About Our Firm
What does the term Bhavana mean, and how does it describe your service?
Bhāvanā, pronounced “bhah-vuh-nah” (video/audio clip), is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “to seed,” or “to cultivate”— derived from “Bhava” which means “being, a state of body or mind.” The Buddha himself chose the word Bhāvanā to describe a process of cultivation: the development of particular mental qualities such as imagination and awareness directed toward intentional change.
At Bhavana Learning Group, we engage clients in a process of “learning and unlearning.” We view our work as grounded in practices and commitment to discovery and evolution. We support learners in cultivating awareness and seeding intentional change as they develop conscious leadership. See “Our Philosophy” for more detail.
What makes Bhavana Learning Group distinct from other coaching firms?
We offer a whole-being approach to learning and development that includes mind, body, and language. To support this approach, we offer a learning community that supports our coaching model, methodology, and practices that combine western learning with a commitment to Buddhist psychology. With three Communities of Practice (monthly Small Sangha and Coaches Salon, and weekly Practice Field) we offer resources, connection, and community.
- Our work integrates leadership research, Western learning models, and Buddhist psychology and practices.
- Our practices cultivate being to deepen listening as the foundation for developing Conscious Leaders.
- Our goal is to deepen the clarity that precedes knowledge and performance to expand leadership.
How do you work with clients? What is the typical time commitment for a coaching agreement?
We work via video web services. Between calls, we communicate through email, within our Learning Community on Slack, and during any of our three Communities of Practice (monthly Small Sangha, and Coaches Salon, and weekly Practice Field).
Our clients typically commit to a one-year customized developmental program based on Our 12 Contemplative PRACTICES to expand conscious leadership and cultivate a coaching mindset. Our primary role is that of a learning partner in a shared commitment for your growth and development.
About Our Learning
How is mentoring different from coaching?
- Coaching cultivates action toward specific developmental goals to expand views and clarify decision-making that can enhance performance, general satisfaction, or direction.
- Mentoring focuses on integration by clarifying learning capacity and perspectives to discover and integrate your own untapped wisdom.
What is generative language?
As humans, we can adopt a relationship to language as representative, analytical or generative. We can describe reality (representative), explain reality (analytical), or create reality (generative). Our view of, or relationship to, language shapes our awareness, agency, and action to develop Generative Communications. We adopt an openness that views language as creating possibilities, as follows:
- Generates action to create change that increases performance
- Generates trust to create connection that enhances relationship and collaboration
- Generates possibility to cultivate imagination that deepens creative-awareness
Download our ebook on the basics of a couple of Speech-ACT that access generative properties.
What is “deep” listening?
Deep Listening involves increasing awareness and openness as follows:
- Awareness: cultivate attention for self-discovery. Cultivating awareness involves becoming aware of impediments. With listening practices, we develop practices for becoming Present (here and now within and without), becoming Grounded (focused on matter-at-hand), and becoming Intentional (present to our frame of reference).
- Openness: cultivate space for clarity. With listening practices, we cultivate an interdependent view to notice what arises such as filters, assumptions, beliefs, resistance, and blind spots. We receive concerns from a reflective awareness. With practice, openness dissolves concepts, opinions, or views.
Deep listening develops a non-reactive awareness and presence to receive concerns, as well as perceive experiences or situations. The result of Deep listening is a radical openness characterized by the capacity to be with others fully in any situation.
Download our White Paper, Commitment of Listening.
What do you mean by “unlearning”?
Unlearning involves breaking down the origins of our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, feelings, and biases.
- An inquiry into unlearning to question, examine, and distinguish concealed assumptions that form our relationships with concepts and views.
- Over a period, such an inquiry ultimately results in the experience of releasing, letting go or altering the relationship to any concept or view.
- As it progresses, the unlearning process cultivates an openness for something new to emerge, to be distinguished and realized, and then to be integrated into one’s being.
- We employ deep listening practices to expand our unlearning capacity.
Does your work involve diversity and culture?
At Bhavana Learning Group, we employ anti-racist, reflective, practices and invite evolutionary thinking. Many “anti-racist” practices build the foundation for evolutionary thinking that integrates accountability and inclusion with justice and compassion. This work can be the most challenging, as it includes revealing our blindspots to expand systemic awareness. This involves practices for unlearning our worldviews.
