Photos on this page by Oli Sansom



To produce order

To achieve consistency


Coping with complexity

Organising and staffing

Dependent functions


Other directed


Source: The Centre for Organisational and Professional Excellence



To produce change

To achieve a vision

Setting the direction

Coping with change

Aligning people



 Self directed



  • Conserve and maintain stability, order and predictability, but can cope with complexity
  • Plan, budget and react to goals
  • Direct and delegate
  • Solve problems
  • Keep choices and options down to manageable levels
  • Focus on how decisions get made and communicated
  • Conduct day-to-day activities: negotiate, bargain
  • Organise responsibly by functional areas of responsibility
  • Conserve assets
  • Interact through roles and hierarchy
  • Manage systems and processes


  • Foster new approaches and ideas
  • Set direction, lead and facilitate change
  • Shape moods and ideas
  • Establish and communicate vision and strategy – creating a compelling view of the future
  • Welcome new options, develop choices, stimulate fresh approaches to problems
  • Facilitate discussion, and then determine decisions, on direction
  • Steward, mentor and coach others
  • Generate intrinsic motivation – inspiring through communication and behaviour

Effective leaders excel in the following areas

 High performance:

Getting the best from people by knowing their strengths, weaknesses and triggers

Getting their hearts and minds, knowing what their drivers are

 Coaching and feedback:
Having difficult conversations to have positive outcomes

Making people feel valued for their contribution

 Personal impact:
Being self-aware, seeking feedback, being accountable, etc.



Engaged employees not only plan to stick around, they are enthused and in gear to impact an organisation’s mission. During difficult times, their energy and effort can help an organisation to survive and even thrive. The result of effective leadership is that employees are more engaged (see graph).


“The organisations with the highest employee engagement had an unwavering commitment from senior leaders to the importance of developing highly engaged and productive leaders. They also created clear performance expectations that align people to the organisation’s goals and values and bring meaning to work. Their people managers create the conditions for their people to excel, and reward and recognise practices that encourage employees to contribute discretionary effort. They also clearly communicate on what employees can expect, which, in turn, helps the organisation to be more effective in attracting and retaining talent in a tight labour market.”

The workplace has changed – we all know this. Today we see flexible staffing models, more diverse workforces, a growing importance of information to employees, a power shift from leaders to workers, new ways of connecting to work (i.e. it doesn’t always happen at head office), ever-new technologies and increasing speed, a blurring of work life and personal life. Work is such a big and important part of our lives these days – generally more than just a means of making money on which to survive; for many it is a means of self-expression and self-discovery; it provides a sense of meaning and purpose, a chance to make a difference. If employees’ needs – financial, professional and, to some extent, personal – aren’t satisfied in their current workplace, they generally have little hesitation in moving to one in which they will be.


It is important to us that our employees feel that their expectations are being met – they feel recognised for their contribution, have work processes that enable productive work and feel that they are enabled to do their best work. Engagement is high where people feel optimistic and hopeful about their future and the future of the organisation, which they understand through well-communicated strategies and by knowing what opportunities are available to them.


It is important to note that ‘Strong Executive Commitment’ sits on the top as one of the key characteristics shared by Best Employers.


How much of yourself do you really know? Do you know yourself by your possibilities or by your history? Do you define yourself by who you’ve been or who you might become? Do you give yourself permission to grow and to change? Do you put the same energy into your future self as you put into your past self? Do you have the passion, energy and determination to bring about the changes you want in yourself?

Or perhaps you don’t really care. Is this journey about someone else and not you? Do you just want to do your job and that’s enough? Are you tired and bored and perhaps lacking inspiration? Do you wish you knew what it was you were meant to do while you are doing what you are paid to do? Do you feel that life is slipping by and you just keep missing the handholds?

Well, now is the moment of truth. There may be few times in your life when you will work for an organisation where you are able to contribute to its vision and values, or be part of a team that really understands the power of education in the hands of people ready and willing to take a stand. While you’re waiting to find the ultimate ‘win’ in your life, chances are you’re right in the thick of it already, but you just don’t know it.

