day, 8 hrs.).

In summary: 4 training days with project educator between sept, 2015 up to Jan, 2016.

Attendance was compulsory after choosing to join the training project.

Aim of testing project: develop reflective practice as part of personal leadership competences.


Date(s) of the testing project:2015.09 – 2016.03.24

Target group: specialists from all over organization. They apply on voluntary basis and express their interest for self development.

Number of participants: 15

Nationality of the participants/Country of residence:__Lithuania (-an)___

Sex of the participants: females_12_  male___3

Age of the participants:__26_ to__46___

Amount of meetings with the learners:_3 meetings (1= 2 days training, 2=1 day training, 3=1 day training)___

A Number of people reflecting:   Solo (1 person)   Small group

(< 20 people)

 Large group

(> 20 people)

B The way(s) of sharing:  
Verbal:   X  
Non-verbal:   Pictures /

  drawings X

  Text X   Embodied Sculpture X   Other forms of expression
Digital:   Padlet   Social media   Digital diary
C Place of reflection (where)   Indoors X   Outdoors   On-line
D. Steps taken to implement

How did you organize your testing project (or to put it differently: as this is a testing project for experimenting, what will be different comparing to the same course you run the previous time)?

The training consists of experiential reflective training activities. People are invited to do group tasks like and discuss/reflect their actions and experience afterwards. What was difference was the clear the attempt of the trainer/facilitator to keep the process of reflection very clear and follow in precise sequence.

Speaking in the group. After the first task the focus of reflection was to encourage participants to try speaking in the training group. The aims was to share their observations in the group after the first task. So the focus was to practice speaking one’s own point of view in the group after activity.

Learning to observe reality in action. The next step was to mention only observable events. Participants were encouraged to note, mention events during the second task that were observable by others as well. They were also encouraged to suspend judgment, analysis and inquiry into causes. They could link actions, events following other in the course of flow of the task.

Learning to include subjective phenomenology. The next step after the third task was to focus on personal experience by attending to emotions, feelings, sensations, thoughts, images. People were encouraged to notice and share internal moments during the tasks and share them with the group.

The next step was to integrate the observations from previous tasks, experiences and construct meaning for them as individuals and as project teams. Participants were encouraged to name lessons learned and conclusions made. Following these conclusions participants were invited to attend on what they would like to try out in the next task. They were encouraged to experiment with their actions by being proactive.

The last step was to summarize the learning and build bridges for their future actions as the project teams. They were invited to imagine what the challenges they could face as the team of people, what were resources they could rely in being effective team.

The idea of this sequence of steps in reflection was to train the attention of participants and learn to notice the process of meaning making they do as well as to learn to make this process formative instead of jumping into judgmental conclusions by allowing for connections between observations, subjective experience, meaning made and situational requirements.

Another important expected outcome was the connections/feedback between learners in responses to build the explorative and appreciative atmosphere in the learning group so they could rely later in the training as the support during challenges and difficulties they might come across.



E. Your assessment of the outcome

In general, how do you look at the results of your testing project?

I look at the results of my testing project:

By observing participants through all the training course. Noticing how they respond to training situation, questions.

By attending how participants reflect on their projects using creative methods.

By using learner’s feedback forms and comparing them to feedback from another training group which received in usual training without particular emphasis on reflection improvement;

By getting feedback from the client organization.


What is the outcome?

I noticed that participants relaxed from critical/self critical stand and became open about their individual/and group experience. They shared easily their observations, their worries, their experiences and doubts and asked questions.
I could notice their interest and energy during training meetings that followed up the first training.

I noticed that participant applied the reflective point of view towards other issues. They questioned ther concept of personal leadership as ill defined, very broad idea which was not helpful. They expressed their critical thinking if every person has to show the qualities of personal leadership. Participants were more open in their critical thinking compared to themselves at the beginning of the project as well as to participants from the other group.

By attending to the drawings. Participants were able to connect what was most important to them with images of their choice. They expressed both the positives as well as the challenges and concerns about their group work. They could recognize dilemmas and express them.

By reading their written feedback. Participants noted that they learned to attend to new, unusual details of their experience. They were inspired by open atmosphere during the training, by having time and space to attend to personal qualities, by feedback from others, by expressing not only positive emotions, by being accepted and learning to accept one’s own experience as it is.

To summarize participants learn to attend to details and qualities they are not used to, they get feedback, they experience appreciation.




F  Connecting with principles: which principle(s) were you taking into consideration mostly when facilitating reflection with learners? Please add 2 sentences about how you were translating the principle into practice. For more information: see postings on principles.

Raising awareness within learners to ‘own’ their learning in personally meaningful way

Awareness means immediate sense and meaning for participants. Participants learned to attend on personal relationship towards mundane activities. Then they were invited to build bridges with their own experience and attend to their subjective atttitude towards their own development. They learn to connect their personal qualities, issues to immediate actions in the situations of group work and demand for personal leadership.

Developing a relationship between educator and learners based on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feedback

Relationship between educator and learner is built by sharing ideas and getting feedback from trainers. The feedback is based on appreciation of uniqueness of every person, on supporting participants, providing them with observations. Dialogue is developed by sharing facilitator’s experience  with participants when appropriate, by being transparent in teaching and facilitation process, by explicating goals of the activities and overall training programme.

Co-creating the reflective process
Managing the steering paradox of intrinsic learning processes
Creating the right reflective attention of learners
Slowing down and value moments of not-knowing,
Deepening your questions progressively

Steps in deepening questions progressively:

1st step. Share any idea in the group. Practice to share one’s own thoughts, ideas in the group after activity.

2 nd step. Observe reality in action. Learn to observe, attend to events and actions and attempt to discriminate them from thoughts, speculations, cause analysis.

3 rd step. Include subjective phenomenology. Try to notice emotions, feelings, sensations as the focus of reflection to be shared in the group

4th step. Make connections and construct meanings. Try to name lessons learned and conclusions made, connect to future plans, actions and possible challenges, respond and give feedback to others.

Recalling that reflection can never be imposed, only kindly invited.
Always considering reflection as a broad and deepening process, that should be holistic.
Being careful how to asses reflection (or not at all)