Mindful & Agile Leadership
Rafael Cobo Calleja 2019
Training for the Future
Inner Weather Check-In
Use it at the check-in of any team meeting. Its a tool for being collectively
aware of the mood of each team member, and treat him accordingly,
separating the person from the problem, showing care. At the same time,
makes each oneperson aware of their own mood.
Last weeks exploration (25/06-19/07)
1. Home practice: relaxation (body scan or yoga-20 min) and attention to the breath (20 min)
2. Mindful attention to daily routines at home and work: scape from automatic pilots! Explore
also your emotional challenges: digest your emotions in the here and now.
3. Mindful listening; practice at any opportunity.
1. Stakeholder Interview. The purpose of a stakeholder dialogue interview is to see your work
from the perspective of your stakeholders. It answers the questions: What do my
stakeholders want from me? What do they need me for? Procedure: make an appointment
with one of your key stakeholders (boss, peers, clients..). Before you meet the interviewee
allow for some quiet preparation or silence. During the interview, listen with your mind and
heart wide open and take notes. Ask questions spontaneously: feel free to deviate from your
questionnaire if important questions occur to you. The questionnaire is designed to serve
you and your work—not the other way around. Questions: 1) What is your most important
objective, and how can I help you realize it? (What do you need me for?); 2) What are the
criteria that you use that help you to assess whether or not my contribution to your work
has been successful or not? 3) If I could change two areas in my area of responsibility over
the next six months, which two things would create the most benefit for you? 4) What were
some of the barriers and issues that may have prevented people earlier in my role to
collaborate effectively? Listen mindfully. Appreciate the feedback.
4. Reflective action: explore the tool with any other work issue that you wish: how would it be
to behave from a higher level of consciousness and intention? Explore the in the moment
Fuente: Leadership agility. Bill Joiner y Stephen Josephs
Level of awareness Level of intent
Modest reflective capacity. To improve and acomplish
A roboust reflective
capacity, but after the
event has occurred.
To achieve desired
outcomes in a way
consistent with self-chosen
Ability to step back in the
moment or be in the here
and now processing your
intuitions and emotional
To engage in life in all its
fullness. Create contexts
that are experiential and
meaningful in deep
collaboration with others.
To be of benefit to others
as well to yourself.
10 high impact tools
1. Switching from doing to being mode: stress
2. Focus atention.
3. Open attention and presence.
4. Emotional intelligence.
5. Reflective action and SMART goal setting.
6. A culture of dialogue: active listening, generative
conversations, effective meetings and sales.
7. Conflict management and coaching.
8. Project effectiveness: eliminate hidden blocks.
9. Resonance with purpose.
10. Energy management and joy at work.
5. Reflective action and SMART goal setting
A four step cycle that enhances the natural process of learning from experience.
We move through it many times per day, but unconsciously…
Use the level of awareness and intent that
corresponds to your desired new level of leadership:
the “achiever” and the mindful/agile/ being mode.
First you step back from your current “automatic
pilot”. Try to gain new insight: diagnose the
situation. This corresponds to the first two steps of
the reflective action cycle. The result will depend
on your current level of awareness (that which you
are training with the 1-2-3-4 skills of this course).
Then set your SMART (Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Relevant and Timely –as possible-)
intention and engage in what needs to be done.
Task: start appliying it at your everyday work
initiatives. What is a challenge now? From what
level of awareness and intent are you approaching
it? How could you approach it from the next level
of awareness and intent?
6. A culture of dialogue. Active listening and
generative conversations. Effective meetings /sales.
Film: Invictus-Clint Eastwood (director); Morgan Freeman y Matt Damon
Directing attention is what communication is all about…
Observable data and
experiences (as a video
recording might capture them)
I select data from what I believe
and my mental frames
I add meanings (personal and
I make assumptions (based on
the meanings I added)
I draw conclusions
I adopt beliefs about the world
I take actions based on my beliefs
data I select
How do we attend the world:
ladder of inference or open mind?6
comunication6 Be aware of these 4 levels of communication
I-in-me I-in-it I-in-you I-in-now
Listening 1: the
Fixed world view.
of thought. You only
need half word to
know what you must
do, or to confirm to
yourself how the
leave your own
world view, and
try to imagine how
for the other.
what is going to
come- without a
Discover the story
behind the story.
