Hello, and welcome. My name is Cheryl Strand. As a facilitator and coach I enjoy partnering people willing to be fully present, listen deeply, and create space for what’s wanting to emerge.
Uncertainty and change are part of life. Even when the next step is far from clear, the one thing we can immediately decide on is how to be – with ourselves, with each other, and with what’s happening.
Listening is a creative act.
What Do I Offer?
In our personal lives, in our families and neighbourhoods, in our schools, places of work and places of worship, learning again how to hold space and really listen can transform the way we relate, access ideas, arrive at decisions, and organise ourselves.
Individual sessions in which you’re offered a calm, quiet space within which to reflect, re-connect to your truest feelings and values, and listen for your inner knowing. My role is to empower you to think for yourself about the questions that are important to you. I’m convinced you are the expert in your life and work, have the courage, imagination and intelligence to discover your own way forward, and will offer my point of view only if you specifically ask me to.
Together we create an open space that fosters understanding, ignites each other’s thinking, encourages honest conversation, and enables the group to find common ground and generate collective wisdom. For friends, couples, colleagues or other small groups wanting to clarify and resolve an issue, or explore an opportunity, by listening to each other and sensing together what’s needed.
Training days designed with working groups or teams, in which I introduce behaviours and practices that promote deep listening and original thinking, improve communication, and further cooperation and collaboration. These workshops are suitable for anyone whose work involves listening to others, facilitating group processes, or chairing meetings: parents, teachers, doctors, lawyers, coaches, counsellors, team and community leaders.
What arises, develops, and is brought forth in open space can be very different from anything we could have predicted.
Nancy Kline and her associates at Time to Think Inc have identified a set of behaviours that, when adopted as a way of being, foster safety and trust, elicit people’s authentic selves, and produce open-mindedness and good thinking. The central practice we cultivate – since none of the others are effective without it – is generative attention, a quality of deep listening that enables us to really see others and to let them be, to face what we need to face, and to receive the information that comes to us from life all around us and within us. Attention of this calibre is a creative force – it invites us to view ourselves and our world through new eyes. The principles of a Thinking Environment® inform my work:
✹We listen with genuine interest and respect
✹We don’t interrupt
✹We give equal turns and attention
✹We cultivate an inner sense of spaciousness and ease
✹We provide accurate and complete information
✹We encourage rather than compete
✹We acknowledge our own and each others’ feelings
✹We attend to our physical bodies
✹We don’t give advice, or impose our point of view
✹We welcome diverse identities and perspectives
✹We ask clarifying and liberating questions
✹We appreciate rather than judge or criticise
✹We examine assumptions and let go of the ones that keep us re-enacting old patterns
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” Isaac Asimov
Who Am I?
I have a BA (Hons) degree in Philosophy, am an accredited Time to Think Coach, am training as a Facilitator of The Thinking Environment, and have studied Theory U through MITx U.Lab. I live in Cape Town with my husband and teenage son, enjoy regular walks in nature and oil painting, and root myself in a daily meditation practice.
Please feel free to contact me for an exploratory conversation, without any commitment.
“The Thinking Environment workshop was a deep and profound experience. I appreciated Cheryl’s sensitivity to the group and her ability to hold space and silence for us to do deep work while simultaneously learning how to use the different facilitation tools. We really loved the different methods she shared, and we are implementing these in our weekly workshops. Cheryl is a natural facilitator and was able to integrate our strengths and support us in the learning curve with new methodologies. Deepest appreciation for what feels like a profound gift.” Louise Sterling, Director: Eduwrite and the Playwell Foundation
“What touched me most deeply was how you did not convey information, but rather allowed the space and the people to work on you and from that deep listening shared your heart and knowledge around a Thinking Environment. I found the day transformative and imparting of a psychotechnology that can be applied in all human interaction.” Johann Verster, clinical psychologist