Purpose & Values

Dattner Grant have developed a ‘kit’ to assist you in your journey into better understanding the things that matter to you, the things you do, the way that you do them and why you do them.

This kit can be used by individuals seeking greater clarity on their own personal purpose and values. Being clearer on your own sense of self, what you believe and what’s important to you, helps you focus your two most precious resources, time and energy, more effectively. Understanding yourself is also a great base from which to recognise and value the diversity in others’ beliefs and positions.

The tools in this kit can also be used by teams seeking to articulate their collective purpose and values. When a team comes together and there is genuine shared purpose and agreed values, the enthusiasm and energy released can be formidable.

Purpose & Values Exploration Kit

Click the button below to download the Purposes & Values Exploration Kit.

Discovering Your Authentic Leadership

In this HBR article Bill George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, and Diana Mayer pose some very salient questions about what it means to commit to discovering your own, authentic narrative of leadership. The ideas in this article will be unpacked onboard further.


Most of us can remember teachers from school that we either loved or hated. The ones we loved were often passionate about their topic, willing to do what it took to engage us and were interested in our ideas. They didn’t work straight from a textbook, but had a structure to their lessons that we respected, and they obviously cared about us as human beings. The ones we didn’t like seemed grumpy and disenchanted with their subjects. They worked to the book – they were all chalk and talk, with little space for our input – and were quick to judge and intolerant of difference. Surprise, surprise – we often did well with the teachers we liked and excelled less frequently with teachers we didn’t.

This is also true for leaders at work. When we feel aligned to a leader, supervisor or manager, when we feel heard and understood, when we feel like they are interested in helping us achieve our best and they’re willing to coach us in a way that works for us, and when we believe that they care about their area of expertise and are prepared to share that, we excel at work. At the very least, we have the best chance at excelling with such leaders. The inverse is also true. When leaders are coercive, instructional, intolerant of difference, when they always want things done ‘their way’ and they’re poor at listening and they remain largely unaware of the impact that their personality and preferences have on the people around them, we’re likely to perform less effectively. Not always, but often.

In your role as coach and teacher in the workplace, then, it becomes important for you to have an understanding of learning preferences or ‘type’.


Much has been written about learning type for several decades. Learning type is a cycle of experience, observation and reflection, formation and then testing of concepts. David Kolb developed a learning cycle and a process for assessing learning type from the work of Dewey, Lewin and Piaget. They characterised the learning process as ‘transformational’, asserting that we achieve higher-order learning through a string of processes through which knowledge passes. They proposed a theory of experiential learning that involves stages: Concrete experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. They postulated types of learners they called divergers, assimilators, convergers and accommodators. The Kolb Learning Cycle was developed first by Kurt Lewin. He suggested that we each have a dominant phase of the cycle, during which we prefer to learn. Honey and Mumford (1982) asserted that knowing your learning style can also help avoid repeating mistakes by undertaking activities that strengthen other styles. For example, if you tend to ‘jump in at the deep end’, consider spending time reflecting on experiences before taking action. Their model also had types – activists (do), reflectors (review), theorists (conclude) and pragmatists (plan). The studies have become more pragmatic through the 4MAT System of Learning. The 4MAT model was first developed by Bernice McCarthy, who was a classroom teacher in the United States. She was constantly frustrated by the observation that a certain teacher could do incredibly well in one environment with some kids, but other teachers would fail miserably. By the same token, those kids who had failed with one teacher could excel with another, whose observable style was different. What was happening?

4MAT grew out of McCarthy’s struggle with this incongruity. She studied the great thinkers in the area of modern education and those who had contributed most to our understanding of learning preferences (Jung, Piaget and Kolb). She then developed a practical tool for teachers to help them design teachable moments that would best gain the attention of a diverse range of learners.

These models are a rich resource from which you can come to understand learning preference. They measure and explain the way people prefer to learn – that is, how they absorb, process and apply information. All the models categorise learning into quadrants, each with its own unique characteristics.


