Enrolling now: two online cohorts of Practical Relational Leadership (6 people each), to start in early January 2024
Table of Contents
- History and Development of the PRL courses
- Expectation setting
- Overall context for the PRL courses
- How the PRL format differs from other styles of Relational Meditation and Circling™
- Follow-up to the course
- What you can do with this course, practically
Practical Relational Leadership through Authentic Relating (or “PRL”) is a deep-dive into Relational Meditation (similar to Circling™) within the Authentic Relating tradition. We meet over zoom in a small group (6 people) for 2 hours x 4 consecutive weeks.
The latest version of this course, the “train the trainer edition”, will teach you a powerful model for building an Authentic Relating community in your home town, and among your friends. The course is particularly applicable to intentional communities (residential or not) and/or to people with pre-existing relationships who want to operate a joint project with more love and more effectiveness.
PRL courses very reliably drop a group of 6-8 people into deep connection spaces over 4 weeks. And from there, magic happens. Experience with Circling™ is not required to attend, but of course will help.
I am currently enrolling three online sections (3 x 6 people) of the course to start in early January 2024. We should be able to cover all times zones (America, Europe and Pacific) with 3 sections.
To register your interest, see below under “logistics”. The cost of the course is $100, which is very affordable compared to similar leadership trainings.
Upon graduation, you are welcome to run your own courses, for fee or not, which you can brand “Practical Relational Leadership” or whatever you choose. The curriculum for the course is laid out in my draft book, Relational Power. Students are requested to read the introduction and first three chapters of Relational Power prior to attending the first session.
History and Development of the PRL courses
The history of this course goes back to my discovery (and falling in love) with Circling at the Boulder Integral Center in 2016. I immediately started running private (committed, returning, invitation-only) circles to my friends, which were very successful. I have run about a dozen separate groups over the years (hundreds of meetings), both short- and long-term, which include a men’s group that has been going strong now for 4+ years. The last 6 course iterations which I ran this year (three online and three on the ground here in Mexico) have all been powerfully connecting and developmental. Typically, the groups don’t want to stop after 4 weeks.
It wasn’t however, until I landed in Mexico in July 2023 and started leading on the ground here, that I realized the real transformative potential of the practice to create and deepen community and increase organizational effectiveness, especially inside existing communities. That story is told in the article Authentic Relating in Intentional Community: A case study in Ajijic, Mexico
Fundamentally, the PRL courses take Relational Meditation to where it needs to go (to where it always needed to go): to an open-source, peer-to-peer (and hence potentially infinitely scalable) model for increasing love, transparency, and relational effectiveness in a group, thereby activating collective intelligence.
Teaching Relational Meditation and building community through AR (Authentic Relating) practices in a sustainable business model has proven itself to be very difficult. Getting trained in high-level AR skills has also been difficult, particularly on a budget. The PRL courses offer a possible solution to these two very thorny problems.
PRL courses are offered on an open enrollment basis, typically starting at the beginning of the month. The cost is $100, paid via a $25 refundable deposit and a $75 balance before starting.
The process is as follows:
- Write to me your interest to [email protected], and/or contact through whatsapp +1 603 631 4271. Then, if we have not yet met, book a discovery call with me. During the call, if it goes well, I will ask your (approximate) available time windows.
- Send your $25 refundable deposit via Paypal to [email protected] using “friends and family”. This starts the enrollment process.
- When I have enough people, I will send a Doodle poll to the group and negotiate a start date and time. Usually its the same time every week for 4 weeks. If the times don’t work for you, you have the option to get your deposit refunded or to stay in the queue for the next course.
- I announce the time and start date, normally about a week out. At that point your $75 balance is due promptly.
- Attendance is requested at all 4 sessions, in principle. If you can’t make a session, we’ll consider whether its best for you to join another group, or miss a session.
Authentic Relating is, by its very nature, a socially disruptive paradigm (read Authentic Relating in Intentional Community: A case study in Ajijic, Mexico) and hence it is very possible, or even likely, that things will happen in the group that are going to be challenging to you and/or upsetting. Even so, and perhaps surprisingly, my experience is that about 80-85% of groups are profoundly nurturing and deeply transformative. Another 10% of groups are difficult, but ultimately also very transformative. Another 5-10% of groups are total shit-shows, such as when a participant loses their temper, communicates irresponsibly or blows out, and the group can’t handle it (or I can’t handle it).
Please do not join a group if you are not confident of your ability to stay in connection through anger, if you can’t tolerate your perspectives being challenged, or insist on being spoken to in a certain way (i.e. NVC. This is not an NVC group, although NVC is very helpful as I write about). Also please be aware that I am pretty good at doing these things (staying in connection through anger and being challenged) but that I am also a flawed human being. Which is perfect, because circling in this style is ultimately pushing one’s edges and making “mistakes”, which we then grow from. Fortunately for me, Relational meditation is, by its very nature, a collaborative leadership model. This means I don’t have to be the world’s best leader to make magic happen. I just have to surrender to what is actually happening, and name it.
