Whether your need is the delivery of one of our established workshops or the design and delivery of a workshop especially for your needs, we have something for you.

  • professional development of career practitioners
  • life/career journey, including career development & job search
  • creativity and personal development
  • spirituality in the workplace & careers

Potential Workshops/Presentations

The following is a list of descriptions of most common workshops and presentations that Gray facilitates. Most of these are revolve around the foundational concepts of Active Engagement, Hope-Filled Engagement (including Guiding Circles), CareerCraft, and A Better Story; workshops and presentations usually overview these concepts or focus in on specific areas touched by these concepts. If there are other specific topics people are interested in, we can develop something specifically for your needs.

Obviously, these can all be adapted as needed into the contexts of workshops (for 1 or more days), conference presentations (1 hour or more), or keynote presentations. Once topics are chosen, we can determine what format will work best for you and talk about details. These workshops can be arranged in different combinations as well.

All of these can be interactive workshops which balance informal lecture with experiential exercises Participants will have the opportunity not only to explore the issues and techniques involved but also to personally participate in the process itself and to critically reflect upon their own counselling experience.

Costs usually include presenting fees plus expenses (flights, taxis, accommodations, meals, etc.) and any costs of materials and/or books. Fees are negotiable; we are flexible with rates when limited budgets necessitate this.

Some current workshops and/or presentations:

  1. Hope-Filled Engagement/Guiding Circles Workshops
  2. A Better Story
    1. Crafting a Better Story
    2. A Better Story Toolkit
    3. A Better Story’s Answer to Career Foreclosure (presentation)
  3. CareerCraft
  4. Imagination and Career
  5. Diversity Improv
  6. The Unsung Potential of Weakness
  7. Hope-Filled Engagement through Mattering (presentation)
  8. Resiliency through Hope-Filled Engagement (presentation)
  9. Career Integrity (presentation)
  10. Above the Noise: Making Our Voices Heard (presentation)
  11. Discover Uncharted Entrepreneur Potential
  12. The Integrated Heart: Resolving Conflicting Values
  13. Active Engagement
  14. Career Crossroads
  15. The Portfolio Conversation


  1. Hope-Filled Engagement / Guiding Circles:
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

How do we create an environment of hope for people, even for those who feel hopeless? How do we equip people to walk their life/career paths with dignity and value no matter their challenges?

This workshop will introduce Hope-Filled Engagement (Poehnell & Amundson), the new sequel to Active Engagement (Amundson). Hope-Filled Engagement is a person-centered, solution-focused, hope-focused approach, utilizing tools and processes that combine a holistic worldview (including creativity, spirituality, connectedness, values, and life balance) with sound career concepts.

Hope-Filled Engagement was initially written to set forth the concepts behind the Guiding Circles booklets. It contains an updated presentation of the activities in the booklets in an expanded form with fuller explanations and examples. The focus in workshops is to train on the concepts of Hope-Filled Engagement and use the activities in Guiding Circles to illustrate the concepts. The hope is that people will be equipped to use the Guiding Circles booklets if they choose or to creatively adapt and apply the concepts to other activities they may already use.

This workshop starts by overviewing the need for alternative approaches to the life/career journey that supplements traditional career counselling. Such alternative approaches are designed to make life/career concepts and activities more accessible to those who don’t relate well to traditional approaches because they have not had traditional life/career journeys. It is being used widely with Indigenouss and non-Indigenous across Canada and internationally; with children, youth, and adults in schools, colleges/universities, and employment centres, on reserves and in urban settings, with people on social assistance and with correctional inmates—to name a few. It has also proved to be effective even with those from the mainstream.

Guiding Circles workshops

These are for those who wish to focus specifically on the use of Guiding Circles workbooks with an Indigenous focus. A full training for both Guiding Circles workbooks is usually 4 or 5 days with about 2 days per book. If the training time is shorter, it is necessary to be selective in what areas are covered.

Guiding Circles 1: Self-Assessment
(Based on McCormick, Amundson, & Poehnell, Guiding Circles, Step 1)

This workshop presents an alternative approaches to the life/career journey that supplements traditional career counselling by emphasizing imagination, creativity and flexibility. Several intervention strategies will be highlighted in the workshop that will assist clients in meaningful career self-assessment. Activities will equip the practitioner with tools to facilitate clients in identifying and telling specific life stories, in positive focused self-reflection, and in connecting their personal discoveries to the world of schooling and work. It will also explore the practical inclusion of such concepts as spirituality, connectedness, community, values and life balance into the self-assessment process.

Guiding Circles 2: Career Exploration and Decision Making
(Based on Poehnell, Amundson, & McCormick, Guiding Circles, Step 2)

The second part of the Guiding Circles series: Step 2, Finding New Possibilities builds on the first workbook by assisting people to take what they have discovered in the process of self-assessment and use that information to explore realistic career alternatives and then make effective career decisions. Again, this entails developing this with an Indigenous worldview that is integrated with effective career strategies. For example, as people who are more communal in orientation that individualistic, it would be important to consider the communal aspects of effective career decision making.

