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The way of the Integral+® Leader

Wake up, grow up, clean up and show up

Awareness is a prerequisite for vertical development, and is always present, though it isn’t enough. For vertical growth and development to occur, we need to attend to what is in our awareness.

To grow developmentally (vertically), we need to address 4-key aspects, as determined by Dr Darren Stevens of the UK. These 4-aspects are Intention, Awareness, Choice, Response (IACR).

All thoughts and actions have a positive intention for the person, regardless of the outcome. That is to say – we as human beings do nothing objectively that doesn’t have a subjective positive intent. There’s an NLP presupposition for this and that is “behind every behaviour is a positive intention regardless of the outcome”.

The question here is are you attending to the cognitive patterns that co-creating the quality of your thoughts? Are these patterns habituated and unconscious or contextual and more conscious? Can you attend and therefore choose in the moment (or is it chosen for you by the cognitive patterns?).

These cognitive patterns are also known as cognitive intentions in the field of developmental psychology or “Meta Programs” in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). They are basically your cognitive biases in that they are mostly unconscious, prior intentions from a less mature version of you. These cognitive biases have a positive intent (or at least they did when you unconsciously decided to use them as your way of thinking…).

Intention means the habituated (therefore prior) cognitive patterns that drive your thinking (the patterns of thinking rather than the content of our thinking) and so facilitate our actions, communications, therefore quality of our relationships, results, interactions etc.

Awareness means bringing these patterns into your attentional field, rather than them operating as prior intentions (are you aware in the moment, and do you have a choice – to adapt to what is required given the wider context?).

Choice means the ability to choose not only your thoughts (or no thoughts) as well as the thinking patterns (cognitive Intentions) driving them. For example – are you more introverted (meaning you like to be by yourself to recharge) or extroverted (meaning you like to be with people to recharge)? Let’s say you were more introverted (cognitive intention) and your partner asks you to come out on a Friday evening with some of their work colleagues. Do you a) have a choice in whether you go? And b) do you have any choice in how you show up if you do (your levels of energy, engagement, and interaction?

Response means – given the level of awareness of your cognitive intentions, can you choose to change your thoughts based on the context (ie. What is required for you to be in sync with reality, to be effective, efficient, etc. in a way that allows you to respond contextually and influence your environment, rather than have it influence you?).

To create the level of real choice in the moment, and therefore the responses we want, we need an Integral approach. Ken Wilber, founder of Integral Theory calls this:

• Waking up
• Growing up
• Cleaning up
• Showing up

Waking up is just that – it’s about cultivating attention to become intentional (mindfulness if you like) of, and the disidentification with, the habits of your personality, known as above as your cognitive intentions (or cognitive biases). Your personality (who you take yourself to be) is essentially your self-identity, based on your patterns of thought (preferences).

Developmentally, this is based upon your conditioning (your beliefs, values, identity, etc. which are grounded in your thinking patterns (Cognitive Intentions). Are you a detailed person or a big picture person, introverted or extroverted etc.?

These are your patterned ways of making meaning, that become your filters for screening reality. You don’t see reality as it is, but as YOU are.

Realising this (attending) enables more presence and mindfulness, through the release of the egoic conditioning of the self and self-structures that limit you through psychological suffering (mostly unconsciously). It is our suffering that consumes our attention and becomes our unconscious intention to fix.

Waking up then is waking up to the prevalence of these habituated patterns…

Growing up is about maturity – being able to take more and more perspectives under pressure and respond appropriately (contextually). The more perspectives you are able to take, the more complexity you can hold, the more you can influence your environment, and the less influence the environment has upon you.

There are 3-simple stages of growing up in a Leader’s Development

Dependant leading (leadership)

Maintaining influence over others, control of information and decisions, directing and demanding, this a command/control style of leading those that are dependent upon you to guid and direct them.

Independent leading (leadership)

Creating a competitive environment where those of merit can thrive, but only the strong and successful survive. This is a meritocratic style of leading – rewarding success and holding underperformance to account. Loss of talent becomes the price of success (where up to 30-40% p.a. turnover is usual, yet painful financially.

Interdependent leading (leadership)

Where the whole becomes greater than the sum of parts. Self-management is a prerequisite for these leaders. True authentic collaboration is key. And the whole holds itself to account in service of healthy growth, development and the attainment of a noble vision that makes sense to all.

Cleaning up then is about doing the developmental work of clearing the mental barriers and prior intentions, old beliefs, early value structures, and identity structures that get in the way of you being present as well as achieving high-performance outcomes.

This includes the work of shadow integration. Shadow projection is an essential part of development and from a neuroscientific perspective (mirror neurons), part of our makeup. Shadow projection is a developmental psychological term describing is the externalization, or sending out, of unconscious aspects of yourself. These aspects include positive or negative needs, like the need for love or the need for control; unconscious feelings; and ideas you are not aware of having.

Showing up is the enactment of all of the above. It’s where  The Leader and their people make meaning matter toward the collective and individual visions. Here development is grounded in contextual appropriation. Abraham Maslow called this self-actualisation.

The Coaching Room® works with some of the world’s largest organisations, Institutions, and High-Performance Sports teams on Leadership Development, Communication Skills development, and Mental Skills Coaching.

Here are just a few testimonials:

Alex Murphy wearing a blue suit smiling
Alex Murphy

“Over the two and half year period of executive coaching with The Coaching Room, my whole approach to being me in the workplace and elsewhere has transformed and I have been able to see a positive impact on my workplace and other people around me. Rather than launching into the workplace as the focus of discussion, the team worked with me and my personality, challenging my frames of reference, long-held unquestioned beliefs and ingrained habits.”

Alex Murphy, Managing Director, UTS College

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Kim Whitley

Madeleine from The Coaching Room was our coach trainer for “Advanced Communication skills with NLP” course via zoom. She has played an intrinsic role in building the coaching capability of our leaders. From workshops to individual coaching sessions, Madeleine is enhancing our ability to operate effectively as individuals and as a team.

Kim Whitely, Learning and Development Business Partner, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC)

Brian Pritchett

“We had an amazing experience with The Coaching Room®. They have been supporting Paramount Pictures Australia for the past years in our leadership training programs. Apart from being amazing professionals, they’re flexible in terms of structuring the programs to meet our needs. But most importantly, they truly care and that makes the biggest difference.”

Brian Pritchett, CEO Paramount Pictures Australia

Are you interested in learning more about vertical development with The Coaching Room’s public  Integral+® Leadership Course or for in-house Executive teams with The Coaching Room’s Corporate Integral+® Leadership courses?

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