Our Approach to Leadership – ‘Human Centric’

Our Model is ‘Human Literacy’,

‘Our Method is Beyond EQ’ and the technology …

‘Change Enhancement Dialogue (CED)’.


This is an entirely new approach for the modern Manager or Leader, which takes a human centric approach to change and motivational discussions.

Our Human Literacy model, has been developed in conjunction with Eleni Pallas, and based on the Human Centric approach developed by Eleni Pallas, Lecturer and Facilitator of leadership programs at UC Berkley and founder of ‘Leaders For Good’ (see Eleni’s Bio on the ‘About us’ page).

Simply instructing a person to change or giving more information, using ration, logical arguments rarely works

We all know this has us go around in circles and creates endless frustration

In the context of work there is loss of control when decisions for change are made without the person’s inclusion, and confusion about reasons for change generate fear and resistance.

We need a different approach for modern leadership

Beyond EQ, provides an efficient and effect method to support the new approach to leadership that is desperately needed in our environment of constant change.  It bypasses the endless loop of frustration that results from using our intellect alone and provides simple techniques for activating the mid and hind brain, which neuroscience has shown to be not only where our decisions are made and our emotions reside, but is the source of ALL our behaviours.

The Beyond EQ method and Change Enhancement Dialogue (CED) techniques bring together decades of research in the fields of neuroscience, bio, cognitive, positive and motivational psychology, along with Neuro Linguistic Programing (NLP) and mindfulness.  The method and techniques utilise principles of NLP, Provocative Coaching (a practical workplace application of Provocative therapy developed by Frank Farrelly), Clean Questioning (a practical application of Clean Language developed by David Grove) and Motivational Interviewing (MI an evidenced based Psychological tool for eliciting, facilitating and motivating individuals to make change).

The model has been developed by:

Deb Maes, Director of ImagineMORE, leading Transformation Coach,
Eleni Pallas, Lecturer and Facilitator of leadership programs at UC Berkley and founder of ‘Leaders for Good’,
Dr Peter Thompson, Consultant, Author, PHD Applied Cognitive Neuro-Psychology and Master NLP Trainer, and
Dr Joel Porter, one of the world’s leading experts in Motivational Interviewing.

Thoughts (imagery) and feelings combine to produce behaviour
Changing behaviour has to start with changing thoughts and feelings

The underlying concept is that we are not stuck with a single personality that is unchangeable.  Behaviour patterns are learned and therefore can be changed. Although is not always easy to make sustained changes, if it were we would all have made the change we desire yesterday, it is still infinitely easier and more efficient to use the same mechanisms to change the behaviour that created the behaviour.  That was not in consciousness.  We did not find it a long and arduous process to learn to brace at the sound of tires screeching.  We did not learn this automatic response in hours of verbal intellectual discussions. We acquire our automatic response in an instant.

The modern Manager need not continue to resist or ignore the human mechanisms that produce behaviours, continuing in the frustrating cycle of logically reasoning and still  pondering, “Why do they not get this?  This is the apparent and logical solution.  Why are my team not doing what we agreed”?  Business, Corporate and Community Leaderships can now acquire the knowledge and skills to bringing their team along and equipping them to keep up with the pace of change, utilising their natural unconscious processes.  And the good news is…it’s not rocket science.  We are doing it simply and easily as babies – before we let our intellect get in the way.

Humans by nature are not machines…
this is the assumption of the ‘Industrial Legacy Model’
We are by nature irrational, illogical and emotional creatures…
this is the assumption of the ‘Human Centric Model’

Credit to the EQ model.  It has encouraged us to ‘consider’ and incorporate emotional information.  And this is a step in the right direction.

But, we can ‘consider’ emotions all we want and still not ‘harness’ the incredible power of emotions that pull us and shape us.  The path to behavioural change is not through intellectual, conscious processes.

You cannot be intelligent about emotions!  That… is an oxymoron!

Emotions are not produced through logical, rational reasoning. Emotions are not produced in the same part of the brain that intelligent, rational reasoning is – the prefrontal cortex, in the frontal lobe of the brain. Emotions are produced in the hind brain (the reptilian brain as it is commonly referred to, as it is the oldest structures of the brain and is as it is still found in reptiles) and decisions are made in the mid brain (also known as the limbic system, which uses imagery, not language).

