Feature Article: The Integral 360° Leadership and Management Profile: An Extra-ordinary Approach for Leadership Development

Ron Cacioppe

Ron CacioppeIntroduction: A 360° Profile to Develop Integral Leadership

“There is clear evidence of a radical paradigm shift in the practice of management development—from the dominant emphasis on the superficial level of behavioural skills to the deeper and more powerful level of developing consciousness.”
>H. Harung, D. Heaton and C. Alexander

The development of leadership skills is an important part of the success of every organisation in the current rapidly changing economic, technical and social environment. Leadership helps organisations navigate through the complexities and changes that are part of the contemporary business landscape.

There are many leadership models which have associated 360° leadership assessment instruments that provide feedback to managers to help them develop key skills in leadership. These models are based on varying underlying dimensions and parameters such as competencies, personality traits, emotional intelligence skills, situational or transformational leadership skills, interpersonal behaviours and personal qualities such as ethics and values. Integral theory has been described as a meta-theory that provides an over-arching integrating perspective of different frameworks that brings together physical, mental/emotional and spiritual dimensions and offers a way to integrate and extend many existing leadership models.

The Integral Leadership and Management Profile (Integral LMP) has been developed in Australia by the author over the last fifteen years. It is based on the application of Integral theory to the competencies and qualities of leadership and management, and is available through Integral Development Pty Ltd.

The purpose of this article is to:

  • Describe the Integral Leadership and Management Profile that has been used with over 3000 managers.
  • Describe the unique theoretical, operational and practical aspects of the Integral model of the Integral Leadership and Management Profile relative to other 360° leadership profiles.
  • Summarise the highest and lowest skills of the public and private managers who have completed the Integral Leadership and Management Profile and another Integral 360° instrument designed specifically for public sector managers and
  • Discuss Integral coaching and other important aspects in the 360° feedback process needed for the effective use of the Integral 360° instruments.

The first part of this article describes the 360° leadership assessment and feedback process and its value in developing leadership and management skills. In the second part of the article, the underlying theory of the Integral Leadership and Management Profile (Integral LMP) is described, followed by the technical and practical features of the Integral LMP. The third section of the article describes the highest and lowest leadership skills that public and private managers have, based on the results of the Integral 360° ratings. The fourth section describes the unique aspects of the instrument in relation to a number of the well known leadership 360° inventories such as the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI, Kouzes and Posner, 1993), the Lifestyle Inventory (LSI) and the Competing Values Framework. Finally, Integral coaching and other important issues, problems and experiences in the use of the Integral 360° feedback process are discussed.

This article suggests that the Integral LMP, combined with a well-managed 360° feedback and Integral coaching process, is a powerful and effective way to develop leadership and management skills. The Integral LMP combined with Integral coaching is an effective and suitable approach for leadership and management development and has several extraordinary elements that provides a foundation for a balanced and sustainable approach to leadership and organisational development. This includes a comprehensive integration of leadership and management theory and competencies, a way to build and balance the four quadrants of Integral Leadership and management and a route to discover the ‘authentic Self’, the basis of Integral Leadership.

Current Use of 360° Leadership Feedback
“People need an assessment of some kind to understand the starting point from which they can improve the quality of their contribution”.
>Karl Albrecht (1995)

Multi-rater or 360° feedback has become an important part of the process that many organisations use to develop leadership and management skills.360° or ‘full circle’ feedback provides a summary of feedback collected from people all around a manager, including superordinates, subordinates and peers, which define the extent of key leadership and management skills of a designated manager. Feedback is systematically collected, usually through an online questionnaire, and compiled into graphical profiles and written comments. This feedback enables participants to compare their perceptions of their leadership skills with the perceptions of important others in their work environment.

While 360° degree assessments have been used in a variety of contexts such as training needs analysis, succession planning and performance appraisal, the common application has been for individual leadership and management development, frequently as a part of management and leadership development programs. The primary purpose of 360° degree feedback is to identify developmental opportunities. Initially 360° feedback was provided for development purposes and currently over 85% of organisations using 360° feedback use it for this purpose. There is a growing tendency to incorporate the results into a person’s performance appraisal review. However, there is some evidence that indicates there is a likelihood that rater bias to occur when the 360° process is used for performance appraisal (DeNisi & Kluger, 2000).

By reviewing different perceptions of their leadership and management style, 360° feedback participants can confirm their strengths, identify leadership blind spots, determine habits/behaviours/styles that may be having an adverse impact on others, and establish their developmental priorities and actions. A summary of the average ratings of all managers on each competency is oftenprovided which allows a manager to compare himself or herself against an organisational or industry average.

