The importance of relationships

The importance of relationships

By Andy Howie

This is the first opportunity to write a blog without the listening capabilities of Mark. This feels both exciting and challenging. I enjoy the routine Mark and I have established and the interesting questions Mark brings that provoke my deeper learning. Thankfully this relationship will still continue and my challenge is to write independently as well as in collaboration.

I have been involved in learning and development since I was 17 when I worked with children learning to swim. That is 43 years of practice. I write this blog as I travel to Sutton Coldfield to run day 3 of a coaching development programme.

I ponder on what makes the work I do enjoyable and what have I learned in 43 years of practice? My practice has been a remarkable journey really. Teaching in schools, supporting parents with family life, professional development in work places. The one clear thread throughout it all has been my own study of relationships and learning environments.

At times I have enjoyed this immensely and at other times held my own and other people’s struggles heavily. Relationships have to be worked at with sensitivity and good intentions.

Relationships can be the source of both learning and growth but also damage and stagnation. I see this in work places regularly. How much attention do we all pay to creating relationships at work that really do work? Work for each other, for the organisation and the many stakeholders, people who are connected to the organisation in some way and are important in their own way.

How much awareness do I and you bring to relationships?  What’s our intentions? To promote learning and growth and help people flourish or to defend and protect ourselves whatever the consequences are some possibilities perhaps? Some are clearly conscious, other intentions more unconscious.

As I return this piece of writing I have just finished reading Rob’s blog about our retreat and importance of relationship to Space2think and our own lives and to on-going development and flourishing.

It makes me think of the writing of James Hollis and the important question to ask ourselves. Do our actions and responses enlarge us and our relationships or do they diminish ourselves and others? I believe if we examined this question regularly at work and at home, we would all be better for it.

We would also need to be kind on ourselves when we get things wrong with the hope and trust that in the long run the question asked will lead to the workplace or family being a healthier and better place to work and live.


Image attribution: House Buy Fast on Flickr under Creative Commons License