 The LTM is designed to help people understand and identify the differences in the way people learn

 Developed for use with the 4MAT system

 Useful in all situations where learner differences play a role in communication and human interaction

 Enables a clear and actionable way to accommodate all learners in all learning environments

 Not a psychological instrument, but a tool to gauge personal inclination towards one or another approach to learning

Good leaders understand learning styles, and find it extremely useful to try to work out the preferred learning style of the people they are leading and adapt their style as best they can to accommodate them. It is also important to stress that none of us are just one ‘type’; we learn in different ways, but have preferences for some types over others, often combining stronger preferences.

As a leader, your ability to effectively share your own wisdom and knowledge, and to communicate important information about the business with those you work with, is a vital piece in the engagement puzzle. The key to your effectiveness in this is your ability to make your communication meaningful to the other person.

Most of us can remember leaders who made things clear for us. Often the ones we loved were passionate about their work, willing to do what it took to engage us and were interested in our ideas. Their communication with us was meaningful, i.e. it connected us to our passions and interests and used language we could relate to. Because we learn much more from people than we ever can just from books, the quality of our interactions and communications is a vital ingredient in our learning. As a leader, then, understanding how people learn will enable you to tailor your communications so that effective learning and communication takes place.

The critical thing to understand is that it is a natural tendency for most of us to lead and teach as we prefer
to learn. For example, if you like many data points from which to draw conclusions, you may communicate with others by giving them the facts and expert opinions. This is fine, as long as the other person likes that as well. If they do not, the communication, to continue the example, may come across as a meaningless ‘data dump’ and the person is left struggling to find a context for it, or wondering how the information applies to real life. If you are a ‘just do it’ person, then the urge to get on with it might overwhelm much-needed discussion. If you are a talker who loves to brainstorm and chat, then the more pragmatic learner may find you a bit over the top. If you are a ‘big picture’, ‘what if?’ futurist, the person you are talking to may find this a little intimidating, especially if their issues are planted firmly in the here and now. However, someone who prefers the big picture to the details will learn better if they have the global context first, into which they can then slot the various components in a way that makes sense to them.


It is well and good if your preferences are like those of the person or people you are working with. However, research shows that the best learning outcomes for any individual, regardless of preference, is to go through all learning preferences. If we remain stuck in one preference, our learning is significantly diminished. As a coach, being flexible enhances the performance of the people you are helping.

So, it is also probable that you’ll stretch your people to move outside of their preference (in the interests of their own learning and development and to increase their effectiveness). Listed in the table below are some of the key characteristics of the different types, based on McCarthy’s 4MAT System, to help you identify both your own and others’ learning preferences, as well as some hints about how to communicate most effectively with each of the different types.


Vitally interested in personal meaning; need to have a reason for learning



Quadrant 1 learners are imaginative learners who ask “WHY?”

  • Seek meaning
  • Believe in experience
  • Reflect on it
  • Are great ideas people
  • Absorb reality
  • Are vitally interested in people
  • See lots of alternatives
  • Learn by listening and sharing

Painful learning environments for Quadrant 1 are:

  • Timed tests
  • No interaction
  • Conflict
  • Insensitive trainers
  • No group work
  • Computer assisted training
  • Colourless environments
  • Lack of fine arts

Positive learning environments that Quadrant 1 would enjoy/benefit from:

  • Brainstorming
  • Listening to and relating stories
  • Pictorial representations of an issue and its resolution
  • Teamwork tasks and role playing exercises


Deeply interested in facts as they lead them to understand concepts; give them facts to deepen their understanding



Quadrant 2 learners are analytical learners who ask “WHAT?”

  • Seek intellectual competence
  • Believe in expert knowledge
  • Reflect in theory
  • Are great planners
  • Form reality
  • Are vitally interested in concepts
  • Critique information
  • Learn by reading and doing research

Painful learning environments for Quadrant 2:

  • Buddy trainers
  • Info out of sequence
  • Trainers who don’t stay on task
  • ‘Pass/fail’
  • Noisy environment
  • Criticism
  • Multiple workstations

Positive learning environments that Quadrant 2 would enjoy/benefit from:

  • Carrying out some relevant research
  • Being asked to prepare carefully considered analysis and reports
  • Observing a group at work, taking a back seat in a meeting, watching a film
  • Being given the chance to question and probe the basic methodology
  • Assumptions or logic behind something, e.g. taking part in a question and answer session


Deeply interested in how things work; let them try things



Quadrant 3 learners are the common sense learners who ask “HOW?”

