A Different Type of Feedback & Coaching Method

In an age where the cognitive components of individual human intelligence are rapidly absorbed by smart algorithms, the next milestone of human performance is emotional and relational in nature. The Kingbridge Institute is now offering a NEW type of learning experience and coaching method beneficial for giving feedback about group dynamics and effectiveness while engaged in discussions.

We have partnered with Mihnea Moldoveanu, Director of the Mind Brain Behavior Institute and Vice-Dean of Innovation at the University of Toronto – to develop the technologies, tools and experiences to help teams develop the awareness, acuity and aplomb to handle difficult dialogues, deliberations and decisions by better understanding their own emotional landscapes and being able to intervene with insight and incisiveness to transform the way they work together.

We are introducing a learning platform that provides a tailored and customized feedback solution for teams who carry out strategic and operational discussions. The tool is designed to diagnose and pinpoint interpersonal blockages to the flow of critical information, breakdowns of trust and hidden biases and power dynamics that undercut the objectivity of their discussions.

This is a transformative feedback solution for giving formative feedback on team member’s social, relational and affective abilities while they are engaged in discussions. Reveals the various degrees of engagement and involvement that people feel relative to each other when communicating.

The social intelligence learning platform – tracks, analyzes and displays variables that give coaches more information about learners’ emotional and physiological states – such as heart rate, heart rate variability and galvanic skin responses – which can be used in combination with a person’s features or characteristic expression and voice analytics to provide even sharper insights of what learners feel while they are interacting with others.

The technology – a 360 degree and virtual reality camera is used to capture footage and audio of leaners’ presentations, pitches, meeting discussions, and problem solving sessions which are stored on a secure server. The platform then uses advanced machine learning algorithm’s to identify and map individual users voices and faces and automatically tracks, records, and displays the emotional states of each learner on the basis of recognizing patterns of facial expressions and of voice-related variabilities (pitches, loudness, pitch range, loudness range, rhythm, articulateness) that identify the learners emotional states. Learners can see for themselves the kinds of interpersonal dynamics that their communications – or lack thereof – produce in other participants and they can be coached and briefed on the ways in which their ways of making statements, responding to questions and according or withholding attention from others contributes to the collabortiveness and effectiveness of group sessions.


  • Learn how your expressions, gaze, body language, tonality, modes of using language, beliefs and perceptions influence your teams ability to effectively engage in collaborative inquiry during discussions.
  • Learn how to become more self-aware so you can read and better understand how your emotional dynamics are affecting group performance.
  • Learn how to communicate more persuasively (great for sales professionals).
  • Learn how to adapt, modify, navigate and self-regulate your emotional states.


  • Sales Professionals
  • Coaches
  • Negotiators
  • Public Speakers
  • High Performing Athletes
  • Board Members
  • Project Managers
  • Leaders

To learn more about this exciting new technology and experience, visit our website.

Do you know which emotional states help you achieve peak performance?

How We Feel_Page_05

Introducing The Kingbridge Institute – Where we use the latest mind-brain-body science to create the ultimate learning environment.

Our work is focused on bringing the latest mind-brain-body science to executive skill development. We push the boundaries of inter-personal skills through the use of wearable technology to create an environment in which individuals and teams can learn about feelings. Real time brain-body mapping allows each participant to understand the effects their feelings and thoughts have on decision making. Seeing feelings as they unfold enables the next-level of collaboration in relationships and business.

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Test your abilities to read facial expressions:

Exceptional Leadership, Requires Imaginative Thinking

Leading from Within Image

A few weeks ago we unveiled our second newly designed leadership workshop, Leading From Within, hosted by Kent Osborne. Those that attended the workshop valued one of the leadership tools that Kent shared with us, so we thought we would share this technique with you.

Exceptional leadership demands imaginative thinking. While the analytical thinking of your left brain enables you to manage your business, it’s the intuitive wisdom resident in your right brain that enables you to creatively unlock the knowledge you’ve acquired. Understanding the power of combining logic and intuition is the key to masterfully coaching the men and women directly reporting to you.

Kent’s workshop provided participants with practical, powerful tools for knowing when and how to help your direct reports use imaginative thinking. One tool focused on performance reviews.

Kent directed participants to be wary of spending time discussing performance “in general terms.” This common practice leads to platitudes about what a performer could have done or should have done differently, but it generates no change in future performance and thus adds no value. Instead, leaders should guide direct reports into a detailed discussion about a specific moment in time. The direct report needs to imagine that she is observing herself performing, and from that detailed observation she will literally “feel” both her strengths and her weaknesses. The emotional connection will fuel a specific conversation that will surface meaningful insights about performance improvement.

