Holding Space: A Key Role For Leaders

‘Holding Space’ creates a feeling of safety for the team.

This past summer, I attended a working conference to further my training in Logosynthesis®. Willem focused the group on understanding that his role was to ‘hold space’ for the group – he would ensure that the schedule was followed, that amenities were comfortable and that any distractions were handled. In addition, his role was simply ‘to be there’.  He explained that this environment was necessary to create safety for each person to fully participate in the seminar. I was curious to learn and observe, although I must admit that it sounded a little unfamiliar compared to my style of ‘multi-tasking’ and ‘going with the flow’.

‘Holding Space’ reduces the level of stress and tension.

I was able to resolve triggers in a socio-energetic field. Although I recognize this sounds obscure, the work was intense and the results were profound

As we moved through the week, I noticed that people were immersed in their work. When individuals didn’t have to worry about administrative details and when they knew that the agenda would proceed as planned, there was a rise in the level of trust, comfort, and engagement. During the seminar, I had the opportunity to work on a theme relating to my specific frustrations. I was able to resolve triggers in a socio-energetic field. Although I recognize this sounds obscure, the work was intense and the results were profound. Others in the group had similar experiences. At the end of the week, I knew something had occurred that was subtle yet powerful because we all had felt safe to explore something new.

‘Holding Space’ allows the team to unlock their potential.

While this was an intriguing experience, I don’t live in the world of workshops. I volunteer with a youth group, as a general leader at the club level and as a council member at the county level. I recently attended the annual provincial showcase where members exhibit their project work for the past year, participate in judging competitions and celebrate with participants from across the province. It is a busy weekend. As the dust settled at the end, I had a realization. I became aware that I had spent the weekend ‘holding space’ for our club and county at this provincial show. It may sound abstract but I will explain what shifted for me:

▶︎ Presence:

I have been involved with the program for the past 8 years but this is the first year that I attended all three days. I always had a million things to do and I always juggled my schedule to fill it with busy things. This year, I felt that I wanted to be there throughout the program.

► Calm:

As with any competitive event, emotions can run high when things do not occur as planned or when the desired results are not achieved. This year, I felt calm in this busy environment. Distractions did occur and whether or not we handled them correctly, we handled them and I remained calm. I wanted to watch and congratulate members as they competed. I wanted to sit with parents and grandparents in the stands to share the moment. I wanted to thank leaders for making it all possible. I felt calm throughout the entire weekend.

▶︎ Focus:

In this busy setting, traditionally I would notice that Kahler’s Drivers would kick into high gear – ‘hurry up’, ‘try hard’, and so on. My reactions would trigger reactions in others. I always believed that these drivers enhanced performance but I now realize that this reactive behaviour does not create the best environment to focus. I still get triggered. I still like the adrenalin rush to help get laser focus to get things done my way. But I am much more aware of the lasting impact of these behaviours and I work to resolve the triggers.

‘Holding Space’ is subtle and energetic.

I know that many will discount this discussion because the work is subtle but when we tune in to the energy, we can feel a shift. As I continue to resolve my triggers, I can remain calm when things do not go as planned. And if I remain calm, I can ‘hold space’ for others to trust, to focus and to engage for their best performance. And this year, our county experienced a great performance and we are primed to open registration for another great year!

Whether a workshop, a volunteer group or a corporate team, the principle of ‘holding space’ is a key role for all leaders. To learn more about how you can use Logosynthesis® to calm reactions, opt-in here: LEARN MORE


Cathy Caswell
Cathy Caswell
CATHY guides people to reduce stress, unlock their potential and enjoy life more fully using Logosynthesis. As a dietitian with an MBA, she enjoyed a corporate career in the food industry in production, marketing, and sales. She knows firsthand the benefits of being able to get unstuck from reactive patterns that negatively impact work, health, wealth, and relationships. As a Coach and President of The Healthy Living Plan Inc. and a Master Practitioner and Instructor in Logosynthesis®, she is committed to supporting leaders at all levels. Through online 1-1 coaching and now app-based remote coaching using the Essence Unlock Potential app, Cathy supports people to routinely use this healthy lifestyle practice to achieve their goals. Cathy is the author of Logosynthesis®: Enjoying Life More Fully and Thriving In Our Times: From Reactions To Action Using Logosynthesis®. 

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