The feedback report usually contains supporting material that will help individuals to set goals for improvement as part of a developmental plan. Resources to get people started (e.g. a listing of books, bookshops, videos, training courses etc.) are often provided. The aggregated summary of all managers can also be used to determine training needs over the entire organisation or within specific departments.

Given the sensitive nature of the feedback, reports are usually distributed one-to-one or in a workshop with a group of participants. The workshop setting can be part of a leadership development program or a workshop to provide participants their results and to help them understand the information prior to receiving one-to-one coaching. These workshops also give individuals the opportunity to share and discuss their feedback, although there is no requirement to show your results to anyone else. Whether there is a group workshop or not, most 360° processes involves a participant meeting one-to-one with a coach to clarify feedback and to help with action planning.

Given the potential emotional impact on participants, competent internal or external coaches trained in providing feedback of the 360° instrument usually help manage feedback and discussion of the profile results. Follow-up coaching is often provided in order to help participants progress on their action plans and to develop skills that are needed to deal with ongoing management situations. Coaching support is often provided for a period of three months or longer and involves three or more sessions.

Cacioppe and Albrecht (2000) have reviewed the research and use of 360° profiles and processes. Studies have shown that the 360° process is most effective when it is used for development rather than performance appraisal of managers. Overall the research so far suggests that 360° feedback creates accurate and balanced performance measures and helps overcome the typical personal and organisational biases found in single source supervisor ratings. While there is a reasonable amount of evidence that shows that 360° feedback leads to improved performance, this may not occur with some managers and may even contribute to a decrease in performance is some cases based on the type and focus of feedback and the self-concept of the person. Currently, many 360° feedback programs are only conducted once and therefore do not provide the opportunity for a person to assess whether they have improved or not (DeNisi & Kluger, 2000).

The Integral Model of Leadership and Management

Defining the key elements and skills of leadership, management, and personal and interpersonal skills is essential to an effective 360° feedback process. Any leadership model and associated 360° questionnaire needs to provide a true measure of leadership and managerial effectiveness based on a valid and relevant set of dimensions.

The Competing Values (CV) model (Quinn et al, 1996) was an early, well-researched model of management that integrated various historical models of management and provided a basis for many of the key roles that managers play. The Competing Values framework was organised around two major dimensions: internal vs external and control vs flexibility. After using the Quinn model and associated 360° instrument for four years and reviewing the research carried out by Hoojiberg, (1996) that pointed out its inadequacies, the author revised the fundamental dimensions and roles of the model and several of the competencies measured by the model. The Competing Values framework did not adequately capture ‘vision’ or ‘customer orientation’ roles and associated competencies that are fundamental to effective leadership and management. Integral theory provided a comprehensive framework that incorporated many of the elements not captured in the Quinn model. The Integral Leadership and Management Profile was developed to better represent the competencies and attributes of leadership and managerial effectiveness and at the same time provide a substantial theoretical basis that could be used for individual, team and organisational development based on a new paradigm appropriate for the 21st century.

Integral Theory is an over-arching, meta-theory developed by Ken Wilber (2000) that integrates a number of theoretical perspectives. It is referred to as the “AQAL” (All Quadrants, All Levels) Integral theory. All Quadrants refer to four quadrants that occur as a result of dividing reality into two major dimensions: The Individual–Organisational/Collective and the Relationship–Results. These two dimensions result in the four quadrants referred to as: the ‘I’, individual consciousness quadrant, the ‘We’ quadrant which includes shared understanding or meaning between two or more people, the ‘it’ quadrant of behaviours and skills, and ITS, the quadrant of social and organisational systems. All Levels describes various levels through which the self develops in order to discover its highest, true or ‘authentic’ self.

While Integral Theory was used as the central organising perspective, the Integral LMP used additional dimensions from current leadership research. A review of the major theories and research on leadership such as leadership traits, situational leadership, contingency leadership and transformational leadership showed that there were common behaviours and dimensions to these theories. As a result, leadership and management competencies were organised around three dimensions: Internal vs External, Results vs Relationship and Individual vs Collective. These dimensions combined the Integral four quadrants, the Competing Values dimensions and the results/task and relationship dimensions of the situational leadership model. These three dimensions are shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Underlying Dimensions of the Integral Leadership & Management Profile
Figure 1: Underlying Dimensions of the Integral Leadership & Management Profile

The two primary dimensions of the Integral Leadership and Management Model are the Individual– Organisational/Collective focus (Figure 2) and results in the four quadrant framework for the 360° Integral LMP. The four quadrants are titled: ‘People Leadership”, “Performance Management”, “Visionary Innovative Leadership” and “Strategic Goal Management”. This model aligns well with the work of John Kotter and others that describes the functions of leadership and management. The terms: HEAD, HANDS, HEART and SPIRIT are used as an abbreviated description of these four quadrants.