If your organization wants to get more value from performance reviews, or if you’d like to explore the possibility of transforming the way your leaders coach their direct reports, contact Lisa Gilbert at The Kingbridge Centre and she will discuss how Kent’s work can be customized to meet your learning outcomes.


Conversations that Build Trust, Agility, Resilience & Creativity

image for tree post for Michael

Last week at Kingbridge we unveiled our first newly designed leadership workshop, Leading through Conversations that Matter, hosted by Michael Jones. One of the techniques that Michael shared with the group involved using the ecology of a tree to help us understand the distinction and value of learning how to host three very different levels of conversations.

Those who attended the workshop found this valuable so we thought we would share the information with you.

Most organizations are not short of innovative ideas. What they do lack, however, is an environment that allows for the careful enrichment of the soil in order for these seeds of possibility to take root and grow.

What builds this soil is conversation. But not all conversations are the same. The leader’s ‘art’ involves knowing which conversation they are taking part in – and which ones they need to be taking part in – in order to achieve the results they desire.

One picture that helps us understand different levels of conversation is the image of a tree. This image offers a lens for making distinctions between three levels of conversation and how each contributes to growing the culture of an organization.

Level 1: Tactical/Incremental
In Level 1 conversations – the primary question is, “how do we do things differently?”

In Level 1 conversations, the focus is on the distribution of power, influence and getting things done. There is an emphasis on negotiation advocacy, tools, techniques, problem solving, action planning and results.

Level 1 conversations see the enterprise as a mechanical system for which all problems have a corresponding technical or expert-driven response. To extend the tree metaphor, Level I conversations – like the upper branches and the leaves of the tree – are highly sensitized and reactive to changing circumstances. Because they are focused on the performance of the parts rather than the system as a whole, their emphasis is on efficiency-based thinking, quantitatively-driven results and mechanistic responses to problems.

Level 2: Strategic/Transactional
Here the primary question is, – “how do we do different things?”

At Level 2 we see not only the leaves and branches, but their connection to the trunk of the tree as well. Here the focus is on structure and strategy as well as rational problem-solving through policies, technology, detailed plans and systems thinking.

Level 2 conversations shift the emphasis from efficiency to effectiveness, embracing a human resources lens which encompasses human assets and potential, matching people to jobs and working in teams.

Both Level 1 and Level 2 conversations tend to focus on change that is instrumental. They don’t ask the larger questions like ‘why’ or ‘what for?’ For this more profound shift of mindset to occur and to navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world, we need to look to another level of conversation.

Level 3: Regenerative/Transformational
With regenerative Level 3 conversations the primary question is, – not on “how we act differently”, but in “how we see differently.”

Here, there is a shift from mechanistic thinking to engaging with the organization as a living system. If the other levels focus on the leaves, branches and trunk, Level 3 conversations examine the soil and the root system underneath.

By ‘regenerative’, I mean conversations that focus not only on the people, the power and the structure of the system, but also on the culture and the sense of place where the leader is also the steward, the sage or prophet, the storyteller and place maker.

At Level 3 there is a greater attention on dialogue and listening together as well as on the regenerative power of beauty, destiny, synchronicity and mythic thinking in which art and poetry, music and celebration carry an equal voice. Generative conversations are participative, reciprocal and imaginative. They involve a collective search for deeper meanings and insights to emerge.

In so doing, these conversations shift the focus from preserving the life of the tree to growing the tree into a sturdy and fertile oak through the constant turning and care of the soil.

Eighty percent of what determines the health of a tree is the condition of the soil – the ‘magic’ that supports and nourishes its roots. In the context of an organization, this ‘magic’ is found within its creative spirit: conversations about what we aspire to, about when we feel vital and alive, about the gifts and heritage from our past and our present challenges and opportunities. These are ‘root’ conversations that focus on the common roots of our shared human experience. As such, they create the fertile ground – so frequently passed over in a fast-paced environment – where the seeds of our future can take root and grow.

It is commonly believed that the fastest way to change a system is with Level 1 and Level 2 conversations. So the overwhelming majority of an organization’s attention is usually focused in these two areas and the typical goal-setting processes that have been used for decades emphasize specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and strategic time-bound results. Yet these rarely correlate with either work satisfaction or real success.

We need to be highly literate with Level 1 and Level 2 conversations while being aware that they concentrate our attention on the most obvious and visible issues. They promote an expert-driven ‘outside in’ response and rarely evoke a fundamental shift of mind when practiced without Level 3.