(“this is wrong”).
Used in legal
Source: MIT_Presencing Institute
A key practice to build strong communication.
When you listen, focus all your attention on just
listening. If you let your thoughts, judgments get into
your mind, several things happen:
• You lose key elements of the conversation.
• You traduce the message to your own past experience.
• The speaker detects you are thinking a response and
becomes defensive, stressed, losing part of his
creativity. The conversation ends in known territories.
The real “Dialogue” happens when you hold your
judgments, thoughts until it´s your time to talk. So when
you listen, just acknowledge that you are listening.
Allow also your body posture to express that you are
listening. Observe your emotions, reactions… what
Its miraculous how conversations become much richer
and efficient just with this simple (but not easy)
culture6 Welldoing by wellbeing with yourself
Your real personality is what you show in your
relationships, and usually its different to the ideal you
have in your mind.
So be aware about how you show up and interact with
others: you show up with fear or anger? Do you show
care for your peers or do you manipulate? Are you kind?
Are you reliable? Warm, open?
Embody the qualities of your conscious base mind as you
attend yourself in open attention, with ease: be aware
of the qualities of acceptance, harmony, collaboration,
benefit for all beings, meaning-purpose, joy… let them
drive your life.
When we feel centered, in internal wellbeing, we can start
asking to ourselves: How can I be of value in this
moment? Listen to your heart, not your conditionings.
And even more: when your are mindfuly centered in your
heart, you realice that at a given moment there are no two
subjets, but a relationship, a verb.
Maybe expresions as the african Sawabona-Shikoba: “I
see you, I recognize you” which is answered as “Then, I
exist for you”, connects with this idea.
culture6 Effective meetings: the art of hosting
conversations. What is best?
• State in advance the meeting goal:
Obtain input, make decisions, build
capacity, build community, improve
• Facilitator skills:
Paraphrasing, clarifying, gathering
ideas, encouraging-balancing, making
space for all, acknowledging feelings,
linking/ visual thinking.
Post its, flipcharts, circle, breaking
into small groups, brainstorming.
• Agenda-topics and Time management.
• Check in, conduction and check out.
• Reporting- To do´s.
Reading: facilitators guide to participatory decision-making. Sam Kaner
Goal to achieve
Can you identify in yourself any of these barriers to ask?
• I show a weaknesses, a need (humilliation)
• They can tell me “no”, and I see as personal (rejection)
• I become in debt, and I don´t want to owe favors (betrayal)
• There is already a conflict with this person…
culture6 Sales communications: how do we unleash
all the potential of the present moment?
7. Conflict management and coaching
1. What is that I cannot control in this situation?
2. What am I trying to control?
3. What can I control, that I am not controlling right now?
Exercise. Think about a real life situation that is conflicting you.
Ask yourself the three questions and write down the answers.
coaching7 Non violent communication: don’t put more fire
into a conflictive relationship!
evidences / facts
request/ action plan
Source: Marshal Rosenberg-Non Violent Communication
When I see your socks under the kitchen table and your
sport clothes thrown around the living room floor….
…I feel irritated…
…because I need more order in the spaces we live together
…could you leave them in the laundry room every time
you are done with them?
Exercise in pairs: what difficult conversation are you postponing?
coaching7 Coaching for transformation: moving from
limitations to full creativity and expression.
Source: John Whitmore-Coaching
Our beliefs about others capacity influences performance.
Coaching requires trust in the hidden potential. Let go the
desire to control and the judgment. Be in the now. As coach
ask yourself: What matters most to this person? What is the
deepest expression of this person greatness?
GROW Model (Goal-Reality-Options-What)
• Establish the final goal and the performance goals to
achieve it (or other critical variables). Focus. How much
are we willing to invest in the process?
• Exam the reality. Be objective. When we are conscious, we
have more degree of control. Ask: what actions have you
realized until now? What were the effects?
