Holding Space – A Deeper Quest
A deep container of learning and growth for those who’ve completed
the Holding Space Practitioner Program
(formerly the Holding Space Coach/Facilitator Program)
“We are exploring together. We are cultivating a garden together, backs to the sun. The question is a hoe in our hands and we are digging beneath the hard and crusty surface to the rich hummus of our lives.” ― Parker J. Palmer
You’ve been through the Holding Space Practitioner Program (at the coach, facilitator, or leader levels) and now you’re wondering “What’s next? How will I use what I’ve learned to grow something meaningful?” Or “How will the things I’ve learned change the work I already do?”
This program is meant to support you on your quest. It’s a 6 month group coaching program where we’ll gather an intimate circle of people (no more than 10 people) who can support each other on a deepening quest of what it means to hold space.
This program is not about learning new content (you’ve already received a lot in the Holding Space Practitioner Program). Instead, it’s about going deeper into the content you already have and finding the nuggets of wisdom that spark a fire in you. It’s about finding your own path in this work of holding space and growing the work/play/art/etc. that wants to emerge uniquely from YOU.
At the beginning of the program, you’ll be invited to spend some time exploring your own personal quest. Through journal prompts, creative exploration and conversations, you’ll plunge the depths of your own heart to find a name and/or clarifying question for what wants to grow in you. And then you’ll be supported by the community to grow that beautiful thing and to practice offering it to the world. When doubt and shadow show up (as they inevitably will) the circle will help hold space for your discomfort so that you don’t have to walk through it alone.
One of the purposes of this program is to develop confidence and leadership skills in holding space. Each participant will be given the opportunity to host at least one of the weekly calls, to stretch their own capacity, to practice holding space for others, and to learn to adapt and course correct when in a host role. With this expectation in mind, we ask you to consider, before you apply, whether you are committed to both taking a deep dive into your own personal quest (which may surface fear, grief, trauma, etc.) AND holding complex and tender space for others as they do the same.
As people will be coming to this program with different purposes (ie. some will be doing deep personal dives while others are looking for more direction in their professional skills in holding space), you will have the opportunity to hold space in a variety of ways for a variety of quests and complexities. This will require open-mindedness and will invite you to face your own assumptions, expectations, limitations, etc. You will grow your skills in holding space in a deep (and sometimes messy) way as you learn to listen to people from different parts of the world with their own assumptions, expectations, limitations, biases, etc. Along the way, you will also be learning community development skills, adapting to the needs of the collective and recognizing when your own needs should be expressed and when you might need to compromise for the good of the collective.
Along the way, we’re certain that you’ll also learn to love these people you’re in circle with each week. Past groups have continued to offer community support to their members long after the program was over. When you hold space in such a deep way, it’s inevitable that you develop profound and meaningful relationships.
“Having taken part in the Holding Space programme January 2018, I decided to continue the work I had started there by participating in the first presentation of A Deeper Quest. For me it has been all I needed and much more.
“I have a habit of acquiring knowledge and then sitting with it while I make my mind up what to do – for way too long. Sometimes I take course after course and then “don’t have time” to use the skills at all – imagine!
“Deeper Quest has pushed me to use the skills and deepened understanding of myself that I now have. My courage has been tested, as has my willingness to step up and stand behind who I now know myself to be. I am closer to living the life I know I am capable of than I have ever been before. And I am filled with gratitude for all of the experiences the programme has brought me, comfortable and otherwise.”
– Linda Pentland
Each week, we’ll meet in a Zoom circle (for 90 minutes) where we’ll take turns holding space for each other’s quests – offering meaningful questions and reflections to water the seeds that want to grow. (All calls will be recorded, in case you miss any.) I (Heather Plett) will host approximately half of the calls and during those calls we’ll have group coaching sessions where each person will have a turn being coached and supported by the group. In the weeks in between, the group will be self-organizing, taking turns hosting yourselves, to deepen your leadership capacity. When you host, you’ll have the opportunity to bring something new to the circle (ie. perhaps you want to test out some new ideas or creative practices you’re learning and/or contemplating teaching), or you can simply host a conversation on the weekly theme or a topic of your choice. Sharon Wichman (my cohost) will participate in all calls to provide consistency and support for the community. (Scroll down for more information about the hosting team.)
The Holding Space Practitioner Program has attracted high level people from all over the world, so I know that whoever signs up will offer depth and richness to the learning in this program. Your community of practice will grow as you connect with people with similar passions and values.
You’ll receive a workbook (with journal prompts, creative exercises, etc.) at the beginning of each month, with weekly themes for your exploration. It will be your choice whether to follow the workbook closely, or find other resources that better support the quest you’re on. The topic of conversation on the weekly calls usually follows the themes laid out in the workbook.
You’ll have access to office hours (half-hour sessions with a member of the hosting team) for when you need one-on-one support. And you’ll be part of a private Facebook group where we can share ideas and questions in between calls. Periodically, we’ll share links and resources that may be useful (and you’ll be encouraged to do the same).
The program will evolve depending on who’s part of the circle and what the needs are. We recognize, of course, that these quests are usually more spiral than linear and there will likely be some spiraling between the stages, going back to what you need to learn/practice in a deeper way (there will be no shaming for back-tracking or getting stuck, since we’re all practiced in the art of holding space for what YOU need not what WE expect).