This experiential workshop will present several intervention strategies that will assist clients in reviewing who they are; in identifying the voices that are affecting their career decisions; in generating, researching, and evaluating potential career options; in making effective career decisions in association with the significant people in their lives; and in creative vision/decision/action planning for their next step.


  1. A Better Story:

The stories we tell ourselves influence how we remember our past, understand our present, and vision our future; some positively and others negatively. This workshop will explore ways to assist people to craft a better story for themselves that connects with who they truly are and that can sustain them as they move forward on their life/career journey.

A Better Story concepts and activities are often merged with those of Hope-Filled Engagement as a workshop entitled Crafting a Better Story through Hope-Filled Engagement.

After introducing the concept of A Better Story, the workshop sets forth how to craft a better story and then explores a better story toolkit that includes practical concepts and activities to help someone own their story, unpack their story, revise their story, and then turn crafting a better story into a life habit.

The workshop draws from ideas that used in other workshops listed here, as well as new material. Some of the key concepts and activities that could be touched upon are: hope, faith,  creativity/imagination, multiple perspectives/possibilities, the journey, finding starting points, life improv, storytelling, the backswing, mattering, leveraging weaknesses into strengths, connections, values, premeditated choice, filling in the blanks, surprise, changing your questions, metaphors, the butterfly effect, cross-training, resiliency, expectations vs expectancy, paradox / balance, self-care, mindfulness,, dealing with shame, post traumatic growth, acceptance, integrity, self-compassion, patience, recognition, flying in the winds of change, living between a rock and a hard place, the pause, role models, entrepreneurship for non-business types, creative vision/decision/action planning.


2a. Crafting a Better Story

Crafting a better story is an essential skill in today’s chaotic world of life and work. As we interact with people, we are not just dealing with them and their circumstances but also with their inner stories (conscious or unconscious) through which they are viewing their world. And the stories they choose to listen to will be the stories they follow. We may not be able to change people’s life circumstances, but we can assist them to be intentional about the life-long process of crafting a story that can sustain and guide them as they seek to remember their past, live their present, and vision their future. This session will focus on how to equip people with the knowledge and skills required to listen to their story, to own it, to take it apart, and to put it back together again.


2b. A Better Story Toolkit

How can career practitioners assist people to build their own personal Better Story Toolkit? Such a toolkit would include practical resources and activities that people could use throughout the ongoing journey of crafting a better story. This session will explore the value of such a toolkit, principles in selecting a diversity of accessible tools, as well as sample activities.


2c. A Better Story’s Answer to Career Foreclosure

Career foreclosure can affect people at any age, especially in later life. The belief that their career journey is over may lead to crippling hopelessness, depression, or anxiety. Cultivating a better story is a life-long journey in which people can rewrite their story at any age in ways that enable them to explore and pursue their future possibilities and opportunities.


  1. CareerCraft

CareerCraft is a new paradigm for a new career reality. This new reality, described by such terms as “chaos” and “positive uncertainty,” calls for new approaches that are more holistic, flexible, and creative. This practical workshop will explore the value of looking at career issues from the perspective of “craft”—the “art of career” more than just the “management of career.” This approach emphasizes the synergism of creativity, skill and practicality as essential components in “crafting” one’s career.


  1. Imagination and Career

Often people struggle with career issues because they are suffering a “crisis of imagination.” This session will explore imagination as a powerful innate ability essential in effective personal and career thinking and decision making. Imagination enables us to experience (see, hear, taste, etc.) things in our minds. It is this ability that makes imagination a key to making sense of our lives and to see creative possibilities for our future. This workshop will present practical ways to help people understand this ability, to nurture it, and then, to use it effectively in crafting their lives and careers. A special feature of this workshop will be the opportunity for the participants to learn and apply creativity and imagination techniques in a fun atmosphere.


  1. Diversity Improv
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

Diversity is an increasing reality in our work as life/career practitioners. As a result, it is often necessary not only to know our materials but also to know how to adapt them so that they can be used effectively with diverse peoples. This can seem daunting, but there is hope: we have all been hardwired to improv. This workshop will explore how you can cultivate the adaptive expertise needed to improvise language, tools, and processes as needed.


  1. The Unsung Potential of Weakness (presentation):
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

Give “weakness” a chance. An over emphasis on a strength-based career approach need not imply that only “strengths” matter and that “weakness” is equated with failure and cannot lead to success. Such a perspective may cause some to give up prematurely. What is a more holistic perspective of “weakness”? Are not “strengths” and “weaknesses” relative to different values and perspectives? If a “strength” can become a “weakness”, why can’t a “weakness” become a strength”?


