Interview with Karen Fugle, Executive Coach

img_1141Following on from the interview with Flick Hardingham, I caught up with Karen Fugle, after we both attended the September #play14 conference in London and asked about how she uses games, and in particular LEGO, in her Executive Coaching practice.


Please tell us a little about what you do?

220415-1-017I’m an Executive Coach and LEGO Serious Play Facilitator who works with architects, designers and professionals in the construction industry. I specialise in 1:1 coaching, team and group coaching. I also design and facilitate LEGO Serious Play workshops. I love it!

How do you use games at work?

I endeavour to be creative and innovative in my approach to helping designers solve problems at work. I have a “coaches toolbox”: games, strategies, methods and approaches that can help unlock stuck thinking, foster shifts in perspective and encourage self-awareness. I encourage people to act their future, build or draw their thoughts, or use visual metaphors. I use LEGO because it opens up endless possibilities for teams and groups to gain insight and innovate. I love how LEGO Serious Play workshops engage people; it affords all participants a voice and they have much more respect for the views of others.

Why do you use games? (as opposed to traditional techniques)

On a personal level I’m very ordered and value structure, but I like to balance this with a lot of visualisation and free-flowing creativity. Plus I work with very visual people – who are often sitting in front of a computer every day. Games can not only increase an awareness of how you or your team is working, it can provide a welcome creative release from the analytical, computational and administrative side of the business.

How have your teams/audience responded?

Architects love LEGO! Our hands are connected to between 70-80% of our brain cells, so it makes sense in this industry to let the “hands do the talking”. Participants aren’t building a model that is meant to be aesthetically pleasing – the LEGO models are metaphorical – it’s all about the story you tell. There is a lot of delight in pulling insight from a bunch of bricks!

What’s your fav game you have played with you team/audience?

Participating in #Play14 exposed me to a lot of new games, but I have to say, if it’s got LEGO in it, I’m going to be a fan! I’ve not ever started off a session with a ball fight, but I’m looking forward to it!
I also love Rob Aston’s Zoom-Out because it’s such a simple yet incredibly effective way to shift perspective. Detail-focussed people (architects, me) need reminders to zoom out! Rob’s inspiring blogs take this simple strategy to much higher level.

Has your team’s reaction to a game ever surprised you?

When using LEGO Serious Play, I think participants find it surprising that they can discuss serious topics in such a fun manner. Because you are talking about a model in your hand, it removes barriers and conflicts that might occur when talking face to face. It gives you more confidence to speak your views and ideas. This is why I love it so much, LEGO is such a great leveller.

What game would you propose at a play14 event?

I’d never thought about the tools that I use in coaching as ‘games’ and so I went game-less and open-minded to #Play14. I can’t wait to go again, this time with the benefit of hindsight and with some new ideas. I’d really like to find a game that encourages people to think of and give immediate feedback – a capability that I think needs enhancing in all leaders. If you know of one, let me know, or come to the next #Play14 event!

To find out more about how Karen can help and the services she provides checkout her site SleepingGiant Consulting and also find out more about how she uses LEGO Serious Play with organisations, groups and teams.


And to come, have fun learning and playing games with the next #play14 conference check out the #play14 website.

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