Collaboration – The Importance of Clear Agreements

by | Jun 1, 2015 | Adventures in Awareness

Adventures in Awareness  Issue #9

“If people work together in an open way with porous boundaries - that is, if they listen to each other and really talk to each other - then they are bound to trade ideas that are mutual to each other and be influenced by each other. That mutual influence and open system of working creates collaboration.” - Richard Thomas, actor (13 Jun 1951- )

Collaboration - The importance of clear agreements

Having delivered a 2-day workshop for an intact work team last week with a colleague, I’m in the process of reflecting on what went well and what I will pay closer attention to in future. While my colleague and I spent several months in multiple conversations collaborating on the workshop design and how we planned to customize it for this group, we experienced a bit of a rocky time delivering it. In all fairness, it was the first time we’d co-facilitated this particular process together, and we each have different levels of experience in facilitating it.

What I’m clear about so far is that it would have been beneficial to capture the verbal agreements on paper that we were making between us throughout our planning conversations. The primary benefit this would have given us is the opportunity to clarify our individual ‘definitions’ of what each agreement truly meant right up to and during the workshop. By doing so, discovery of any as-yet-undiscovered or unnamed expectations of each other can surface and be dealt with in the moment.

The reality is that we were each operating under different ideas of what ‘equal partnering’ and ‘sharing the delivery’ of informational modules and process activities would look like, feel like, be like, etc. We made assumptions about what we each meant by that, and it ended up causing periodic confusion between us. Why? because we hadn’t purposely written down and then explored these agreements together to establish crystal clarity about what we each really wanted and expected from the other. [Imagine a Homer Simpson, “DOH!” here.]

The big learning for me here is not to assume that I’m on the same page with a co-facilitator as we work together delivering a workshop or training - that it’s important to check understanding and clarity between us at each step. The good news is that the manager and group received what they contracted with us to deliver, and as co-facilitators we have been open, respectful, and candid with each other about what we’ve learned. Despite the rockiness, we laughed and had fun together, which we’re celebrating, as well as looking forward to smoother sailing ahead in any future collaborations. In other words, it’s all good!

As a result, I’m extending compassion to both of us for doing our best under the circumstances, and doing a ‘happy dance’ about the successful completion of the workshop delivery. One of the things I appreciate about such visceral experiences is that once I have one, it’s rare for me to repeat the experience. And this is one experience I am committed to remembering and approaching differently, now and in the future.


In what situations and/or relationships would it be beneficial to be more crystal clear about the expectations and assumptions being made by all affected?

I invite you to consider this question and, as you do, notice what new awareness emerges from within you. And please remember to have FUN on that awareness adventure into the question, okay?

Happy exploring!




Since we’re all inextricably interconnected to each other, our planet, and our universe, here are some of the energies we’re all swimming in together right now:

Mercury Retrograde - May 18th - Jun 11th - This situation occurs at least 3-4 times each year, signalling a time for us to slow down, examine the plans we have in motion, evaluate next steps and double- and triple-check all details because errors and inaccuracies can proliferate during these retrograde periods. Slow and steady saves time in the long run, eliminating or at least minimizing re-doing and fixing…

Full Moon - Jun 2nd - 9:19 AM PDT / 4:19 PM UT - All full moons bring light to the dark, illuminating what has been in the shadows of two opposing areas of our life. This full moon spotlights the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius, urging us to examine the signal to noise ratio of our life. How much of what we are reading, watching, and hearing is truly informing or empowering? How much is distracting, draining, and dis-empowering? Note that this Full Moon or Fool’s Moon is quite challenging for travel, with lots of confusion and uncertainly. This may be due to weather (heavy rain or fog), airline breakdowns, bad roads under repair, or mistakes in plans. Double check ALL details, as mistakes and confusion are rampant at this time.

Madeline Gerwick, Business Astrologer, Polaris Business Guides –

What’s coming to light at the Full Moon on June 2nd is a lot of confusion or deceptions (Sun Moon, Mercury and Mars all square to Neptune). If we know what direction we want to go, we probably have no idea how to start. However it’s more likely that we have no idea which direction to go. Uncertainty, confusion and deception are rampant at this time. It’s even possible that we’ve been recently hoodwinked and now we’re discovering this mistake (Mars square Neptune peaked on May 25th and now it’s the Full Moon). This is the time to be alert for cover-ups and more deceptions as it unfolds.

