002: Caitlin Walker, on Coding

We hear more about the emergence of Coding as part of the Systemic Modelling landscape.

3 comments on 002: Caitlin Walker, on Coding

  1. Susanna George says:

    This is SO useful!! Thank you Caitlin & Catherine and Simon for bringing her to us on your podcast!

  2. Vincent van der Lubbe says:

    Thanks Caitlin, Catherine and Simon. This is great imo (inference – ownership ;-). Ok, here’s my stream of thought – trying to make sense.

    So am I understanding you correctly that you are looking at at least 3 different levels in systemic modeling: 1. emotional state, 2. values and 3. something like knowledge level/competence. Is there anything else?

    You could infer emotional state from observations like raised voice, inferences instead of observations, imposition instead of invitation etc. The better someone can describe an observation without inference, can invite without imposing, the more likely that the person is not completely in an emotional state.

    1. Systemic modeling and NVC:

    This coding of observation – inference – feeling/state – values/needs – invitation/imposition seems very close to NVC, isn’t it?

    It seems the beauty of the coding starts with the “as is” instead: put it into a OFNR sequence, which feels to many like an imposition without a contract. BTW is there anything to a contract apart from invitation – imposition?

    The level of “competence” is not an explicit part of NVC – I think it is implied in the model (OFNR – observation, feeling, need, request). Otherwise it can show up as a “need” of the participant. The model applied on a lesser proficient level is imposed by the practitioner and does not flow from the situation. Coding with systemic modeling doesn’t impose an invitation an any interaction, it just codes it “imposition” (I guess a good application of NVC would do that too).

    I wonder if you would take the same situation/interaction (role play/simulation?) and take an experienced NVC trainer/facilitator and systemic modeler, what would be the differences? What would be similar?

    2. Learning to code in the moment – strategies to engage:

    In some ways the invitation/imposition of people in an emotional state might be “alignment”: If I complain about someone, the implicit invitation/imposition of a partner often is that one “mirrors” that emotional state. “Yeah, your boss handle that really badly.” So the invitation often is not for “observational” replies, but emotional/”state” support. So in that case an observational reply might be inadequate, better might be a “what happened…” – state trumps everything… I guess any parent with a child running towards them crying knows…

    I guess I’m just learning how to do that without feeling I am picking a side which I might not want to while giving emotional support at the same time. #dramafree This is probably the level of values, with making inferences that criticise someone (persecutor-role?) I might feel I am acting out of anger, which would violate my value of wanting to be kind and compassionate, even if someone might have acted wrongly in my view.

    I am really curious to see more examples of these situations (in a group). What do you do when somebody goes full frontal attack on group activity and other examples? What are possible strategies? This would provide the biggest value for me: being able to navigate these situations more consciously and with more control – being able to choose my course of action.

    How can I code in the moment? For example I notice: “This is a total waste of time, we should just get the military in, they know how to fix things”: “inference, no ownership”, raised voice, red face. Reactions of group are withdrawal (physically pushing chairs back a bit, silence) and response (Inference – ownership?: “You are saying that what we are doing is a waste of time, I am not wasting mine. This is how I added value. Not sure what you are doing.”

    3. Concreteness/Observations – doing:

    I distinctly remember doing career trainings and the replies at the end of a seminar giving cues to the likelihood of participants following up and applying what they learned. Since the participants were there by their own choice and we had zero power over them, when they would say something concrete (an aspect they would focus on), phrase it as an activity with a concrete time/date, it seemed more likely to get done. This was the same in a consultancy where clients would use different language talking about their tasks. Again: the simpler the language, more concrete and direct (“candor”), the more likely they would do them. Proven to be true for financial reporting for listed companies in the US: normally, the more candor, the better the performance. See https://blogs.cfainstitute.org/marketintegrity/2015/01/13/candor-in-corporate-reporting-what-it-means-for-investments-and-share-price/

    In that sense maybe like symbolic modeling: it needs a name, location and attributes, maybe even a metaphor 🙂

    I experienced internal language at the consulting company also as a sign of the underlying situation: lots of inference with superlative language (jargon, hyperbole, absurd or illogical statements, and overused words). It felt to me that we got more and more removed from reality (all the projects were reported to be huge successes which seems unlikely when you have 40+ per year). Language in authoritarian regimes seems to display these qualities too.

    Looking forward to learn more 🙂

  3. Doris Leibold says:

    In any situation where we facilitate or interact with people, do we not all pull up models which help us make a choice on our next move? Sometimes more, sometimes less consciously. When I trained as a mediator I learnt to interrupt as soon as I interpreted something as a judgement/accusation/bias/imposition … call it what you like. I then had a set range of actions I could call upon to move the situation forward. I understand now why at the beginning of my Systemic Modelling training I was sometimes as if ‘frozen’ in the moment, because I could decipher what was happening (i.e. read the signs) but had no ‘clean‘ responses. So this is great food for thought and unravels a problem for me, thanks!

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