All levels of learning are necessary, but only Level 3 conversations invite us into seeing new possibilities in the future. As such they take tactical and strategic learning in new directions that could not have been foreseen in advance.

The practice of engaging in Level 3 conversations connects us with how nature itself creates and sustains life. We become allies with each other and our destiny in ways that intellect, tactics, and strategies alone cannot encompass. Our destiny is rooted in the rich soil of intuitive wisdom, the power of place, our heart’s desires, our greatest aspirations, the gifts in each person and the collective intelligence that has called us to be together on this journey.







Innovating for the Future with Outmoded Mentality?

One of the most daunting challenges for leaders today is how to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.  It seems a herculean task for most and the question is always “why is this so hard?”

The simple answer is that is isn’t hard……..if you are able to shift your mindset away from antiquated (and painfully slow!) bureaucratic procedure into a new paradigm of rapid prototyping and group leadership.  In this new landscape of rapid change and ambiguity leaders can no longer operate a system of ‘approval’ wherein they make the decisions on behalf of the organization.  Rather, future leaders must evolve into a system where their primary function is to create the conditions for leadership capacity throughout the organization.  This shift in mentality and skill set enables agility with rapid decision making and rapid course correction – the cornerstones of innovation.

So how do we get there?  Kingbridge would like to offer the insight that what is required to achieve such an overhaul in leadership is a shift from organizational development to personal professional development wherein individuals take on the accountability for their own education and capacity growth.  In fact it hardly seems possible to do it any other way – trying to shift into a paradigm where rapid decision making is necessary throughout the organization and under any number of circumstances and across skill sets requires networks, systematic thinking and conversational skills.  None of which are things you can really ‘pick up’ during a corporate training session, they all require practice, forums for discussion and most importantly adaptation of this new mindset. Relying on organizational training to equip you with these skills is kind of like trying to learn to swim from a you tube video on your living room floor!

To read more on future leadership trends and their implications check out this paper from Center for Creative Leadership.

Training for the Next Generation Workforce

Last post we looked at the skills projected to be paramount for success in the workplace moving into 2020.  These included social intelligence, adaptive thinking, media literacy, and being trans-disciplinary.  And the need for these skills is precipitated by the the changes we are seeing in the workforce; technology, global collaboration and the ‘flattening’ of organizations.  Couple these with the trend towards individuals having multiple careers with multiple organizations and what are you left with?  A corporate training model conundrum!

So, with each job requiring such diverse skill sets to be successful and the condensed time frame you are likely to have one individual hold any position……how do you responsibly invest your training dollars?  The answer is neither clear nor simple however, the Kingbridge Insight for this week is to offer something to think about.

What if the bulk of employee training was no longer group based or even standardized?  If these projections for the future are correct and individuals are going to need a multitude of trans-disciplinary skills to be successful in any position, perhaps the best use of organizational training efforts is not in large class based or standardized online (MOOC’s) training where any number of individuals attending may have greater needs in other areas. Training in the future is no longer going to be a one size fits all solution but rather will need to cater to immediate individual need.

Daunting thought, but one that needs to be addressed in order for your organization to evolve and remain competitive in the not so distant future.

If you have any thoughts about how to tackle the future of corporate training problem please share your insights with us!

The Near Future of Work

As the baby boomers retire and organizational leadership begins to make the shift into the next generation, a functional work environment will come with a significantly different set of required skills for success. Skills such as being trans-disciplinary rather than specialized and adaptive rather than rule driven will determine success. The workforce is already displaying the need for emphasis on such skill sets but finds itself in a state of limbo until the last vestiges of traditional leadership depart.

The infographic below distributed by top10onlinecolleges.org outlines not only the skills that are projected to be the most important to possess to be successful in the near future (2020) but also identifies the drivers of change responsible for the shift in workforce need such as technology and shifts in organizational structure.

Important Work Skills for 2020
Source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

This week Kingbridge would like you to ask yourself: Am I ready for the near ‘future of work’?

Are Your Employees Buying Your Leadership?

In the May 2014 Harvard Business Review article “Blue Ocean Leadership” authors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne elaborated on their take on the issue of employee engagement in the workplace.

Some startling statistics include that from Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report that just 30% of employees are actively committed to doing a good job and another 50% are just putting in their time.  Perhaps the more concerning stat is that for the remaining 20% who are actively discontent and negatively influence their co-workers and by extension the productivity of your business.

