Mental Model Dōjō Community Forum

February 21, 2024 Session (free)

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  • Session A: Feb 21 (Wed) 08:00 SGT, Feb 20 (Tue) 19:00 US EST, 18:00 CST, 16:00 PST
  • Session B: Feb 21 (Wed) 19:00 SGT, 15:00 DXB, 12:00 CET, 11:00 GMT

Featured Topic

Instructing to Coaching: How to Shift Your Leadership Style


Letting go of command and control is really hard, isn’t it? I’m a professional coach and I’m not immune. If I recall my last dozen or so conversations, although none were forceful or directive in tone, at least a couple were “instructing” in style.

If I replay those conversations in my mind, I could see that the same conversation could have been done differently in many ways, in various delegating, facilitative, empowering and coaching styles. My impatience pulled me down.

Telling people what to do, i.e. instructing leadership, tends to get the job done. So we rely on it a lot. But let me drop a bomb here: it’s a polite form of command and control. We’re still in the headspace of expecting people to act and behave as we want them to.

Real delegation and empowerment involves giving up that narrow expectation. It takes getting used to letting people do things their way, bringing back unexpected results, watching them fail to learn. It requires deep trust and surrender of control. It’s seriously uncomfortable!

Nonetheless, coaching leadership, and synonymously facilitative leadership and servant leadership is rewarding. And in my opinion it’s a developable skill and capability. So if you want it you can have it.

The big question is, how? It’s not easy and I don’t think one can be just taught how to become a coaching leader, because it’s a personal transformation journey.

So let’s discuss. On February 21 Wednesday (20th Tuesday for folks in the Americas), I’ll set up a space where we will put veteran coaches from our community with leader participants into breakout rooms for small group discussions. Leaders, in confidence ask anything, share anything with our coaches, and seek insights and inspirations.

There will be no session recordings this time (for confidentiality) and no lecture notes (I can’t “instruct” how to make you a coaching leader 😎) that I will share later. So please join live if you’d be interested.

– Coach Takeshi

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About the Mental Model Dōjō

We’ve got to have many mental models in our head, and array our experiences on a “latticework” of mental models, says Charlie Munger. OD (Organization Development) in today’s context is nothing but complex. There’s no magic bullet singular solution to the many challenges that leaders and teams face in day-to-day work. We need a multiplex of tools, approaches, frameworks, i.e. mental models.

We created the Mental Model Dōjō learning community at Agile OD to foster lifelong learning for our current and alumni clients, and to invite anyone with the learning mindset to explore and experiment the many cognitive tools, thinking frameworks, communication approaches, collaboration modalities and, simply put, philosophies created by the great minds of old and new.

About Agile OD

Hi, thank you for your interest in Agile Organization Development. My name is Coach Takeshi and I lead our growing tribe of now 30 plus expert coaches, trainers, facilitators and consultants from all around the world.

I created Agile OD as a force for good in our rapidly evolving world. Our focus is on helping leaders, teams and organizations make the workplace a better place for all so that we can enjoy more fullfilling and valuable work.

That’s why we are first and foremost learning professionals – our work is “inside-out” helping people develop and master the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for reaching their individual, team and organizational goals.

We work at all levels of the organization, from C-suite to corporate strategy teams managing mission critical organizational change, transformation and innovation programs, HR teams facilitating learning & development programs for their talent, business units and product development teams aspiring to achieve high and hyper performance, and with love and care any individual person seeking support for their personal and professional development.

We work with all sizes of organizations, from multi-national corporations to public entities, SMEs and startups.

Let us know what you have in mind for your learning needs:


Past Forums

Navigating Uncertainty, Handling Complexity - Leadership Skills Development
Managing Smart People, Managing Quiet People
Listen to the Middle Managers Blues
Post-session recording: MMDojo How to healthily storm
MMDojo Forming Storming Norming Performing of Agile Teams
Sep 13, 2023 Growing Critical Thinkers forum
Sep 7, 2023 Art of Influencing forum

After Notes

September 7, 2023

Coach Ramesh Nava and I had a wonderful time with the #mentalmodeldojo community yesterday discussing the super interesting topic of the “Art of Influencing.” As host I obviously am in-the-know of the topic, but every time we have these dōjō sessions my eyes are opened with new perspectives from participants and yesterday was no exception.

Influencing in the organizational context goes up, down and sideways (boss, team members, stakeholders, internal & external partners) and it was fascinating to hear so many real life examples of the struggles of influencing rigid, impatient and resistent people at all levels of the organization.

I found that putting the organizational lens on influencing quite helpful: when we think of influencing, we tend to focus on the very moment of influencing itself, i.e. when you are speaking with somebody.

Yes that point of conversation is very important, and with active listening, empathy and suspending judgment, we can have a much more rich and meaningful dialogue beyond convincing and persuading.

However, I think we overlook the crucial fact that a conversation can’t happen without the opportunity of the conversation in the first place. And those opportunities rarely just happen – we need to set up them up. And I believe this effort, is an integral act of the art of influencing.

What surprised me next was the reaction from the participants when the word “inviting” came up in exploring this part. Inviting somebody to the conversation table, inviting people to a space of learning, exploration, co-creation – I think I heard a whole bunch of “aha!”s in the room!

So influencing starts before the point of conversation, at the point of conversation; and then how about afterwards? Yes, this perspective leads to the insight that the art of influencing is to be played as the long game. I like to express this part as creating a feedback loop: after a great conversation, create another opportunity to speak and see how things are and iterate the dialogue.

We often hope that people will keep their word and act on their promises, but I find that inaction is often not a product of unwillingness. And you can’t blame them for their inaction: because people’s memories fade, priorities shift and situations change. With that understanding and compassion, approaching people and having another heartful conversation becomes a natural act of follow-up. I think people with the ethos (presence, gravitas) are great at keeping that flow going.

Thank you Andre Rubin Santos, Hidemi Takano, Prarthana Alley, Sebastian Bahner, Sorcha Millican-Nagle, Minh Vo, PhD, Morteza Ahmadi, Dr. rer. pol. Monika Friedrich-Nishio, Ranil Perera, Rahmawati Hardian, CHRP (and others, apologies for the omission) for the wonderful time learning together.

– Coach Takeshi

That inspiring and influential leader we stare in awe. Without telling, selling, persuading and convincing much, they consistently sway people in their way. How do they do that? What’s special about them? Can we become one? What does it take to learn this art of influencing? Let’s explore.

Reference reading: (1) Aristotle’s Influence Model, (2) How to Influence, Not Manipulate


  • Session A: Sep 7 (Thu) 08:00 SGP, Sep 6 (Wed) 20:00 US EST, 19:00 CST, 17:00 PST
  • Session B: Sep 7 (Thu) 18:00 SGP, 14:00 DXB, 12:00 PAR, 11:00 LON
Aug 8, 2023 Session A/B Delegation Empowerment Spectrum
Aug 17, 2023 Session A/B Waterfall Agile