Collaborator: The Power of Play

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 18, 2013 10:18:00 AM

In Part 3 of the five-part blog series called The Patterns of FEBI, we swing-on into the Collaborator.  In this series we will explore each pattern measured by the FEBI.  The FEBI is a validated psychometric assessment and coaching tool that measures four fundamental patterns of personality and the various contexts in which they are expressed; cognition, physical movement, emotions, environment, etc.


Fighting off giant sea creatures and spiky turtle men to save Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom.  Building a ladder to the moon out of trash, musical instruments and slices of pizza while dressed as a rabbit.  Racing a big squid car through an outer space race track called Rainbow Road.


You may think I’m describing plots to summer movies or the ramblings of a child’s Collaborator dogimaginations.  You would be mistaken.  I am actually describing a typical Saturday morning for my wife, Jennifer.  No, Jennifer is not from a magical land, nor a figment of my own imagination.  Come Saturday morning, Jennifer is a gamer.  Her games of choice are always of the creative, whimsical and playful variety.  I already know what some of you are thinking:  What a waste of time.  Isn’t Nintendo for children?  I would postulate that not only should we play and have fun, but that time spent doing so is of tremendous benefit to us.  The more childlike and whimsical the better!   


Let me explain.  During the week, Jennifer works for the Burn Rehab Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  Her typical patients have burns over 90% of their body, are in tremendous physical and emotional pain, and if they make it past the first few weeks, have a long hospital stay ahead of them.  It’s Jennifer’s job to help in the rehabilitation process, which can range from wound care, to helping them sit up on their own, to teaching them how to walk again.  Recovery is only possible with continual work, which is often very hard and painful for the patients.  Painful as it is, day after day, Jennifer and the Burn Rehab team take their patients through their activities and treatments as they make incremental progress toward recovery.  The toughest days for Jennifer, she tells me, are the days she spends time with the family members, and all the emotions that go with it. 


In spite of this challenging job, Jennifer always has a huge smile and an infectious laugh.  Even her patients, who are usually in pain when they see her, adore Jennifer.  So back to taking on the whimsical world of Nintendo, Jennifer says, “With my job, I need this time just to keep my sanity!”  She’s right.  For us to be fully engaged, as Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz describe in their book The Power of Full Engagement, we need a rhythm between push and release, between drive and recover.  We need to recharge those batteries.  As Ginny Whitelaw describes in her latest book, The Zen Leader, we often take better care of our electronics then we do ourselves.  When our iPhone battery is about to die, we plug it in to recharge it but we often don’t take the time to recharge our own batteries.


I realize that for some of you, this seems like common sense.  Those of you with a strong preference for the Driver and Organizer patterns (that we covered in Parts I and II) may be less convinced that playing Nintendo can have benefits like helping you be better at your job.  So, for you left brainers out there, research shows that happier people are more helpful, creative, prosocial, charitable, altruistic, healthier, live longer, are more likely to marry, stay married longer, and have more close and casual friends.  At work, happy people take fewer sick days, receive better evaluations from their supervisors and from customers, stay loyal to their employers longer, show more helpful behaviors, are more innovative, have lower corporate healthcare costs, and have lower turnover rates. And our research shows that play – bringing out the pattern of the Collaborator – correlates with positive emotions.


Collaborator logoPlay is not only great for recharging your batteries outside of work, you can also engage this pattern at work, which makes work a lot more fun. The Collaborator pattern loves to have fun, to engage others, play in the give and take of relationships, and see both sides of a situation.  Imagine how powerful this pattern could be if you need to engage your employees while navigating an organizational change, or to problem solve a complex issue.  The Collaborator is often left out of the very situations where it is most needed.  In such situations, especially if you normally approach them with the Driver’s urgency or the Organizer’s seriousness, you may need to be more intentional about summoning the Collaborator.  But with a bit of practice, it will be easier and easier to do so.


To help with summoning and strengthening your inner Collaborator, download the Collaborator Pattern Energizer activity.  One of the best ways to engage this energy is with playful movements: rocking, swinging, dancing, or finding a way around obstacles in a video game. Build a fort with your kids, play ball with the dog in the park, or just be silly for no reason whatsoever. So next time you have the urge to shrink to the size of an ant and play in the digital grass on your TV screen, I say pick up that joy stick and get your game on!