If we want to gain accelerated results…
if we want to have real influence…
if we want to harness the capacity the is innate in all humans…
we need something beyond EQ.

To achieve this and work with humans in a human way, we must and can access the power source of motivation and behavioural output in all humans when we use how the brain functions. This is what the ‘Beyond EQ’ method and ‘Change Enhancement Dialogue’ technique provides, as it utilises the instantaneous learning mechanisms of the brain.

Beyond EQ … the doorway to IQ

Unlike other techniques which require skill and mastery, which takes decades to acquire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book), Change Enhancement Dialogue can be learned by people who can listen and who are motivated to help others find new ways to change aspects of their work behaviours. CED – the Beyond EQ method requires only 3 things: a little ability in Active Listening, a capacity to be respectfully and non-judgementally Present and a willingness to change our assumptions .

It may not be as quick as the old managerial model, with imposed authority using power and fear to bully people to confirm to new directions, but it is far more effective and the investment in time guarantees positive results. It does require a little time to really listen and utilise the energy in the emotions to harness the drivers in each individual – their values.

Once learned, the CED technique is not easily forgotten. It simply requires a shift in thinking and a decision to use the tools… or not. Although it is a simple tool to use when appropriate, it’s effectiveness makes it difficult not to use.

The book is currently in preparation for publication.  In the meantime, the CED model can be accessed through direct consultation with the authors at ImagineMORE.

Interested to find out more?
More Corporate Development Programs
Personal Development Programs
Checkout our other Services

Beyond EQ

What motivates us?

Just one emotion: Inspiration.

What stops us?

Just one emotion: Fear.

Shine a light on the fear and inspiration emerges.

Then we are unstoppable.

Deb Maes


We have spent decades using only the conscious part of the mind. We have taken the logical, linear and rational approach to productivity and problem solving. This is fine for working with machines and for robots.

Why have we done this? We have created machine to provide more ease in the work we need to do to live. Machines help us produce much more than we can with manual labour and hand-held tools. We don’t want to go back to subsistence.

But we no longer live in the Industrial Age. We have moved on to the Knowledge Era. This means that we work and live with HUMANS and it requires high functioning of the human to perform the tasks required – decision making and problem solving. We are requiring and depending upon humans more and more, and not machines in the workplace, because of these high cognitive functioning activities.

What has been the result of this approach? Look around: stress, burnout, disease, which has lead us to high depression, suicide and divorce rates.

What sets us apart from machine? We are not mechanical. We do not operate linearly. We are not logical, nor rational. We are illogical, irrational and emotional. And we are driven by only two states: inspiration and fear. It is a fact.

Fear is what creates the resistance, stress and tension we experience, not only in the workplace but in our relationships.

To operate in inspiration – with ease – with need to release the fear. It does not matter how many rational conversations we have about the/a problem. The fear does not reside in the ration, conscious part of our cognition – the prefrontal cortex – the frontal lobe. It resides in the hind brain – the reptilian brain, where the fight, flight and freeze responses are – where the emotions are generated.

How then do the emotions serve us? They serve to call our attention to a potential danger. Yes, a potential – which may or may not be a real and present danger. Even if we are presented with a real and present danger, we still need to ‘keep our head’.

How do we know this? Think what happens when you have gasped and then turned to see a stick (not a snake) in the grass. What does this tell you about how fast the hind brain processes incoming data and gets your attention with emotion? We are wired to have a ‘negative bias’, to keep us safe.

A different example… it is a dark, stormy night. You are home alone and you see something moving outside the window. You imagine it a boogeyman or an ax murderer. But what happens when you shine a light in the dark? You discover there is nothing there. You have blown ‘fear’s’ cover and it loses its power.

This is how you can blow fear’s cover, harness the energy there and engage ‘Inspiration’.The Human Literacy model, Beyond EQ method, Change Enhancement technique

Step 1. Awareness.

Put the attention on the emotion in 3 ways; i. Emotion – watch out for emotion and go towards it. When you find it, really look, really ‘see’ the person (or self).

ii. Self – pay attention to what you feel as you watch the emotion. Your mirror neurons will let you know what they are feeling.

iii. Their emotion: reflect and question them of their emotion.