Figure 2: Dimensions and Major Functions of Leadership and Management
Figure 2: Dimensions and Major Functions of Leadership and Management

The vertical dimension of Figure 2 shows a dynamic between an Organisational and an Individual focus. On the one hand, managers are expected to focus on the ‘big picture’, the ‘whole’, the ‘collective good’, the ‘long-term’ and the ‘strategic’. They need to concentrate on setting a vision for the future, on managing relations that support the greater good, managing and facilitating change and on setting and achieving organisational goals. It is critical that today’s managers are able to develop and sustain a common purpose and vision which drives and binds an organisation together.

The horizontal dimension shows the dynamic between a Relationship orientation (connect, to relate, bring together) and a Results orientation (to achieve relevant outcomes). To achieve organisational wellbeing and success, a balance needs to be struck between achieving results and building relationships. Controls need to be in place so there is a sense of order, structure and certainty. Equally, there needs to be a value placed on personal relationships, personal wellbeing, reflection, experimentation, change and growth. The four quadrants can be shown as the four major functions of leadership and management:

Visionary Innovative Leadership– the development of the purpose and vision and facilitating the change needed to attain it. The leader needs to examine, challenge, involve and be willing to set out in an entirely new direction.
Strategic Goal Management– the major goals and objectives of the organisation and building systems and procedures to attain these. This includes setting directions and negotiating with the next level of the organisation or stakeholders to obtain resources that will help or remove major hindrances to help achieve these objectives.
Task/Performance Management– the management and monitoring of specific tasks and actions to achieve the goals set out by management. In this capacity the manager manages resources, staff and time efficiently and checks that tasks and costs are on target and being carried out correctly.
People Leadership– leading people requires coaching and working with them to ensure they feel valued and at the same time developing their contribution to the team. People leadership also means keeping in contact with customers and ensuring that the services and products are meeting their needs.

Leadership effectiveness and organisational wellbeing depends to a large extent on the active integration of organisational ‘whole’ with organisational ‘parts’ and on striking a balance between organisational controls and group and individual relationships. This Integral Leadership and management framework recognises that managers can easily over emphasize one quadrant (e.g. profit and revenue goals) to the detriment of others. Too much emphasis on any one quadrant limits sustainable organisational success. The Integral LMP provides a practical model that leader-managers can use to broaden their view about the leadership competencies they need, and challenge their existing and entrenched leadership and managerial style.

The work of an Integral leader involves managing the dynamics between the individuals, the team and the organisation as a whole. Every manager, for example, experiences pressure from the environment in the form of demands or threats which challenge the organisation’s or team’s identity and survival. This could be new technology, loss of jobs or resources, a new CEO who wants things done differently or conflict with another department, for example. A manager has to put together business plans and objectives to fit with the organisation’s goals and has to make sure his/her people act in accordance with the organisational policies and culture. The leader’s job is to integrate the team or department into the larger organisational operation. An Integral leader therefore works with both individual and a group (parts and a whole) and the relationships between people and the things that they need to do to fulfill the goals of the group. Fundamentally, the Integral leader integrates, links and develops visions, goals, people and tasks. They also do this in harmony with the natural environment and the social communities they affect. The Integral leader goes beyond just seeing interactions with customers, employees, stakeholders, community members and the natural environment as transactions or activities that lead to the benefit of the organisation. They include this perspective but transcend it by realising the world, their organisation and themselves are not separate entities but are inextricably linked together. The Integral leader sees that his or her role is to ensure the welfare of customers, stakeholders, the community, and the natural environment in a sustainable way, which means they recognise that sufficient financial resources or profits are necessary but alone are not enough to make a truly sustainable organisation.

Domains of the Integral Leadership and Management Profile

The Integral LMP feedback provides information in five separate domains (Table 1) that define different areas of leadership and managerial effectiveness. The first domain focuses on the extent to which individuals demonstrate key competencies within eight roles critical to leadership and managerial effectiveness. The second domain represents a set of ‘personal authentic qualities’ that impact on effective managerial and leadership behaviour. The third domain focuses on the special strategic priorities of the each organisation in the form of customised questions. The fourth domain on the outcomes of a manager’s leadership style and includes information on the effect on quality, effort, satisfaction and other factors relative to the subordinate’s work. The last domain measures the manager’s focus and energy which is referred to as the person’s world view or level of development.

