Barton Cutter of Cutter’s Edge Consulting was in for a surprise when he applied for a scholarship with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Little did he know he would be applying his passion for Inclusive Leadership to help transform the very program he was applying for. Barton Cutter is a leadership coach and inclusion expert. He combines his experience of living with cerebral palsy, uncompromising wit, and professional background in leadership development and communications to empower people with and without disabilities to discover a vision of independence and collaborative leadership through building engaging relationships.“This life is about transforming the universe, one soul at a time. Polishing the soul through laughter!”
An interesting interconnection to mention before going on with Barton’s story is that Raj Gill – one of the co-founders of the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative – became a certified coach through CTI about fifteen years ago. Co-active coaching has been a corner-stone of Raj’s shared leadership in developing Inclusive Leadership since 2002.
Back to Barton’s story. This is a summary of two articles written about the CTI Co-Active Accessibility and Wholeness Project.
At first Barton, along with Nick Kettles and Eileen Blumenthal of CTI, framed this project as an individual accessibility challenge. What logistics and supports would Barton need for successfully navigating his personal process for becoming a certified coach? Over the next four months the project quickly evolved into a collaborative, mutual learning exploration of accessibility and wholeness for the entire CTI community. For example, how can all students and faculty in CTI learn from the unique learning experience of each individual? How does a Deaf Coach who is working with an interpreter enrich co-active coaching for everyone? How much deeper can listening become when we coach and are coached by someone who speaks with a cerebral palsy “accent”? How can CTI better support each student to address their diverse needs and ways of expressing their humanity?
The answers go far beyond the level of micro-strategies to improve communication. The field that Barton, Nick and Eileen are now exploring is probably best called Inclusive Co-Active Coaching or Co-Active Inclusive Leadership. Coaching relationships deepen when each person commits to moving beyond fear of failure to reconnect with their innate human capacities to be compassionately present with each other. Coaching relationships are enriched when each person in the interaction is equally contributing as learner and mentor. Inclusive coaching relationships slow down to the speed of wisdom when all collaborators observe, experience and value the unfolding interactions with full attention, intention and balance. In Barton’s words, “In my experience it is at the interface of humanity where connection and resonance aligns for understanding, space and growth to unfold… Before this process of design is over, we may discover that in bridging that gap between depth and surface, each of us on this team will recognize new tools and access to the profound within our own coaching practices.”
Nick’s article contains a request: “Today, we are continuing to map out the logistical and deeper opportunities for mutual inclusivity in all of our training programs. There is much work to do, and we would welcome being contacted by anyone who has experience in a CTI course where an accessibility challenge was present. Equally valuable would be to hear from people with expertise in this area. Please email Nick Kettles firstname.lastname@example.org”
Members of the Inclusive Leadership community are invited to email Barton (email@example.com) or Nick (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your observations and experiences about building mutual inclusivity through Inclusive Leadership practices.
The extended dialogue about Inclusive Leadership in Coaching that has begun promises to be rich and powerful over months and years to come. We look forward to building inclusive and welcoming interconnected relationships between people involved in Coaches Training International, the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative and Cutter’s Edge Consulting. At the ILC we are encouraging Barton and Megan Cutter and members of the CTI to come to Vancouver, BC, Canada for an ILC event someday soon. And we encourage Inclusive Leaders everywhere to check out opportunities with CTI and with Cutters Edge Consulting. With the internet, video-conferencing, telephone, and creative planning ahead to link up learning with travel It’s easy – all we have to do is start showing up!