1.1 This is done by making a statement of your observation:

“I feel/notice/it seems you might feel ‘x’”.

1.2 Then check if you are correct by asking Either:

“What do you think/feel”?


“Is that so”?

Step 2. Explore.

Explore both fear and Inspiration. Keeps the mid and hind brain activated with these provocative questions:

1 Request

2.1 “tell me about that” (relates to their response to the above question).

6 questions

2.2 “what’s the core… (fear) issue/concern… (inspiration) enjoyment/reason”?

2.3 “What’s the (fear) problem/ (inspiration) benefit with that”?

2,4 “What do you think/imagine would happen then”? (keep repeating this til you get to fear/inspiration. Read the summary below to recognise what is a fear or inspiration statement)

2.5 “Ultimately what does that mean”?

2.6 (fear) “what/where is the judgement in that”?

2.7 (fear) “what is the likelihood of that”?

Step 3. Activate Action

Use these ‘Motivation in a Moment’ questions:

1. “What would you like to have happen”? (establishing a desired outcome)

2. “And what has to happen for that to happen” (for that desired outcome)? (checks the conditions that need to be in place)

3. “And can you”(do what needs to happen)? (checks that they have confidence that it can be achieved)

4. “And will you” (do what needs to happen)? (checks motivation)

FYI: These questions are known as, ‘Motivation in a Moment’. The process was devised by UK-based practitioners Marian Way, Phil Swallow, and Wendy Sullivan, and taught to 1600 leaders of weight management clubs. Members had just a few minutes of the leader’s personal attention each week, so the organisation wanted the fastest, most effective way to make a real difference.

It was derived from Clean Language/Questions. The process uses just a few of the Clean Language questions to help people to focus on what the person wants to have happen, and what steps they need to take to achieve it.

Many research and requirements-gathering applications of Clean Language also take this approach, capitalising on the ability of the Clean Language questions to reduce bias in the results.

Step 4: Create Influence using Questions of Influence

If you ask a person to do something directly, you will get resistance. This is because we are wired to want choice. When we don’t we feel our freedom is taken away and we feel powerless.

So, how can you ask for what you want in a non-pushing way and still create influence?Suppose you want to say, “give me a chance to show my true capacity” – this is yourdesired result.

Suppose you want to say, “get the project done on time” – this is your result. Suppose you want to say, create the environment that lets me learn”– this is your result.

There is a simple formulaic type question structure you can use to create the respectful influence you’d like. In the formula we refer to your desired result, the result you want, as ‘x’.

Rather than request ‘x’, you ask a Question of Influence.

Before you ask the question you have to come up with acceptable options for how ‘x’ could be approached.

In the example of “create an environment that lets me learn”, one acceptable option could be to “let me attempt a new task each day”. This we will call option ‘a’.

Another could be to “let me have an hour to watch an expert”. This option we’ll call option ‘b’.

Another could be anything the person suggests, which you can invite by asking, “do you have another suggestion/preference for how we can ‘X’”. This we will refer to as option ‘c’.

The formula for this question goes… In ‘X’ing, would you like to(pause here) … ‘a’, ‘b’, or ‘c’ for how you/we can (pause here) … ‘x’.

One interesting this about this structure is the final suggestion ‘x’ is taken by the unconscious mind as a command. It does so because the request is embedded in the structure of the question and because it is embedded, it slides past the conscious filters and goes straight in without resistance, while the conscious mind is distracted or occupied with the surface question. This is especially so if you pause after the word ‘…can’ before saying your ‘x’.

Don’t trust us! Try it for yourself.

So it would go like this…
In creat(ing) an environment for me to learn, would you like to let me attempt a new task each day, or
would you like to let me have an hour to watch an expertor
do you have another idea/preference for how we can
(embedded command) create an environment for me to learn?

Another structure is this …
What are some of the things you/we can continue to do to …
‘x’ (create an environment for me to learn)

even more/better, as we…

(embedded command) explore/consider this/that now?

Have fun practicing this AND remember it’s about YOU and you building skill and competence – NOT about them.

Background about Clean language/questions overview

Achieving choice and growth by enabling better understanding, awareness, and education is the aim of coaching.

Clean Language methodology is potentially very relevant tool in the overall process of working towards positive change.

Like NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Clean Language theory came originally from the world of psychotherapy but is increasingly being used in business situations.