• Contemplate the options
• Determine the what, when, with whom and the will to act.
Consciousness (what is happening) conducts to skill: “natural
correction” when feedback focus on attention. This is
activated trough powerful questions: what else? If you know
the answer, what would be? How does it make you feel?
coaching7 Transformational coaching skills: achievement
Requesting your client stretch beyond perceived limitations. Example; “I challenge
you to give up doing this task alone”
Articulate needs and values in order to verify understanding. Example; “I sense you
are looking for security and autonomy in this new move. What else is important?
Create structures to verify the action plan is on track. Example: What will you do?
When will you do it? How will I know?
Moving into action
Co-creating or requesting movement toward goals that are aligned with values,
vision and desires. What will you do this week? Will you…?
Source: Coaching for transformation_Martha Lasley
Its done in service of getting back to exploring what matters most. Example: Katia,
stop. What is the essence of what you are saying? What is important here?
coaching7 Transformational Coaching Skills (II): agility.
Asking empowering, open questions
Source: Coaching for transformation_Martha Lasley
What do you want?
What is important about that?
What are you overlooking?
What do you care about in this situation?
What value does this experience have to you?
What are you commited to?
How can you play the bigger game?
What´s the big picture?
What are your choices?
What do you need help with?
Who can help you with that?
What can you delegate?
What request can you make?
How do you plan to achieve that?
How can you break this down into smaller steps?
Is there anything else that you need to do?
In a scale 1-10, how commited are you to this plan?
What is stopping you?
What would motivate you to change?
Pretend you know the answer…
What can you stop doing to get room to what is
What are you doing that its working?
If you only focused in one thing, what will be?
What might you do differently next time?
What does your heart tell you about this?
When you are at your best, what is different?
Are you going to be able to fix it?
Can you get more resources?
Do you have any influence?
Why didn´t you take action?
Why did you do that?
coaching7 Exercise: generative conversation and
Source: Coaching for transformation_Martha Lasley
• Attend how do you feel, what
emotions come to you, your
thoughts… accept them,
breathe and center yourself.
• Speak from the heart: what
should be said now? Connect
in resonance with the other
• Attend your words, your
silences, your body language…
• Attend with all your attention to
the here a and now (internal and
external), suspending judgements
(don’t identify with them).
• Show that you are following:
acknowledge, body language…
• After listening, ask powerful
• Don´t expect, dance with the
Exercise in pairs: what is challenging you now?
Can you put it in a GROW model?
8. Project effectiveness
Ask for an
• Time and form
• Propose-inquiry in balance
• What has worked
• For what?
Source: ISAVIA-programa Liderando el Futuro
And apply Pareto rule; a 20% of actions bring up 80% of the results
Source: Eisenhower Matrix
Most important and
DO IT NOW)
Important but less
Neither important nor
Less important but
effectiveness8 Time management
Example: delegate more
I accept more tasks that what I can work on, and
many are not my responsibility.
I fear to abandon my team. If I put myself first, I
feel guilty and selfish, when my internal
commitment is generosity.
If I put myself first, I become what I don´t like from
others. And I don´t feel necessary.
Observe when your assumptions activate. Do you know the story of your
assumption? When and how started? These assumptions are still valid today?
Invisible barriers to success
Source: Robert Kegan-Harvard University
Test yourself how these assumptions might not really be valid. See what happens
effectiveness8 Goals: dealing with the subconscious mind
Our conscious mind process
information slowly: 7 bits/per
second. Our subconscious is much
faster: 11 millon bits per sec.
The subconscious is taking its own
Create goals that the
subconscious mind understands:
• Positive statement
• Use symbolic language
• Put them in visible places
• Feel them as achieved
And refute objection through test
9. Resonance with purpose.
in the body
Conection between heart
rythm, emotions and
with Purpose9 Listen to the values that make your “heart
• When was a time when you felt
passionate about your life or
• Tell me about a movie that you
love. What about that makes it
special for you?
What values were being honored?