Through our methods and practices, we work to reveal and unlearn systemic bias by questioning and examining contextual awareness and worldviews. Our work is grounded in mutual learning and ontological humility, based on interdependent awareness. These posts detail the importance of equity and dignity, as well as our view on mutual learning in our white paper: A Pedagogical Inquiry: Challenges in Unlearning Systemic Bias.
About Our Community
What are the “Communities of Practice”?
“Communities of Practice” are spaces that support learning in community. We have three practice spaces:
- Our Practice Field supports our Client Community to develop contemplative practices for conscious leadership.
- Our Coaches Salon supports our Coaching Community to cultivate a coaching mindset via deep listening practices.
- Our Small Sangha supports our Wisdom Community to study wisdom from Buddhist Psychology.
Members of each community learn to embody contemplative practices to support coaching and leadership. Share questions and experiences in each community. Gather insights from the community.
How can I join these Communities of Practice?
Each community has membership criteria and commitments. Visit the individual pages for information on membership.
- For more information on the Practice Field, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information on Coaches Salon, contact email@example.com.
- For more information on Small Sangha, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How do these Communities of Practice support me as a professional?
Each of the communities of practice support membership by sharing resources and experiences that can strengthen study and practice.
The Practice Field develops Contemplative Practices for Conscious Leadership. It supports our client community to learn to use your breath and body to access wisdom and practices in everyday life. And techniques for centering, pausing, concentrating, and practicing mindfulness.
The Coaches Salon cultivates a Coaching Mindset via Deep Listening Practices. It supports our coaching community to deepen practice to stabilize the foundation for deep listening. And to discover new ways to observe and deepen distinctions to support your listening.
The Small Sangha studies Wisdom from Buddhist Psychology. It supports our wisdom community to develop an understanding of our innate wisdom. Through studies and practices in community, we discern our experience and discover obscurations to our view. We have programs for those interested in studying Buddhist Psychology.
What is the online learning community, and how can I join?
Our online learning community includes those members who wish to engage online to share interests and offer support to others, and receive resources, updates, and announcements beyond our Wisdom Weekly.
To sign up just subscribe to our Wisdom Weekly at the bottom of this PAGE. The registration for offers access to becoming a member of our online learning community on SLACK (below).
About Our Methods
Do I have to learn to meditate? How will this help me?
Our 12 PRACTICES support Contemplative Learning. Clients do begin a breathing practice – either guided or in silence. We begin where the client can begin. We work toward a daily practice, and extend that to a 20-minute daily practice during our year together. The breathing practice centers clients in becoming still throughout the day; pausing routinely to ground action, focus attention, and become mindful in activities. See our Contemplative Practices page for additional support.
What is distinct about Bhavana’s leadership development model?
OUR APPROACH. Our work involves an ontological inquiry that differentiates the nature and function of being, through an exploration of mind, body, and language. This begins with developing the ground of being in conditions and practices to develop a coaching mindset. We offer 12 Contemplative Practices to support our model. When embodied and practiced, these conditions and practices cultivate a conscious leadership mindset.
What is an Ontological Coaching Model?
WHAT IS IT? We engage in an ontological inquiry into the nature and function of being; that is, an inquiry into the experience of being human, and specifically, being a leader. We cultivate being through inquiry into mind, body, and language. Through this inquiry, we transcend the problem-solving learning model and engage in an inquiry-possibility mode.
Coaching means different things to different people. For us at Bhavana Learning Group, the art of coaching:
— Involves a commitment to the art of conversation, dialogue, and inquiry.
— Unlocks the potential of conversations with distinctions and practices that expand awareness and deepen listening.
— Creates space for clients to sort themselves out to surface priorities and discover deeper truths.
— Expands perceptions to reveal our conditioning, worldviews, and blind spots,
— Cultivates possibility from an authentic commitment.
How is your Leadership Model different from other types of leadership?
WHAT IS IT? Our Conscious Leadership Model begins with honoring Servant Leadership. Review Robert Greenleaf’s, Servant leadership model, which “begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” We cultivate this mindset through increasing self-awareness to evolve a conscious leadership.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? We have consulted The ten precepts of Servant Leadership and developed our 12 Practices in an interdependent and intentional awareness that defines our model of Conscious Leadership. These 12 Practices rely on Four Pillars: Awareness, Integrity, Authenticity, and Commitment. We adopt this view of leadership based on service to something bigger than ourselves.