  1. Eight Roles of Leadership and Management
  2. Authentic Self Qualities
  3. Vital Organisational Skills
  4. Impact of Leadership Behaviour
  5. Worldview – Levels of Development

Table 1: Five Domains of the Integral Leadership and Management Profile

Domain 1: Eight Roles of Leadership and Management

The four quadrants of the Integral Leadership and Management framework (Figure 2) are further divided into eight key leadership and management roles as shown in Figure 3 below. These eight roles form the basis of the Integral LMP. In each quadrant, one role has an external focus (Achieving) and the other has an internal focus (Monitoring) Each of the eight roles is defined in terms of four specific behavioural-based questions. Thirty-two behavioural based questions thus form the first domain of the 360° questionnaire. For example, for the visionary role, respondents are asked to identify to what extent the leader-manager “communicates a long range vision so people have a clear sense of direction and purpose”. For the achieving role, respondents are asked to rate the extent to which the leader “provides people with clear, accurate and timely feedback on their performance”. For the directing role, respondents are asked to rate the extent to which a leader-manager “delegates responsibility by giving people challenging jobs and the freedom they need to do the job”. The serving role asks questions about the skills of customer service.

Leadership Roles Management Roles

Figure 3: Eight Roles of Leadership Management
Figure 3: Eight Roles of Leadership Management

Confirmatory factor analysis by Cacioppe and Albrecht (2001) has showed that responses do differentiate between the eight factors in the Integral model and that these eight roles are a suitable way to represent the dimensions of leadership and management.

Domain 2: Authentic Self Qualities

The second area of the Integral LMP focuses on the personal/self dimensions of a leader-manager. Twelve questions assess perceptions of how people personally demonstrate leadership and managerial responsibilities. The questions focus on the core skills of self and its interaction with the world. The twelve questions are organised into the four quadrants and are summarised under the titles of Head, Heart, Hands and Spirit, with three questions representing each area. The questions in these quadrants do not specifically measure, but reflect the skills of intellectual intelligence (IQ – Head), emotional intelligence (EQ – Heart), practical intelligence (PQ, tacit – Hands) and intuitive/spiritual intelligence (SQ – Spirit).

The ratings provide participants with specific information such as their integrity and honesty, their emotional impact on others, their outlook, whether they make decisions on a fair and equitable basis and if they manage stress and emotions effectively. These questions were designed by referring to literature describing the personal qualities of leadership such as trust, emotional intelligence and the authentic self (Robbins et al, 1998, Goleman, 1996, Stodgill, 1974, Wren, 1995, Wilber, 1996).

Domain 3: Vital Organisation Skills

This part of the Integral LMP includes strategic issues of importance by customizing questions for each client organisation. Organisations interested in ensuring customer service receives a high priority have included special questions which rate the extent to which a manager uses the customer service improvement process. Public sector organisations have included questions that ask about the extent to which managers are familiar with key policy changes. These strategic questions help managers ground the feedback process within their particular organisation. Chief Executive Officers are often involved in setting these questions so that the 360° process reinforces the strategic change the organisation is implementing.

Domain 4: Worldview – Levels of Development

The worldview segment of the Integral LMP provides insight into the level of development of the participant. Participants and raters use priority voting to describe the areas of energy and commitment they see the manager display. Six worldviews or levels of development are listed: Bonding (purple), Asserting (red), Organising (blue), Achieving (orange), Collaborating (green) and Visioning (yellow). These levels reflect the levels described by Spiral Dynamics and Integral levels of consciousness (Cowan and Tordorovic, 2000, Beck and Cowan, 1996, Wilber, 1996). These levels have been translated into ‘Spiral Development’ levels relevant to the leadership levels in organisations (Cacioppe, 2007). Rather than the value codes or memes, Cacioppe (2007) describes these levels as self ‘identity codes’ since they are trying to measure the more fundamental view of self the leader has. The Integral LMP provides a one-page graph that shows the levels a participant thinks they are operating at with comparisons to how others see them. This often provides valuable insight into the vision and future aspirations of the person and whether the current environment encourages this direction. As a result of this information, a number of managers have clarified their values and established actions to guide their future career and relationship with the organisation and their senior managers.

The information of this graph often helps explain behaviours and ratings of skills in the eight roles. One manager, for example, rated himself high in the achieving (orange) level but his raters indicated they saw him focus primarily on the organising (blue) level. His competency ratings also showed that he was low in the skill of listening and understanding the impact of his behaviours on the people he managed. This occurred because of his strong desire and, at times, impatience to succeed.

Integral Development Pty Ltd also has a more extensive 360° Spiral Development Profile that focuses completely on the levels of development. This profile is often used after the Integral LMP since it examines a person’s values, self identity and dysfunctional behaviour at a much deeper level and sometimes provides very confronting information about the person’s behaviour versus their self concept.

