Arts and Cultural, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Professional Development

Sync Leadership Residency Program Cohort 1

It has been a great 5 days doing the Sync Leadership Residency Program in Sydney. Today I chose to have “down time” as I have been very busy for the last 3 weeks and it has finally caught up with me so I decided that I am not going to work today. I felt good actually and no self-doubt or self-guilty. Yay!

Also it is giving me the opportunity to reflect on my journey.

Sync Leadership Residency Program
Sync Leadership residency is a programme for up to 12 people with disability designed to take the Sync thinking and learning deeper. The training took place over a five-day period of full day activity, looking at leadership theory and coaching principals in relation to leadership.

Sync leadership pairs leadership learning and one-to-one coaching. Participants will be given access to leadership training, including five full days of face-to-face development work as a group.

Following the residency each member will be offered a limited number of personal coaching sessions over the following six months with Jo Verrent, course leader and/or Sarah Pickthall (co-creator of Sync) with options ranging from face to face, by telephone, email or msn.

Sync is a training program that focuses on the interplay between leadership and disability. It provides fresh perspectives and also challenges deep seated thinking about leadership and disability. Designed to be radically different to any other training program for people with disability, it takes its inspiration and name from syncopation – the emphases on an unusually un-emphasised beat.

The Sync Leadership residency was presented by Jo Verrent, a UK based artist, producer and consultant with disability who specialises in the development of diversity and access, currently Senior Producer with Unlimited (

Reflection of Sync Leadership Program
It was very radically different to usual Leadership Program. I usually find that all of the Leadership Program I have been is very prescriptive and often based on doing some sort of leadership or personality test. I always get frustrated about doing the tests, as I don’t like labels. I am “ME” and I know my strength and weakness.   I don’t need a test to tell me that.

During the Residency, we didn’t do the test/s or label ourselves, thank goodness. We actually discuss the drivers and the leadership style, using situation when it applies as we all use the leadership style at some point in our lives. Through this, we started to get to know each other and their preferred style when in a leadership position. I even just had goose bumps thinking about this – its hot and humid in Brisbane, so it’s not cold here.

The conversations that were had were very powerful and mind blowing because we are all different and we all have stories to share. Also we are all open-minded about other people’s leadership journey.

Coaching session
I never had coaching before – I always had counseling, therapy, mentoring and psychology for various areas including career and life – never coaching. I like it – in fact I loved it. I finally found what I needed. I am looking forward to near future coaching.

Coaching does not provide advice, it provides you with statement and/or questions to think about and resolve on your own. In my own word, in a conversation between the coach and coachee, the coach identifies barriers that prevent change from happening and to allow the individual (coachee) to create optimized thinking, beliefs and systems for positive action to take place.

This opportunity to be coached had allowed me to explore few areas of my artistic career and some areas such as sense of isolation; sense of independency and my very unusual persona in a good way. There were few tough questions asked and this is something for me to think about and determine the best answer to those questions.

Metaphor for leadership
wpid-20140821_090645.jpgI chose Compass as a metaphor. There is a reason for why I chose a compass for my tattoo and only to get away with it by adding the word “wanderlust”. Eventually it will link to a circus tattoo so it is still in planning phase.

A compass doesn’t tell you where you are or where you are going. It is only a navigation tool that you need to survive. A compass allows you to take risks with the choices you make and it becomes your inner guide. It allows you to chart your course, as life is a journey as I am curious to know the unknown. A compass allows me to have that freedom. On the other hand, I love travelling.

Also compass reminds me of the quote by Mark Twain:

“Twenty from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you did do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I was asked, compass is solitary, do you feel solitary? I said I always have since I was a toddler fletching for myself, and taking care of others before myself.

Would I prefer to have a map? I mentioned that a map is a plan – someone mentioned that a map is also collaborative. To be honest, I originally thought of map and compass – I didn’t feel right about a map. I chose to go with compass only.

I realized that it is ok to have a map with compass. I just need to know when to use a map.



Overall Reflection
In the future and if it does happen again in Australia, I suggest you do the Sync Leadership Residency Program as it is very valuable residency program. When the residency was finished, I was left with more questions although very valuable questions. Now what next?

Keep an eye on this blog in the future. 🙂

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