Businesses Grow When Business Leaders Grow 'Up'

August 14, 2015

There’s nothing like world travel to exhaust one’s body and expand one’s perspective. After navigating 8 cities on 4 continents in 5 weeks, I reached my final destination just north of San Francisco - the Integral Theory Conference (ITC) at Sanoma State University. There I was embraced by a global tribe of over 500 peak academics, artists, thought leaders, consultants, coaches and practitioners presenting on the most current research in the fields of developmental psychology, leadership and change. Their vision - to build a bridge between how we make meaning of experience and the solutions needed to meet humanity’s most complex challenges.


American writer, philosopher and public speaker, Ken Wilber, inspired the Integral Theory movement. Wilber’s work formulates an all-inclusive 21st-century framework called AQAL (pronounced ah-qwul), a meta-theory of everything designed to organise the, “profound insights of spiritual traditions, philosophy, modern science, developmental psychology and many other disciplines into a coherent whole.”


Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, the conference’s creator and founding CEO of MetaIntegral, writes, “We are now part of a global community and we need a framework—global in vision yet also anchored in the minutiae of our daily lives—that can hold the variety of valid perspectives that have something to offer our individual efforts and collective solution building.” 


How timely for me to complete my round-the-world adventure surrounded by some of the most expanded perspective-takers on the planet.


So what does any of this have to do with Business Coaching?


It is in the domain of business coaching that we can all leverage off of the best research at the leading edge of human development. Understanding that when it comes to facilitating shifts in mindset and behaviour, prescriptive approaches to all may not result in best practice or impactful outcomes. As is the case with the Shirlaws Indicator suite and its application, understanding human development theory has a direct impact on our client relationships, including the language we use, the complexity of information we disperse, the quality of our listening, the expectations we set, the maturity of our perspective-taking, the breakthroughs we seek and consequently, the depth of trust we are able to establish.


More importantly, those working at the intersection between epistemology (the study of knowledge and meaning making) and human development are seeking answers to the questions that will have powerful impacts on human and planetary evolution across the next century, including:


  • Why some remarkable individuals (like Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, the Dalai Lama) think the way the do?

  • What is the link between the way they’ve made meaning of the world and the conscious impacts they’ve been able to make?

  • Can their perspective-taking capabilities be learned by others, and

  • If so, how do we nurture and develop these same perspective-taking capabilities in ourselves, in our children and in society as a whole?


If you're a Business Coach seeking answers to questions like:


  • Why do I achieve high impact results with some of my clients but not with others?

  • How do I convince clients that investing in culture, leadership and human development will accelerate the growth of their businesses? and

  • How can I create the conditions for change?


Then this blog series is for you.


Stay tuned for more about:


  • Who is doing what research

  • Why you should care, and

  • Practical exercises that will deepen your coaching practice


Until next time, this is Susanna Carman inviting you to... lead before you leap.

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