Overall context for the PRL courses
By way of overall context, Circling within the Authentic Relating tradition is a presence practice. “Presence” is a way of being and an attitude towards life and towards other people. Presence is non-verbal (it’s the act and the felt-experience of being emotionally available to another person) and it cannot be faked; however it is rendered much more powerful by learning and applying the structures of effective emotional communication. Circling courses normally don’t teach this, they expect you to learn by modeling “presence” (Circling cannot be taught, exactly, it can only be modeled). In this course you will formally learn, through lecture and practice, the structures of effective emotional communication. To note, that hardly anyone is currently doing this, teaching the structures of good emotional communication. You do learn this in NVC (Non-Violent Communication), but my work extends NVC in various ways. More info on this in Relational Power, Chapter 2.
80-90% of the course will be experiential. We will simply drop-in together and explore what is alive in the space, communicating our thoughts and feelings with truth and care (similar to other Circling courses) and unpacking / revealing our personal challenges in so doing. We will know that we are doing this effectively, by how much fun we are having together. We will also know that we are doing this effectively, by the results we are generating between-classes with the people in our environment.
10-20% of the course will either be direct instruction in the form of lecture / presentation, or else my naming what I see happening in the field and coaching / suggesting ways to make it better.
The fundamental goals and context of the course are as described in the book, Relational Power. The goal here is to start winning in all your relationships. How to make people want to be your friend and hang-out with you, while being authentically you. Ultimately, the goal is to end affective, intellectual and sexual scarcity, not just for you (should that be the case), but for all the people that you touch and people in your sphere of influence.
As told in the book, it is highly probable that this skill will be monetizable by you (given that in a highly connected and inter-related world, the skills of relational leadership are very useful in business). However the immediate goal is relational value-added, harmony and clarity and fun with the people around you, and happiness. This course is a training on becoming an effective relational leader.
In addition to winning with the people in you environment, the course will teach you various types of events that you can bring to your community and lead people into fun, depth and connection.
All of this probably won’t happen in your first 4 weeks (it took me 40 years). Relational leadership is a lifelong game. However, a little bit of good emotional communication (which includes kindness, humility, empathy/appreciation, and what we call “own your experience”) goes a very long way. You should get from this course, the basic information to get you started. If all goes well, once you get started you will never stop. It will just keep on getting better.
How the PRL format differs from other styles of Relational Meditation and Circling™
The PRL format is like Relational Meditation within a strong structure or container. It’s a kind of “yang variant” of Relational Meditation, meaning that “developmental intent” (or problem-solving orientation) is more permissible than in traditional Circling.
Typically, we go through four processes, while being guided always by “what’s alive”. Like all circling, we also make a great effort to accurately and lovingly communicate our truth in the moment, and to name what’s happening.
The four processes are typically the following:
- Check-in: each participant gets a (roughly) 3 minute check-in, followed by an impact round.
- “Aliveness round”: we name what is alive in us and how we want to use our time together (which people will get focus circles, what topics etc)
- Main-round: we spend our time circling, roughly following the plan jointly created in the aliveness round.
- Check-out: each person checks-out with how they are feeling and any particular take-aways or highlights of the session
Follow-up to the course
As follow-up to the course, I strongly encourage you to start a weekly Authentic Relating circle with your friends and/or business associates. This is THE single most powerful relational developmental practice that you can do.
Depending on the need and how much success you are having (or not) in relational leadership, we may extend the course another 4 weeks (to 8 weeks total).
What you can do with this course, practically
- You will acquire the skill and learn the structure for starting a private Authentic Relating circle with your friends or business associates.
- You will learn to skillfully lead both organic circles in my style, and focus circles.
- I will teach you some basic Authentic relating games (hot seats in particular) that you can use to lead connection-focused events for meetups, churches, or community organizations that you belong to.
- In partnership with my friend David Garrison in Austin, we may teach you an A/R event format called Open Mic Playground that is a kind of Authentic relating creativity / self-expression workshop that you can bring to your community.
- There may be income opportunities by running a city franchise for the Conscious Singles project.
- Some experience in Circling is desired. If you have never circled before, please attend one of the free introductions to Circling conducted by The Relateful Company (previously CircleAnywhere).
- Experience in NVC is highly desirable. NVC is a pre-cursor to Circling and teaches the language of feelings and needs, which is necessary to know in order to Circle effectively.
- Please read (or listen) to the Introduction and first 3 chapters of Relational Power prior to the first class.
- A willingness to go deep, as in all Circling.
- This is a leadership training course. People who express an interest in leading Authentic relating in their community, either formally or informally (“Authentic Relating on the street”) will be given preference.