So, what is the solution?  Well it is simple in theory but takes a considerable effort and shift in organizational culture – leadership empowerment at all levels.  If employees don’t ‘buy’ what you are ‘selling’ as a leader, at any level, the result will be disengagement. Now, this isn’t new information, for years the importance of leadership in any organization has been espoused.  So, why is this still the number one problem plaguing the workplace? Simply, education and training are traditionally focused on the high level leaders while front line leaders who are closer to the market, the customer and the workforce interacting with your customer rarely benefit from the kind of leadership coaching and training that would empower them to communicate effectively and work towards bringing out the best in their people.

The Blue Ocean Leadership model highlighted in the HBR article suggests that by applying the Blue Ocean Leadership Strategy at the 3 distinct levels of leadership: senior, midlevel and frontline an organization can significantly improve employee engagement, satisfaction and subsequently the bottom line.

Conventional Leadership Development Approaches

Blue Ocean Leadership

Focus on the values, qualities and behavioural styles that make for good leadership under the assumption that these ultimately translate into high performance. Focus on what acts and activities leaders need to undertake to boost their teams’ motivation and business results, not on who leaders need to be.
Tend to be quite generic and are often detached from what organisations stand for in the eyes of their customers and the market results their people are expected to achieve. Connect leaders’ actions closely to market realities by having the people who face market realities define what leadership practices hold them back and what leadership actions would enable them to thrive and best serve customers and other key stakeholders.
Focus mostly on the executive and senior levels of organisations. Distribute leadership across all three management levels because outstanding organizational performance often comes down to the motivation and actions of middle and frontline leaders who are in closer contact with the market.

So, as is our custom the Kingbridge Insight this week is to ask you to gain some insight into your own leadership: Are people buying what your selling as a leader?  Have you been provided the tools to excel as a leader?  If not……..what are you going to do about that?

John Abele: Medical Devices to Conference Centre – The Connection

John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific spent the better part of 4 decades pioneering the field of less invasive medicine.  With the undeniable success of Boston Scientific John has since pursued philanthropic endeavors including promoting science literacy for children and projects in social innovation.  John also purchased The Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute in Ontario, Canada.

So, why a conference centre?  It seems an unlikely progression, medical devices to meetings, but for John the link is clear.  The current edition of Briefings Magazine published by The Korn/Ferry Institute features an article by accomplished author Glenn Rifkin exploring this very connection –  “Growth Through Collaboration: John Abele’s Vision”.

The article highlights how after years of working to convince often ego driven medical professionals and a bureaucratic medical industry to make change and ‘try something new’ that the key to success was collaborative approaches featuring innovative meeting techniques.  One of the most notable outcomes of these efforts is the still widely used Live Demonstration Course.

(Full article here)

In the following video John summarizes in his own words his vision for The Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute and it’s roots in his experience with Boston Scientific.

Why Purchase a Conference Centre? from Kingbridge Conference Centre on Vimeo.

Gaining Influence

As a functional manager it is one thing to know that you have the information and potentially the answers to some of your organizations issues, it is quite another to influence senior or corporate management’s decisions.

In the most recent issue of the Harvard Business Review researchers Anette Mikes, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business Review along with Matthew Hall, London School of Economics and Yuval Millo, University of Leicester wrote “How Experts Gain Influence” about the findings of their 5 year study on gaining influence in an organization.

They found that in order to increase their impact, functional leaders should develop four specific competencies:

1. Trailblazing: finding new opportunities to use your expertise
This particular mode of influence involves uncovering previously unidentified issues or challenges that may prevent the organization from achieving its goals or initiatives.

2. Toolmaking: developing and deploying tools that embody and spread expertise
Basically, come up with succinct but simple tools, such as reports or visual models that can be employed cross-functionally for greater visibility, understanding and ultimately consideration.

3. Teamwork: using personal interaction to take in others’ expertise and convince people of the relevance of your own
This competency draws heavily on harnessing collective intelligence across the organization and as a result creating inclusiveness and buy in.  For example, if you were creating a reporting tool (see toolmaking) great influence and support will be gained by engaging other functional managers in the design.

4. Translation: personally helping decision makers understand complex content
Keep it simple!  Use your own expertise to interpret information into a usable format and actively engage yourself in the explanation.

Although these four competences identified by Mikes, Hall and Millo may seem basic and perhaps have an air of common sense, execution is often hindered by the same barriers we see to collaboration such as ego and hidden agendas.  As such, this weeks Kingbridge Insight is to suggest that if you struggle with attaining influence as a functional ‘expert’ perhaps the solution is self reflection – are you allowing your personal behavioural barriers prevent you from demonstrating the competencies required to be influential in your organization?