Helena Clayton Newsletter - View this email in your browser
Leadership Developer • Facilitator • Writer

Welcome to the October 2020 Newsletter

Hi there and I hope you're well as we slowly shift towards late summer..?

There's a slightly different feel to this month's Newsletter as there's no new piece of writing but instead a compilation of various things. Mostly this is because my beautiful dad died a couple of weeks ago and my life has been taken over with funeral arrangements and writing his eulogy (which is a love letter, of course...). So I decided to give myself a break, exercise some self-love and not push myself to write a new blog. That felt like a big decision for me - not to push myself.

My dad died during the first moments of the the Autumn equinox and the shift towards a new season with its theme of letting go. And of being rather than doing. The timing of this, coupled with the knowledge that COVID will continue to keep our lives a lot smaller for many, many months, means that I am planning to build in a lot more time and space for going inward for the coming seasons. For maybe the first time ever, I am feeling a strong pull to retreat and to hibernate and so that's what I'm going to do.

It's an act of self-love. I notice how little slippage I give myself between meetings. How often I work weekends. How things feel so compressed. I notice that how I push myself to work means that sometimes it tips into feeling unkind and unloving. I notice the way Zoom exhausts me. How little time I've given myself recently to get back into bed with a book or Netflix. How often I have given away my 'keep free for walking on the South Downs' days. And how much time I allocate to doing instead of being. The feminist Audre Lorde saw self care as a radical act, a political act. She said ' Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation'.


This will also be a time for more reading. I haven't had so much time for it recently and I want to keep bringing you fresh perspectives on love from a wide range of sources. Here are just a few of the books that I've been collecting and will be diving into soon...

If you get to any of them before I do, drop me a line and tell me what you think?

Leading from Love

As I write this, my first cohort of 11 people are half-way into my new Leading from Love programme. Already there are so many ripples appearing as a result of this work, maybe most notably with participants daring to have conversations about love within their workplaces and organisational systems and beyond - and being delighted at how much they find the door of that conversation ready to open. And also, we're noticing that once we start to explore love in this way we're finding we are more connected to it in our lives - noticing acts of love and feeling more loving with ourselves and others.

We're digging into some interesting questions too, including:

  • why are we still working with organisational models that originated in the Industrial revolution and that are based on metaphors of 'machine' (and machines have no heart so no wonder we struggle to bring emotion and love into our workplaces)
  • how do we catalyse moments of intimacy, connection and love between us?
  • Is it enough to feel love for people at work, and to act from love - does it matter if we don't use the word explicitly?
  • And what are 'acts of leadership' when it comes to putting love front and centre in our practice?

I'll be running a version of this programme again in January, with some taster workshops through the Autumn so keep a look out for those.

Podcasts and webinars

This month, a great session at the OD Network Europe Conference on 'can we create loving connections between people who have never met, and via Zoom'. Through a series of experiential activities and some deep discussion, the answer from the group was a resounding yes :-) I can't share anything with you here as it wasn't recorded but I'm almost certainly going to run a second session this autumn.

What I can share here is the recording of a gorgeous free-range conversation with the good folks of PeopleLab and The Reset Show. We talked about love and its links with resilience, connection, expansion, D&I and even with Tesco shopping trolleys... You can take a listen here.

Top 3 blogs

And here are three blogs of mine that really seem to have hit a chord for people in recent months:

This one on love as a form of anger brings a new dimension to what we often think of as love and I'm already thinking about designing a workshop around this theme... working out what makes us really f***ing angry and then converting that energy into action. One of the programme participants shared this blog on Linkedin last week and the post had over 1,000 hits. It does seem like we are ready for this conversation!

This one about the ways that the pace we live our lives (and certainly the way I overfill my own life) means that I get impatient and hurried which really gets in the way of a loving response.

And the one on 'holding space' which recognises that undivided attention is a radical act of love and one that really meets our need to feel heard and be seen. This was such a strong theme in my research and something that feels sorely lacking in our Zoom-world.

I hope you enjoy (re)reading these and I'll be back with a new blog and more news at the start of November.

Wishing you a good month ahead ...

Helena x

Trevor Clayton 1927 - 2020
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Upcoming Events
There's till not much happening in the world of events but in June next year, you might like the 6th Relational Coaching Conference on 'Love over Fear' at Ashridge, exploring how we create the conditions for love to emerge in a coaching relationship has now found a new home on 25th June 2021.

That should be safe enough, we hope! Do add the date to your diary - and I hope to see some of you there.
Let's Connect
If the idea of love in organisations interests you (or maybe more interestingly if you think that love doesn't have a place in organisations...) come and explore it with me. You could hold a Learning Lunch session for your team on the role love might play in leadership - or run my 'Leading from Love' survey in your organisation. You might welcome a 1:1 session to explore your own relationship with love. Or take part in one of my Action Inquiry groups, exploring love in the workplace. Whatever, please do get in touch as I'd welcome the chance to explore this with you further.

Beyond that my leadership development work is all about conversations and relationships and building programmes that really open participants' eyes to new ways of seeing and working. Yes even virtually.  So whether you're interested in finding out more about that, want some good books recommendations, or can share your own experiences of developing leadership, it would be good to hear from you.

I'm social too so you can follow me on
Twitter and LinkedIn or connect via Email. Or call me of course, whichever suits.

Helena x

Email: helena@helenaclayton.co.uk
Call: 07771 358 881
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