  1. Hope-Filled Engagement through Mattering (presentation):
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

Hope-Filled Engagement expresses a person-centred, solution-focused, hope-focused approach that engages people and equips them to walk their life/career paths with dignity whatever their challenges. Mattering is integral to hope. People who don’t feel they matter are like invisible people - invisible to themselves and to others. If they see little in their lives that makes any difference in their world, what’s the point of even trying? How can we assist these invisible people to become visible again (to us, to themselves, and then to their world)? We can start by looking from different perspectives than those that made them feel invisible in the first place. These approaches are meant for use with diverse client populations.


  1. Resiliency through Hope-Filled Engagement
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

In a world characterized by ongoing, chaotic, and often disruptive change, resiliency is one of the essentials for thriving in the ups and downs of one’s life/career journey. This session will explore how to cultivate resiliency as an innate capacity people already have, which will enable them to respond effectively rather than merely react to life situations. It will suggest ways to cultivate resiliency by embracing different metaphors for our life/career and by reconnecting with how we have been hardwired to face the ups and downs of life.


  1. Career Integrity (presentation)
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

Career integrity involves people discovering their sense of identity and remaining true to that identity. This is a becoming increasingly difficult for many in today’s uncertain and chaotic labour market, especially for those who struggle for a sense of personal value when they must accept jobs that are less than ideal or when they can’t find meaningful employment at all. Career integrity involves finding and maintaining a life/career balance in response to the challenge of increasing values clutter in today’s pluralistic world. This presentation will explore how to keep three key interdependent themes of Career Integrity (self-discovery, values, and hope) in perspective as we work with others and ourselves.


  1. Above the Noise: Making Our Voices Heard

Clients often come to us with a cacophony of voices in their heads and we are challenged to speak with a voice that can be heard above all that noise. This session will unpack reasons why some clients tune out. We will explore the possibility of engaging clients in such a way that we get the attention of people and that all the noise won’t drown out
our voice.


  1. Discover Uncharted Entrepreneur Potential
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur? How do you tell what an entrepreneur looks like? In today’s labour market, these are important questions as more and more people find themselves having to consider the entrepreneurial path. People who successfully create their own work opportunities come in all kinds of sizes and shapes, but many people wouldn’t even consider entrepreneurship as an option to explore because they think they don’t fit some “standard.” But what about all the entrepreneurs who don’t fit into the “mould”? What about entrepreneurship for the non-entrepreneur? Based on the Hope-Filled Engagement approach, this session will explore a person-centred approach to assist people to consider whether entrepreneurship is an option they should investigate more.


  1. The Integrated Heart: Resolving Conflicting Values
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Hope-Filled Engagement)

Values are the cornerstone of career-life choices. They refer to that which a person considers important and which affect his/her choices and actions (such as beliefs, principles, objects, etc.). They are an essential element in crafting a healthy career-life balance. Yet many struggle with career-life choices and live fragmented lives because of conflicting values. We all face conflicting values yet often some do not even recognize them let alone bring them together in a holistic manner. This session is suitable for all who face the challenge that conflicting values present in career-life counselling and seek possible strategies for resolving them.


  1. Active Engagement:
    (Based on Amundson, Active Engagement)

This experiential workshop is designed as an overview of some of the key principles of active engagement. These principles include an emphasis on imagination, creativity and flexibility imbedded within a more active communications approach. The active engagement approach extends client-centered and cognitive behavioral theory and methods. Traditional conventions are challenged along with some of the dynamics underlying the helping relationship.

Several intervention strategies will be highlighted in the workshop. These approaches are drawn from different stages of the helping process and include use of creativity, metaphors, second-level questioning, the wheel, personality analysis, pattern identification, and action planning.


  1. Career Crossroads
    (Based on Poehnell & Amundson, Career Crossroads)

Rapid changes in the labour market and in the social context have led to radically new experiences of working life.  Workers find themselves working under very different conditions, many having to cope with the challenge of part-time or contractual work.  The security of work has also been affected and there is now the expectation that people will regularly face job changes.  These working conditions have created a context where people are repeatedly facing career crossroads.  Whether employed or unemployed people are finding themselves having to cope with career unrest or career indecision.

Career Crossroads presents an innovative approach to counselling people who face some sort of career crossroads. It may be those who, though already on a career path (employed or unemployed), wonder if they are on the right career path and become unable to sort through their confusion. It may be those who have yet to select a career path but have several options. It may be those who have several job opportunities. The common theme in scenarios such as these is that such people experience career unrest and career indecision. Specifically, the workshop will illustrate how to facilitate effective decision making by assisting people to sort out conflicting and confusing thoughts and then how to recognize, evaluate, and choose options at such times.


  1. The Portfolio Conversation

This workshop on the Portfolio Conversation will introduce the concept of career portfolios, overview the process of portfolio development, and provide the opportunity to experience what’s involved in each of the steps in portfolio development. As well, the workshop will seek to present portfolios within the context of creative employment counselling theory and process.