Posts on Our Evolution 

StageSHIFT partners with executive leaders to inspire and accelerate a quantum vertical shift in conscious leadership capacity and effectiveness, embracing the opportunity in systemic complexity and rising volatility to co-create more sustainable, healthy, and equitable business ecosystems where everyone and all of life flourishes as a community.

Stage Leadership Development is a Spiral not a Ladder

leadership development; executive coaching; leadership coach; action logics; senior executive Mar 29, 2016

To shift a stage in leadership development expands your leadership perspective and presence in the world. It increases your ability to influence, coach and mentor others and generate transformational results. However this is not the result of simply increasing self and social awareness. These elements provide us with insight into our character and the challenges that thwart us so we can better navigate our life, but do not in and of themselves take us up the spiral of leadership to become more strategic, inspiring leaders.

Lateral vs. Vertical Development

There is a marked distinction between lateral learning and vertical learning. Most leadership development programs focus on lateral skills-based learning that enable us to become more effective within the conventional world. They help us to perform better, achieve more, focus on customers, build strong, cohesive teams and engage effectively with others.

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is the difference we make in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead. ~ Nelson Mandela

However to shift to the post-conventional world and become an inspiring strategic leader who has the capacity to work on the world rather than in it and make a significant difference, requires a higher and deeper perspective of the systemic processes and psychological dynamics that underpin current outcomes and persistent challenges. We need to get below the water-line and rise above the noise to make the unique and significant difference we were born to make during this evolutionary time of increasing consciousness in the world!

Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Step Up and Out to Make the Shift!

To make this shift into the post-conventional world is not an incremental step up the ladder, but a significant step outward onto another circular sweep of the spiral. Because this step out is beyond the conventional world of theSpecialist/Achiever by definition, it requires much courage and fortitude to negotiate! Yet it is within our grasp! We have the latent potential. We simply need to shift into our intrinsic growth zone to unleash our personal power.

Susanne Cook-Greuter, global thought leader in the assessment of leadership stages or action logics, defines the phases of leadership growth in self-actualization as a two-part process of individuation – stepping out into new territory, and consolidation – setting up home there. Similarly it is a combination of introspection or self-orientation, followed by the outward manifestation or other-orientation. By developing new gifts, talents and strengths within us, we can then share these with the world around us.

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau


Proven Pathway to Post-Conventional Leadership

Through an analysis of my coaching transcripts over two-three years, I have distilled a proven pathway to accelerate this developmental continuum from the last conventional stage of Achiever, to the following post-conventional stages ofCatalyst (individuation) and Strategist (consolidation).

While self-awareness, mindfulness and the ability to interpret interpersonal dynamics and emotionally reactive responses in a personally empowering way are essential, I have found that this represents only one half of the picture – the “inside-out”. We are all a masterpiece-in-progress and can continue this journey delving into ourselves ad infinitum, a layer at a time.

To consolidate the broader perspective of the Strategist, we must lift our view of the world and implement a new and transformational operating structure to support our growth as inspiring, strategic executive leaders. Conventional operating norms inhibit our ability to consolidate at the post-conventional action logic of a Strategist. We need to take the lid off the pressure cooker environment most of us work in to realize our potential.

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. ~ Patanjali

Less than 10% of Executive Leaders are Strategists

It is interesting to note that the number of executive leaders with the post-conventional action logic of a Catalyst, the first post-conventional stage, has been increasing by 10% per decade in what Robert Kegan would call deliberately developmental organizations, over the last 20 years. However the percentage ofStrategists has barely increased during this time accounting for less than 10% of executive leaders in organizations today already investing in vertical learning.

As a result of the unanimous stage shift of all nine participants in my doctoral research study, most from Achiever to Catalyst, and one to Strategist with another knocking on its door after just one year, I have developed a comprehensive proven approach to activating, accelerating and consolidating post-conventional executive leadership development.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

We Must Transcend Conventional Operating Norms

We can transcend conventional operating norms by creating an overarching Strategic Operating System© that is by its very nature transformational, in order to complete the journey from Catalyst to Strategist. Conventional business planning mechanisms, meeting agendas and decision-making processes do not make the grade. They do not provide and hold the space for the outward manifestation of inner leadership growth.

