Multinational-professional-services-organisation - Mindfulness Training and Leadership | Michael Bunting

Global Professional Services Organisation

Customer Profile:

A privatelyheld, multinational professional services organisation with 13,000 employees in ANZ, and over 350,000 globally.


  • Employees request advanced leadership training   
  • Find a scalable leadership program that makes a sustainable impact    
  • Run the program in-house to manage costs and build internal capability

Solution: Mindful Leader: Vertical Growth Program  


  • In-person/digital interactive leadership program
  • Based on the latest adult development theory and the world’s most researched leadership model
  • 20% of senior leaders participate, great feedback and impact, ongoing wait list
  • 14 in-house coaches trained to deliver the program

Executive Summary: 

This professional services organisation listens to its people, so when senior leaders, partners and directors wanted more leadership development to help them take their leadership skills to the next level – the organisation gave them The Mindful Leader’s interactive, scalable, digital hybrid Vertical Growth program.

Participants learn online and at their own pace as well as in coach-guided, internally facilitated group meetings. The Mindful Leader uses methods and practices derived from the world’s most researched leadership theory, adult development principles and behavioural science to sustainably develop leadership behaviours that have a direct impact on performance, innovation, and engagement.  

A multi-touchpoint feedback process helped partners and senior leaders understand exactly what mindsets and behaviours were holding them back, and which practices and techniques to implement to reach their leadership potential. Leaders learned to recognise their reactive, habitual “red zone behaviours, and replace them with deliberate, evidencebased “green zone leadership behaviours. The program’s 9month time frame ensured sustained, accountable change and growth.  

The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program had a positive effect on partners and senior leaders’ career paths and their ability to effectively lead their teams Some partners and senior leaders that completed The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program actually said it should be mandatory for every partner and senior leader.


The global professional services organisation turned to The Mindful Leader’s pioneering Vertical Growth program, a dynamic blend of digital and interactive learning, to give senior leaders the leadership development and growth opportunities they craved. “Our people found an initial Mindful Leader webinar series on everything from emotional agility to image management so insightful, they wanted more!” says the organisation’s leadership development expert.

With thousands of partners and directors, the organisation needed a scalable leadership development program that its coaches and facilitators could deliver in-house. The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program, which can be led by The Mindful Leader or a client’s in-house trainers, offers both vertical and horizontal development.  Horizontal development focuses on acquiring new skills and knowledge to enhance competency, while vertical growth delves into evolving mindsets and behaviors through self-awareness, unlearning old habits, and overcoming limiting beliefs to achieve sustainable change. Vertical development is essential for profound leadership transformation and cultural shifts, as it addresses the underlying patterns that hinder growth.

“People get a lot out of it – it’s the next level of leadership development and a really good investment of time and energy,” says a senior partner.

The organisation’s in-house coaches are familiar with the culture and have seen and experienced the organisation’s unique challenges firsthand. Because the organisation uses its own coaches and facilitators to deliver the program, it costs up to 70% less and can be offered to more employees. In 2021, 2022 and 2023, 400 directors, senior leaders and partners completed The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program and thanks to the positive word of mouth, there’s always a wait list.

Ideally, every senior executive completes The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program because the impact has a ripple down effect – all the way to the bottom line,” says the organisation’s leadership development expert. A number of partners that have completed the program have said it should be mandatory for every partner and every leader.

Adds one of the organisation’s development coaches, “The old, command-control leadership styles just don’t work anymore.” 

The organisation’s in-house coaches and facilitators had to complete the Mindful Leader program to teach it, so they know how to support partners and senior leaders as they work through the program. They ask the right questions and can share their personal and professional Mindful Leader experiences. “My purpose is to help others rise so that we can achieve more together – I knew I was a good people leader, but I wanted to be a great people leader,” says a coach and talent leader, who has completed The Mindful Leader’s Vertical Growth program twice, as a coach and as a team leader herself.

