COR offers public workshops that represent a range of topics, scope, and venue in areas that strengthen human skills – both individual and collective – to respond more effectively to a complex world. These activities range from monthly informal community events to workshops of varying scope and topics to staff and retreats of various kinds. Some events are offered periodically, and others on a one-time basis. Everything COR does for a specific client is tailored specifically for them, rather than the more-general public events.
COR trains others in the basic knowledge, skills, and dispositions that underlie its work. In addition, our Basic Certification Program is open to anyone wanting to document evidence of competence in any of eight “professional helping” areas, plus an additional “foundational competencies” that apply to all other areas.
Perhaps one of the most frequently requested areas of COR’s work.
COR provides behind-the-scenes coaching, mentoring. We help leaders make sense of what’s going on in their organizations and what steps will be most effective in responding to them. We help design leadership succession plans that fit specific organizational cultures. We provide ongoing support, both strategically and for professional development–COR is only a phone call or email away from “being there” when unanticipated events occur and leaders need to run something by others who already know their organizational situation.
Importantly, everything COR does in the area of “leadership” is also designed to strengthen the organization’s culture; we often refer to this stance as our cultural leadership model.
COR helps leaders do check-ups on the state of their organization’s internal culture as a first step of planned organizational improvement efforts. In other words, we help obtain a basic cultural snapshot of the organization [a picture of “what is”] that can then be used as a baseline to gauge improvement toward greater effectiveness goals [“what we want”].
COR’s assessments can range from smaller “wide-angle” diagnoses to deeper, more focused descriptions of “what’s going on around here,” depending on the goal and intended change efforts. We generally utilize both survey tools and observations of actual situations in doing this work. All of COR’s cultural assessment consultants possess COR certification in this area.
COR conducts applied research, prepares literature reviews, makes professional presentations at numerous scholarly events and conferences, and conducts program evaluations. These efforts all share the purpose of assisting others to create organizations that are both simultaneously more effective and healthier.
Who we serve
As an educational non-profit organization unaffiliated with any theological or political ideologies, COR serves individuals or groups who want to make sense of and learn how to do more than “cope” in a world that seems increasingly out of control. Our clients tend to be confused, stuck, hurting, and/or exhausted, about how to respond to difficult situations – particularly within their organizations and/or between their organization and others’. Clients approach COR because they are not willing to settle for mediocre coping mechanisms in complex situations; rather, they want to use their experiences as opportunities for continued personal and organizational learning.
COR does not publish a list of client organizations in any format because we respect the desire from many to remain anonymous. COR’s clients come from organizations in all sectors of society. However, most of our client organizations are from those “human-helping” organizations that exist to serve others in some way. Educational institutions, nonprofit agencies, governmental departments and community groups, religious congregations of all faiths, religiously-affiliated organizations, and healthcare settings compose the majority of COR’s clientele. Again, you can access COR’s vitae here.
Although the majority of COR’s clients are geographically located in the Pacific Northwest, an increasing percentage of our clients are dispersed both nationally and internationally.
How we work
Everyone who approaches COR for help has a unique story, and our first response is to listen and understand the story which others bring to share with us; this step is critical to tailoring our subsequent assistance specifically for this client, with this story. But almost everyone – particularly as they share stories of their workplaces or schools or religious congregations – describe organizational dynamics that include many similarities:
- People feel overloaded and completely “full.” They cannot imagine packing one more thing or one more problem into their lives.
- They face increasing “time poverty” and a sense of psychological “press” in their personal, as well as in their organizational, lives. In addition, in economically challenging times, most of us aren’t as able to “buy” temporary solutions to these problems (e.g., baby-sitters, take-out food, house-cleaners) or even to “step off the treadmill” for a short time (e.g., getting a periodic massage, taking a vacation).
- They have trouble understanding why their workplace/group/ congregation functions [or, more often, doesn’t function] as it does. Things have stopped making sense.
- Within the organization, key groups have tended to become more polarized in the midst of growing distress. This distress and polarization are usually either palpable or undiscussable or both, and has created a deteriorating interpersonal climate.
- People feel that they have exhausted their own problem-solving abilities in helping to resolve any of these situations or to make things better for themselves and for their own clients.
To resolve the specifics of individual situations, and to respond to one or more of the more common dynamics listed above, COR brings expertise and experience in the specific skills of:
- Helping people tell the truth to each other about what is happening in their own situations.
- Creating environments in which others listen to diverse truths in ways that bring the best parts of themselves to this effort, rather than using what is heard as a means to further manipulate their own ends. This is the definition of what is known as a holding environment.
- Often, helping others find the words to describe situations that have driven their voices underground.
- Teaching people about the nature of change – both human and collective – in ways that promote resilience, rather than seeking “quick-and-dirty” techniques for controlling change and other people.
- Having extremely difficult conversations with others whose behaviors are perceived as harmful to the group and its efforts.
- “Holding” those [individuals and groups] who are in extreme pain, whether chronic or acute, as a first step toward healing the injuries they have sustained.
- Increasing trust, compassion, and personal responsibility in groups, even – or especially – in the most difficult of times.
- Supporting clients to learn how to strengthen the internal health of their organization while simultaneously strengthening its productivity and the quality of its services or products.