Want to learn more about FEBI?  Join us on February 12th for the free webinar, Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI.


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, managing energy, work-life balance, Collaborator

Organizer: Giving Form to Those Brilliant Ideas

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 14, 2013 10:35:00 AM

Part 2 of the five-part blog series called The Patterns of FEBI steps into the Organizer.  In this series we explore each pattern measured by the FEBI.  The FEBI is a validated psychometric assessment and coaching tool that measures four fundamental patterns of personality and the various contexts in which they are expressed; cognition, physical movement, emotions, environment, etc.


Remember this comedic exchange from a scene in Tina Fey’s movie Baby Mama?

Kate:  What do you do, Carl?

Angie:  Carl is an inventor/entrepreneur.

Carl:  I'm still looking for that home run, you know.  I mean, when I saw the iPod the first time, I could've kicked myself.

Angie:  That was so hard on him.

                                                                                                                  Organizer logo            

I’m sure we all have a friend who has claimed to have invented the iPod, Facebook, Amazon or Silly Bandz (those squiggly rubber bands kids wear that sell around $200 million annually).  Maybe you are that friend who is always beating your head against the wall when you see someone else become widely successful from an idea you had years ago.  No matter how brilliant our ideas are, not all of them can become reality. But when we have an idea that could be realized, how is it that some people are able to do that, whereas others are not?  Get ready to brush the dust off those stacks of scribbled ideas on legal pads and napkins, and see how they could gain new life!


It is certainly true that some people are simply more creative, inventive and think more outside-the-box than others.  In psychology we explain this difference with discussions of personality.  Some people have a personality that predisposes them to making connections that are less obvious, being able to envision the future, play with possibilities when problem solving, and able to adapt to a range of situations and environments.  In the FEBI, these people are described as being high in a combination of Collaborator and Visionary.  The Collaborator pattern is great at playing with possibilities and seeing both sides of situations.  The Visionary pattern is great at making unconventional connections, future orientation, and thinking outside-the-box. 


The issue many creative people run into is that they favor these more creative aspects of their personality so much, that those ideas never see the light of day.  Before an idea has a chance to turn into anything tangible, they are often on to the next stroke of genius.  So how is it that some creative people succeed, while others fail?  The key lies in the conversion of idea to action.  From intangible to tangible.  From thinking to doing.  What is needed is a roadmap to do just that.  Enter the Organizer pattern of personality.


We often find those that are high in Collaborator and Visionary are also low in Organizer.  Organizer is a pattern of form, systematic thinking, planning, discipline and responsibility.  The Organizer pattern thrives at taking a big process and breaking it down into individual steps.  It’s great at thinking of the logistics and constructing a plan to make that brilliant idea a reality. 


Organizer computerHere is how to get started.  Take one of your brilliant ideas and write it down on a blank sheet of paper.  Now, envision what it will be like for this idea to turn into reality.  How is the world different?  How is your idea/product being used?  Really put yourself in that future of your idea.  Now, summon your inner Organizer.  Sit up straight, clean your workspace and put on some classical music.  On your paper, write down several key things that would have to happen to make your idea a reality.  Next, pick one of these things that you feel you can make headway on now, and write out a step-by-step list: how can you bring that about?  Now, transfer this list to a calendar and hold yourself accountable to following through on these steps.  It’s important to make these deadlines real for yourself, so if you are having a hard time following through, try telling a friend - sort of like an accountability buddyJ  The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu famously said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  With a little help from the Organizer, take that step today!


Having trouble entering the Organizer, download this Organizer Pattern Energizer to help enter this pattern.  Stay tuned for the next installment of the Patterns of FEBI blog series in which we discuss how a little fun can go a long way.


Want to learn more about FEBI?  Join us on February 12th for the free webinar, Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI.


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, energy patterns, managing energy, Organizer, personality, coaching, personal development

Driver: From Distracted to Dominating!

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jan 10, 2013 10:47:00 AM

Part 1 of this blog series called The Patterns of FEBI digs into the Driver.  In this five-part series, we explore each pattern measured by the FEBI.  The FEBI is a validated psychometric assessment and coaching tool that measures four fundamental patterns of personality and the various contexts in which they are expressed; cognition, physical movement, emotions, environment, etc.  Enjoy!


