New visuals for Host Leadership
The Host Leader metaphor underpins the host leading practices which can be thought of as involving two steps, four positions and six roles. For those willing to explore the metaphor and generate engagement in their own settings, the discussion of the metaphor is complemented by the images that picture each of the items and capture their meaning. At the same time, they open space for learners and users of the model to create their own meanings and ideas.
For several years now, as a coach and facilitator, I have been using the images that Mark and Helen, authors of Host, have created (McKergow & Bailey, 2014). Their figurines have done an excellent job supporting learners of Host Leadership in their understanding of the elegance and simplicity of the metaphor and at the same time bringing forth smiles of appreciation on their faces.
As I worked with the metaphor, I began realising I wanted to have images emerging from my own developing ideas and practices, as well as from the insights of the people I have worked with. The moment came to respond to this “call to action” (Initiator). What I did was invite an artist (Inviter), who I knew to be very good at listening to her clients, grasp what they want fand then come up with something which makes you catch your breath at her amazing artistic work. The artist is Radostina Nejkova.
Our joint journey towards the creation of the new images took the shape of a dance. As our respective areas of expertise were called upon, we alternated between performing as host and guest. The transitions seemed to flow spontaneously. I welcomed Radostina as a guest to the field of Host Leadership while she guided me elegantly round and about her artistic home.
With the wisdom of hindsight, I can see us both performing as Gatekeepers welcoming each other to our respective understandings. It did not take long for us to discover each other’s resources and connect on the piece of common ground (Connector) which we expanded as our work gained speed. Step by step we were getting closer to both our shared and separate horizons.
The outcomes of this co-participative journey are several:
- New images for the two steps, four positions and six roles
- Radostina’s satisfaction with her artistic work and my joy of the new images
- A new friendship emerging between two professional women who have performed as both Host Leaders and Guests in their shared two-week project.