  • Seek productivity
  • Believe in the bottom line
  • Act on theory
  • Are great doers
  • Edit reality
  • Are vitally interested in problem solving
  • Have natural technical skills
  • Learn by hands on experience

Painful learning environments for Quadrant 3:

  • Reading most of the time
  • Memorising
  • No chance to experiment
  • Lectures
  • Restricted environments
  • No reality checks
  • Lack of immediate usefulness

Positive learning environments that Quadrant 3 would enjoy/benefit from:

  • Being shown techniques for doing things with obvious practical advantages, e.g. how to save time
  • Having the chance to practice techniques alongside coaching and feedback with a credible expert
  • Being exposed to a model they can emulate, e.g. shadowing a respected boss
  • Being given immediate opportunities to implement what they’ve learnt
  • Being given projects to solve practical organisational issues, e.g. suggest short cuts in a particular area


Endlessly interested in self-discovery; let them teach it to themselves and others



Quadrant 4 learners are dynamic learners who ask “IF?”

  • Seek hidden possibilities
  • Believe in taking risks
  • Act on ‘gut level’ hunches
  • Are great entrepreneurs
  • Enrich reality
  • Are vitally interested in trying new things
  • Often reach accurate conclusions in the absence of logical justification
  • Learn by trial and error, intuitive leaps

Painful learning environments for Quadrant 4:

  • Long lectures
  • Trainer oriented classrooms
  • Assigned seating
  • Assignments without options
  • Formality
  • Silence
  • Standard procedures
  • Rigid routines

Positive learning environments that Quadrant 4 would enjoy/benefit from:

  • Being in the limelight, e.g. chairing a meeting, giving presentations
  • Being thrown in the deep end with a task you think is difficult, e.g. when set a challenge with inadequate resources and adverse conditions
  • Team problem solving, games scenario planning


Create a reason

Teach it to them

Let them try it

Let them add value to it and use it in their lives


It’s important to note that good leaders understand learning styles, and find it extremely useful to try to work out the preferred learning style of the person they are working with and adapting their style as best they can to accommodate it. It is also important to stress that none of us are just one ‘type’; we learn in different ways but have preferences for some types over others, often combining stronger preferences.


(Imaginative learners. Favourite question: Why?)

  • They are interested in and value personal meaning
  • Have to have a reason for learning and doing – ‘just do it’ will not work
  • Need to link information with personal experience – What has this got to do with the job I do and the experience I have? Is this useful in my everyday working life?
  • Like cooperative learning, listening, talking, brainstorming, discussing and sharing ideas
  • Like feedback that is realistic and includes feelings
  • Want to be personally involved, not just told what to do
  • Like observing others
  • Like things to be clear
  • Like the here and now
  • Are open-minded

Hints for communicating with Q1 learners

  • This is not about being overly theatrical
  • It is not about asking gratuitous questions while looking at your notes
  • It is not about being ‘funny, ha ha’
  • It is done best when you really want to hear the other person’s world view; remember Q1 learners access data by talking about their experiences, not by watching a data show – without thinking and talking about their experiences, they will have to move out of preference to get the data
  • You can genuinely ask questions to explore the key message with the other person; listen to their answers and show respect for their expertise and experience
  • Imagine an inverted funnel: Q1 starts at the widest end of the funnel – start asking questions that are so general they will ensure that the other person has an answer to them and an opinion to share
  • You should listen carefully, look at the other person, expand questions and celebrate their knowledge
  • At the end, you should summarise what you’ve heard and endeavour to identify the key learning from the other person
  • Do not ask questions in a token manner, with little regard to the answers or the expertise of the other person; the more you can get them to feel personally connected, the more effective you will be


(Analytic learners. Favourite question: What?)