Have you ever had a day like this?


9:00am – Start work

9:15am – I’m off to a good start, better check that email

9:30am – Still checking emaildescribe the image

9:35am – I’m sick of email, but I’m one click way from Facebook

9:55am – Still have time to get work done before 10am, get off of Facebook

10:00am – Back on track working on that project!

10:01am – Ding! Is that my phone I hear?  My best friend texts me their latest crisis.

Noon – After more emails, phone calls and games of Angry Birds, I realize how behind my work is today.  Looks like I’m taking another “working lunch”


Many of us know this type of day, some more than others.  And who can blame us?  Our phones are practically mini-computers.  We get constant ding and ping noises occurring all around us, triggering us to check our email, text or social media accounts. Oh yes, accountS with a capital “S”, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Google+, LinkedIn or that yet-to-be-created site.  And if you work at home, which is an ever growing way to work these days, you also have the doorbell, those dirty dishes, and the dog to pull you away from your work.  Distracters like these can not only be an annoyance, they can do real damage to our ability to get anything done at all!  Not only does it take us away from our work, it takes us away from the good quality work we do when we are in the zone.  Every time we come back from a distraction, it takes us time to get back to that zone and, over the course of a day, all that time adds up.


With distracters all around us that can derail our day, how do we get back on track?  This looks like a job for the Driver!  The Driver is one of four energy patterns of personality measured by the FEBI.  The Driver is a pattern that gets things done, is laser focused, challenges others, and loves to win.  It is a pattern that embraces competition, pushes through barriers, and sets stretch goals.  In other words, the Driver is a warrior, fighting against the destructive force of distractions and making sure we get the job done!  Although it is certainly true that, like any personality characteristic, people vary in the degree the Driver shows up in them, the good news is that with a little practice, we can all bring up the power of the Driver to keep us on task and get stuff done!  Here is your first lesson:


To engage the laser focus of the Driver while sitting at your desk, start by planting your feet on the ground.  Really feel into the ground beneath you, especially through the balls of your feet, sitting on the edge of the seat as if you were ready to jump up at any moment.  As you do this, put your hands together and with your two index fingers, and point to a spot in front of you, siting down your fingers to the spot with intense focus.  Continue to press down with the balls of your feet.  Now, pay attention to how this feels, having uninterrupted focus on this single point.  Physically, you may notice your brow furrows and your hands naturally push against each other.  Emotionally, you may feel strong, powerful and focused.  Take this same intense focus with you as you go back to your agenda.  Ask yourself, “What’s next?”  Then, with your newly energized Driver to focus, EXECUTE!


For more ways to engage the Driver in you, download this Driver Pattern Energizer from the bestselling book Move to Greatness.  Next in our Patterns of FEBI blog series we will explore how the Organizer energy pattern can bring our great ideas to reality.  Stay tuned:-)


Want to learn more about FEBI?  Join us on February 12th for the free webinar, Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI.



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, energy patterns, Driver, whole leadership. whole leadership development

Science of Somatics: Interview with Amanda Blake

Posted by Anthony Attan

Dec 7, 2012 12:14:00 PM

Amanda Blake is a FEBI-Certied Coach who is doing some amazing work around the Science of Somatics.  I recently caught up with Amanda about her work with leaders, her forthcoming book and how she utilizes the FEBI patterns in her work.

Amanda Blake HeadshotTell me about Stonewater Leadership.

I started Stonewater to support social change by helping people become more deeply embodied. New research is revealing - and yogis and martial artists have been telling us for generations - that as you increase self-awareness in physical, emotional, and mental domains all kinds of benefits open up, from increased health to reduced stress to greater empathy.

In my line of work as a Master Somatic Coach I primarily apply those insights to the challenges of leadership. When done right, cultivating mindful embodiment can have practical leadership benefits as well as personal benefits.

Through Stonewater I work with two groups of people: practitioners who want to learn more about the science of embodiment, and leaders - primarily social entrepreneurs - who want to increase their capacity to lead during these challenging and turbulent times.

What can we expect in your forthcoming book, Your Body Is Your Brain?

The big promise behind the book is that it will help people get smarter about what matters to them by harnessing their full intelligence, including the wisdom of the body. Your Body Is Your Brain surveys the research landscape in a wide variety of fields - biopsychology, embodied cognition, neuroscience, and psychoneuroimmunology, to name a few - and connects that research to powerful and compelling stories of change told by somatic coaching clients worldwide.

