At EAGT’s 2019 Gestalt conference, one of the keynote speakers will be John Leary-Joyce.
It is a pleasure to listen in advance to John in view of the conference to come.
In this video John is discussing the difference between therapy and coaching. Interview by Olivia Antal.
Co-founder and thought leader of Systemic Team Coaching, Executive Chair and Founder of the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC), and Author of Fertile Void: Gestalt Coaching at Work
John worked for 18 years in psychology and group facilitation – having a clinical practice and training Masters level psychotherapists at the Gestalt Centre London. From being Managing Director at the Gestalt Center he moved into the business arena working as a Gestalt consultant, trainer and later a coach with senior leaders, directors and partners providing leadership development.
In 2000 he set up Academy of Executive Coaching, to provides a route for coaches to develop advanced level coaching mastery. He has rapidly establishing the AoEC as coaching brand of excellence accredited by ICF, EMCC, AC and Middlesex University. The AoEC delivers many coaching programmes inside companies as part of developing a ‘coaching culture’ initiative. John works regularily in Europe, Asia, Africa & Americas to pioneer Individual, Team and Gestalt Coaching and as a result AoEC has developed licensed partners in a many countries that now deliver their programmes.
Alongside growing the AoEC with his team, John continues his coaching / facilitation work, supporting leaders and managers in a wide range of companies to develop their leadership and team skills. He is a Professional Credentialled Coach with the International Coach Federation and is a highly regarded and qualified supervisor.
„I was 19 when I first experienced Gestalt and this has been an underpinning philosophy in my life, my work as a psychotherapist and now an executive coach. Over the years I’ve honed my style and approach to include many other methods but working in the moment in relationship to my coachee is the most exciting and creates powerful change.
My book ‘Fertile Void, Gestalt Coaching at Work’ has given me the chance to pull together 40 years of experience in this field and share my learning with those enthused by this enlivening approach.” I’m now studing and practicing Buddhism as a route to deeping my experience of the ’here and now’ and the richness of the fertile void.
The Fertile Void – Gestalt in Action
From the age of 20 when I first encountered Gestalt I was captivated by this notion of the Fertile Void: the paradox that someone or something could be simultaneously both empty and full.
I had an intuitive grasp that this was feasible, fleeting experiences where I felt totally at peace doing nothing yet everything was alive and possible. At night, lying under the stars, looking with awe at the vast emptiness of space and knowing it was so full of energy.
Then seeing and experiencing over and over again in Gestalt groups, that ‘trusting the process’ and staying-with the ‘not-knowing’ of the void allowed the space and time for something new and amazing to emerge. It links to the Buddhist notion of emptiness or nothingness from which springs a new awakening and creative energy, which I’m currently studying.
Fertile Void also captures the aspect of Gestalt which is about embracing polarities. To speak and be heard we need silence, to be energetic we need rest, to feel full we need to experience being empty.
Four decades later I have gradually found how to integrate this concept in my life and work. Trusting that the flat and empty periods are the precursor to something new and unknown. In this keynote I want to focus us on this aspect of Gestalt, to share my learning and experiences; to invite you to be in the ‘here and now’ and see what emerges in the fertile void together.
As it was with writing this book, many times sinking into apathy and flatness and rising again with different ideas and perspectives. The temptation is to keep adjusting and refining, but the time has come for the gestalt of this book. I hope you will find within the covers the confidence to believe in your fertile void.