Open reviewing process
Learning to Feel the Presence of Kairos:
This paper offers an account of my on-going learning and professional practice as a Living-Theorist systemic coach. In it I clarify my understanding and meaning of my learning and development, starting from my values and my living standards of judgement (Laidlaw, 1996). I authentically share what being a Living-Theorist systemic coach means to me in that coaching capacity. Writing in this way strengthens and resources me to meet the challenges of this role. It helps me to make sense of my experiences. By writing in this way I open-up my learning to critical reflection with the hope that this will, in turn, create space for life-affirming dialogical relationships (Isaacs & Senge, 1999).
I focus on my professional practice as a systemic coach serving an Information Technology directorate within a United Kingdom Government agency. We have approximately 140 staff. The emphasis on my original contribution to knowledge is on the explanatory principles I use to describe my professional development and the living standards of judgement I use to judge the validity of this knowledge. My practice involves all the principles of being a systemic coach. These include having a paradoxical non-attachment to any specific outcome; being loyal to the whole system; and balancing challenge and support in the process of what is emergent. My grounding is my loving kindness that I seek to bring into my work. From my ground I seek to co-create safe spaces, or what we locally term as the ‘right environment’ for staff members to engage with genuine dialogue, co-inquiry and co-learning. This paper focusses on one key workshop that we called the whole system event. This workshop seemed to me, and to some within the system, to be a key or seminal shift in group-relations across the whole system. To aid the story-making sense-making I will provide sufficient contextual background information. This I hope will help to make my claims to knowing authentic, relevant and valid.
Keywords: Living-Theory. Systemic Coach. Emergence. Aesthetics.
Great to see it here Jason. Looking forward to seeing your reviewers posting very soon
Thanks everyone for the time, care and effort to review my paper.
I hope this next iteration takes into account your comments and feedback.
This paper is much improved, Jason but i am not sure if it is quite ready fro publication yet. Here is what think
I recommend this paper for publication on the following grounds:
- The issues that I raised have been addressed. The glossary is a good idea
- The author is transparent about what constitutes his driving values, why and how these are manifested in his practice.
- It is potentially comprehensible to an audience interested in extending their knowledge of the transformational possibilities of Living Theory research
- it can be understood by practitioners from diverse fields of practice and research
- There is sufficient evidence to support the claims that are made
- The normative background of the author and his work is clear
- There is sufficient detail for the reader to know enough about the author to understand his account
- The paper of a high intellectual and scholarly quality BUT
I am reluctant to send it to the editorial board just yet for the following reasons
- Academic editing conventions need attention at times for example authors' Christian names included and publication dates omitted: Accuracy inreferences needs attention. Check punctuation marks in particular. some references are not in the reference list and some that are in the list are not in the text.
See what you think
Thanks for the encouragement and helpful feedback Caitriona
I will have a much more careful look at the style and conventions for the references. This must be an annoying distraction from reading the account and I will improve this this evening.
Much appreciated. Progress is being made!
I have the amendments given the feedback to date.
My sense is that genuine progress is being made.
Hi, Jason. Your enthusiasm is contagious! As you said in the appendix, “I am thrilled about this prospect and it is catching my imagination.”
This version is much improved from the first one. I have made a start but the article needs a full edit. There are still many unnecessarily hyphenated words. I have attached the article with my comments.
I do have some suggestions for improvement that I hope you will see as intended to strengthen the research and article. You make this main claim: In this account I have shared one of the effective ways by which a systemic lens can help inform, shape and help with a whole system workshop. This needs clarification and evidence. Early references to values are not followed by or linked to specific examples or used as standards of judgment. They emerge again in the conclusion.
I think the links from description to explanation, from experience to learning and from researching experience to theorizing about practice are implicit. Now they need to be explicit with clearly defined data to provide evidence for claims to know. Sometimes, I feel that you speak for others.
It may be that the workshop example should come earlier in the paper so that the theorizing and claims to know follow the description and explanation of practice.
The article might include the meanings of Kairos, the methods used to collect the data, the ethical considerations, the data from the experience of the workshop, the explanation of the learning with evidence to support the claims to know, the theorizing based on the experience and learning. What did I learn and how do I know?
I know that you are new to this kind of research and I hope that you find my comments helpful and that you will take "the opportunity of writing-up my work, via a Doctorate."
Let me know if I can be helpful in making the necessary amendments.
I am going to rework this as you suggest and front-load the workshop.
I can also provide a visio diagram (time-line) after that which means the reader can follow the story as I go back in history that provides the context and background.
Let me play with this on Friday and see what gives.
I am still reading your paper for the second time and apologise for the delay.
Please find attached my reworked iteration 4.0
I hope this help move it forward in the right direction given the helpful feedback to date?
Thank you very much for this new iteration - I feel strongly now that this is something I can engage with and learn from. You blend traditional managerial speak and your living values together in a very effective way. You embed scholarship but preserve an informality. The signposting and structure of the paper works for me and the glossary of terms is perfect. The Prezi's and videos are valuable additions. I find your use of language fresh and new, and your final reflection is humbling. Reading this version has been a new learning experience for me. Thank you!
I am struggling to criticise your work, but sense that the deeper I go the higher the likelihood that I would find ideas to challenge; but at this stage I believe that your paper should be recommended for publication because I think its purpose now should be to help others to ask their own questions.
