Glossary of Oasis terms


We often notice that the way we use language differs from other organisations. Here's a handy guide to help you understand more about what we mean!


Collaboration depends upon the degree to which a person can work with visibility and choice.

Unless a peer group actively seeks to examine its own life, it quickly, like any other group, develops recognised formations of pairings and sub-groupings.

This results in limiting creativity and experimentation, reducing opportunities for group members to engage with each other and begins to replicate the features of group life in more traditional settings.

Collaboration takes time but when people work strongly together, though they do not all get all their needs met all the time, they all know that their needs have been taken into account, and a process is not agreed until it is agreed by all.

To find out more about implementing this way of working, including a process guide and case studies, see the Oasis Press publication Working Relationships for the 21st Century: A Guide to Authentic Collaboration by Nick Ellerby, Angela Lockwood, Gill Palin, Susan Ralphs and Bryce Taylor.


Coaching is a way of helping someone to develop a particular skill or understanding, aiding them to learn by doing.

It is based on the premise that learning occurs through practice, so long as that practice is guided by awareness of actual behaviour, behavioural norms, and results.

Coaching is directed toward improving a person’s own understanding and control of her/ his practice behaviour.

It can be organisationally directed and the focus is often on a person’s job or role and centred on achievement of tasks, standards and quality control.

Stimson (1994) says success as a manager depends on the performance of your staff/ employees and that coaching occupies a middle ground between teaching or formal training and ordinary everyday management feedback.

In her definition, coaching is helping people to learn from everyday tasks – for example writing a report, representing their department at a meeting, checking their own work, checking other people’s work – and it is a ‘conscious deliberate process’ which helps people understand and learn from their experiences.

She also identifies benefits for the manager and the organisation as a result of effective coaching.

Bunker and Winijberg (1988) stress the importance of ‘ownership’ of and responsibility for own actions by the ‘learner’ who then becomes able to see the relationship between means and ends employed and results obtained. Coaches need to:

  • Develop a relationship with the coachee
  • Enter into a joint inquiry: What is going on now? What is required? Key points, clarity of objectives, performance standards, goals – process or tasks, targets, outcomes
  • Clarify and build on ideas
  • Explain or demonstrate the performance required
  • Do
  • Observe
  • Feedback on performance, encourage reflection
  • Evaluate and set new goals.

There may be a need to go through the cycle again either for the same objectives, for new ones, or for competent staff in new roles.

This cycle is reflected in the Oasis Seven Stage Model of Effective Relationship.


A mentor is someone who has long experience in areas within which the mentee is seeking support and guidance.

A mentor can listen thoughtfully and reflect deeply with another person without believing it is important that they supply the answers.

They are sometimes been appointed, sometimes sought out and sometimes found by those working among the complexities of the modern organisation.

Few people could expect to get by, let alone get on, in modern organisational life without some form of detached and thoughtful assistance.

Learning to reflect upon practice is one of the critical features of successful practice in any field.

To take up a role in the development of another person is therefore to recognise there are certain responsibilities and implied obligations.

Organisations have developmental phases and as organisational development moves into the more radical areas of organisational transformation, mentoring will take on a more significant and vital role in the success of the whole enterprise, rather than be something set aside for the chosen few.


Supervision originated and developed as an integral part of the training process in psychoanalysis.

In more recent decades the importance of supervision for the experienced practitioner has been acknowledged.

As early as the 1950s Carl Rogers encouraged reflection in practice through the use of a fellow practitioner.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) requires all its practitioner members to be in supervision regardless of their length of experience.

Counsellors work in organisations and as independent practitioners and are involved in the process and dynamics of our ever changing work places and society. Thus supervision needs to reflect the various and varying aspects of the work and life of counsellors.

Oasis believes in continuous reflection and development and that learning comes through the relationship and working together of people. It is in living and working through the issues and problems associated with human relation, in whatever context they arise, which leads to true growth and change.

As in all aspects of living, so in supervision; we believe that a developmental alliance includes learning from each other, setting a learning contract and working out whatever is required at the time it is needed.

Reflection on relationships and process as well as content will lead to development of individuals in real and continued growth, whether that is in counselling supervision, caseload supervision or in some styles of management supervision.

Co-operative Inquiry

CI is a way of doing research that changes people as they do it and doesn’t just inform them.

It is a form of cutting edge research that involves participants in the design and experience of the research.

A CI will usually follow six to eight cycles of research before the inquiry members begin to distil their conclusions and decide whether to express their findings in permanent form.

Live research

This is the term we have adopted to indicate that we are more interested in an inquiry-based approach to learning and research than a purely academic one.

Of course traditional methods of research are important in providing broad data about all kinds of things, but when it comes to human relations – your human relations – it is what you consider, feel, think and are willing to engage in that matters to you.

Inquiry-based Learning

Inquiry-based learning is a way of recognising that it is the facilitator’s task to enable individual participants to identify the questions that really motivate them to begin the journey of participating fully in their own learning and development.

It is out of the unfolding curiosity and interest that people really learn and learn deeply.

Transpersonal perspective

Our view is that the person is a person only in relation to other people and that together we have deeper connections that transcend gender, culture and ethnicity.

The transpersonal refers to the spiritual dimension of human life and there are any number of ways of approaching this aspect of development.