Perceptual Spaces: Sarah Pickthall

A hand holds a glass sphere with a tree seen through it.
Photograph by Mark Pickthall

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies growth and freedom 

Hetty Einzig


We are living through daily uncertainty, awash with challenges and the best and worst of our behaviours as human beings. Yet volatility gives rise to possibility. So how do we harness the heat of these uncertain times? Coaching is one way to tap into disturbance and disquiet within ourselves, seeing, feeling and reflecting on the possibilities, that changing our tack might bring. Meg Wheatley has more to say about the power of reflection and paradox questions here

Coaching and Bias

Coaching is a space for us to take time to think and reflect in relationship with another. Through absolute attention and questioning from the coach, the coachee is able shape new possibilities, challenging the default patterns that may not be serving them well.

So what are these patterns? We know as human beings we are very quick to react and that responding quickly to what happens is a natural part of how we defend ourselves at times of threat – but it’s not always a good strategy.

These well-trodden paths can also be about our beliefs and assumptions, ‘perceptual snapshots’ as Deepak Chopra calls them, and may be biased.

Bias is something we all have. To say that we are unbiased would be untrue, because bias is built from when we are young and not in control of how our life is shaping around us. As a result, however much we think that we don’t judge or discriminate, this simply isn’t the case. We may be negatively biased about what we ourselves feel we can, and cannot do, as Deaf and disabled people. We need to deal with this, but how?

Study and Practice

Every time our awareness is raised about the bias we have or the privilege we hold is an opportunity. These things are nothing but a mark in sand unless we look in the face of our bias and change our behaviours; to completely reshape the beach beyond the ebb and flow of tides.

To do this we need to take time to study and reflect upon the history informing our present lives; to see clearly the bias we hold and then be the change at every turn, asking ourselves – who is not in the room and whose voice is not being heard?

We can do this when we gather together and work things through in collective inquiry in a way that welds together our diverse lived experiences and differences of opinion.

Renewal and the New

At the still point of the turning world…..there the dance is.

 T S Elliot

Many of those who have joined us on the Sync programme have benefited from Sync’s blend of leadership, coaching and collective working for what it has revealed.

For instance, Sofya Gollan from Australia shed her skin through Sync, saying no to the discrimination she faced as a deaf woman in film and yes to different routes into getting to the position of power she now holds. And Won Young Kim from Seoul, who said ‘why not?’ to combining his legal career with a dance and theatre practice, reshaping ideas of kindness, beauty and form in South Korea.

Sync is dedicated to tapping into the leadership possibilities for Deaf and disabled people in arts, culture and beyond, unleashing this untapped potential for change.

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