Changing Behavior In High Stakes

Join other leaders, enterprise coaches, and team coaches who want to explore the path to sustainable change.

October 26-30, 2020 in McLean, Virginia

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If you are a leader, at any level, or an enterprise coach responsible for leading change and want to learn how to read a room and a system behaviorally, name the hidden dynamics and work with human behavior in crisis, this program is for you. We will explore how the structure of our language informs our behavior and shapes our reality. By deconstructing the structures that sit behind our reactions, it becomes possible to understand and change the disruptive patterns of behavior that can erupt without warning. Using Structural Dynamics, we explore the range of powerful, but invisible forces which drive our face-to-face interactions when the stakes are high. This means being equipped to map patterns of behavior and understand how they show up at particular interfaces. Exceptional Leaders and Enterprise Behavioral Agile Coaches are skilled in making system-wide interventions often in the most challenging and high stakes environments. As we work with behaviors, this program will serve as a ‘live learning laboratory’. The training includes a mix of personal reflection time and group work to help integrate conceptual learning with practice development.

Here's What We'll Cover

In this program, participants will learn how to: 

  • Read reactive behavior in self and others 
  • Develop the ability to lower the stakes for self and others 
  • Map behaviors across teams, organizations and wider systems 
  • Design and lead dialogic team and organizational interventions  
  • Gauge an organization’s moral compass 
  • Work with the most challenging behaviors in high stakes environments 
  • Work with visible and invisible behavioral dynamics to ensure durable change


  • Understand how context, triggers and themes raise the stakes for you including degrees of reaction and how your behavioral preferences change between low and high stakes
  • Know your characteristic responses, shadow behaviors and shadow dances associated with the postures of moral justice and heroic modes
  • Know your own childhood story and how it impacts on you in high stakes in order to gain greater command of self under pressure
  • Know how to lower the stakes for yourself using core principles for managing high stakes effectively

System Skills

  • Map a system to identify leverage points for behavioral change and know how best to prepare for interventions at high stakes interfaces within an organization
  • Understand the importance of moral sensitivity and the mechanisms through which moral corruption can take place
  • Work with high stakes behaviors within the context of a system in crisis including dealing with the impact of perturbance

Practice and Workshop Activities

  • Identify features of ‘contracting’ and preparing for high stakes interventions 
  • Know how to build a container with sponsors and with the groups and parts of the system you are working with 
  • Know how to use Generative Dialogue to help a team and/or system reveal more about itself 
  • Be able to discern the various voices and perspectives whilst remaining neutral and bystanding the system
  • Become skilled at observing, identifying and transforming high stakes behaviors that are contributing to reactivity and may be deeply entrenched including e.g., working with Structural Imprints 
  • Work proactively with perturbance particularly when the stakes need to be raised and deal with associated escalation 
  • Know how to lower the stakes for others using core principles for managing high stakes effectively


This class is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Participants are eligible for the following Continuing Coach Education (CCE) credits:  

Core Competencies – 23.28 Resource Development – 5.77

This program is offered in partnership with Dialogix

The Program Content

Pre-course work including taking the Kantor Behavioral Assessment [as needed], reading selected texts and personal reflection 

5-day non-residential workshop 

2 x 1-hour one-to-one coaching sessions via Zoom

Essential Course Reading

David Kantor [2012] Reading the Room 

Sarah Hill [2017] Where Did You Learn To Behave Like That? 

Paul Lawrence & Sarah Hill [2019] The Tao of Dialogue

Meet Your Course Leaders

TeamCatapult, LLC and Dialogix, LTD

We are experienced leaders, practitioners and life-long learners dedicated to helping others become the leaders they would want to work for and to creating self-sustaining, motivated teams that achieve results.

Marsha Acker, CPCC, PCC

Marsha coaches leaders and teams, who want to work in an more agile manner and lead change in their organization. She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF). Her coach training is from Coaches Training Institute and Center for Right Relationships. 

The biggest opportunity for today’s leaders is…to create engaging and collaborative environments that access the collective intelligence of their teams and also accomplish the desired results. I often find leaders who are really good at one or the other but struggle with creating both. Those that can cultivate range in their leadership have a real opportunity to achieve even greater performance.  

Tony Melville

Tony Melville is Co-owner of Dialogix. He works with individuals and senior leadership teams of large corporate organisations, government and public bodies as well as charitable organisations worldwide. Working globally, he is recognised as an expert coach in Behavioural Intervention with individuals and teams in crisis, helping them to navigate their high stakes effectively. He has pioneered the practical application of Structural Dynamics in to the leadership field. This includes helping leaders to understand their current high stakes behaviour in the context of their childhood stories.

Tony began his career in the Police Service, where as a Detective and Hostage Negotiator he first became interested in effective communication in crisis. Later as a Chief Constable in the United Kingdom he led a large organisation through the most challenging circumstances strategically and operationally.

Tony has been recognised for his integrity, humanity and equality, which he brings together with his experience of leading systemic organisational change to support all those he works with.  

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