About Our Firm

What does the term Bhavana mean, and how does it describe your service?

Bhāvanā, pronounced “bhah-vuh-nah” (video/audio clip), is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “to seed,” or “to cultivate”— derived from “Bhava” which means “being, a state of body or mind.” The Buddha himself chose the word Bhāvanā to describe a process of cultivation: the development of particular mental qualities such as imagination and awareness directed toward intentional change.

At Bhavana Learning Group, we engage clients in a process of their own “becoming.” We view our work as grounded in a commitment of becoming. We support learners in cultivating the soil of awareness and seeding intentional change as they develop the leadership to serve their colleagues and organizations within our field of learning. See “Our Philosophy” for more detail.

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What makes Bhavana Learning Group distinct from other coaching firms?

We design learning programs that cultivate being by expanding listening capacity as the foundation for developing leadership. Our work integrates leadership research, Western learning models, and Eastern contemplative practices to expand leadership mindsets.

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How do you work with clients? What is the typical time commitment for a coaching agreement?

We work via video web services and communicate through email between calls. Our clients typically commit to a one-year customized developmental program that expands mindsets and establishes sustainable practices. Our primary role is that of learning partner in a shared commitment for your growth and development.

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About Our Learning

How is mentoring different from coaching?

  • Coaching cultivates action toward specific developmental goals and results, often to enhance performance or direction.
  • Mentoring is focused on development to expand learning capacity, and perspective to discover your own wisdom.

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What is generative language?

As humans, we adopt a relationship to language as descriptive, analytical or generative; either to describe reality, understand reality or create reality. Our view of, or relationship to, language shapes our awareness, agency, and action. Generative Language adopts a future-oriented view of language that:

  • generates action to create change.  Outcome: to enhance performance
  • generates trust to create connection. Outcome: to enhance collaboration
  • generates possibility to reveal impact. Outcome: to enhance self-awareness

Download our ebook on the basics of generative language.

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What is “deep” listening?

Deep or Authentic Listening expands our capacity to remain open, to receive concerns, as well as to perceive experiences or situations newly. The result of authentic listening is a radical openness characterized by the capacity to be with others fully in any situation. Download our White Paper, Commitment of Listening.

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What do you mean by “unlearning”?

Unlearning involves reflection, inquiry, and self-discovery into our current identity, knowledge, and perceptions that result in loosening outmoded views and old frames of reference. Rigorous inquiry in unlearning reveals unexamined attitudes that no longer serve us or our future commitments. Letting these go creates space to allow for new thoughts or possibility to emerge.

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Does your work deal with diversity and culture?

DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) work can be the most challenging. It exists as part of our blindspots and involves much unlearning of our worldviews. Through our methods and practices, we work to reveal implicit and systemic bias, and question and expand contextual awareness and worldviews. This results in an evolving view through increasing awareness, expanding intention, and developing openness. View this blog for our Commitment to DEI work. 

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About Our Methods

Do I have to learn to meditate? How will this help me?

All clients begin a breathing practice – either guided or in silence. We begin where the client can begin – work toward a daily practice, and extend that to a 20-minute daily practice during our year together. The breathing practice centers clients in becoming still throughout the day; pausing routinely to ground action, focus attention and become mindful in activities. See our Contemplative Practices page for additional support.

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What is distinct about Bhavana’s leadership development model?

OUR APPROACH. Our work involves an ontological inquiry that differentiates the nature of being, through an exploration of mind, body and, language. This begins with developing conditions and practices — rather than just skills, personality or performance — for the possibility of leadership. These conditions, when embodied and practiced, develop a leadership mindset.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? We begin by exploring four conditions through your as-lived experience: Awareness, Trust/Integrity, Authenticity, and Commitment. We work to deepen your listening and learning to internalize and expand these conditions.  With practice and support, these conditions become a leadership foundation for an evolving mindset.

These conditions also develop the foundation of Servant Leadership, as detailed below.

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What is an Ontological Coaching Model?

WHAT IS IT? We engage in an ontological inquiry into the nature and function of being; that is, an inquiry into being human, and specifically, being a leader. We cultivate being through inquiry into somatics, mind, and language. Through this inquiry, we transcend the problem-solving learning model and engage in an inquiry-possibility mode.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Through an inquiry into “as-lived experience,” clients discover and declare possible futures that increase capacity, develop awareness, and expand being. Employing generative language, and contemplative practices, a new view of self and reality emerges that calls one into action.

