What is Vertical Development?

There are three main theoretical foundations for vertical development:

  1. An expanding mind from the self-authoring to the self-transforming mind that expands our capacity to see interweaving patterns so we can intervene more effectively to purposefully evolve inter-systemic complex adaptive systems. This is commonly called Adult Development based on the research of Kegan, Commons and Dawson, and applied by Jennifer Garvey-Berger.
  2. An expanding consciousness that embraces the heart, mind and spirit arising from Ego Development is based on the research of Loevinger, Cook-Greuter and...
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How to Step Up as an Executive Coach

There is a new evolution in executive coaching; Transformative Coaching. Coaching has been evolving since its nascence some 20 years ago. It began with skills-based coaching, gained momentum as performance coaching, evolved to developmental coaching focused on person-centric authentic leadership, and now there is a new evolution: transformative coaching.

These evolutions of coaching impact

  • The role of the coach,
  • The coaching paradigm,
  • The primary success factor,
  • The nature of the coaching relationship,
  • The effective coaching models and techniques,
  • The set-up of the coaching sessions and
  • ...
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A Caveat on Vertical Assessments

vertical development May 07, 2020

Three conversations with advanced later stage leaders in the last few weeks have alerted me to a caveat on vertical assessments:

Just because we’re assessed at a later stage e.g. Synergist, Constructivist or Alchemist (see table below to correlate these stages across various practitioners), it doesn’t always mean we’re demonstrating leadership capacity at that stage. There’s a difference between what and how we’re thinking, projected and assessed in the sentence completion vertical assessment, and why and how we’re actually expressing ourselves in...

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10 Reasons to Evolve to SYNERGIST

  1. To realise your potential – it’s latent, it’s there, it’s ready … from acorn to oak tree ...
  2. Vertical development is natural, organic, it’s just that it’s been inhibited by old ways.
  3. There’s more to life than more of the same – it’s time to change how we live.
  4. It's urgent ... there is so much havoc in the world that to thrive we must evolve.
  5. Synergist leaders enable cohesion and connectedness even with remote working.
  6. To lead a more purposeful life and make a bigger difference for having lived.
  7. To lead a more fulfilling life...
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StageSHIFT Coaching is 4 times more effective in 10% of time invested

StageSHIFT Coaching in Vertical Development to later uncommon stages is 4 times more effective than most 20-Day Leadership Programs with just 10% of the time investment.


  1. In a multiple case study of 12 strategic leaders at Achievist (high performing corporate leaders) who undertook a 12-month StageSHIFT Coaching Program numbering an average of 8*90-minute monthly coaching sessions, 80% shifted one stage in vertical development to the next stage of Catalyst, a change leader, and 20% shifted two stages to Synergist, a visionary, inspiring, transformative,...
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Vertical Leadership Development has become Critical and Urgent

There’s a difference between “nice to have” and “need to have”. The first is optional, the second is necessary. In today’s world, vertical leadership development has become absolutely critical and urgent. Why now?

  1. The Issues
  2. The Perspectives
  3. The Crisis
  4. The System
  5. The Solution


We’re dealing with issues arising from the 3rd person perspective that can only be solved from the 4th person perspective. As Einstein said, problems can’t be solved at the same level that they were created.

Capitalism means that the more capital you have,...

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The Pandemic Demands an Economic Reset

Uncategorized Mar 25, 2020

In the GFC, the government bailed out the banks to save mortgages on homes. Now, the government must bail out businesses to save employee incomes. First a financial meltdown and now a health hazard, both dire enough to threaten global economic collapse.

The central issue that has been exposed a second time is that the economic system does not provide for society’s need to thrive and flourish. The structure of capitalism within which we live today, something that is created and strengthened by governments and therefore their responsibility, has led to:

  • Increasing poverty, the rich get...
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Vertical Development: The Transformation to Synergist

Uncategorized Mar 06, 2020

Vertical leadership development is rapidly growing in momentum.

Terri O’Fallon’s breakthrough research establishes an underlying iterative systemic architecture that is elegant, resonant and meaningful. She adds the square dance of the alternating individual and collective zones to Susanne Cook-Greuter’s two-step dance of individuation and integration for each new person perspective i.e. the third person perspective begins at 3.0/Specialist (Expert) and integrates at 3.5/Achiever; and the fourth person perspective develops at 4.0/Catalyst (Pluralist,...

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Vertical Development Disconnects NZ & OZ

Uncategorized Mar 06, 2020

Global Evolution Urgently Needs 4.5/Synergists

I'm a thought leader in Vertical Development. Vertical Development means that adults develop through stages of increasing maturity, perspective and presence. They see more subtle patterns in life and can transcend complexity and uncertainty. People with their centre of gravity at later stages have been shown to be more effective leaders. They are more interested in longer term sustainable and equitable outcomes for everyone i.e. we, not me; eco-centric not ego-centric; mutual interest not just self-interest. They want to create the...

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Brexit and Austuck: Uncertainty Paves the Way for the New

Brexit - The Surprise? Result

The Brexit outcome came as a huge surprise with a very close 52% vote to exit. The Leave Campaign was highly successful given that the incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron advocated staying. It was only six months ago that David Cameron was recognized globally as the third most popular political figure after Barack Obama and Angela Merkel!

Following the Brexit vote the political scene has been stark. The PM David Cameron resigned; the face of Brexit, Boris Johnson, was torpedoed out of his assumed leadership role as heir apparent of the Conservative Party by...

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