The Mindful Leader – Based on Brain Science & Behavioural Research 

The Vertical Growth program’s 6 modules offer 45 hours of developmental training over 7 to 9 months. Participants alternate between self-paced, digital modules and coach-guided, facilitator-led group meetings. The Vertical Growth Program equips leaders to explore their core values and uncover hidden limiting beliefs, emphasising feedback practices and self-awareness for profound behavioural shifts. It goes beyond skill acquisition, focusing on unlearning old habits and fostering new mindsets for transformative leadership development​​.   

“Everyone’s different, but I think it’s a forever lifetime exercise,” says the senior partner.You’re more powerful not just as a business leader, but in all aspects of your life, because you’re more consistent about what you feel, what you think, and what you say and do.”

The program also uses evidence-based methods, grounded in brain science and behavioural research, to change workplace beliefs and behaviours. The reactive brain produces rapid, emotional, intuitive red zone behaviours, while the reflective brain supports logical, analytical and deliberate green zone behaviours. Red zone behaviours such as defensiveness or avoidance hurt performance, learning and engagement while green zone behaviours like honest feedback and true empowerment accelerate them. 

At this professional services organisation, the shift from red to green affected senior leaders’ career paths A partnership candidate had the expertise and experience, but in his first interviews with the CEO, he came across as inauthentic (red zone). He had to let the CEO see his true self (green zone) and when he did that, he got the promotion.

It takes a lot of practice it’s not easy to change behaviours and habits,” says the senior partner. “When you feel yourself getting out of alignment, you have to remind yourself to do something about it.”

The Mindful Leader’s mobile application offers an easy-to-use feedback loop tool empowering participants’ teams to rate their leaders every two weeks on their One Big Practice (OBP). This short, recurring, informal process keeps the feedback and leaders’ responses and behavioural changes top-of-mind over time. Once leaders commit to their core leadership practice, they can share the goals with others and invite additional feedback.

State the objectives you’re striving for and invite others to help you and let you know how you’re progressing with them – you become much more engaged and conscious about what you are trying to achieve,” says the senior partner.

In most cases, people don’t see themselves or their behaviours the way others do. For example, softening and cushioning feedback in an attempt to be positive actually made it harder for employees to hear it, absorb it and take action. Likewise, the hands-off approach that leaders saw as empowering deprived employees of critical guidance and support.

“The OBP behaviour I needed to practice was giving direct feedback because my people-pleasing tendances kept me from having really open, honest conversations with people, which held them back,” says the coach and talent leader. “I was depriving them of the opportunity to grow and be better.”  

Replace Red with Green Zone to Get the Best Results

As employees identified their red zone behaviors, they understood how much they hindered their team’s performance, pace of learning and engagement. Program participants learned to stop and analyse their responses before they sent an email or started a conversation. The message has to be clear and specific – whether leaders are addressing positive or negative attitudes, behaviours or performance.  

As Brene Brown says, ‘Clear is kind, unclear is unkind – if you are direct and honest with your communication and feedback, it’s going to help keep the relationships,” says the development coach.

Telling an employee “Great job, but can you be more strategic in the next meeting.” isn’t helpful because it’s so vague. A more detailed statement tells them what was effective and exactly how to improve“Your meeting helped address these three issues and to have even more impact at the next meeting, you could do X, Y and Z.”  

Mindful Leader is really powerful for developing a new mindset and behaviours and the impact on your leadership capabilities and on others will stay with you for a lifetime,” says the senior partner. “You can pace out the learnings to fit your requirements, needs and motivations and like most things, you get out what you put into it.”


Mindful Leader – Improvements in Communications/Behaviours 

Senior leaders, partners and executives reported improvements in their communication and behaviour in 6 key areas:  

  • Engaging in constructive conversations about areas that require performance enhancement. 
  • Regularly expressing appreciation for others, reinforcing the importance of shared ‘green zone’ values and behaviors, and ensuring accountability. 
  • Accepting responsibility for difficulties and setbacks encountered in interactions with other teams, customers, and suppliers. 
  • Transparently admitting to errors, challenges faced, and lessons learned in a manner accessible to all. 
  • Ensuring communication is honest, open, and direct, avoiding private or withheld discussions. 
  • Proactively seeking feedback on the evolution of their leadership practices, such as increased listening and reduced speaking in meetings.

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