In philosophical terms Clean Language is similar to communications concepts such as Transactional Analysis.

The mutual awareness aspects of Clean Language relate strongly to the Johari Window theory.

If you use and enjoy working with concepts like NLP, Transactional Analysis, Johari Window, then you will probably enjoy working with the Clean Language concept.

Clean Language is a very modern methodology. Its aims are rooted in helping people – not exploiting or manipulating people.

Clean Language is therefore naturally connected to the open and progressive approaches we see increasingly being used by today’s enlightened teachers and leaders.

The Beyond EQ Method and Change Enhancement Dialogue Technique Summary

Assumptions of the Human Centric Approach:
i. Everyone has the answers and resources they need.
ii. We’re irrational, illogical and emotional – let’s celebrate that.
iii. Emotions point where we find the goal.iv. we are unique and irreplaceable.These assumptions underpin and inform the Model, Method and Technique
Human Literacy Model
Beyond EQ Method4 Phases/Steps Change Enhancement Dialogue Techniques
Mirror neurons:You can tell what another person feels when you allow your full attention to go on to them. Asking yourself, ‘what do I feel as I look at them”? Allow your mirror neurons to inform you. 1.Awareness
Look – really see. Allow your full attention to be on them
1.1 awareness on emotion
1.2 awareness on your body
1.3 point their awareness to their emotion
1.4 1 Statement: “I feel/notice/it seems you might feel ‘x’”.
1.5 1 Question: Either, “What do you think/feel”?Or, “Is that so”?
Mid & Hind Brain:
We’re wired for empathy.Imagery & Emotion – go towards ‘Fear’ or ‘Inspiration’.Keep being with the person, paying attention to the shifts and changes in their breathing and tone of voice.Keep paying attention to what you are experiencing.Once you get to the fear, the tension will release.Once you get to the inspiration, they will want to take action.
2.Explore the fear and/or inspiration
Fear 1 of 3 things:
i. Abandonment “I’ll be all alone”,
ii. Failure/unfulfilled “I’m worthless/ hopeless/ not enough/a failure – my life is wasted@,
iii. Death, “I’ll be in the gutter/cold/ hungry/unsafe.
i. Fulfilled – make a difference/have meaning
ii. At peace
iii. Safe
2.1 1 Request: “tell me about that”.
6 questions:
2.2 “what’s the core… (fear) issue/concern… (inspiration) enjoyment/reason”?
2.3 “What’s the (fear) problem/ (inspiration) benefit with that”?
2.4 “What do you think/imagine would happen then”? (keep repeating this til you get to fear/inspiration)
2.5 “Ultimately what does that mean”?
2.6 (fear) “what/where is the judgement in that”?
2.7 (fear) “what is the likelihood of that”?
Reticular Formation:Directs attention, filters reality and generates motivation. 3.Activate Action
4 questions:
3.1 “what would you like to have happen now”?
3.2 “What has to happen for that to happen”?
3.3 “And, can you”?3.4”And, will you”?
Reticular Formation & Placebo effect 4.Influence 1 question:
Either 4.1 In ‘X’ing, would you like to(pause here) …‘a’, ‘b’, or ‘c’ for how you/we can (pause here)…‘x’.
Or,4.2 What are some of the things you/we can continue to do to …‘x’ even more/better, as we…(embedded command) explore/consider this/that now?


Results: people feel safe, acceptance and valued – leads to high engagement and increased creativity and productivity

The basic clean language questions (established by David Grove)

In these questions, X and Y represent the person’s words (or non-verbals)

Developing Questions

“(And) what kind of X (is that X)?”

“(And) is there anything else about X?”

“(And) where is X? or (And) whereabouts is X?”

“(And) that’s X like what?”

“(And) is there a relationship between X and Y?”

“(And) when X, what happens to Y?”

Sequence and Source Questions

“(And) then what happens? or (And) what happens next?”

” (And) what happens just before X?”

“(And) where could X come from?”

Intention Questions

“(And) what would X like to have happen?”

“(And) what needs to happen for X?”

“(And) can X (happen)?”

The first two questions: “What kind of X (is that X)?” and “Is there anything else about X?” are the most commonly used.

As a general guide, these two questions account for around 50% of the questions asked in a typical Clean Language session.