From empty vessels to already whole

Kirsten Clacey Avatar

In our work we hold content lightly. Rather than assuming we know what people need to know, we create spaces where we trust people to take what they need. 

We offer content as pebbles, some ripple and some don’t. That’s ok.

This approach to learning is fundamentally different to what most people are used to.

Scroll through LinkedIn, Twitter, or other places of thought leadership and you’ll see things like:

  • These 5 skills will accelerate your career!
  • What do you wish your leaders knew?
  • 10 ways to enhance employee productivity

There’s a tempting allure of certainty in all these titles. But how do we know what people need? Who is best positioned to answer this question? 

And what is implied when someone assumes to know what we need?

Empty vessels

A solution-first approach projects a view that an expert is needed, that people are broken or incomplete in some way. In neglecting their local context and the complexity of their emerging environment, it fails to honour what’s present for them.

At best, people leave such training with arbitrary new ideas. At worst, failing to understand the applicability to their context as well as their part in the system, we cause more friction and create further reliance on experts.

Already whole

The beauty and mystery of the transformative process is that neither the coach nor the client can imagine all that’s possible.

Coaching for Transformation

What if we strive not to enforce knowledge but to cultivate a truer seeing of the situation and how we can move with it?

What if we become less interested in the certainty of, “What do you wish your leaders knew?” and more curious about, “What do your leaders want to know?” 

What if we trust people to know what they need?

Our role then becomes one of creating an environment in which people can identify what they need, apply lightly-held pebbles, and then choose for themselves what they integrate based on what fits.

In softening our grip on prescriptive solutions, we attune to the present moment. Over time, we support deeper integration and see the benefits of compound interest in learning. Small actionable insights applied at the point of need!

And this kind of work will never be done because we’re learning with people.


  1. Mili

    How beautiful discomfort and uncertainty can be!

  2. Mark_Kilby

    As I read this post, it reminded me of the art of kintsugi where broken pottery is mended with gold or silver lacquer. Perhaps it’s not so much that we are broken, but that we can find a new way to put the pieces of the vessel together to make new art. Be kintsugi.

  3. Now you know who you are – L&C

    […] you were always whole […]

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