  • They are interested in acquiring facts in order to deepen understanding of concepts and processes
  • Enjoy research and analysis
  • Like to know what experts think
  • Seek continuity
  • Think things through
  • Think sequentially
  • Need to critique information and collect data
  • Like certainty and are uncomfortable with subjectivity
  • Seek intellectual competence
  • Are interested in self-discovery – modifying, adapting, risking and creating
  • Value rationality and objectivity
  • Assimilate disparate facts into cogent theories
  • Are disciplined; aim to fit things into rational order
  • Like basic assumptions, principles, models, theories and systems thinking

Hints for communicating with Q2 learners

  • Your challenge is not to overdo it
  • Working from Q2, there is respect for information logically presented and people will look for expertise
  • You don’t have to know everything, but you do have to be able to source your material or corroborate your opinion with the opinions of experts (if you are not recognised as a relevant expert in this instance)
  • Delivering information in sequence is critical
  • Generalisations will undermine your credibility
  • This is not really the space for stories, anecdotes or personal opinion (unless you are an acknowledged expert)
  • More information is not better – the right information clearly expressed is key, as well as access to additional information if people want it


(Pragmatic learners. Favourite question: How?)

  • They are interested in how things work
  • Want to ‘get in and try it’
  • Prefer concrete, experiential learning activities
  • Like hands-on tasks, practical experience
  • Like to know how things work – experiment, tinker, improve
  • Turn theory into common sense and practice
  • Go by the maxims ‘If it works, use it’ and ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’
  • Are down-to-earth problem-solvers who dislike being given the answer
  • Have limited tolerance for ‘fuzzy’ ideas or waffle
  • Value strategic thinking
  • Immerse into the experience
  • Act quickly and confidently on ideas, getting straight to the point
  • Are impatient with endless discussion
  • Cannot sit still for long

Hints for communicating with Q3 learners

  • Q3 people want to get their hands onto something; they hear the theory but they will quickly lose patience if they can’t see what to do with it
  • Take the time to get into the pragmatic stuff, even if it may seem too complex for your liking
  • They don’t like ‘fluffy’ seemingly pointless activities like the storytelling and experience- sharing that Q1s find engaging
  • Pragmatic learners like steps offered sequentially and specific information
  • They like having you as a coach, but they also want to have a go themselves
  • They want the chance to review the steps you’ve suggested to see if they work
  • When you think of this preference, think of the mechanics of learning – information should be to- the-point and immediately useful
  • They don’t retrieve the data presented in Q2 until they get to trial it – up to that point, it’s just theory


(Dynamic learners. Favourite question: What if?)

  • They are interested in self-directed discovery
  • Rely heavily on their intuition
  • Teach themselves and others
  • Like simulations and role play
  • Learn by trial and error
  • Are enthusiastic about new things
  • Are adaptable
  • Relish change
  • Excel when flexibility is needed
  • Often reach accurate conclusions in the apparent absence of logic
  • Are risk takers
  • Enrich reality – take what is and add something of themselves to it
  • Like to act on and help others to act on their own visions
  • Are interested in facts and use them to help understand concepts – observing, analysing, theorising and classifying
  • Are big-picture people

Hints for communicating with Q4 learners

  • Q4 people will quickly see flaws in things, and ways to improve what you thought was actually already working
  • Q4s can make people uncomfortable because they have a knack for finding different ways to do pretty much anything
  • Remember they will struggle to retrieve the data until they have a chance to improve it or change it
  • They are not reflective learners – they do and then do differently
  • They are not rebellious or difficult – they are innovative and creative
  • Harness this and they will go on being creative almost indefinitely
  • Their thinking doesn’t follow a logical path – that doesn’t make them wrong, it just means that they’re different to logical thinkers
  • They enjoy having fun and celebrating; they are playful by nature as a means of being generative
    • Because of the spontaneous nature of Q4s, you may be apprehensive about losing control of the session and worried that something not planned for might occur. Try your best to go with it, as this is how people with a strong Q4 preference retrieve the data, and it is a creative arena in which previously unconsidered opportunities and ideas can be generated; coming as it does from the ‘nothing is sacred’ mindset



  • This is not about you, it is about the person you are endeavouring to help
  • Remember that each quadrant takes up data differently – only Q2 prefers to absorb it directly (e.g. in a slide show or a linear, black-and-
    white manner), while Q1 connects to personal experience, Q3 by practical application and Q4 by testing it and seeing how to improve or change it
  • Listen carefully – remember the quality of your communication dictates the quality of the response you get
  • Know your own preference and watch out for bias (we all have biases)
  • Keep reminding yourself that even if you think you have, say, a strong Q3 bias in a team, it is far better to encourage them to learn in all four quadrants – the results over time will be much richer