What is Vertical Development?
Our typical learning and developmental models focus on content, competency, and goals. This represents horizontal or lateral development, an approach that optimizes the knowledge and processes in the prevailing paradigm.
Vertical development increases the spaciousness and awareness that cultivates emerging paradigms. This approach increases the capacity to create contexts for perspective-building. Vertical growth increases our capacity to learn, unlearn, and integrate greater levels of complexity and change.
Like children, leaders go through stages of development. We integrate the very latest research in adult developmental stages and apply it to increase leadership capacity. Our research includes Ken Wilber (Integral Theory), Don Beck/Clare Graves (Spiral Dynamics), Susanne Cook-Greuter (self-identity), Jane Lovinger/Erik Erikson (ego development), Robert Kegan (adult development), and Bill Tobert (action logic).
Shaped in a circular spiral, our stage development model strengthens previous stages to build the foundation required for later stages of leadership development.
How We Work
What kind of assessment tools or evaluation processes do you employ?
We use Vertical Development tools to assess mindset, as well as self-assessments in Spiritual Intelligence (SQ21) assessment. Review our page on Assessments.
Do you specialize in working with specific market segments?
We work with:
- COACHES – We support experienced coaches in broadening their service portfolio to include methods and practices that expand listening capacity for developing a conscious leadership mindset.
- LEARNING PROFESSIONALS – We work with educators, HR directors, and adult development professionals to cultivate practices for unlearning, deep listening, and presence.
- BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS – We work with entrepreneurs, executives, and teams by developing conscious leadership practices that support inclusive learning cultures.
Can you coach our entire management team?
Yes, we have a few options: first, we engage in coaching or consulting engagements to create generative communications for individuals and teams to create a shared vision and Commitment.
Will you work with smaller teams within large organizations?
Can we book you for a speaking engagement?
Yes, we are willing to speak or hold inquiries on subjects such as Deep Listening, Unlearning, or topics such as Contemplative Practices, Generative Language, and Conscious Leadership.
How We Connect & Learn
How can I use Bhavana as a resource?
We curate research on adult learning, leadership mindsets, and contemplative practices. We design learning models to work with professionals on vertical development that cultivates learning cultures.
What is the difference between your blog, Wisdom Weekly, and Think Tank?
- The Blog, Unlearning Curve, explores in-depth ideas, concepts, and practices in ways that invite new learning to expand leadership.
- Our Wisdom Weekly Digest curates research and brief items that support leadership and contemplative practices for our growing learning community.
- Think Tank is an expanded resource center, exclusive for clients, where we post our original IP for them to access and use with their colleagues or clients.
Who has influenced you – which writers, thinkers, philosophers?
We have been informed by research into human development via several modes of understanding: Eastern philosophy and mindfulness; Western thinking and Integral Theory, and extended work in ontological learning by these scholars, philosophers, and cultural thinkers. We’ve posted Tony Zampella’s booklist here:
Philosophers/Thinkers: Hannah Arendt, Herbert Dreyfus, Paulo Freire, Erving Goffman, Carl Jung, Martin Heidegger, Eric Hoffer, Peter Koestenbaum, and Ken Wilber.
Scholars: Don Beck, David Bohm, Fritjof Capra, Fernando Flores, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Greenleaf, Ibram X. Kendi, Lisa Laskow Lahey, George Leonard, James Collins, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Robert Kegan, Fred Kofman, George Leonard, Humberto Maturana, Julio Olalla, Harrison Owen, Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge, Alan Sieler, Bill Torbert, Francisco Varela, and Margaret Wheatley.
Cultural Thinkers: James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Yongey Migyur, Shunryu Suzuki, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Eckhart Tolle, and Chogyam Trungpa.
What do you recommend I read/follow to accelerate my learning in this space?
Visit our public Learning & Research Center for books, articles, white papers, and videos. We’ve also posted Tony Zampella’s booklist here. Many of the topics include leadership development, mindfulness, generative language, mindsets, learning, culture, and listening.