Socratic dialogue

 

A socratic dialogue is a conversation in which you together with you colleagues

  • discover the convictions you actually hold about your experience, such as : “I’m responsible for this case.”
  • discover the arguments you actually hold for these convictions, such as : “because I started it”
  • examine the value of these arguments. For example : “it is a bad argument : it is not because you started it that you are responsible for it.”
Where and when?

We will organize and conduct a socratic dialogue in your organization whenever and wherever you want. Just click on the button ‘for my organisation’ and we’ll get in touch!

Course program

A Socratic dialogue can be run in pairs, in a team or in a group. It is ideal for teams and groups who want to examine the value of influential conceptions of themselves and / or their organization in order to change or adapt them. It involves conceptions such as
– “These are our core values”
– “We have to reach our targets by the end of this  month”
– “Our organization is customer friendly”

This examination is executed in a structured and careful way. The conversation itself allows a team to work on conversational abilities such as :

    • formulating clearly what one thinks
    • taking a standpoint
    • effective listening
    • summarizing
    • suspending judgments if necessary
    • asking the right questions

A Socratic conversation is an excellent way to help to change (conversational) unwanted habits in an organization. Two ‘tools’ we use that go back to what Socrates did according to Plato are :  the ‘elenchos’- experience : the feeling of ’emptiness of judgement’ being confronted with inconsistencies and the ‘protreptos’-experience : the encouragement to go on organizing and expressing one’s thoughts after the elenchos-experience. You can read more about it HERE.

Some examples of questions that I have dealt with in organisations :

  • When do I stop helping the client? (dialogue with caregivers)
  • Do we work with love? (dialogue with staff of a Psychiatric clinic)
  • When is a decision well-considered? (dialogue with judges)
  • What’s the use of revenge? (dialogue with prisoners)
  • Which values do we have in common? (dialogue in a big enterprise)

Results

For yourself as participant :

After an initial Socratic Dialogue :

      • You listen better to yourself and to others
      • You can formulate confused feelings or thoughts of yourself or someone else in a clear, simple and precise way
      • You discover aspects of your conversational habits : (im)patience, (un)critical listening, monological tendencies, impulsivity,…
      • You learn to recognize alternative interpretations of the concepts you currently use
      • You gain insight into your own state of your mind
      • You learn to assess and evaluate your own thoughts and feelings
      • You appreciate doubt and ambivalence as a powerful source of new insights
      • You question the obviousness of judgments
      • You reinforce your sense of discernment: you learn to distinguish between feelings and judgments about those feelings, between “facts” and interpretations of facts etc.
      • You can adequately summarize a train of thoughts and seek consensus
      • You are allergic to uncareful ‘diagnostical’ thinking
      • You’re prone to think in questions instead of thinking in responses
      • You practise working together and thinking together
      • You practise strategic thinking and you can see the consequences of your choices

After several Socratic Dialogues :

      • Your perception of a problem is more sensitive to details
      • You can formulate your statements in a correct way
      • You are able to accurately connect concrete observations to abstract concepts and vice versa
      • You master the art of suspending your judgments if necessary
      • You develop an inquisitive attitude towards statements of your colleagues and your clients
      • You can lead and participate in a dialogue
      • You think carefully and accurately in your everyday functioning
      • You trust in your own speech instead of relying on authorities

For your organization

        • The quality of the peer review improves
        • Your meetings are better and more efficient
        • the contact with colleagues or clients is deepened with a ‘Socratic’ way of thinking and acting
        • As a Socratic leader, you are the “midwife” of the mind of your employees : instead of thinking yourself, you make them think as much as possible and you increase their accountability.
        • You listen better and you formulate what you want to say more to the point.
        • You take nonsense away to make way for clear thoughts and decisions
        • You do not lead by more nonsense.
What do participants say?
  • “The way the dialogue was conducted motivates me to engage more into Socratic dialogue”
  • “I have discovered a completely new way of talking and listening”
  • “Very good value for the money”
  • “I’ve learned to revisit my opinions”
  • “The training course helped me to develop my listening and discernment”
  • “A good program to get an open mind“
Take a look at a fragment of a training course with Kristof :
Kicki Epstein from Stockholm
Watch a socratic dialogue one-on-one
Phone: +32 473 71 58 35
Kokerijstraat 90
B 9310 Meldert