How much are you honoring each of
your top values on a scale 1-10?
with Purpose9 Your mandala
What do I want
What do I need
to learn and
my energy to
What brings me
energy to achieve
Exercise: use photos, texts, drawings…
Complete and share with your team
with Purpose9 The courage and life fulfilling of Acceptance
Acceptance is opposite to Resignation.
You accept what has already happened,
so you don´t lose energy against what
cannot be changed.
And then, you listen to your inner voice:
what needs to be done now?
And you act instantly –in acceptance-
listening to your true inner voice.
10. Energy management and Joy at work
“All the things you truly
matter –beauty, love,
joy, inner peace- arise from
beyond the mind” (Eckhart
Joy10 Work-life balance:
How are you doing with…?
Appropiate nutrition for
your type and season
Joy10 Routinary tasks…
• Present attention. Aceptance.
• Breath, anchor yourself in the body.
• Be for the other person and honor your commitment.
Its different from complimenting, which implies evaluation and judgment (example:
you are amazing!) Acknowledge the growth, learning actions, and what you see.
Source: Coaching for transformation_Martha Lasley
You help them see things that might not be obvious to them. You can point to their
strengths and values, and help them raise the bar in their personal expectations.
What milestones has the team to celebrate? Don´t wait until goals are complete.
Look for opportunities to celebrate the small successes along the way…
Implies you as leader. Has three parts: 1) the observable behavior of your team
member; 2)the emotional impact; 3) which needs are satisfied in you.
culture6 Energy and
An organization is a complex living system. You
are responsible to nurture it to maintain it in
its full aliveness, in wellbeing. 4 Dimensions:
Source: Marilyn Hamilton-Integral Cities Series
Some reminders on building your leadership capacity…
• Whenever you find yourself in “automatic pilot”, Stop, bring your attention to your diaphragm,
and without trying to change anything attend your breath, as if your attention is radiating
from the heart. Allow that attention to extend to everything inside and outside. From this
centering, ask yourself: from what level of intent I want to deal with this situation?
• Relax daily your body through body scan, hatha yoga or any other conscious discipline.
Release this way accumulated tensions. Breath deeply. Put your attention in your
perceptions as they arise in any routinely task. Be aware of the difference between what you
think about the world (abstraction) and how the world -as it is- comes to you.
• Digest your emotions just by bringing your physical attention to where you feel them most,
disconnect the thoughts associated with the emotion –specially old stories in the
subconscious-, or any effort to label or control them. Don´t fear them: start by digesting the
fear. Then put your self in an emotion of confidence / trust. Feel it in all your body.
• Be aware of your judgments and of your agenda to manipulate others. Listen with all your
self. Be present for what the moment requests from you. And be brave, compassionate,
• Do your tasks with love and all your fullness. Be trustful. Its all you are in that moment.
• Don’t interfere with the possibility of others to do the best of themselves. How can you be of
service to them in this present moment?
• Engage with life in all its fullness.
• Links to explore: The wellbeing project; Emzingo; Bcorp; Presencing Institute-MIT; Tendrel;
Instituto Relacional; Trika method.
• Leadership Agility- Five levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change. B. Joiner & S.
Josephs. Goes through dozens of examples of the leadership model seen in class 1. .
• Coaching for Transformation-Pathways to Ignite Personal and Social Change. Authors: Martha
Lasley, others.. Beautiful coaching book full of tools with a quite holistic perspective to help in your
coaching role with your peers at work.
• Training from the back of the room. Sharon L. Bowman. Amazing book full of tips for facilitating
effective learning sessions.
• Facilitators guide to participatory decision-making. Sam Kaner. Great book to learn how to
facilitate participative meetings.
• The Mindful Leader-Michael Carroll. Specially for developing a personal practice of meditation that
helps your leadership role. The author is a recognized coach for senior leaders, and this is the
approach of the book, but its very human and inspirative.
• Non violent communication- Marshall Rosenberg.
• Search Inside Yourself. This is the Google approach to mindfulness. Its a best seller and serves to
apply many mindfulness tools at work. Also a business perspective in the implementation of
mindfulness at work is the book One Second Ahead.
• True Meditation- Adyashanti. If you want to go deeper into the personal practice of meditation.
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