Stephanie Austin, EcoAstrology –

Our bodies are not designed to process so much information. We may multitask, but in reality our brain is rapidly shifting attention from one thing to another. This constant switching burns more glucose, which makes us feel more exhausted and disoriented. Research shows that when we’re multitasking, we actually take much longer to accomplish things, make more mistakes, and increase our stress — one study found cognitive losses from multitasking greater than those from pot‑smoking. Multitasking increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and triggers a dopamine-addiction feedback loop. Constant stimulation co-opts the same brain systems involved in addiction, activating our more unconscious, reactive limbic system rather than our self-aware pre-frontal cortex. So, how do we step off of the information treadmill? Neptune at 10° Pisces forms a T-square with this full moon, pointing us toward another way of perceiving and knowing. Intuition is nonlinear and non-temporal; it connects us with an intelligence far beyond the bounds of logic and our five senses. To access it, we have to slow down and tune inward, or else we miss the signals coming from our sixth sense. Inspiration as well as illusion are heightened by Neptune’s approaching station on June 12. Whenever a planet turns retrograde or direct, it appears to slow down and hover for several weeks before and after it changes direction, intensifying its archetypal energy and focus…revealing where we have been in denial, and challenging us to adopt a very different operating system — the divine intelligence available in our heart.

The Power Path -

This moon is energized, inspiring, and supports creative action and breakthrough in ideas, problem solving and new ways of approaching something. Watch Impatience and beware of frustration around not being able to do everything at the same time. Allow yourself to be inspired and lifted by what is showing up most powerfully. There is plenty of time. Do one thing at a time and take that action with enthusiasm. This is an especially good time for anything that has felt stuck, sluggish and confusing to find a new creative approach and you may suddenly find that you have way more support around a project than you had originally perceived. Allow the support to help you and the movement to flow. There is a higher centered wave of energy available right now that can energize the daily activity to a higher spiritual plane but will make things feel a bit otherworldly and less grounded. To take advantage of the higher centered influence you will need to trust something other than your rational mind.

Cosmic*Intelligence*Agency –

In our modern, tech driven, urban world we tend to live full time in the so-called “higher consciousness” information saturated world. We have largely lost touch with our ancestral intuitive “animal brain” which was viewed as our “lower nature” in some spiritual traditions. Modern life is moving so much, with information overload that we are in danger of burning out from an excess of mental processing which leads to an anorexia of natural experiences. We need to reinvigorate our wild side and learn to trust our instincts. The illogical, magically inspired side of ourselves needs to howl under the Full Moon light.

June Theme - CREATIVE ACTION - The Power Path –

The “artisan” role of the year reigns supreme this month. This CREATIVE ACTION will have a tendency to be chaotic and slightly disorganized. It will be important to know what you want and to take extra steps to be as grounded and as practical as possible. There can also be an element of destruction this month as all intense creativity leaves some destruction in its wake. Perhaps to create more space in your ”kitchen” you had to break into a rock wall leaving an explosive mess in the process. Don’t get stuck in the despair of the mess and remember to trust your baby steps. Look beyond the chaos and keep your focus on the larger vision of the fabulous outcome that will greatly improve your life. Watch Impatience as it could easily lead to Martyrdom and trust what is showing up. This is a highly productive month excellent for manifesting as long as you can trust the process, don’t get lost in the chaos, or stuck in the fear of making a wrong choice, or unable to prioritize.

Natural Time Calendar –

May 30-Jun 26 is the “Crystal Moon [Month] of Cooperation” according to the Natural Time Calendar - its energies are Dedicate-Universalize-Cooperation: “We do not exist for ourselves.”-Thomas Merton

Upcoming Events:

ICF Midwest Conference – Theme: “Getting to the Heart of the Matter” June 18-20, 2015 in Kansas City MO - my educational breakout session is entitled “Mentor Coaching: A Pathway to the Heart & Art of Coaching - Who Knew?!?!”

ICF Competency Brush-Up Program - 18.0 ICF CCEs [in core competencies] - I designed and love leading this program - next offering begins August 26, 2015

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