Conversations for Processing an Event

In light of Toronto’s municipal elections, and thinking of the many wonderful people I know who have been intensely involved in campaigns, here are a few conversations you might use with yourself (journalling) or with a small group to consider your reactions to the election outcomes.

These conversations have been adapted from the sample conversations in The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace.

Focused Conversation #1 (for personal reflection)

Objective Questions:

  • The outcome of the election has really affected me. What is it that happened?
  • What were the basic elements involved?
  • How did it begin? How did it progress?
  • How did it end? What was the core of the event?
  • What was my part? What roles did other people play?

Reflective Questions:

  • How did I feel as it was happening?
  • How do I feel now?
  • What other events of my life does this remind me of?
  • What sticks out now and grabs my attention as I look back?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What is the meaning of this event for my life?
  • How am I different after this event?

Decisional Questions

  • What is the “so what” of this event for my life?
  • What is it demanding of me?
  • What decision do I need to make?


Focused Conversation #2 (for use with a group)

Objective Questions:

  • What have been some of the key events for you during this election season?
  • What have been the major elements? The minor elements? Which have you worked on or contributed to?
  • What other events do you remember – important conversations, or decisions made?

Reflective Questions:

  • Describe the dynamics of this election season. When was it like an earthquake, a bear, a turtle, a desert, or what?
  • What was the big surprise of the election?
  • When were you most frustrated?
  • Which events made a big difference to you, or changed how you thought or felt?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What did we learn from the things that went well?
  • What did we learn from the times where we struggled?
  • As you reflect on all of this, how would you talk about what we have accomplished?

Decisional Questions

  • How will our experience and our learning affect what we do in the days and months to come?
  • What do we wish to do differently?

One More Option for Reflection and Processing

Head here for a sample guide for a DiY Reflection that calls on more creativity and personal exploration. (Just adapt the timelines to the event that you want to reflect on.)

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.