Domain 5: Outcomes of Leadership Behaviour

A fifth segment of the Integral LMP describes the outcomes that raters experience as a result of the manager’s style. This consists of five questions that ask both the manager and the raters to indicate how much the manager’s leadership style effects the quality of the subordinate’s work, the effort they put in, the likelihood the subordinate will stay with the organisation, their job satisfaction and the amount of stress subordinates experience. These questions provide managers a powerful indication of the effects of their leadership skills on others and additional motivation to improve these skills.

Unique Aspects of the Integral Leadership and Management Profile

The Integral LMP has several distinct differences from other popular leadership models that use a 360° feedback instrument. These can be described under two headings – those unique to the Integral perspective and those associated with unique design features of the 360° questionnaire and process used by Integral Development:

1. Unique to the Integral perspective—the following are some of the Integral LMP’s key unique features associated the profile from an Integral perspective:

  • Integral framework – A number of writers and consultants (Waldman & Atwater, 1998) indicate that it is important that any 360° leadership model has a foundation that provides an accurate and worthwhile view of human work within an organisation, how they develop and what they contribute to their stakeholders and customers. Integral theory has been described as the most profound framework of the 21st century and provides a new way of understanding the evolution of consciousness and human development. Using it as the foundation of the Integral LMP anchors the 360° profile in a comprehensive and extraordinary framework that provides managers a profound way of understanding themselves and the organisations they lead. While some frameworks like the Competing Values framework provides a comprehensive perspective, they do not include the deep perspective and understanding of the nature of the ‘self’ which provides a ‘spiritual’ dimension to leadership and a connection with the larger world the leader is part of.
  • Basis for individual, team and organisational development – The AQAL framework provides a comprehensive way to understand the dimensions of individual, team and organisational functioning. Integral Development Pty Ltd has developed the Integral Team Effectiveness Measure (ITEM) and the Integral Organisation Survey (IOS) which measure the key activities in the four quadrants in teams and organisational functioning and provides an indication of the level of development of the team and organisations. The IOS has been used for over 10 years and has over 130 organisations and over 19,000 people have completed it. The ability to provide a model that is suitable for leadership, teams and organisations can be of considerable value in integrating strategy, performance management, leadership development, reward systems and balanced organisational reporting such as Triple Bottom Line and/or the Balanced Scorecard. While some instruments like LSI have team and organisational profiles, they are often limited to interpersonal dimensions and do not include the full range of organisational and team activities that the Integral framework provides. The recognition in Integral theory that the universe is made up of part/wholes, or ‘holons’, provides an integrating perspective that imbeds Integral theory and leadership into the action not only of human societies but of the universe overall. For example, acting in harmony with the natural environment is a question in the Integral LMP and is in perfect alignment with an Integral approach but this competency is not be found in many 360° leadership profiles like the LPI or the LSI. The Integral perspective provides an explanation and a vision that lifts the role of human consciousness and leadership well beyond many current views and theories of leadership.
  • Includes management as well as leadership competencies – the Integral LMP includes management as well as leadership competencies. Some inventories such as the Leadership Practices Inventory only cover leadership skills and leave out managerial skills such as strategic planning or managing poor performance.
  • Inclusion of Authentic Self Qualities – the inclusion of Authentic Self qualities in the profile allows the exploration of deeper personal qualities that result in a manager operating with integrity and personal authenticity. Included in this segment are dimensions to do with living up to one’s word, and managing personal health, stress and wellbeing.
  • evels of development – While many profiles involve competency ratings, few cover the levels of development described by Beck and Cowan (1996) and Wilber (2000) and others. Cook-Grueter has developed a Leadership Development instrument that uses sentence completion phrases which requires specialised training in the complicated coding of these sentences. The levels of development of leadership is becoming an increasingly recognised important dimension of leadership, so its inclusion in the Integral LMP provides an additional element not found in many 360° profiles.

