Episode 005 - Krister Lowe

Peacebuilding Approaches, Training to Team Coaching

Join Susan Coleman as she interviews Krister Lowe, an organizational psychologist, Leadership and Team Coach, and the Creator of the Team Coaching Zone podcast. In this episode, Krister talks about his journey from early peacebuilding and global conflict resolution training interventions to the decision to focus on team coaching as a methodology to create scalable collaborative systems change.

Krister’s Professional Statement

Krister Lowe, M.A., Ph.D. is an Organizational Psychologist, a Leadership and Team Coach, and the Creator of The Team Coaching Zone (www.TeamCoachingZone.com). Dr. Lowe’s recent focus is on contributing to the emerging field of team coaching. In addition to coaching teams and team leaders, he produces a weekly podcast show called the The Team Coaching Zone, where he interviews leading organizational coaches. Krister has more than fifteen years of experience as a trainer, consultant, facilitator, mediator and coach and has provided consulting solutions to a range of diverse organizations in more than 25 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. He has expertise in a number of sectors including: international organizations, professional services, financial services, foundations, pharmaceuticals and education. Krister holds both a Master of Arts Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. He has completed a number of additional training and certification programs including: CTI’s Coach Training Program (104 Hours); The Team Advantage Team Coach Training Program; Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the ICCCR at Columbia University; Certified Mediator in New York State; NBI Thinking Preferences Assessment Certification; and the LeaderNation 360 Degree Multi-Rater Feedback Instrument Certification.

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Krister Lowe Show Notes (See below for links to resources and topics mentioned in this podcast)

* Dr. Krister Lowe is an organizational psychologist. He is the creator of the Team Coaching Zone website and podcast

* Dr. Lowe is a specialist in conflict resolution and performance management in a myriad of sectors

* His early career was in conflict resolution and peacebuilding and has evolved into team coaching and group coaching

o 1998 Dr. Lowe entered Columbia University Teachers College for an MA in Organizational Change, in Social-Organizational Psychology

o Dr. Lowe took a basic practicum in conflict resolution

* First experiential learning and social emotional learning experience as an adult

o In addition to finishing his MA in Organizational Change, Dr. Lowe also became a certified mediator in NY State

o Received a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution

* Dr. Lowe’s doctoral dissertation was titled “Conflict Climates and Organizations: A Decision Making Model for Participation in Conflict Resolution Training”

o Comparing a positive conflict climate vs. a negative conflict climate

* The precursor to culture is the organizational climate

o Organizational climate change can bring about cultural change

o To bring about culture change, you can shift climates, which is a more malleable

* Dr. Lowe refers to Kurt Lewin’s equation which states that human behavior is a function of the person in its interaction with the environment

* Together with Antony Hacking, Dr. Lowe created a peacebuilding project in Washington Heights working with middle school students

o 10 weeks of lessons in conflict resolution skill building

o Then kids would be broken up into teams to create a peace project of their own choosing

o Each 10 week cycle ended with a peace festival in each school

* A few thousand kids went through the program

o Some examples

* A group of young boys who would come an hour early to school to write poetry about peace

* A peace center was created with student mediators who were prepared to handle conflicts

o Individuals blossom in terms of self-esteem and confidence, having gained new skills

o Changing culture, rather than just climate, can take years

* As human beings we all crave authentic connection; wehave created settings and environments which really aren’t allowing people to bring out fully who they are in an authentic way and to have real connection

o Connecting with others not only on a cognitive level, but also a human and emotional level

o Susan believes that this is also an issue of disengagement and mentions the work of Brene Brown.

* After his work in Washington Heights, Dr. Lowe went on to get a doctorate

o A grant from Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs resulted in a summer research study in Switzerland

* There he came into contact with Education For Peace, a large-scale peacebuilding project in Bosnia

* I was inspired by their work and had wanted to see peacebuilding on a large scale with a chance to make a real difference

* The next stage of Dr. Lowe’s career was working within the UN on long term contracts

o The content was two and three day workshops in negotiation skills and mediation skills training, for internal work and for work with partners, group interventions and leadership training

o Also doing healing and reconciliation workshops around conflict areas

o Integration of open space and appreciative inquiry

o ROI institute did a longitudinal study that showed impact following the skills training

* Dr. Lowe felt that training was essential but that there needed to be more in order to truly change the organization

o Susan asks: is training window dressing that allows an organization not to actually implement organizational change and create a collaborative organization?

* Dr. Lowe describes a retreat he created

o He had one day to work on fostering collaboration

o This group was feeling deflated

o If you don’t create a good climate you may not be able to progress

* We had an introductory activity

* We then had an appreciative enquiry interview process rolling into larger groups and integrating findings

o You could see the lights coming back on, a positive climate was created and people were connecting on an authentic level.

o The lesson is around climate setting

o We shifted the climate in that community

o The community requested a more collaborative leadership model

o A team coaching was then held with the senior leadership of the group

* Appreciative Inquiry is about tapping into systems when they are at their best; rather than focus on problems and trying to fix things that are broken, it is about tapping into whats working, getting into a positive space and creating a positive energy

* Measuring results

o Susan says that it is always difficult to collect data on whether longer term change resulted

o Dr. Lowe agrees that one of the challenges is that clients don’t want to pay for evaluation

* Dr. Lowe has now shifted into more proactive work focused on teach coaching

o Teams often with conflict because they weren’t set up well to begin with.

o Dr. Lowe employs the Co-Active Coaching Model and Designing the Alliance method taught at the Coaching Institute

o How do you build resilience and wellness into teams so that they do experience conflict they can address it and have the ability to do that

o People tend not to invest in training and skills until they are already in trouble

o Dr. Lowe refers to John Burton’s theory of “provention”

* Coaching teams in organizations is still a new topic for people

o Dr. Lowe is trying to develop thought leadership in terms of coaching teams in a more systemic way, whether nonprofit or business

* Susan quotes John Carter from the Gestalt Institute of Organizational and Systems Development: if you know your intent you know your intervention

* Dr Lowe refers to Bruce Tuckman’s model of team development as ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’

o Team coaching can help teams navigate the storming phase

* Susan asks what we would do with ourselves if we, as a world, evolved away from destructive conflict

* Peace is only boring because we have only ever lived in a conflict oriented dynamic

* There is an appetite for building dynamic healthy teams and it can be lucrative

o You build creativity, sustainability, and wellness and the longer term payoff is bigger * Krister Lowe can be reached at Krister@teamcoachingzone.com and listeners are invited to go to the website teamcoachingzone.com or hear the podcast at Itunes, Sticher and others.

Resources and topics mentioned in this podcast


o http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/ o Columbia University Teachers College http://www.tc.columbia.edu/

o The International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution: http://icccr.tc.columbia.edu/

o Dr. Lowe’s thesis work “Conflict Climates and Organizations: A Decision Making Model for Participation in Conflict Resolution” can be found here: http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac%3A175445

o Some information on Kurt Lewin can be found in the following Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin o Susan mentions the work of Brene Brown: http://brenebrown.com/ o Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs: https://sipa.columbia.edu/ o Education For Peace: http://efpinternational.org/ o The ROI Institute: http://www.roiinstitute.net/

o More information on Appreciative Inquiry can be found here: https://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/ o The Coaches Institute and the Co-Active Coaching model: http://www.thecoaches.com/

o “Conflict Provention As a Political System” http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol6_1/Burton2.htm

o John Carter and the Gestalt Institute of Organization and Systems Development: http://www.gestaltosd.org/staff.html

o Bruce Tuckman’s model of team development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckman%27s_stages_of_group_development o Krister Lowe can be reached at Krister@teamcoachingzone.com

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