The 4MAT Model is a simple way to look at how our preferred thinking styles play out in how we lead. Although it is a model of learning types, it taps into deeper personality based preferences that have a wider impact on how we engage with the world of people and things, how we approach tasks, plan and solve problems.
It is possible to consider broad domains of management and leadership and how they interact with and are supported by the four learning styles in 4MAT:

Other models, such as the hemispheric specialisation in our brains help us understand how we may have a preference or predisposition for different thinking styles and as a result, a propensity for engaging more actively in Management and/or Leadership:

It is possible, even probable, that a leaders underlying, personality-based preferences can imbue and inform the very culture they create in the teams and organisations they lead. Each of the 4MAT quadrants are associated with certain cultural strengths, collectively creating a cohesive whole, balanced and cognizant of the differing needs of its constituents:

Although we each have a degree of preference for a particular learning style, we are not bound or limited to only think in terms of this relatively narrow band or possibilities. Each thinking style brings with it undeniable strengths and taken exclusively, can create definite blind spots. The leading thinking theorist Edward de Bono created the widely celebrated “Six Thinking Hats”1 tool to help to overcome the myopia inherent in thinking about problems with too narrow a focus.

This methodology can be adapted as a metaphor in working with the 4MAT system, inviting you to ask four different sets of questions to define and explore the options and actions present in any leadership problem or opportunity. Working from the big picture (Q4), evaluating the known facts (Q2), the human elements of the issue can be evaluated (Q1) before a course of pragmatic action (Q3) is finally decided on.


4MAT Design Template

Click here to download the 4MAT design template.




A large part of being an effective leader is tuning in to what’s going on around you and responding appropriately. It is also about creating the conditions that will bring the best out in people. Having flexibility in the behaviours you exhibit as a leader – depending on the people being led, the task at hand, the situation and the outcome desired – is a hallmark of outstanding leadership. This is where an understanding of leadership styles – and the impact they have in the workplace – is critical.


Leadership style basically describes how you approach your role as leader, including how you behave and the impact you have on those you work with and who work for you. It is determined by your experience, your personality, your beliefs and your emotional intelligence and is influenced by the people and situations you find yourself having to manage.

An interesting thought to reflect on is how we ourselves prefer to be managed. We are about to do an exercise that builds a case for what most people want in a leader. When we begin to see common threads in what employees want, it becomes important to think about how that matches who we are as a leader and who we want to be.
One tool to help our leaders understand their style is the Life Styles Inventory, or LSI. Developed and administered by Human Synergistics International, it is comprised of two measures:

 LSI 1 is a self-description inventory that measures the thoughts and attitudes that motivate your behaviour;

 LSI 2 provides feedback on how your behaviour patterns are interpreted by others, how you relate to others, how you solve problems and make decisions.

When we think about where we are and what we may want to change, it is essential to recognise that we don’t know what we don’t know. So when we become Aware of something that we would prefer is different we allow that Awareness to resonate with us in an environment of Acceptance. Acceptance means without judgment, remaining neutral to the information we are now aware. By recognising the importance of staying neutral we do not paralyse ourselves with admonishments or gloat with self-promotion. We merely evaluate the information and decide future action.

Change happens when we have clarity between what our current state is and what we want our future state to be. Clarity comes from reflecting on how we think.



LSI feedback is profiled on international and Australian and New Zealand norms, and results are plotted on a circular graph, called the Circumplex, which shows 12 distinct patterns of thinking and behaviour, grouped into three clusters or styles.

Understanding The Human Synergistics Circumplex

Human Synergistics have created this short video providing a succinct overview of the Circumplex which is an excellent basis for understanding your LSI Results.

It is ideal preparation for your LSI Debrief with your Coach, however don’t watch it until after you have completed your LSI survey as this type of pre-framing can influence how your complete the survey and therefore bias your results.