In the book, I explore how leaders can cultivate the social and emotional intelligence they need to effectively galvanize people around their vision, manage their mood when the going gets tough, handle conflict when it arises, and so on. Most importantly, I explore why it’s imperative - really, truly non-optional - to include the physical body in any kind of personal development. There are sound neurobiological reasons why this is so, and in the book I explore those reasons.

During a recent FEBI Certified Coach webinar, you discussed how subtle changes in body posture can induce powerful changes in ourselves and those around us. Can you speak more to this phenomenon?

Sure. Dr. Stephen Porges, a prominent researcher focused on the autonomic nervous system - a part of our nervous system involved in stress and relaxation - collaborated with bodyworkers to study the effects of Rolfing on stress. They found that changing the angle of the pelvic bowl from a slight anterior tilt to a more balanced position was associated with a sustained increase in parasympathetic tone. What this means, in lay terms, is that people experienced a greater sense of calm when their hips were in a healthier and more efficient anatomical position. This is because the parasympathetic nerves involved in calming physiobodybrainbehavior V2 resized 600logical systems run right through your pelvic bowl. Your everyday posture actually plays a role in your resilience to stress.

So what does this have to do with leadership and organizations? What I and other somatic coaches consistently see in our clients is that as they make sustained postural changes, several things shift in conjunction with that, including their typical mood, their sense of confidence, and their capacity to take actions that were previously difficult for them. This can include speaking up in meetings, or modulating their flashes of anger, for example. This claim that posture impacts more than just physiological health is supported by Amy Cuddy’s research on power postures at Harvard Business School, which I mentioned during the webinar.

How are you utilizing FEBI in your work? How do the patterns connect with your work?

Obviously, FEBI is a great fit with my work. Most of my work is about helping people learn how to be in their body in a new way so they can take different actions. FEBI is the only instrument I know of that goes beyond increasing self-awareness to help people actually move differently in the world, both literally and metaphorically. For this reason, it’s the only leadership assessment that I use.

I often play a little game with myself: I tend to guess at people’s FEBI profiles by watching them move, and then when I have a look at their FEBI results, I check how close I was. This has really helped me hone my ability to see how clients’ behavior and personality shows up in their gestures and comportment. Sometimes I teach in programs that don’t include use of the FEBI. In those circumstances I’ll still observe participants through the lens of the patterns and help them access new options and actions through other qualities of movement. Overall, I have found the FEBI to be a really helpful tool.

I should also add that I have written about the patterns in Your Body Is Your Brain and I refer to them as well in my Body = Brain practitioners class. I interviewed Betsy Wetzig, Ginny Whitelaw's co-author on Moving to Greatness, to get a deeper understanding of how she came to her understanding of the patterns. And several FEBI coaching clients have been generous with their time and stories as well. Many thanks to all of the wonderful folks at Focus Leadership for supporting the effort!


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, energy patterns, leadership development, embodied learning, managing stress, mindful practice

Decision Making - It's All About Paradoxes

Posted by Mark Kiefaber

Nov 8, 2012 1:59:00 PM

Have you worked in a company where the bosses couldn't make up their damn minds?  For awhile, the structure was decentralized so you and your fellow workers could stay close to the customers and be able to respond to their diverse needs.  Then, once that seemed to be going well, the company reorganized and centralized to be more systematic, consistent and control costs better.  Then, once that seemed to be going well, another re-organization was implemented to re-decentralize because all the cost saving and standardization had reduced individualized responsiveness and alienated customers?  I worked in companies where this happened, and I remember thinking, “Why don’t these geniuses up at the top justparadox make up their minds and stop this back and forth and stick with a decision? Why can’t they solve this once and for all?”  Have you ever asked the same thing?