“I’ve been part of Heather Plett’s programs for the past 12 months (the Holding Space Coach/Facilitator Program and then A Deeper Quest) – and have gained incredible self growth, skill development and a huge shift in my insight and sight lines in terms of supporting others. If you’re looking for some learning about ways we can truly change our world, this course is for you.” – Tracy Knutson
Here’s a rough map of the ground we’ll cover:
Month 1: Exploring and cultivating – Bearing witness to the longings in you and the calling that speaks your name.
Month 2: Naming and clarifying – Giving shape to what is uniquely your work/play/art to create or evolve.
Month 3: Resourcing and supporting – Identifying and seeking out what/who will help you move this forward.
Month 4: Deepening and discerning – Asking deeper questions to bring this to its fullness.
Month 5: Crafting and storytelling – Crafting narratives and invitations that help you communicate this to the world.
Month 6: Blessing & launching – Creating a special ritual/ceremony to help you launch your beautiful gift into the world.
This program is for you if you:
– already have some capacity in the practice of holding space and want a supportive community in which to deepen your skills
– are on a personal quest to find where your skills in holding space might be needed in the world
– recognize that you have some leadership capacity but have uncertainties, struggle with imposter syndrome, etc.
– have a sense of calling related to the work of holding space
– are willing to go deep and get messy in community
This program is not for you if you:
– are easily triggered by others in community and have done little healing work on your own trauma
– are uncomfortable with other people’s vulnerability, grief, emotions, etc.
– are unwilling to be challenged in facing your own biases, assumptions, social conditioning, privilege, etc.
– see the learning around holding space simply as a tool to add to your resume rather than as a muscle that you have to keep stretching and strengthening
– have a tendency toward spiritual bypassing and taking the easier path
The Hosting Team
Heather Plett: “I am passionate about supporting people who are on personal quests to become stronger and wiser leaders, mentors, lovers, friends, and humans. I believe that there is great need in the world right now for people with the capacity for holding space – people who won’t run from complexity, who aren’t afraid of discomfort, who are willing to work through their own trauma and pain, and who can show up for other people walking through pain, grief, fear, etc. I delight in watching the people I support growing beautiful things and doing meaningful work, so I will be your cheerleader, your mentor, your teacher, and your co-creator. I hope that we can change the world together!“
Sharon Wichman: “Circle is the place where my introvert nature and teaching skills merge and thrive. I love holding space from the rim, creating a welcoming environment for all, and encouraging deep conversation. My favorite moments from mentoring The Holding Space Coach/Facilitator Program and participating in The Deeper Quest involved encouraging all voices to speak and be heard, supporting others as they step into hosting circle, and the conversations that question “the way it’s always been done” and contemplate new and unique solutions. I am honored to have this opportunity to work with Heather and another group of Questers who are each working to find their own unique path in the world.”
The next session will begin October 28, 2019.
The calls will happen on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. central time zone (which will be late evening in Europe and early morning in Australia). That time may be adjusted once we know where the participants are from.
“I don’t believe you can engage this material without engaging your heart, soul, and emotions for yourself. I was challenged to reconsider my view of self- and other-care, my world view, and my biases. It can be painful and messy. And good – if you’re ready to take on such. There’s a lot of freedom in the course: Heather’s goal is not to make lots of clones – she encourages those who have been through her courses to adapt materials for their goals and purpose. The flip side is there’s also a lot of self accountability. While I didn’t start A Deeper Quest with a clear vision, I thought that it might have its roots in my work or social justice. But as my quest emerged, it became a deeply personal journey which has been honored and fostered by Heather and the circle.”
– Mary Jo Burkhard
Note: If you want to talk to me about whether it’s the right time for you, please book a one-on-one conversation with me.
Registration cost: $1950 CAD (or 3 monthly payments of $682.50).
Once we’ve had a chance to review your application, we’ll notify you about payment options.
Cancellation policy: A refund will be issued (less 15% admin. fee) up to a week before start date. After that, no refunds will be available.
Also, the hosting team reserves right to challenge and/or remove anyone if we believe that harm is being done in the circle and/or agreements are not being honoured.
Here’s what past participants have said about their time in the program.
(This was recorded a few months after they completed Deeper Quest, when they gathered for an in-person retreat.)
Are you ready?
If you’re ready to be in a circle with other emerging leaders and questers from around the world who have a similar calling to this work of holding space, then we welcome you to submit the application form at the bottom of this page. We’ll review your application and be in touch about possible follow-up conversations and/or information about how to pay the registration fee.
Optional wrap-up retreat
At the end of our six months together in virtual circle, participants may collectively will look for an opportunity to bring people together for an in-person retreat (at additional cost). This will be a co-created retreat in a location that works best, depending on where participants live and can travel to. (The above video was filmed at the retreat planned by the first Deeper Quest cohort. The retreat centre where the retreat took place was purchased by one of the participants at the end of her Deeper Quest.) We may also look into options for travel cost sharing (ie. those that have to travel the least contribute to the expense of those who have to travel the furthest). The retreat will offer us the opportunity to celebrate together, to learn from each other, and to strengthen our circle of support for our future work.
The next program will begin in October 2019. Please submit your application and we will respond within a few weeks.
Note: The application is both for your discernment in your personal readiness for the program and for the hosting team to learn more about you and how you will fit into the community that will be developed. Both members of the hosting team will receive copies.