LSI Circumplex Styles – video links to support your development

Note: These are copyright to Human Synergistics, who have given Homeward Bound permission to share with you for your education only; not for wider/public distribution.

The LSI circumplex was developed by Clayton Lafferty, the founder of Human Synergistics. It is a brilliant tool that captures, in one visual (the Circumplex) and very good support explanatory material, some 120 years of study in how and why humans do what they do.

The LSI is a self-development tool that provides you with an important opportunity to look at your thinking and behaviour. It identifies patterns of thinking and behaving that work to your advantage (are an efficient use of your energy) and those that don’t.

Benefits of the LSI include:

  • Greater self-understanding
  • Improved ability to work as part of a team
  • Knowledge of the impact your behaviour has on others
  • Fresh perspective of your potential strengths and areas of difficulty
  • Comprehensive, interactive plan of action for setting development goals and mapping out the most appropriate means for achieving them
  • A means to measure progress over time

While each style may be effective in different ways, and to certain extents, in different situations, it is unarguable that the constructive styles are what people want from their leaders, and significantly so, and which research tells us produce the best outcomes most effectively.





Measures thoughts and attitudes that motivate your behaviour



Provides feedback on how your behaviour patterns are interpreted by others

How you relate to others

How your solve problems and make decisions


There are several important stages in our psychological development from infancy to adulthood. Infancy (up to 2) is a state of continual physical growth and discovery. As a Toddler (2-3) we experience egocentricity and the beginnings of independence, testing limits. Early childhood (3-6) are characterized by fantasy, creativity and exploration.

Childhood (7-10/12) sees a reduction in egocentricity and a period of intellectual stimulation and skills development. Adolescence (teenagers) is a time of individuation: establishing personal and social identity and discovering moral purpose and testing limits.

The Circumplex

Walk around the Circumplex, a visual model for developing Constructive styles in individuals, managers, leaders, teams, and organizations


The emotions of extreme learning, learn how the Kubler–Ross Grief Cycle can be applied to the natural sequences of extreme learning.
This period is marked by shifts in the needs and drives we fulfil in our interactions with others:


Moving towards people

  • The need for affection and approval – pleasing others and being liked by them
  • The need for love – one they can love and have them solve problems


Moving against people

  • The need for power – achieve control over others and social strength
  • The need to exploit others, to have control over others
  • The need for social recognition
  • The need for personal admiration – to be valued
  • The need for personal achievement


Moving away from people

  • The need for self sufficiency and independence
  • The need for perfection
  • The need to restrict life practices to be inconspicuous
Through these stages, children who are able to create a positive self-conception experience life from a perspective of being:

  • Interesting
  • Unique
  • Trusting self
  • Aware of own feelings
  • Independent
  • Some ego status (proud of accomplishments)
  • Knows likes and dislikes
  • Relatively non judgemental
  • Wants pleasure/satisfaction
  • Curious and excitable
  • Optimistic
  • Clear values/ethics
In general, adults can help children to develop a positive self-conception by providing:

  • Unconditional positive regard
  • Valuing experiences for experiences’ sake
  • No blame – mistakes are opportunities to learn
  • Opportunities are learning experiences
  • Encouraging curiosity
  • Value learning and discussion
  • Pride in accomplishments
  • Responsibility and trust
  • Your effort can make a difference

LSI Childhood

Let’s connect it to the Circumplex – learn how constructive, passive and defensive styles translate to parenting strategies.


Creating a high performing team by integrating the four constructive styles of the Life Styles Inventory into a team planning methodology. 


Exploring your LSI  – Here is very brief overview of our recommended approach to processing your LSI results.

LSI Research Results

Here are some information on the impact of your use of the 12 styles of the Circumplex.




Here is further information about how the styles of the circumplex translate into a cultural measure, the OCI/OEI.






Two really useful tools for more constructive thinking and behaviour.




Click the button to the right to download the influencer module. The module includes:

  • Introduction to individual responses to change
  • Introduction to the influencer process
  • Publication: How to 10x Your Influence (by Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Andrew Shimberg)



Click here to download the Influencer 2019 module.



coach (n.)

