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 their own “becoming” a commitment, which involves “learning and unlearning.” We view our work as grounded in practices and commitment to discovery and evolution. We support learners in cultivating their awareness and seeding intentional change as they develop conscious leadership. See “Our Philosophy for more detail.

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What makes Bhavana Learning Group distinct from other coaching firms?

We design learning that cultivate being by deepening a commitment to listening as the foundation for developing Conscious Leaders. Our work integrates leadership research, Western learning models, and Eastern wisdom practices. Our goal deepens the clarity that precedes and enhances one’s knowledge and performance to expand leadership.

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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 our weekly Practice Field. Our clients typically commit to a one-year customized developmental program based on Our 12 PRACTICES to expand conscious leadership and cultivate a coaching mindset. Our primary role is that of learning partner in a shared commitment for your growth and development.

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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.

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What is generative language?

As humans, we can adopt a relationship to language as representative, analytical and/or generative. We can describe reality (representative), understand reality (analytical) or create reality (generative). Our view of, or relationship to, language shapes our awareness, agency, and action. Generative Language adopts an open-oriented view of language that that view possibilities, it can:

  • 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.

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What is “deep” listening?

Deep Listening involves penetrating our attention structures to increase awareness and openness as follows:

  1. Awareness: cultivate attention for self-discovery. With listening practices, we become aware of impediments, and become Present (here and now within and without), Grounded (focused on matter-at-hand), and Intentional (present to our frame of reference).
  2. Openness: cultivate space to be clear and free. With listening practices, we notice what arises such as filters, assumptions beliefs, resistance, and blind spots. We can receive the concerns of others from an interdependent awareness, beyond any label, opinion, or view.

We develop a presence to receive concerns, as well as to perceive experiences or situations with a non-reactive awareness. 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.

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What do you mean by “unlearning”?

Unlearning involves breaking down the origins of our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, feelings, and biases.

  • An inquiry into unlearning cultivates a first-person inquiry 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.

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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 sustainability. 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.

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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.

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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.

Coaching means different things to different people. For us at Bhavana Learning Group, the act of coaching:

— Involves a commitment to the art of conversation, dialogue, and inquiry.

— Unlocks the potential of conversations. Our distinctions and practices expand awareness, listening, and inquiry.

— Creates space for clients to sort themselves out and discover their deeper truths.

— Explores being human to reveal our conditioning, worldviews, and blind spots, cultivating possibility from an authentic commitment.

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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 act of coaching:

— Involves a commitment to the art of conversation, dialogue, and inquiry.

— Unlocks the potential of conversations. Our distinctions and practices expand awareness, listening, and inquiry.

— Creates space for clients to sort themselves out and discover their deeper truths.

— Explores being human to reveal our conditioning, worldviews, and blind spots, cultivating possibility from an authentic commitment.

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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, 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.

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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.

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How We Work

What kind of assessment tools or evaluation process 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.

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Do you specialize in working with specific market segments?

We work with:

  • COACHESWe support experienced coaches in broadening their service portfolio to include methods and practices that expand listening capacity for developing a conscious leadership mindset.
  • LEARNING PROFESSIONALSWe work with educators, HR directors, and adult development professionals to cultivate practices for unlearning, deep listening, and presence.
  • BUSINESS PROFESSIONALSWe work with entrepreneurs, executives, and teams by developing conscious leadership practices that support inclusive learning cultures.

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Can you coach our entire management team?

Yes, we have a few options: first, we can create learning programs for individuals and teams; second, we facilitate Forums for teams to create a shared vision and Commitment for an emerging culture.

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Will you work with smaller teams within large organizations?

Yes.

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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.

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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.

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How can I join your learning community?

Sign up for our Wisdom Weekly at the bottom of this PAGE. Become a member of our SLACK Community (below), now forming to accommodate specific interests.

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What is the difference between your blog, Wisdom Weekly, and Think Tank?

  • The Blog, Learning 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.

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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 Koffman, George Leonard, Humberto Maturana, Julio Olalla, Harrison Owen, Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge, Alan Sieler, Bill Torbert, Eckhart Tolle, Francisco Varela, and Margaret Wheatley.

Cultural Thinkers: James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, Bhante Gunaratana, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Shunryu Suzuki, Geshe Tashi Tsering, and Chogyam Trungpa.

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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.

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ray-dalio

“People think that my success is … because of what I know. It’s not. It’s due more to how I deal with not knowing.”

—RAY DALIO
Founder, Bridgewater Associates

MINI-CASE for COACHES to EXPAND SERVICES outlines the story and scope of a client.