By focusing on both the “outside-in” (Exterior of the Group: Structure) and “inside-out” (Interior of the Individual: Intention), coaching clients have made significant advances in vertical learning (AQAL Integral Theory Model). They have not only become authentic leaders but influential advocates!

They have become thought leaders in their industry applauded for their visionary presentations, won industry awards for their strategic contributions, led $1billion programs of work meeting every deadline in collaboration with global suppliers and engaged multiple diverse stakeholders community-wide to lead and generate social reform.

If you put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. ~ Bruce Lee

Make the SHIFT! Program Launch

I hope you will forgive me for concluding this post with an announcement. Today I am launching the Make the SHIFT! Program for senior executive leaders. The SHIFT stands for the Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation. It has been proven to enable executive leaders make the shift from being high performing Achievers to the post-conventional action logics of Catalyst andStrategist in one year, with the growing capacity to make a significant difference by working on the world despite its VUCA nature!

The Make the SHIFT! Program integrates the spiral of stages in leadership development with our leadership capacity and the human faculties that we begin to appreciate and tune into at each step along the way. As I explain above the most significant shift is from Specialist/Achiever to Catalyst and Strategist. This is where we make the shift from current norms focused on the material world, economic performance and "more", to a sustainable post-conventional world where a richer quality of life experience and the greater wellbeing of society is activated by our personal evolution. We make the shift from the psychological entropy of "not good enough" to the universal principles that underpin the "greater good", imbue goals with purpose and rise to realize lofty aspirations.

Customize Your Participation

You can create your own customized combination of leadership assessments, online resources with 50+ “how-to” videos, associated templates and monthly Q&A Webinars, 2-day quarterly implementation workshops in Sydney, and/or 121 executive coaching quarterly or monthly. The Make the SHIFT! Program is now open for registration for executive leaders beginning in July 2016. Numbers are limited for both the Group Forums and One-on-one Executive Coaching.

You can also bring the Make the SHIFT! Leadership Program in-house to your organization to uplift leadership effectiveness across your senior ranks, transform your organization’s culture and generate an exponential shift in triple bottom line performance. The world is evolving. By becoming a consciously developmental organization and raising your VIEW, VISION, VALUES and VOICE to a higher octave, you too can co-create an aspirational and expansionary future for your organization and its people. 


The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust

Accreditation Program For Coaches

Simultaneously I am offering an Accreditation Make the SHIFT! Program to Executive Coaches who would like to bring this proven approach to their one-on-one and group coaching programs with their clients. Taking the Program will lift your own perspective to the post-conventional action logics of Catalyst andStrategist resulting in an expansion of your coaching practice, and lift your clients’ leadership capacity too. They will also be able to access the online resources and you will share in this income.

Online Bonuses 

Online Bonuses expand the Program beyond VIEW | VISION | VALUES | VOICE to include VOCATION & VERSE. With Vocation you will receive all the online resources you need to Transform Your Career, and the Inspirational Verse will open your heart and ignite your spirit each step along the way. 

If you would like to find out more, please go to my website, or click here to take a look at the Make the SHIFT! Program. Please schedule a meeting with me by clicking on this link or email me at [email protected] 

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group

Click here for FREE reports or to book a complimentary meeting with me. If you’d like to know more, please email me at [email protected]  

To find out more about the fastest growing trend in executive development: Stage Leadership Development, vertical learning or advanced action logics, please check out my Free Report under Programs.

All the best,



About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led Strategic Planning Workshops for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and as GM People with Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.


Receive inspiring monthly insights.

Enjoy the first two chapters of Executive Coaching in Strategic Holistic Leadership to find out more about the History and Stages of Vertical Development. We’ll continue to guide you with our new monthly insights.

Your contact details are private and confidential, safeguarded on the well-protected Kajabi platform.