Party On! – The Pleasures and Perils of Partying With a Coach

To ring in the new year, we celebrate with family and close friends. We enjoy a fine meal, champagne and entertain ourselves by staging ‘No Talent’ shows that are as fun for the people ‘performing’ as those watching.

Now you know you’re partying with a coach when, close to midnight, everyone is handed  a blank slip of paper and a pen with the following instructions…On one side of our individual papers, we record our greatest joys, accomplishments and triumphs of the passing year. On the flip side, we observe our disappointments, heartbreaks and achievements that stayed beyond our grasp.

Once we’ve done this for ourselves, we come together as a group with each of us taking a turn to express as much or as little of what we’ve written as we choose. If you’re groaning in the dread of a dragged out "sharing," this is actually a great part of the evening. How often are you encouraged to brag about what you’ve done unabashedly? Also, what may be available in peaceful completion by simply speaking heartbreaks out loud? And choosing silence is always a cool feeling as well.

In any case, when we’re done, we put all the papers into a bowl and walk outside where we toast the year that has been and light the papers on fire. We watch them burn as we release the joys and the sadness to make room for a fresh welcome of all of the life that is to come in the new year.

However you may want to and in whatever forum you choose, we all get so much out of this that we encourage you to try this at home!

A different approach to company parties…

A new trend in holiday parties is opting to replace the traditional holiday party, and incredibly awkward socializing, with trips and treats that are meaningful to employees and often focused on opportunities to personally connect and bond among team members. One example is LeGourmet, which offers limo tours of local holiday light displays (followed by dinner at Mortons), at work massages and free plane tickets for staffers who want to visit their faraway families. While you can be assured that this is more expensive than a potluck and a keg of beer, the CEO is pleased with the results. She attributes an 82% drop in employee turnover, at a savings of $4,000 per new employee trained, to these changes. The key is to take the opportunity to let employees take ownership of the celebrations. With freedom and encouragement from top management, employees have even evolved these events through laser tag and go-cart racing to creative party ideas including: filling a rented ballroom with easels and instead of a DJ, hiring an art teacher to allow employees to give abstract art a whirl; and gathering for a day of serving others such as making care packages to send to troops deployed overseas. "Everybody had his/her hands in it and everybody was really proud of it" according to one staffer.

Michelle Randall is an executive coach supporting leaders and their teams in creating effective, lasting and successful change. To learn how to make your critical transitions achieve their potential visit http://www.juncturecompany.com for useful resources and a complementary consultation on your specific situation.

All Coaching Inspiration articles are © 2005-2009 The Juncture Company

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