What is reflection?

Welcome to the first part of Reflection in the TRUE Leaders Programme. Below you will find the video, audio and a transcript as well as a link to the worksheet. 

Worksheet (to download)

Video transcript

Hello, and welcome to part two of the TRUE Leaders Programme. Part one looked at Trusting, and part two moves on to the R for Reflecting. Now, I have to confess, reflecting is one of my favourite topics. I am really excited about this even more so than I have been for the rest of the programme and that is saying something. So, like we did before, part one of reflection is, "What is reflecting? What is it all about?".

Like my good little librarian self, I looked up some definitions. There were some interesting things that I found in that, actually. The first most obvious definition is when we think about something reflecting back so it is the scientific one. The throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it. Now, it is the "without absorbing it" bit that I would like you to remember, I would like you to think about. The other definition of reflection is something which is around serious thought or consideration. It is something about thinking. There is a thinking element to reflection.

There is also something for me about a mirror and thinking about that. Like we just said about that, "without absorbing it", so it is bouncing back. Reflection for me is about that, as well. We talk about this a lot in the coaching world. We do a lot of reflecting in the coaching world. When I coach someone, I act as a mirror for them. The way that I think about that is a few ways, really, so I really like this as a metaphor. The first way is that I reflect back what they say to me. I use the same language that they use, I use the same words that they use, and that helps them to delve deeper, to see if what they have said was actually really how they feel about something or what they really mean. Sometimes when we hear something said back to us in exactly the same way, it sounds different. So the first part of reflection is about that, reflecting back, the first part of being like a mirror.

The second part about that is, when you look in a mirror, when you look up close, you can see things in much greater detail. You may not want to see things in much greater detail, you may not love the fact that I just got really close to the camera, but you can. When you look in a mirror, you see things on a much deeper level. That is the second part of the metaphor that I like about using a mirror. Reflection, when we reflect on things, we usually get much deeper insight, and we see things more clearly.

The other part about being like a mirror is that it holds a frame. If we think about a physical mirror, they normally have some sort of frame. So, reflecting in a coaching sense for me is also about holding a frame. When we think about ourselves, and when we reflect ourselves, it is about holding that space. That is a really important part of that. Otherwise, we could spend all of our time reflecting on things. It is about holding time and holding space and holding that in a certain situation. That is what we will think about as we start thinking about how we embed reflection into our day-to-day lives. So, that is what for me reflection is about.

In the second part, I am going to share a reflection model with you. But before we do that, I would like you to spend part one just thinking, in the same way we did about trusting, thinking about what does reflecting mean to you? You might want to look up some definitions, you may want to listen back to this video to see what I have shared with you and think about which bits of it are most pertinent for you. Again, like with trusting, you may want to speak to other people and see what they think reflecting is about. If you work in a profession that uses reflective practice, what do you do with your reflective practice? What does it really mean? You might want to think about reflections in windows, reflections in water, and how that might change things to just have a little explore, just be open-minded. What does reflecting mean to you?

The other question that I would like you to think about, but not in any great detail yet, is what are the benefits of reflecting for you? If you have done some sort of reflective practice, there may be some benefits of that that you might like to think about and you might want to record or you may also find that there are benefits for you in just general reflection time. You may be the sort of person who likes to sit down at the end of the day or lie down in bed and reflect on your day. You may be the sort of person that, at the end of the year, you like to reflect on what has gone on in the year or on a more frequent basis. I do an end-of-week reflection every Sunday, I think about how my week has gone and how I might like to change things going forward. So, just start to think about how reflection works for you. But the main thing is what reflecting is about for you, and what are the benefits? Then we will come back in part two when I will share with you some models of reflection.

Audio (to stream or download)