Some years ago, I attended a seminar where the speaker, Barry Johnson, asked the group questions like these, and all of us grumbled and laughed about having lived through this back and forth two-step in organizations.  He then told us why this was such a common experience: that the problems our bosses had been trying to solve through re-organizations weren’t merely problems.  They were paradoxes, and a paradox can’t be solved once and for all. It has to be managed in a way that, over time, keeps two opposing forces in dynamic balance.  Work-life balance is a good example.  It doesn’t solve once and for all, but rather is something we return to again and again with sensitivity to when we’ve gone too far in one direction and need to come back the other way. It’s this balancing the tension of the opposing forces that makes a higher level goal possible, such as having a fulfilling career and personal life in the case of work-life balance, rather than having to chose one or the other.  Here are some other common paradoxes:

  • Flexibility and control
  • Short-term and long-term
  • Global and local
  • Individual rewards and group rewards 

All paradoxes have this in common: neither side, by itself, is entirely right, and a more complete “rightness” is possible through skillful balance.  Balance is not a static absence of decisions or action, but rather a dynamic shifting of emphasis in decisions and actions from one side to the other – and knowing when to shift.

Once I was introduced to Paradox Management, I have never looked at the world the same way.  I now see paradoxes everywhere, and have developed several new methods for diagnosing, mapping out, and managing paradoxes well.  I find this one of the most important areas to include in team sessions (team projects almost always involve important paradoxes) and in leadership programs.  For this is the understanding that helps leaders move beyond the “rightness” of their own opinions to optimizing the competing perspectives they must increasingly lead across. 

How can you start noticing and working with paradoxes?  If I were to boil down most of the paradoxes I’ve seen and worked with, they fall into these three basic categories:  learning, organizing, and belonging.

Learning – Paradoxes around learning show up when we’re challenged to build on what we know versus learn something new, for example, when we have to deliver the present and find the new future.  Learning requires using, critiquing, and often destroying past understandings and practices to construct new and more complicated frames of reference. That doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with the past learning when it was acquired, it just may be out of date, but some people hold onto outdated knowledge because they don’t want to feel they were wrong in the past.

Organizing – Paradoxes around organizing relate to how much or how little of it we’ll tolerate, for example, flexibility versus control. Organizing denotes an ongoing process of balancing opposing forces that encourage commitment, trust, and creativity (“flexibility”) while maintaining efficiency, discipline, and order (“control”).
In my over thirty years of experience consulting with organizations, I almost always find that they value control over flexibility and then wonder why they struggle with innovation.

Belonging – Paradoxes around belonging, especially important in teams, relate to the emphasis on the individual versus the group.  To what extent to we honor individual diversity versus group cohesion?  How do we get the best from individual creativity and team efforts?  As individuals, we have conflicting drives to be independent on the one hand, and belong to supportive groups (family, friends, teams) on the other. Groups, however, have norms that members are supposed to conform to, which may impede out individual freedom.  Hence the paradox.

So even though there are countless numbers of paradoxes, if you can learn how to manage these three basic categories, you’ll find it much easier to handle their many variations.  A way to get started is outlined in the Paradox Mapping (make link) guide. You might try it out with a paradox facing you now.  Or better yet, pick a paradox from each of these 3 areas and map each of them.  Once you get a feel for the dynamism of paradox, even de-re-organizations will start to make a new kind of sense.




Topics: managing paradox, paradox, conflict, managing change, problem solving, polarity, dilema, resolving conflict, management, organization structure, leadership, work-life balance

What Differentiates FEBI as a Coaching Tool?

Posted by Anthony Attan

Sep 4, 2012 11:01:00 AM


Blog Rewind:  This short post was written by Zen Leader author Ginny Whitelaw responding to a question that came up in a FEBI Certification session.  This recently came up again when I was working with one of our FEBI Certified Coaches, so I thought it would be good to repost Ginny's answer.  Like many, this practitioner was great at coaching with FEBI, but was struggling with the step before the coaching even began, describing the instrument to people that have never heard of it.  This can be an important step for practitioners that are in the 'selling' phase of a coaching engagements, which as we know, sometimes continues after a contract is signed.   