2. Unique Design of the 360° questionnaire – the features described below may be found in some 360° profiles but are not commonly available:

  • Benchmarked and organisational norms yet tailored for each organisation – having norms for over 3000 managers and 7000 ‘other’ raters allows each manager to be compared to national norms. In addition, a manager can be compared to other managers in his/her own organisation. Edwards and Ewen (1996) suggest that standard instruments are useful for development, while specifically designed instruments are better for performance appraisal. There are many advantages for standardised instruments (reliability, repeatability, comparison against norms, etc). The Integral LMP allows for both standard questions as well as specially tailored questions to fit the strategic and key skills of the organisations at that time. This provides flexibility while still benefiting from the use of the Integral model and standardised measures. The Integral LMP can also have special questions to cover the unique, important areas needed for each organisation. Some organisations have developed entirely customized profiles for their organisation. While this has the advantage of focusing on the specific competencies, this approach often sacrifices repeatability, validity and comparison to survey norms on a national or industry scale.
  • Open comments – Some 360° feedback instruments like the Life Style Inventory (LSI) do allow for open comments. Rater comments provide valuable and specific information about what the manager does well and what could be improved upon. Participants sometimes find this information confronting yet valuable and they often provide coaches with relevant information to build on the quantitative feedback. One manager, for example, scored highly on the rating of their leadership competencies but received comments that they dominated meetings too much and needed to listen more. This useful feedback and, with his coach, resulted in setting very specific goals in improved listening and ways to better manage meetings. For low scoring managers, the open comments provide specific areas that are important to the raters. Comments are shown in the report exactly as they are typed into the survey unless they are inappropriate.
  • Outcomes of leadership – Inclusion of the effects of leadership behaviour provides indication of tangible outcomes and effects due to a leader’s behaviour such as quality of work, effort and job satisfaction. The MLQ which measures transformational leadership is one of the few other instruments that use similar parameters.
  • 10-point rating scales – 7 to 10-point scales are recommended for development and performance appraisal type 360° feedback. Based on research, Edwards & Ewen suggest that 9 and 10-point scales are less influenced by spurious responses (1996). The Integral LMP feedback uses a 10-point rating scale with graphic rating scale anchors to indicate the skill level (poor, good skill, excellent and always demonstrates this skill, etc).
  • Development Summary – the Integral LMP also provides participants with a development summary which shows the highest and lowest rated areas in the leadership and management competencies and the authentic self areas, from the others’ and self ratings. This information not only indicates potential areas for improvement but also shows how self-aware the participant is of their own strengths and areas for improvement by comparing how similar the highs and lows are between the self and other ratings.
  • Development Workbook – A workbook accompanies the Integral LMP which helps a participant to summarise and interpret the key results of the feedback into a meaningful and useful summary. The workbook leads a participant to set specific and relevant goals related to improvement of leadership skills, interpersonal issues, career and personal health/life balance areas. The workbook is especially useful in working with a coach who can discover, challenge and guide the participant to set goals that are acted upon.
  • Coach and Profile Evaluation – Integral Development has implemented an online evaluation process that requests participants to rate how effective the feedback and coaching was in meeting their needs and setting relevant actions. This evaluation process provides a continuous improvement process of the instrument and for individual coaches.

Integral Coaching and Follow-Up

“It has been an affirming and rewarding experience to undertake the Integral Leadership profile assessment. I look forward to being able to use the feedback and skills profile to better enhance my career opportunities and achieve my next rewarding position.”

– Evaluation from 360° Participa nt

An important element of the 360° Integral LMP process is the feedback of results and ongoing coaching. There is evidence that shows a professional coach helps a participant interpret contradictory results, overcome any detrimental effect of negative feedback on a person’s self concept, and results in increased performance (DeNisi & Kluger, 2000).

There are currently many 360° leadership profiles on the market for which coaches can become accredited to use. People enroll and participate in an accreditation program that usually runs from two to five days. Aspiring coaches may have coaching qualifications, a degree in psychology or management or may have no qualification of any type. There is often no specific requirement for outstanding interpersonal skills or an in-depth understanding and commitment to the leadership model that is being represented by the instrument.

Current coaching approaches to development use the GROW and other models to determine what skills the participant is lacking and to set goals, actions and recommend books, courses, on-the-job training or other ways to build skills and self confidence. While these approaches may be of value to improve leadership competencies, they are a limited view of development and do not deal with the deeper emotional and personal barriers that people often experience in their development. The assumption behind this approach is that if we improve skills the manager has ‘developed’. Based on this assumption, a terrorist who learns how to make more effective bombs has developed. Integral theory describes development as an unfolding of self to higher and higher states of being and offers a great deal to help managers gain a better understanding of the development of self.

Integral Development has adopted an approach where it selects coaches who have demonstrated excellent interpersonal skills and some coaching experience, and who also have a commitment to the Integral framework. Integral Development runs an accreditation program that covers the Integral framework, the Integral LMP and key coaching skills needed to give feedback and set effective goals. Integral Development coaches are also taught skills for being in the present moment and how to teach coachees to manage and drop negative self-talk, listen fully and connect with others in the present moment. Coaches are encouraged to help coachees develop skills, deal with key issues and help participants find moments of fulfillment in their home and work life. As one participant stated in their evaluation : “I have found the coaching to be of tremendous benefit in addressing work and personal issues. It has turned my life around. I look forward to getting even more out of it as I attend further sessions.”

