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September 2011 | Volume 5, Issue #3      

In This Issue
Jazz Quote of the Month
A Word of Gratitude in Sorrow
Find Out More about Core Alignment Coaching
Jazz Vespers at Brentwood
Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club
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composingComposing acronyms for me is a bit like composing music for a jazz musician. Jazz musicians tell their stories through their songs. I tell my stories through my acronyms.


Directing, teaching, and coaching in the Demers Group's Core Alignment Professional Coach Training program has deepened my confidence in my calling to convene conversations that energize flourishing communities. That's what my stories are about these days - managing my talents to provoke terrific teams through compassionate and compelling conversations.


The communities with whom I work through Jazzthink are varied - executive teams, units within organizations, smaller teams with specific tasks, nonprofit staffs and/or boards, and governing bodies in Christian churches. But I always invite them to play jazz with me, to engage in conversations that have just enough structure to allow us to communicate meaningfully, but that also have lots of room for the free flow of passions and ideas that enable us to co-create something SMARTer for the greater good. It's engaging, enjoyable, and effective.


SiegelMy latest compositions emerged from reflections on Daniel J. Siegel's book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (2010). Siegel is clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a pioneer in connecting the insights of neuroplasticity to mental health. Integration is the central theme in this book - the integration of the various modes and centres of mindfulness in our bodies and the integration of differentiated selves into compassionate communities. Here's are the acronyms that my conversation with Siegel inspired - VITAL TEAM.


Vibrant - energized and inspired

Integrated - collaborative and coherent

Tempered - strong and steady

Agile - flexible and adaptive

Loving - connected and compassionate


Terrific talent - frighteningly good abilities that push everyone beyond their limits

Enthusiastic enrolment - inspiring engagement that deepens ownership

Aligned action - doing things in a coordinated flow that produces optimal results

Meaningful mission - co-creating a better life


I've worked with and led teams that generated all these qualities. Our success depended on them and our failures could be traced to their absence. We had our ups and downs. Team members came and went. Projects progressed and stalled. Environments were good and bad. Energy ebbed and flowed. But resilience in achieving our meaningful missions grew because everyone on the team was committed to giving their best with and for each other in the service of our common goal.


When you are being a VITAL TEAM, some version of this melody is being played. The conversations that create your teams are following some version of this lead sheet. Every team will have their own improvisations and variations on these notes and chords, their own harmonies and rhythms as they perform their work, but they will be playing some form of these riffs.







Jazz Quote of the Month - September 2011


The essential attraction of jazz throughout time is its "sound of surprise" - a term invented by The New Yorker's critic Whitney Balliett. Because the music is largely improvised, the listener is often startled by a sound, a phrasing, a turn of rhythm that is so deeply emotional that he or she may shout aloud in pleasure.


NatThis month's quote comes from Nat Hentoff, a jazz journalist and civil libertarian in the United States, in a 1998 essay found in The Nat Hentoff Reader (2001).


Being startled and surprised by a deeply pleasurable emotion is a delight. We don't pay enough attention to this happening in our day-to-day lives, especially at work. It's not simply a matter of discovering such surprises. It's also a matter of generating them. We do that through the sounds of our voices in our conversations. When we sound compassionate, curious, calm, and courageous, we invite people into a space where deeply emotional pleasure happens. Practising that discipline will bring delight.




A Word of Gratitude in Sorrow

As I was writing this edition of the Jazzthink newsletter, I heard the news that Jack Layton, leader of the official opposition in the Canadian Parliament, had died. He never failed to inspire me with his vision for a better world and his civility in the practice of politics.


In a letter penned to Canadians on the Saturday before he lost his battle with cancer, he concluded with these words:


Jack LaytonMy friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world.


All my very best,


Jack Layton


He is so right. I pray we will each do our best to be better friends with each other and with this planet which is our home.




Find Out More about Core Alignment Coaching


logo Demers Group 

Core Alignment Coaching is a unique approach to the art of coaching developed by the Demers Group. On a regular basis, we offer 3-hr introductory sessions to help people understand the principles, processes, tools, and benefits of this means of helping people realize their full potential.


You might be considering coaching as a career or as a complementary tool in your consulting practice. You might be considering the possibility of developing a coach approach within your organization. You might be a seasoned coach educated in another approach who is simply curious about this take on the practice. Whatever you motivation, we'd love to welcome you to this exploration of Core Alignment Coaching.


Here are the dates for our fall schedule of The Power of Core Alignment Coaching sessions in Vancouver:


Wednesday, September 21 - 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Wednesday, October 26 - 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Wednesday, November 21 - 1:00PM - 4:00PM


The sessions are held in the Board Room at the Viva Tower, 200 - 1311 Howe St, Vancouver, BC. Click here for more information and to register.



Sept Jazz Vespers 

Support Live Jazz in Vancouver


There are some great jazz musicians coming to The Cellar this fall and a new chef with a new menu. I urge you to enjoy the thrill of live jazz, sample some tasty food, and support Cory Weeds' endeavour. 

The Cellar 
For information on September's schedule and reservations, click here.