Tourist, Traveler, or Pilgrim?

  In life, are you a tourist, a traveler, or a pilgrim? I love to travel, as many people do. When I learned Rick Steves was giving a talk in Charlotte, I had to go. Rick Steves is an American travel writer, tour guide, and tv host. His company helps 30,000 people a year travel to…

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Strategic Planning That Hits

  I was recently asked to facilitate the strategic planning retreat for a long-term client of The Sparks Group. I thought I would share the story of this work to illustrate how both developmental and business objectives can be accomplished in an integrated fashion, making the investment of senior leader time and effort have a…

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Happy Holidays: You are seen. You are safe. You belong.

Happy Holidays from The Sparks Group! We hope you are enjoying the season in whatever ways are most meaningful for you. Also: this can be a tough time of year for many reasons. We are delighted to share some thoughts from Dr. Laura Yee Breeding, one of our many talented coaches, on how the holidays…

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Teamwork Ugh

Teamwork. Collaboration. It sounds so straightforward, doesn’t it? Time and again, however, leaders share with us just how challenging it is. Many models describe what effective teaming looks like, the lifecycle of teams, and the dysfunctions team experience (thanks Patrick Lencioni!) While there’s value in many of these ideas, in the individual coaching context getting…

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How to Measure Vertical Development with Assessments

Maturity assessments measure where a person falls within the seven stages of the vertical development framework. Key Takeaways: Maturity assessments are used to help leaders and their coaches understand the stage of adult development they’re in and how they can move forward The assessments usually contain a sentence completion element, take about 20 minutes online,…

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Proactively Trying to Move to the Next Stage of Adult Development: The Last Three Stages

We’re back with more about how to transition from one stage of vertical development (or adult development) to the next. Now, we’re focusing on the post-conventional phases. Post-conventional means these stages have the common characteristic of shedding some societal norms and expectations. This may look like letting go of stories we’ve always told about ourselves…

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How Do We Grow Vertically?

Vertical development requires the right conditions and experiences, which we can find ourselves in and also create for ourselves when we want to grow. Key Takeaways: Growing vertically means we move forward through the seven stages of vertical development, finding and working through our limitations to expand our thinking Often unplanned life experiences push us…

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Can You Skip Steps in Vertical Development?

While we can’t skip stages, we often go back to earlier stages, and sometimes we take on the state of another stage without fully embodying it. Key Takeaways: No skipping the line: We can’t skip vertical development stages – think of the framework like tree rings, where the outer rings can’t exist without the inner…

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Why Vertical Development Is the Antidote to VUCA

VUCA helps us define how complex our modern world has become. Vertical development allows leaders to deal with the ongoing complexity crisis. Key Takeaways: The term VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity and helps us understand our modern world Vertical development is a requirement for leaders because how they think becomes more important…

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