The understanding and development of the ‘self’ are a key part of the Integral coaching process. Integral coaches seek to build within participants a healthy sense of self but also to help participants transcend the sense of separate ego-self. Coaching sessions often have a segment where the person’s feelings of competency and confidence are used to replace a feeling of uncertainty or avoidance. For example, one female manager was rated as an exceptional manager and implementer of change. However, she was continually overlooked for promotion because she was hesitant to discuss what she needed to do to be promoted. She was becoming increasingly frustrated and demotivated and felt uncomfortable about asking her manager why she was not being promoted. She was shown by her Integral coach how to transfer the feeling of confidence that she had in managing change to a meeting with her manager to discuss her future and desire to be promoted to an upcoming job she was certain she could do very well. The Integral coach, in this instance, helped her build a sense of a ‘healthy ego’. In ongoing coaching sessions, the Integral coach looks for opportunities to help participants develop skills in experiencing their ‘authentic self’. As described by Wilber (2000) and Cacioppe (2007) the authentic Self is the ground of all being, the essence of everything, yet beyond everything. Integral Development has CDs, books on meditation and online skill learning tools that help participants develop skills in being their authentic self.

Organisations That Have Used the Integral 360° Profiles

Over 3000 managers from public and private sector organisations have received feedback on the Integral 360° Profiles. These have been conducted as part of leadership development programs, development centres, coaching programs and for individuals.

In 2005 Integral Development was selected by the West Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet to provide an Integral Leadership Development Profile for state public service managers. The contract involves the provision of 360° profiles for as many as 8000 middle to senior level managers in the Western Australian public service. To date over 600 managers have completed the profile from 30 different public sector organisations.

Australian and international public and private organisations that have used the Integral LMP or the Integral Leadership Development Profile (LDP) include mining and engineering companies, police, health and community service providers, utility organisations, indigenous affairs organisations, religious organisations and construction companies.

Ratings of Integral Leadership and Management Competencies

Norms have been accumulated that show the level of competency of all participating managers based on the results of the Integral 360° process. The information in Table 2 below is based on two separate samples, one a based on 96 managers and 559 others who completed the Integral LMP (Cacioppe & Lloyd, 2005) and a second sample of 643 public sector managers and 4,475 others who completed the Integral LDP. Although some questions of the Integral LDP are different because it was developed specifically for the public sector, most questions are very similar and the results can be combined. The lowest rated questions are shown in Table 2.

Lowest Rated Skills on Integral 360 degree Feedback by Self and Others

Table 2: Lowest Rated Skills on Integral 360° Feedback by Self and Others

The lowest rated items by the both ‘others’ and ‘self’ were about managing conflict and poor performance. Managing poor performance is an area that requires a good deal of courage to tackle the relevant issues and provide feedback where performance is unacceptable, and yet to act sensitively and fairly in regard to the person involved. This item was the second lowest of the ‘self’ scores, indicating that leaders are aware of their difficulties in this area. The ‘self’ and ‘other’ ratings also indicate that managers often find it difficult to effectively address and manage conflict and provide their staff with constructive, accurate and timely feedback on their performance. The common theme running through all of these areas is that managers have difficulty with issues to do with people having problems with conflict and/or performance. The lower scoring item regarding sensitivity to impact of their behaviour on others suggests that managers lack empathy or emotional intelligence in recognising the impact of their behaviour. It seems the modern manager has a dilemma between achieving the results the organisation requires and dealing with the human side in a firm but empathetic way.

This data from Integral 360° feedback therefore suggests that most leaders have a need to further develop their skills in:

  • managing performance problems
  • managing conflicts and disagreements
  • providing performance feedback

The other low-scoring ‘other’ rating suggest that some leaders are not at communicating a long range vision so that people have a clear direction and purpose. Recent writings in leadership have suggested that communicating a vision is a vital skill in leadership so that people experience a sense of meaning in their work. While the absolute scores for these items are not low, the fact that they are among the lowest scoring statements suggests that, relatively speaking, the areas of communicating visions, managing conflict and performance management are difficult for leaders and that they need assistance in developing their skills in these areas.

The lowest scoring item from the ‘self’ perspective was about looking after “my physical wellbeing and health”. Given the recent research data indicating that many workers, and particularly managers and professionals, are spending more hours at work and are under increasing pressure to perform, it is not surprising that many leaders feel they are neglecting their health and work-home balance in the pursuit of their career and demanding corporate goals. Dealing with this area is likely to need changes in organisational culture, from the top of organisations, as well as individual leaders changing their own behaviours to look after themselves.

