Every conversation still counts

Hi Amy here, my colleague Tim Coupland really tries to live out our values. In these difficult times, they have become an anchor for him and as he reflected with me last week some aspects of life really do go on and the need to be courageous and compassionate is just as important than ever…here is just an example from him.


Is it ok to write a non covid-19 related blog? Whilst most days deviate from the normal pattern of things, some aspects of life really do go on; the day to day interactions with all those mini tensions or frustrations still surface. Is it right that I still find some aspects of my relationships with other challenging or difficult? Probably not, life really does go on and the pattern of things that I find difficult don’t just evaporate. The difference, at the moment, is they go largely unspoken: to share something difficult for me feels somehow misplaced, inappropriate or in the bigger scheme of things just not that important.

This week has not been straightforward where relationships are concerned, I’ve worked hard, yet one of my colleagues raised an issue with me about the way I’d gone about a specific task. I experienced a range of feelings, some uncomfortable – some of them not very adultlike! Like most situations like this, my way of working it through it to go for a run. It somehow seems to calm the emotional centre of my brain and activate those higher functions of reasoning, logic and judgement – to bring about some deep reflection…akin to what the CALM mindfulness module [insert link] describes as the ‘what?’, ‘’so what?’, and ‘now what?’ (Rolfe’s model of Reflective Practice).

So, what did I discover? I do love it when deep reflection brings about something unexpected…halfway through the run I realised that my error in judgement was due to something initially out of my awareness, an unconscious judgement about something that made me behave as I did. Unconscious bias is the common term for the implicit assumptions or quick judgements we make about others in the context of our values and background. They are often about deeply hidden stereotypes that surface unexpectedly and shape our responses and/or behaviour. To capture these, in the moment is difficult, I am only human, but I’m certainly glad my colleague raised it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen again, some things are quite difficult to shift. It just means that I’m now aware of it. Whilst still uncomfortable, it revealed something hidden and presented an opportunity to address it in the future.

I can’t speak for others but can be fairly sure that, even in the grip of such unprecedented times, difficult and uncomfortable exchanges will still occur. To find time to reflect, to talk these through, to tap into things out of your awareness, like unconscious bias, is still just as important. I’m now off to talk with my colleague about it…

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