Near the end of our FEBI certification webinar yesterday, I was asked how I would – in a 30 sec pitch to a client - differentiate the FEBI from other assessments. What are 3-4 key talking points? Great question! Here’s my answer:

1- Connects Being with Doing

Creates an immersion experience where leaders feel on the inside how they need to be FEBI Patterns logoto authentically behave in a certain way or create a certain climate or performance around them; FEBI can then be linked to all other course content

2- Is both Descriptive and Prescriptive

Many assessments give insight into personality, but only the FEBI prescribes specific, mind-body practices to enable and support desired shifts

3- Scales from Individual to Groups

Gives insight into individual personality, as well as how these same patterns emerge in relationships, on teams, in organizations, and across demographic, professional, and national cultures. In all cases, leaders learn levers for bringing out more of a needed energy pattern, and can tie that back into themselves, and how they need to be

4- Accelerates Development

Study after study has shown that mind-body awareness accelerates awareness and development in general; the FEBI makes this crucial link



Not FEBI Certified but want to learn more about this coaching tool?  Join us on September 10th for a free webinar: Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBISign up today!



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, leadership coaching, energy patterns, leadership development, business coaching tool, Ginny Whitelaw, coach training

FEBI and Puppetry Training: Finding and Sharing Energy Using FEBI

Posted by Anthony Attan

Jul 22, 2012 10:25:00 AM

Article by Dr. Mark Seton, a consultant in Higher Education Performing and Media Arts and a Certified FEBI facilitator, Sydney, AUSTRALIA.

In July this year I was privileged to be invited to give a keynote paper entitled Resilient Vulnerability at the 4th National Puppetry and Animatronics Summit in Melbourne, Australia.  Over the past few years I have been using training practices associated with FEBI to enable performing arts practitioners to identify their own energetic preferences so that they can have a more sustainable working practice.

What was interesting as I prepared to speak to the puppeteers was to learn that they have a very real recognition of the primacy of energy in their practice.  In Penny Francis’ Reader in Puppetry Theatre Practice (2012), she observes that “the perceived investment of the inanimate with anima or spirit is effected through the convincing transference of a performer’s energy - endowing the puppet/object with motion (normally), voice (sometimes) and presence (always).”  I drew upon this insight as a foundation for engaging puppeteers with the consideration that they need to have a more ecological approach to how they draw upon and channel appropriate energies to be both fully present in the performance space and give their energy to animate the puppets or objects they manipulate.  In particular, I encouraged them to think about approaching the creation of ‘character’ as energetic shape or form, rather than via psychological motivation.  This would not only allow them to consider how to manage their use of energy like a marathon runner, but it would also allow them a means by which to alter their embodied engagement in character in a way that they could debrief and ‘shake off’ aspects of the performance afterwards.

FEBI Patterns logoThis work on resilient vulnerability has emerged from my years of research into actor training in which actors are valued for their vulnerability – their capacity to affect and be affected by an ‘other’, whether it is a text, a person, or a situation.  Performance training is often very effective at enabling artists to be vulnerable.  But there is little training in how to manage that vulnerability so that it is resilient and sustainable for a career that is full of ups and downs, rejections and uncertainties.  I make use of FEBI as a foundational awareness tool when helping actors build up their resilience.  I encourage actors to identify their own energetic preferences and tendencies, and then physically ‘play with’ how they might use their preferences to build up the other qualities of energy they might require for a particular character or performance task.

Often I discover that actors have been traumatised by past vulnerabilities that were not appropriately negotiated through an embodied process.  Dr Peter Levine, a pioneer in somatic (embodied) treatment of trauma, has noted, firstly, that the perception and manifestation of trauma and stress are particular to each individual.  Secondly, the resilience of a person, in the face of inevitable vulnerability to stress and/or trauma, is a consequence of both personal history and a supportive network of relationships.  And, thirdly, and most crucially, that any trauma triggered is “‘locked’ in the body, and it’s through the body that it must be accessed and processed (Levine 1997). By using FEBI, alongside another somatic creative and improvisational practice known as InterPlay (which shares the same lineage with FEBI with regard to the work of Betsy Wetzig), I find that I am helping performers, including actors and puppeteers, find their own unique embodied pathways to wellbeing and becoming empowered to be resiliently vulnerable in their creative practice.

FEBI Certified

To use FEBI with your clients, register for the upcoming FEBI Certification.  

Still don't know about FEBI? Join us Monday, September 10th for a free webinar, Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI


Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, FEBI Certified Coach, energy patterns, energy, actor training, puppetry

Interview with FEBI Coach, Dr. Nika Quirk

Posted by Anthony Attan

May 18, 2012 8:26:00 AM

I recently caught up with FEBI Certified Coach, Nika Quirk, to talk about her recent academic work and what's next now that she is Dr. Quirk. 