The other item among the ‘self’ low-scoring items was about leader-managers encouraging actions to reduce negative impact on the natural environment. With the recent focus on this issue in the media and the message underlining the importance of tackling environmental sustainability with a degree of urgency, it is not surprising that leaders feel that they should be doing something about the environment. The low score for the item suggests that they do not feel satisfied with what they are currently doing and that they need assistance in leading their staff and organisations to tackle environmental issues in productive and meaningful ways.

The graph in Table 3 below shows the highest scoring items among all the leadership skills and, once again, there is a high level of agreement (80%) between ‘self’ and ‘other’ participants in identifying these skills. It is worth noting that three of the top four items are to do with integrity and self-awareness, which suggests that most of the leaders are seen by others to, and think that they do:

  • act with utmost integrity and professionalism,
  • demonstrate personal drive, energy and commitment, and
  • encourage a high standard of ethics and professionalism in others.

Table 3: Eight Roles of Leadership and Management
Table 3: Eight Roles of Leadership and Management

The high ratings in integrity may be related specifically to public sector managers where breaches of ethical standards can result in serious consequences and may have been accentuated by a number of dismissals and reprimands from ministers and CEOs in the Western Australian public service in the last two years.

This drive to act with integrity and commitment is complemented by the second highest scoring item (for both ‘self’ and ‘others’) which is about leaders’ commitment to achieving high standards and quality work.

The fifth highest scoring item for ‘others’ was the statement about the leader understanding the organisation’s strategic objectives and developing aligned work plans whereas the fifth highest scoring ‘self’ item was about leaders sharing information and their professional expertise and encouraging others to do likewise. Both of these items point to leaders having a good sense of the corporate agenda of their organisations and being willing to work cooperatively with others in areas such as knowledge management and contributing their talents and expertise to the pursuit of common agendas.


This article has described a model of Integral Leadership and management that was used to develop the Integral Leadership and Management Profile and the Integral Leadership Development 360° instruments. Over 3000 Australian managers have already used the Integral LMP and Integral LDP instruments which indicate a high level of acceptance of the Integral 360° process.

While the Integral LMP has many similarities to other 360° leadership profiles, it has a number of unique features associated with its Integral perspective and in a number of its design elements such as measuring levels of development and a ten point rating scale. The Integral 360° profile combined with an Integral coaching process aims to not only develop effective leadership and management competencies but also aims to help participants realize their authentic self, a self that Integral theory describes as the Ground of Being.

The data accumulated so far shows that Australian managers are considered to act with integrity and professionalism and encourage this in others. They also demonstrate personal drive, energy and commitment. The core behaviour of professionalism and integrity is there which indicates a good foundation to Integral Leadership. This same group of managers has difficulty in dealing with conflict, poor performance and in communicating worthwhile visions. Managers also indicate that they could do more to work in harmony with the natural environment. At a personal level, many managers indicate that they are not looking after their own health and well-being which is of concern since it suggests that a personal toll is being taken on leaders.

While two research studies have been carried out on the Integral LMP, further research studies are needed on the Integral LMP and LDP to establish repeatability of the questions and validity of the instruments. Research is also needed on the effect of ongoing Integral coaching in improving the skills of managers.

The future will see more substantial use of Integral 360° profiles, especially in countries outside the US where Integral theory is gaining increasing acceptance. Integral Development now has several versions of the Integral LMP including a frontline management 360° which are online and available internationally. The Integral Leadership and Management Profiles can be an important contributor to bring about a truly integral vision to organisations and Integral Development is seeking to work with individuals and organisations in the United States and Europe to make these leadership instruments available to the international community. As Ken Wilber (2000) states: “All of those major theories of business management and leadership—from systems theory to emotional intelligence to corporate-culture management, …have an important place in a truly Integral Model of conscious business. In today’s world, nobody can afford to be less than integral, because the guaranteed costs are otherwise much too high.”

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About the Author

Ron Cacioppe, B.S., M.B.A., PhD is the Managing Director of Integral Development, an Australian leadership and development organisation that provides leadership 360° feedback and coaching, team building, strategic planning, environmental sustainability , organisational surveys and organisational change management consulting services all using the Integral framework.

Ron has been a Professor of Leadership at the University of Western Australian up until 2007 when he started his own organisation. He was also the Australian Institute of Management Professor of Leadership for three years. He was Director of the university’s Integral Leadership Centre and has published an organisational behaviour textbook and over 40 articles on leadership and management. Prior to that Ron held lectureship positions at Macquarie University and Curtin University. Ron was born in the United States but immigrated to Australia over 30 years ago.