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What is Servant Leadership? How is it different from other types of leadership?

WHAT IS IT? According to Robert Greenleaf, Servant leadership “begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” We cultivate this mindset through increasing self-awareness to develop self and others.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? The ten precepts of Servant Leadership are quite different from other leadership models that focus solely on personal achievements and external goals, through exterior means or strategies to create change. Servant leaders adopt a view of leadership based in service to something bigger than themselves and include all perspectives to create change.

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How We Work

What kind of assessment tools or evaluation process do you employ?

We use leadership self-assessments, learning assessments, and for some, a spiritual intelligence (SQ21) assessment.

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Do you specialize in working with specific market segments?

We work with:

  • COACHES – We support experienced coaches in broadening their service portfolio to include methods that expand listening capacity and vertical development through inquiry, contemplative practice and first-person learning.
  • LEARNING PROFESSIONALS – We work with educators, HR directors, and adult development professionals to develop First-person learning models, practices, and programs to create and support sustainable learning cultures.
  • BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS – We work with entrepreneurs and executives to grow their enterprise by developing a diverse learning culture that includes all voices.

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How do you support Chief Learning Officers?

We support CLOs by curating research that we’ve tested, developed, extended and measured. We also design programs and learning models and train professionals to deliver them.

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Can you coach our entire management team?

Yes, we create adult learning programs for individuals and teams based on a shared vision and commitment for an emerging culture.

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Will you work with smaller teams within large organizations?


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Can we book you for a speaking engagement?

Yes, we are willing to speak or hold inquiries on subjects such as Generating TrustCultivating Listening, Developing Learning Cultures, or topics such as Contemplative PracticesGenerative Language, and Servant Leadership.

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How We Connect & Learn

How can I use Bhavana as a resource?

We curate research on adult learning, leadership mindsets, and contemplative practices. We design learning models to work with professionals on vertical development that cultivates learning cultures.

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How can I join your learning community?

Sign up for our Wisdom Weekly at the bottom of this PAGE.

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What is the difference between your blog, Wisdom Weekly, and Think Tank?

  • The Blog, Learning Curve, explores in-depth ideas, concepts, and practices in ways that invite new learning to expand leadership.
  • Our Wisdom Weekly curates and researches brief items that support leadership and contemplative practices for our growing learning community.
  • Think Tank is an expanded resource center for clients, where we post our original IP for them to access and use with their colleagues or clients.

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Who has influenced you – which writers, thinkers, philosophers?

Our research is informed through the exploration of human development in Eastern philosophy and mindfulness; Western thinking and Integral Theory, and extended work in ontological learning by these scholars, philosophers, and cultural thinkers:

Philosophers/Thinkers: Hannah Arendt, Herbert Dreyfus, Paulo Freire, Erving Goffman, Carl Jung, Martin Heidegger, Eric Hoffer, Peter Koestenbaum, and Ken Wilber.

Scholars: Don Beck, David Bohm, Fritjof Capra, Fernando Flores, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Greenleaf, Lisa Laskow Lahey, George Leonard, James Collins, Susanne Cook-Greuter, Robert Kegan, Fred Koffman, George Leonard, Humberto Maturana, Julio Olalla, Harrison Owen, Otto Scharmer, Peter Senge, Alan Sieler, Bill Torbert, Eckhart Tolle, Francisco Varela, Margaret Wheatley, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Cultural Thinkers: James Baldwin,  Ta-Nehisi Coates, Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, Bhante Gunaratana, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Shunryu Suzuki, Geshe Tashi Tsering, and Chogyam Trungpa.

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What do you recommend I read/follow to accelerate my learning in this space?

Visit our public Learning Center for books, articles, white papers, videos, and apps. Many of the topics include leadership development, mindfulness, generative language, mindsets, learning, culture, and listening.

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“People think that my success is … because of what I know. It’s not. It’s due more to how I deal with not knowing.”

Founder, Bridgewater Associates

Our Philosophy: Awaken • Integrate • Sustain

We begin with our view of development as intentional with openness, and wholeness.

AWAKEN. An inquiry into the nature of being that differentiates and engages your whole being as body, mind, and language.

INTEGRATE. To invite a transition that expands and includes all parts of our self and our emerging mindset beyond its past frames of reference.

SUSTAIN. To engage in a life of contemplative practice that sustains new levels of awareness and action.

MINI-CASE for COACHES to EXPAND SERVICES outlines the story and scope of a client.