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.

The Dominance Problem

Another classic problem of most meetings is the dominance problem.  A few people intimidate others.  As a meeting organizer or leader how can you mitigate the negative effects these people can have on potential collaborations?

Sometimes a few loud individuals can dominate your meetings.  And that can lead to quiet people (e.g. introverts) not sharing their best ideas.  There are lots of ways to manage this psychological dynamic between the louder and quieter people in your meetings.  But one such technique is called the Nominal Group Technique (NGT), an alternative to traditional brainstorming.  NGT prevents the domination of discussion by a single person, encourages the more passive group members to participate, and results in a set of prioritized solutions or recommendations.

Let’s say your team is trying to make a decision, for example; imagine you’re trying to decide whether to bring your proposal to the CEO now or wait until after the Board meeting.  Now, this is a classic situation where a few louder voices could steamroll the rest of the group.

So, as the team leader, what you do is ask everyone to write down their opinion on a sheet of paper. Then you collect those papers and record the opinions on a white board or flip chart and vote. This forces team members who wouldn’t have otherwise spoken up to voice their opinions.  It also minimizes the effect of group members who would otherwise dominate the conversation.  And yet, everyone still has input, and you get all of the best possible ideas.

You, as team leader, can control each of the member’s voices.  You can control their input, the flow, and the tone of it.
Another benefit of the nominal group technique is that it reduces Groupthink because it encourages independent thinking – people don’t get swayed by listening to everyone else’s arguments.

An alternative to the manual recording method for Nominal Group Technique is to utilize a collaborative technology tool such as an audience response application like Turning Point or one of the many smartphone applications or a decision support application like Think Tank.

The Kingbridge Insight this week is to encourage you as a leader, whether of a group or an entire organization to continuously try new techniques for group engagement  – the results will speak for themselves.  Also, and perhaps more importantly, ask for help if you need it! Consult a professional management consultant or if you are in the Greater Toronto Area give us a call and we can connect you with one of our trusted advisers.  There are resources out there to help you reach your goals – tap into them!

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.

Go Green and Beat Brain Fatigue

Every Friday night in summer the mass exodus from the city begins as urbanites head north for some time in nature to relax and ‘recharge’.  It seems instinctual that rejuvenation both physical and mental is best achieved surrounded by green space and now thanks to researchers at Heriot-Watt University and The University of Edinburgh our instincts have been confirmed.

Our “Kingbridge Knowledge Gift” for this week comes from owner, John Abele.

Scientists have known for some time that the brains ability to stay calm and focused is limited and can be overwhelmed when inundated with the noise and chaos of city living.  This inability to focus and forgetfulness that comes from the brain being overwhelmed is known as brain fatigue.  Although the cause of brain fatigue has become common knowledge there hasn’t, until recently, been any credible method to confirm the theory that time spent in green space not only does not induce brain fatigue but can in fact relieve it.

In The New York Times article “Easing Brain Fatigue with a Walk in the Woods” author Gretchen Reynolds summarizes the study originally published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine where researchers attached cutting edge portable Electroencephalograms to 12 healthy adults in order to measure brain wave activity in different environments.

Once outfitted with their portable equipment each subject was sent out for a short walk that would take them through 3 different sections of Edinburgh.  The first half mile took the walkers through a historic shopping district with attractive old buildings and minimal traffic.  The next half mile led through a park like setting with plenty of green space.  Finally, the last leg of the walk took them through a busy industrial area with concrete buildings and heavy vehicle traffic.

The researchers compared the EEG readings for wave patterns related to frustration, mental alertness and calm or meditative.  The results finally confirmed the long standing theory that time spent in green space relieves brain fatigue.

The results consistently demonstrated that when the walkers were in the urbanized areas, particularly the industrial area at the end of the walk, that their brain showed frustration and distraction.  However, while in the park setting brain waves were more meditative and mentally quieter.

Now, mentally quiet does not mean the brain is not engaged, it simply means that the engagement is effortless.  Thus, the brain is not taxed and is able to contemplate and reflect clearly at the same time as opposed to urban environments that consume our brain function preventing us from focusing our attentions effectively elsewhere.

