21 september 2018

C.G. TOTEM, a metaphor and more

I'm proud to introduce you C.G. TOTEM helping people to Work Smarter - not harder.

I have been looking forward to share this news with family, friends and former colleagues. As with many of you I have been communicating in English, I made an exception to only publish in Dutch on this site. I just want you to be part of this. Thanks to the initiatives and projects we have been working on together, I am now capable to start my own business. If you need my support, remember: I'm just a phone call away!

With more than 20 years of expertise in improving employee engagement, performance management, dealing with change and process improvement, I will support you to get the best possible out of yourself, your team and your organization.

So far publicity. The intend of this article is to explain you how I came about to pick C.G. TOTEM as company name.

It all started in 2017. In order to become a Certified Professional Coach, my classmates and I got challenged to select a metaphor representing how we stand in live and act as coach. Totem* came straight to my mind.

Totem as metaphor for the coach

First, totems help to find the way. A good coach supports his coachee determining their destination and the road to get there. During this journey, the coach motivates and inspires to start and keep on advancing from totem to totem.

Totem and respect go hand in hand. To establish trust, respect is an essential element. Equally important in live is demonstrating respect to yourself by staying loyal to your own personal values, beliefs and where you stand for.

Some poles date back to 1880. As such, a totem must be strongly grounded and in balance with nature. A coach, consultant or trainer needs the same in order to provide positive energy and help empower people so they can realize their full potential. Without it, adding value to the coachee will be challenging.
They are colorful. Each colour is equally important to picture the story of the pole. By working together, the carvings are colorized in such a way that the whole is so much nicer than the sum of the individual parts. As professional coach you provide support to help people blend colors in a better way.
Each totem is unique. Each coachee and team has his own story and background. As such, no development process is the same. Therefore, a customized approach is required.
Finally, totems remind me about 'Arendsoog' (Eagle Eyes) and 'Witte Veder' (White Feather) keeping me awake late when I was a teenager. Reading their adventures brought excitement, fun and many dreams where I joined forces with them. Provide support to some to bring dreams alive and helping others to move on and start dreaming again. Isn't that something that you expect from a coach as well?

Logo C.G. TOTEM Copyright (C) 2018 by Steven Boute
Copyright (C) 2018 by Steven Boute

My own totem as metaphor for how I operate

My totem contains symbols telling you how I want to add value as a coach, facilitator, adviser, trainer, and as a person in live in general.

Upon request I will join your for a journey where start, stopovers and end point are determined by you. On the road we'll provide you with tools and advice so you can move on independent at a given point.

For sure, during these walks, dirt and obstacles may hinder the path. Lakes might need to be crossed. Hills may need to be conquered. No doubt, sturdy hiking boots are part of my outfit as you need to be able to rely on me when it gets tough. Do however bear in mind I will also push you gently but steadily to be in control of your own destination.

Like an eagle, I will look at the big picture with sharp eyes. I will help you identify the job-to-be-done and the development required to arrive at your desired destination.

I will apply techniques to help you move forward - faster than without me joining the journey. Independent from the path chosen, I will listen, share insights when appropriate, warn when deviating too much from the targeted destination, and motivate you to pursue the journey when it gets tough.

My ambition: leave you stronger and empowered at the jumping-off point, working smarter - not harder.

So what about C.G.

For another assignment I had to study my recent family history. I did a little more and went back to 1880.

Life for my ancestors was more tough than I ever could have imagined. There was not only war and poverty. There was also conflict, trauma, and mortality of young parents.
On the other hand, I found forgiveness, patience, endurance, creativity, and even a family member honored as a hero by the Belgian government.

Besides being an inspiration, I realized these events - even dating back generations ago - indirectly have had an impact on who I am, how I think, and how I act. My grand parents did not only spoil me with their attention and love. They also succeeded to convert what happened in the past into positive energy to us. They have been passing on their wisdom in a subtle way. Since I came to this insight, they became even more important to me then ever before.

So this is how C.G. came along. To commemorate my lineages and to remind me to pass on in life, I have added the initials of my godparents - Cyriel and Godelieve.





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Totems are monumental carvings consisting of poles, posts or pillars, carved with symbols or figures. Usually made from large trees, they are used to symbolize or commemorate ancestors, clan lineages, cultural beliefs that recount familiar legends, or notable events.

Totems may also serve as functional architectural features, welcome signs, mortuary vessels for the remains of deceased ancestors, or as a means to publicly ridicule someone. They may embody a historical narrative of significance to the people carving and installing the pole.
(source: Wikipedia)

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