Hi Jason I am responding to Iteration 4.0.docx
I too am impressed by the new structure of your paper and find it an interesting and scholarly account of your on-going learning and professional practice as a Living-Theorist systemic coach.
There sufficient detail for a reader to understand the value-based explanation of your educational influence in your own learning, the learning of others and the learning of the social formations where you work. I can now clearly understand your driving values, which you came to articaulte and understand, through a process of reflection; and how these values inform and transform you both personally and professionally.
You have shown me the transformational possibilities of Living Theory research for you as a systemic coach. The glossary, you tubes and prezi were most helpful towards validating your claims.
This paper is of scholarly quality and you have critically engaged with the thinking of others.
For these reasons I am willing to recommend your paper to the Editorial Board for publication. But, the references and some punctuation issues still need to be checked prior to publication. Please check the journal referencing style. The video “Getting to the heart of the Purpose by Ed and Sarah” didn’t work for me. It may be the fault of my system.
Thank you for all the work you have done in creating this scholarly piece
Thanks for taking the time and care to respond to this iteration.
It is valued.
I will print off a copy and ask a friend that has a strength with attention to detail to check this for me as I am very keen to get it right.
Thanks again! This is very exciting. I am also starting to read other papers that are influencing my practice.
Hi, Jason. I enjoyed your commitment to living according to your values and holding yourself publicly accountable for them, especially in a field where that might not be the norm. Your narrative of learning in the workshop sessions is insightful. I wondered if you had shared your learning with your colleagues and asked them to support you claims to have learned and improved.
I hope that you will accept my suggestions for improvement in the light of how they are intended: to strengthen the article and bring it line with EJOLTs guidelines. Having said that, I make the following suggestions for your consideration:
- You mention your values as living standards of judgment near the beginning I don't see them again in the paper.
- There is evidence of learning and improvement but it is implicit until it is stated near the end.
- The claims to know in the narrative need evidence to support them and the sources of the data: journal, recording, observers, other voices.
- There are missing parts that may, in fact, address this concern. I have highlighted in red those missing pieces as well as some unclear writing in the attached document.
- On the editing side, the paragraghs are too short: they are usually approx. 5 sentences; single quotes and hyphenated words are used frequently and it is not clear to me as to reason; I have made some edits on the draft article.
I do believe that your article can be worthy of publication and am more than happy to help you to strengthen it.
Hi, Jason. I appreciate that you have made some improvements from the last review and I commend your tenacity.
I have attached my comments on the paper. Although I have taken the liberty of making some corrections as indicated, many remain for your consideration.
Significant issues remain for your consideration: Values as living standards of judgment are unclear; the argument does not flow in a manner that allows the reader to follow your reasoning; many claims to know remain that require data as evidence to support them; methods of data collection and analysis are unclear; changes in voice abound (unclear who you mean by 'we'); ethical issues need to be addressed; the article requires transitions from one section to the next.
Although I come originally from a school teaching background I was delighted toget the opportunity to review your paper. Currently I am delivering and marking a Module on Mentoring and Coaching in a Post Graduate Diploma (Level 9) in School Leadership with Maynooth University, Ireland.. So, my comments on your paper are coming from this dual lens and in particular how educators, outside your field, may read your valuable work. I therefore offer my comments as signposts on the journey of valuable learning which you have given to us. You may or may not wish to follow these signposts but I am delighted to work with you to ensure as far as possible that your is published.
· Values: In your abstract you tell how your values inform and validate your living theory. In the body of the paper this thread is not always clear. For example, you mention the word values 21 times but it was not until almost half way through the paper that you articulate them for your readers as “being loyal to the whole system, holding the balance between challenge and support, systemic presence, and lastly, being non-attached to any specific or particular outcomes.” Are these the embodied values you have mentioned? It might help to describe the relationship between “the loving kindness” and these values earlier in the paper and explain it throughout.
· Reader signposts: Could you add further signposts for readers to understand your detailed descriptions of your living-educational-theory? An example of what I mean might be; headings to cover areas such as actions, critique, ethics, validation, what I learned, how I may have influenced others learning etc.
· Context-specific language: Might you help readers of EJOLTs by clarifying some of your context-specific language at the earliest possible opportunity? For example, CTO, SLT and “ the Constellation”
· Which person: As living theorist your learning is in relationships with others, so it would help if you could check to whom you are referring and why you use “we” and “our” “my”
I really look forward to reading the next iteration of your paper, after when you have considered some of these ideas as well as those of other reviewers. I will send you my comoments on your paper asap
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review your paper. My own background is as a tutor in mathematics and lecturer in statistics, so my approach to LET tends to be axiomatic, but I hope to keep on learning from the way other practitioners create their living theories.
You have clearly engaged with the literature and this is a strength of the paper. I can appreciate your educational influence in your own learning, and that the starting-point in this work is primarily from your own experience which you say is phenomenological. This suggests that phenomenology and LET are your chosen methodologies here, but how does phenomenology fit in?
The value-based explanations supporting the work become clearer as the paper unfolds. I feel that the first part of the paper has been made unclear by the use of jargon, please see my comments in the text.
I feel that I am starting to get to know you, and that I will understand more on reading the second iteration of the paper. To my mind the key points for action are (1) clarification of terms that may be unclear to the reader and (2) highlighting of your claims. If these two goals could be met in your second iteration, then I feel that the way forward would become much stronger.
Please see comments in the text attached with a completed criteria table at the very end, for guidance.
All very best wishes