This study suggests that taking a break from work for a walk in the park or even pausing to spend some time looking out the office window at green space is not at all unproductive, in fact quite the opposite.  Taking some time during the day to quiet our brain can serve to prevent brain fatigue and therefore increase our ability to focus and work productively.

Un-common Sense

Duncan Watts has just written a new book with the title “Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer): How Common Sense Fails.  Watts explores how our reliance on commons sense and the idea of what is obvious in human behavior to govern our everyday lives often translates to errors when anticipating or managing the behaviors of many individuals in a complex setting over time – such as in a corporation, a culture or a certain market.

With common sense we can rationalize just about anything into an obvious conclusion.  The study of social sciences is often looked upon as unnecessary for that very reason.  If a study concludes that people living in the city are more likely to own vacation home then our common sense will tell us ‘of course they are more likely to own a vacation home so they can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax’.  While that same study could conclude that those living in rural areas are more likely to own vacation homes and again our ‘common sense’ would kick in and tell us that ‘of course it makes sense that those in rural areas would be more likely own vacation homes, they are more relaxed and aren’t as addicted to the corporate life and convenience of the city.’  It would be seemingly obvious either way but the accuracy of the pattern can only be determined through the study of social behavior.

For example, under the guise of common sense, marketers may feel that they have a good sense of what consumers want and how to sell them more.  However, their predictions are often based on their own ‘obvious’ motivations rather than the complex variety of motivations that exist within a diverse group.  The same is true for any problem that falls under the umbrella of ‘social’ rather than scientific.  However, as Watts points out in his book we actually have a much better grasp on the physical sciences than managing problems with a people factor such as the economy or corporate culture.

“The paradox of common sense, then, is that even as it helps us make sense of the world, it can actively undermine our ability to understand it.”


Are you using QR Codes?

If you’re not familiar with QR (Quick Response) codes, they’re similar to the barcodes used by retailers to track inventory and price products at the point of sale. The key difference between the two is the amount of data they can hold or share. QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information.

qr code iphone googleWhen you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web; activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS; and connect the mobile device to a web browser.

There’s no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes.  While a video or landing page is easily shared, you could go further and share an entire eBook and even multiple pieces of content that share a common link.  QR codes enhance both your search engine and social media optimization so you can increase traffic to those searchable objects to further optimize them by encouraging more sharing.

QR Codes can be placed almost anywhere including business cards, brochures, packaging menus etc. and can link to:RebuildCentralPark_QRCode_ad3Love

  • Installation instructions
  • Sources for replacement parts and service
  • Directions to your business
  • The process for hiring your professional services
  • Valuable coupons and special offers
  • Recommendations for complementary products and services
  • Free mp3 downloads
  • Customer feedback forms

Example United Airlines – Many of the major airlines are now using 2D codes as digital boarding passes.  I recently learned that by the end of 2011 all carriers will be required to provide this service for international flights.


Art and Successful Meeting Collaborations

Of equal importance to effective problem solving as the approach, are the conditions or environment. At Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute we strive to provide an environment that is not only conducive to formal learning, but rich with  informal learning opportunities.

Informal learning, by its nature is unplanned and fortuitous and the physical environment can do much to enhance thisprocess.Throughout Kingbridge you will find exhibits and artwork intended to promote conversations on perspective and interpretation which can ultimately prepare attendees to engage more effectively during the meeting.


Last week an organization that frequents Kingbridge, having noticed the array of artwork and exhibits, decided that in addition to appreciating them for their thought provoking properties would like to learn some of the stories behind them.  On a tour of the facility we explored Escher’s use of perspective and diversity and how both these factors are key elements for meetings.

We stopped at the world’s largest Klein bottle, a boundless 4 dimensional construct and inspiration for the Kingbridge logo, since boundless, out of the ‘box’ thinking is what we believe makes a meeting.  Then made our way to the library where you will find a small Stirling Engine, a nod to the marvels of technology next to a wine glass bent at the stem by the telekinetic powers of a mentalist – just to remind us that even science (and scientists!) don’t have all the answers.


The list goes on from areas dedicated to humour, impression and perception – but you’ll have to come for a visit to experience them!<a style="color:white"