Tell me about your doctoral research?


My curiosity about what supports collaboration to emerge in a group of people lies at the heart of my doctoral inquiry.  For the last 25 years, I've worked as a corporate director, a program and project manager, and as a coach for entrepreneurs, while simultaneously integrating the improvisational methodology of InterPlay into my daily life and work.  As you know, InterPlay and the FEBI have some common roots in looking at life performance from a body-based perspective. This juxtaposition of experience made me intrigued by how ease-filled the connection and collaboration typically was in improvisational contexts and what a struggle it was to create and maintain really successful partnerships and teams in the workplace.  I brought these questions into my transdisciplinary work at California Institute of Integral Studies.  My research explored my theory that the emergence of collaboration is sparked by creating a social space for ongoing leadership team development that provides the time for increasing bonds of mutuality (the formation of "We").  In this space, the group inquires into their own collaborative group performance as well as their organizational progress towards the vision and current objectives through an ongoing cycle of action, reflection, and group dialog utilizing extended ways of knowing such as storytelling, movement and visual art making.  This builds the capacity to imagine and think together, and optimally over time to build and benefit from synergy.

The relevance and timeliness of my doctoral research is grounded in our "new normal", the increasing complexity and uncertainty of our lives on this planet.  With others, I believe that the 21st Century is an era of Great Change for humanity and we are called to retool the unsustainable aspects of modern civilization, and personally evolve as well.  To be the highly adaptable and resilient people who can co-create a life-sustaining society and ride the waves of change, we need to re-engage with our intuitive, relational and artful intelligence, becoming whole-brain, embodied thinkers and actors.  These themes are surfacing in diverse domains such as brain science, theories of developing sustainability, and new perspectives on leadership that is more shared, relational and learning-oriented.

What is next for you?

Well, Anthony, my life is overlapping endings and beginnings right now.  My degree is being formally conferred and my dissertation published in the next two months.  ("Open Yet Unbroken" will be an open access publication downloadable through Google Scholar).  Simultaneously, I've begun co-designing and managing a new research project for Women's Initiative for Self-Employment here in the San Francisco Bay Area with funding provided by the Fetzer Institute.  Essentially, we're inquiring into what happens when people in a workplace engage with experiences of love and forgiveness, their own and others.  What is the ripple effect in their leadership, their work, and in the organization's culture?  It's a very rich opportunity.

I'm networking and interviewing to find academic opportunities as a mentor and/or faculty, preferably in a Green MBA program or a leadership program focused on transformative and sustainable development.  Continuing my doctoral research is very important to me and I have a few ideas about projects for 2013 that will extend the inquiry into different populations and contexts.

And I'm expanding my coaching practice beyond the individual entrepreneurs I've mainly been working with to focus on developing business collectives, partnerships and organizational teams in business or non-profit sectors.

What benefit do you bring to collectives, partnerships and teams?  Who are your clients?

Think of any popular band, orchestra or dance troupe that you think are amazing performers.  This type of ensemble performance is what I aim to bring to people working and leading together in groups.  From the audience view, it looks so easy, seamless, flowing, harmonic.  That fluid ensemble performance hangs on a solid framework of trust, play, practice and intimate knowledge of each other's competencies and capacities that takes an investment of time, energy and talent to construct.  For these groups, perfection of ensemble expression is the goal.  When we hold the same kind of prioriSharedreflectionty in other workplaces and are willing to make that kind of investment, we can achieve the efficiency, elegance, creativity and sustainability in performance.

In working with business partnerships, entrepreneur problem-solving groups, and the non-profit team I did my doctoral research with, I find there are several aspects of this work.  I believe in the leadership potential in everyone. Like individuals, I believe duos and groups are unique entities who are enhanced by facilitation of their own self-organizing process.  I assist their discovery and development through using the FEBI individual and team profiles, and inquiry and dialog activities.  Ideally, these group inquiry sessions are occurring several times a week. Remember, the goal is to learn to imagine, think and act together.  We gather data about key questions, such as those below, and reflect on the results of actions that arise from these questions.  

  • What is our shared imagined vision and our ideal outcomes?

  • What brings us together and what separates us?

  • For the group - Who are We?  Who do We need to become?

  • For the individual - What are my multiple possibilities for contribution in this group? What are my learning edges?