1550s, “large kind of four-wheeled, covered carriage,” from Middle French coche (16c.), from German kotsche, from Hungarian kocsi (szekér) “(carriage) of Kocs,” village where it was first made.

Meaning “instructor/trainer” is c. 1830 Oxford University slang for a private tutor who “carries” a student through an exam (compare pony in the student slang sense “translation”). Transferred sense in sports, “person employed to train athletes for a contest” is attested from 1861. A more classical word for an athletic trainer was agonistarch, from Greek agonistarkhes “one who trains (someone) to compete in the public games and contests.”


What is Coaching?

The International Coaching Federation (ICF), the leading global organisation dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards, providing independent certification and building a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals defines coaching as ‘partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential’. (

The practice of coaching, has existed in different guises for centuries and is often linked with mentoring (see document ‘The differences between coaching, mentoring and therapy.

The term “Coach” was used by students in England (circa 1800’s ) to describe private tutors who prepared their students for exams. Thus the word “coach” evolved from the mid-16th century term to describe a carriage to encompassing the carriage of knowledge, learning and growth. Tutors were referred to as “Coaches”, these “Coaches” assisted their students to achieve and hopefully surpass their academic goals.

The term coach gained mainstream popularity in sport particularly at professional levels. Coaches are recognised as critical to the very existence of sporting teams and the development of elite athletes. With a focus on both physical performance and mental agility coaches understand that to be match fit, an athlete’s: mindset; focus; the ability to self-reflect and adapt is a crucial component to consistent performance. The coach understands that the real work needs to be done prior to match day, muscle memory is required through regular practice and implementation onto the field.

We aren’t all elite athletes however the demands of our personal and professional lives can often feel like we are running a marathon.

Coaching emerged in professional environments in the 1980’s, like the sports coach, executive coaches work to support their clients to identify and achieve their goals. To build: awareness, muscle memory and the ability to translate this into action in their chosen environments.

In our busy professional and personal lives we can get trapped in ‘doing’ with less focus on who we are ‘being’. The doing often has us diving deep into our areas of expertise often forgetting to look up to see what other perspectives, opportunities and possibilities surround us. On how this impacts others around us and our work.

Coaching can help us to look at the intersection of who we are being (the state of existing) with the important work we are doing (what we want to make happen/get done). This is where the real magic happens, with the awareness of who are we being whilst we are doing the work that is important to us?

Coaching is one of many modes of development, and when utilised appropriately and in context can be a powerful means of:

  • Facilitating self-awareness
  • Providing access to honest and direct feedback in a supportive and safe environment.
  • Helping to navigate and adapt to change
  • Optimising individual and team performance

Promoting the fulfilment of potential in ourselves and others.

Coaching provides a respite, a pause for reflection where we can get clarity of our direction and assess what’s important. Are we heading in the direction that is meaningful, purposeful and where we want to go?

  • Are we on track to achieve what we need and want?
  • Do we have the skills and capabilities to do so?
  • Are we aware of our gaps?
  • Do we have a plan to move forward?
  • Are we working in a sustainable way for ourselves and lives we want to live?
  • Are we leading in a sustainable way to support the growth of our people and message?

Coaches are engaged in a professional context to support leaders to facilitate greater self-awareness, increase performance, build leadership capability and to navigate career strategy and direction. Most commonly, professionals engage coaches to:

  • Help prepare them to take on a new responsibility or project
  • Develop or refine their skills
  • Recognise the gaps in their levels of satisfaction within their personal and professional lives.
  • Seek to change behaviours
  • Address specific challenges faced.
  • Assist the individual to better assess what they are doing and how they are doing it.

The role of a coach is one of a catalyst: To initiate insight, provide a supportive environment and encourage action through a process that is present & future-oriented.

Not all situations are coaching moments, it’s one of many modalities to facilitate development, identifying and understanding when not to coach is essential.

Coaching Skills for Leaders Participant Workbook

Click the button below to download the workbook.

INternational Coaching Federation Code of Ethics

Click the button below to download the Code of Ethics.

Emotional Agility

Emotional Agility Manifesto

Click the button below to download the Emotional Agility Manifesto from ‘Emotional Agility’ by Susan David.