Episode #077: The Nautilus Experience: A LeaderSHIP & Team Coaching Voyage on the High Seas

What can sailing on a tall ship teach us about increasing our leadership agility and building high performing teams? How can we as coaches and team coaches challenge both ourselves as well as our clients to bring more wholeness and purpose into modern organizations? Would reconnecting more closely with nature reinvigorate individual, team and organizational learning and performance and take us to new levels? Tune in to this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast to explore these and other compelling questions.

In this episode, host Dr. Krister Lowe is joined by two colleagues and friends Eric Kohner–a master coach, a senior faculty member at the Coaches Training Institute and a pioneer in coach training and leadership development–and Pim Harder–an individual, team and systems coach who has been a pioneer in bringing coaching to the education and law enforcement sectors in the Netherlands.

On the show Eric, Pim and Krister share stories, insights and lessons learned from The Nautilus Experience–a recent leadership and team coach training program that they facilitated on the Wylde Swan tall ship as part of the England to Portugal leg of the 2017 Transatlantic Tall Ships Race and Regatta. Themes explored in the episode include: 1) Eric, Pim and Krister’s 1-year journey in becoming a team and conceiving and delivering The Nautilus Program; 2) challenging the leadership and team coaching industry to engage the full human being through the 5 Knowledge Center framework including the Head (Reason), Heart (Emotion), Gut (Intuition), Groin (Passion), and Hands (Action); 3) the role of Nature as a 6th and unifying Knowledge Center; 3) stories of delivering the program on the Wylde Swan tall ship over the course of 2 weeks; 4) the story of how the program became called “The Nautilus Experience”; 5) insights about going through the stages of Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing as both a facilitation team as well as a learning community; and more. The Guys share more about the future of The Nautilus Experience as well as resources where listeners can learn more: www.TeamCoachingZone.com/Nautilus

Tune in and get inspired to take your team coaching practice to the next level!

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Part 1 – Getting to Know the Team Coaches:

  • Eric Kohner
    • Located in Las Angeles
    • Senior trainer at CTI for 25 years
    • He has been coaching for 30+ years, often working with corporate leadership development programs
  • The “serendipitous” partnership that initiated the Nautilus Experience
    • Pim introduced the idea of doing a leadership development program on a tall ship to his colleague, Eric, who has no experience sailing.
    • Eric is Krister’s coach and had been coaching him for 9 months. During a silent moment of their last coaching call, Eric asked Krister, “what’s here?” Krister replied that he was looking at a replica of a model tall ship sitting in his office. At that moment, Eric told Krister about Pim’s recent idea of a creating the program for a tall ship. Shortly after, Eric introduced Krister to Pim.
  • Pim Harder
    • Located in the Netherlands
    • Has been coaching for 18 years, and connected to Eric 13 years ago during a CTI training
    • Works mainly in education- developed training program for teachers, teaching them coaching skills and how to use whole classroom as a system
    • ORSC certified coach
    • Wylde the Swan is a all ship designed for education, taking kids ages 14-17 all over the world for 6 weeks. The children learn about social intelligence, Pim trained the teachers on board.
    • Had idea of bringing corporate population onto ship for training because “you can’t hide who you are on a ship”
    • Pitched idea to Eric, who shared it with Krister during their coaching call, and the three of them got started!
  • Developing the program
    • Wylde swan is a tall ship that is part of the England to Portugal portion of the 2012 Transatlantic Tall ships Race and Regatta
    • Tested the one day program with the captain and crew to experiment with their model

Part 2 – Approach to Team Coaching

  • Origins of Framework
    • Developed a leadership and team coaching model which became the centerpiece of the training called “The Five Knowledge Centers and Nature”
    • Model came from book called Funky Business, which uses the body as knowledge centers listed below:
      • Head – where we access reason
      • Heart –affection
      • Gut –access intuition
      • Groin – passion
      • Hands – where we create things
      • Nature – this was a source of knowledge added by Krister, Pim and Eric
    • Eric uses this from a leadership perspective at an individual level, they tested this framework from a team level on themselves (Eric, Pim and Krister) and decided that it was powerful enough to test on other teams
    • Krister is inspired by Whole Mind Theory and practice to bring out the “full human being”, which emphasizes “wholeness.” The theory recognizes that a limitation of the corporate model (which prioritizes reason), ignores emotion, intuition, and other parts of who we are as human beings. He is interested in how to bring more purpose into organizations to leverage the whole person.
    • Pim experimented the model with a police force and found that the groin (passion) was a difficult one to leverage. However, after using the model, the team was able to make huge changes in a short period of time.
  • Used agile method for 3 month goal of design, develop, market and execute the program. 3 month goal broken up into 2 week sprints with daily team meeting (15 min – 90 min) and integrated 5 knowledge centers and nature model into teaming structure
  • Using the model is an “embodied exercise” – team members stand up on parts of the model and speak to which knowledge center is motivated and the team helps them get in touch with that part of their body
  • Using the Five Knowledge Centers and Nature
    • Each day the team explored a different knowledge center; started with the riskiest part: the groin. Tapping into their passion to dig deep to find purpose and coach from that perspective throughout the program
    • The model is designed to work each knowledge center at individual, team, and systems level
    • A human model: a stick figure which represents the body with 5 knowledge centers and an outside circle which represents nature
    • Used a “nautilus framework” to incorporate different levels, represented as a spiral of embedded systems
    • Purpose of the program- how to unlock the potential of individuals, teams and systems, that unlocks the potential that all the centers brings?
  • Experience on boat
    • They were on a race, which reflect the external competition embedded in organizations who want to win (side note- They won!)
    • Week one- taught the participants the model
    • Week two – the participants were broken up into 3 team, each team created their own program and authority was handed over to them
  • Turbulent weather on “the day of the hands”, ironically causing members to “hold on” as the ship rocked back and forth, causing motion sickness, and coffee spills!
  • Lived through each of Tuckman’s stages of group development on the boat, with one day of pure “storming” which included much resistance from the team; caused the facilitators to “surrender” to the process, trusting that the norming and performing phases would shortly follow; allowed for a memorial learning experience
  • Trusted the model and worked through the resistance. Turning point was when they turned to nature.
  • Had several “magical experiences” throughout the program, including the naming of the program “the nautilus experience”; found that there is something magical about nature
  • Allowed them to reconnect to nature and used it as a resource in addition to other knowledge centers
  • During week 2, the participants brought in their own expertise in designing their unique programs from the facilitators which was very inspiring

Part 3 – Closing / Parting Advice / Words of Wisdom

  • “Who you are can’t hide on the boat,” stated by videographer, Arthur. His words became a mantra throughout the program
  • The mantra is true for individuals and teams. The boat accelerated the learning and growth and brought out who Krister, Eric and Pim were as a team
  • The unit that consisted of the captain and crew was an example of a high performing team and excellence
  • Future plans are to develop a 7 day program for coaches and leaders to launch in August, and a 3-5 day program for corporate leaders to accelerate the forming of teams, called rapid team formation
  • Next adventure is called LeaderSHIP team coaching off the coast of Nova Scotia
  • Webinar in June for the participants to share their experience
  • TeamCoachingZone.com/Nautilus
  • Eric says that the coaching profession can be lonely, a real gift for him was the partnership with Krister and Pim. The experience taught him that it is important to collaborate with others
  • Pim said that it was a life changing experience and is excited about the new adventure in August
  • The experience allowed Krister to stretch by learning to lead from the heart, leaving his heart full and feeling grateful for the team

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