  • What are the current and next priorities for action?  How do We best deploy our resources to succeed?

I also help them to design the kind of social space they require to maintain a culture of collaboration for their group.  This is often a challenge in larger organizations.  Eventually, the partnership or group has put a collaborative practice into place that works for them, and they consult with me as needed.

Recent business coaching clients include partners in a permaculture landscape architecture firm and a video production company.  Now that my academic work is completed, I'm looking for a few collectives or teams who want to take their collaborative performance to the next level.


To contact Dr. Quirk or other FEBI Certified Coaches, visit the FEBI Certified Coach Directory.


Topics: FEBI, FEBI Certified Coach, energy patterns, energy, collaboration

There Should Be an “I” in Team

Posted by Mark Kiefaber

Mar 30, 2012 12:20:00 PM

In almost every team locker room anywhere, there is a banner that says, “There’s No “I” in Team.  The intent is clear.  Don’t be selfish, and make sure you suppress your individual ego for the good of the team.  But there is a possible downside to this sentiment.  Imagine a swimming relay team where one of the simmers gains 30 pounds and starts smoking, or less dramatically, just doesn’t stay in the best possible condition.  S/he is not likely going to help the team much.  S/he is not focusing very much on being the best possible “I”.

Think of all the teams that operate in organizations.  Sometimes they work in series, like a relay team, and sometimes they work in parallel like a rugby team.  In all cases, they need each of the team members to maintain a maximum level of both competence and energy.  In the organization sense, maximum competence means technically up to date, and a critical part of maximum energy means matching the right energy type to whatever task needs to be accomplished.  There are four basic energy types (Driver, Organizer, Collaborator, Visionary), and each of us has access to all four types.  We also, however, have preferences among types, so we don’t access them all the same.  Learning your preference hierarchy and how to strengthen your weaker preferences is key to being the best “I” for any team. An online assessment called the FEBI will help you learn about and strengthen your energy.



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, energy patterns, leadership development, business coaching tool, teamwork, teams

4 Tips for Leadership Coaching

Posted by Mark Kiefaber

Mar 6, 2012 9:00:00 AM

Often times when I work with high level leaders I’m shocked by the lack of real leadership development they have experienced.  Usually highly intelligent and talented people, they have risen through the corporate ranks to a position of leadership on their technical skills alone.  Here is where leadership coaching comes into play, which can be the difference between a highly talented employee that meets goals and an integral leader that changes the game.  Below are a few tips on how to ensure your leadership coaching is developing great leaders. 

  • Self-Awareness:  Start by helping the leader become aware of how s/he shows up as a leader.  What is his/her personality?  Thinking style?  Communication style?  Behavior?  You can’t get to where you want to go without knowing where you are, so first help your clients start with this important self insight.  

  • Others-Awareness:  Provide a frame to see how these different styles/preferences show up in the people around them and perhaps more importantly, how to use this knowledge to meet people where they are.  Leaders can gain important insight when considering what the message looks like from the followers’ perspective.  Understanding follower personality preferences, behavioral styles, needs, etc. and approaching leadership from that perspective is one of the most powerful tools that a developed leader have.

  • Situational-Awareness:  A third important piece of the puzzle is what the needs of the situation are.  Sometime the situation means we just need to get things done, other times we need to slow down and think outside the box.  Help your client develop an awareness of what the situation calls for.

  • Putting It All Together:  In my work with leaders I have found that the most successful leaders, the ones that their people look up to as great leaders, are those that can effectively and continuously put these three elements together.  The most developed leaders are those that understand themselves from the inside out, meet their people where they are and incorporate the needs of the situation in their approach.

At Focus Leadership we have developed the perfect leadership coaching tool to guide this very process called the FEBI.  Click on the link below to download a free FEBI Coaching Guide.



Topics: FEBI, Focus Energy Balance Indicator, Coaching Tool, leadership coaching, leadership, leadership development, change management, whole leadership development, business coaching tool

Welcome to the FEBI Learning Lounge

The official FEBI blog

The FEBI Learning Lounge is the official blog of FEBI Assessment.  In this blog we discuss all things related to the energy patterns of FEBI, digging more into each of the patterns of personality and discussing various applications that can benefit from a pattern perspective.

Also visit the Zen Leader Blog



Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts