April 18

Interview with Jamie Pyper on Conscious Business

You are a practicing psychotherapist as well as an experienced coach. Does this help you in your work with individuals and organisations?

Very much so. Many of the challenges we face in our working lives are to do with how we relate and communicate with each other, group dynamics, how power is experienced, etc. It’s the stuff just beneath the surface that our subconscious is working with constantly but that our conscious minds may only be loosely aware of. So, even if we have the technical skills, the job title and the agreed responsibility for a role, much of the work we do, especially as leaders. means we need to have difficult conversations, offer feedback, challenge behaviours, trust others to do their jobs, understand someone enough to support them effectively, and so on. These are all people skills which many people find challenging and will often avoid because of underlying anxieties such as fear of conflict or getting something wrong – both common symptoms of deeper confidence challenges around self esteem. We might provide instructions on how to tackle these things but on their own they will often not be enough. Gently stretching comfort zones in a safe learning environment can however pay dividends. I wouldn’t explicitly know any of this without my background in psychotherapy

In a nutshell, what is Conscious Business?

Conscious Business is about bringing the more hidden aspects of what we do and how we are into awareness. This might be about how we make decisions as an organisation or the impact of our subconscious behaviours. If an individual or group of people are aware of the impact of their decisions and behaviours, they tend to make better considered, more effective and, on the whole, more ethical decisions. And it’s pretty easy to do, you just have to include consideration about impact beyond your immediate needs and scenario.

What are your aims with both Conscious Business People here in Brighton and Conscious Business UK?

Our aims are to make businesses culture more Conscious because there is a large body of evidence that demonstrates this is better for the people, the business itself and society. This philosophy informs our work with organisations and the UK movement encourages others to do the same.

You are running a masterclass on ‘Giving Feedback so you get heard’. Why do think feedback is such an important part of our lives?

Feedback is a way of offering someone learning about the impact of their behaviours. We are blind to some of our own behaviours and the impact they have. Our intent might be noble but others don’t see our intentions, only our behaviours. Also in order to develop and grow, we need challenges to work on and feedback is a great way to better understand and address those challenges.

A good example from myself. My natural unconscious personality preference is extraversion. Only in the last decade, through feedback, have I discovered how this can be overwhelming and alienating for someone with a preference for introversion. In my effusive communication, my intent is to create inclusion, but with approximately half the population it’s likely to have the opposite effect. Useful to know.

Are good coaching skills a requirement just for people in leadership roles within organisations?

Coaching skills are for anyone who has any involvement with the personal or professional development of anyone else. Because, you can’t do the learning for them. So parents, teachers, older siblings, bosses, team leaders, etc. etc.. Those being coached also benefit from understanding the process so they can get support in away that is helpful to them and of course offer feedback where it’s not.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Beside my bed is the stack of shame. I start a lot of books but don’t always finish them. This is truer of business books that repeat the same message over and over but less true of stories. Highlights from the stack of shame (9 books total) are: The Bone Clocks (wonderful character insight and dialogue), the text book TA Today (I am researching additional models that might be useful in our work) and both John Lydons and Bruce Springsteens autobiographies, because I find peoples stories interesting.