About Circling® Europe

Our Vision

To make Circling and Surrendered Leadership as widely accessible as possible and to help it get to the places that most need it.

To continue to develop the quality of these practices so that the relational presence and transformational connection reach more people.

Further, it's to listen to our wider eco-system and to respond quickly with a willingness to adapt and evolve towards what is most needed.

On the ground

We are the largest Circling organisation in the world, having helped the practice to spread to over 25+ countries, trained hundreds of leaders worldwide, created the 5 principles of Circling and a new form called Surrendered leadership.

We have worked with AI research firms, business schools, leadership programmes, philanthropists, monastic academies, professors, biopharmaceutical networks, psychotherapy school leaders, CEOs, best selling authors, some of the most gifted mathematicians in the world and we regularly give workshops at Esalen.

A Continual Embrace of Mystery and Wisdom

We currently see Circling as the most inspiring practice for bringing development in the world—it quenches a particular thirst, the thirst for more meaning, intimacy, creativity, respect for our interconnectivity, surrender, discernment, collective intelligence, action and self transformation.

But our vision goes beyond Circling and aligns with a wider movement in the world centered around these values that is bringing a deeper consciousness to our relationships and purpose. Circling is the current tool we are working with and deeply committed to, but to really enter into the field of Circling means entering into a continual embrace and relationship with all other forms of wisdom and to stay centred in the mystery of existence.

Circling and Integral Theory

Circling Europe has a deep research experience in the world’s most all-encompassing philosophy, Integral Theory, including published papers, a book chapter and award winning presentations.

Integral Theory is a meta-theory that draws on a wide variety of academic and cross-cultural disciplines creating the most comprehensive guide and map of research into how humans grow and develop. Our approach has drawn much from pioneering integral researchers Susan Cook-Greuter (Harvard University) and Robert Kegan (Harvard University), who are pioneers and world leaders in the field of adult development.

Other key influences have been psychotherapists Robert Augustus Masters, Carl Rogers and Carl Jung; spiritual teachers, Almaas, Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, Wapnick, Eckhart Tolle, Mark Gafni; intimacy specialists David Deida and Nicole Daedone and philosophers Foucault, Socrates, Heidegger and Nietzsche.

Values and ethics

We use the five principles to guide our work both in our workshops and throughout every part of the organisation. We hold this as an ethical and trusting stance and one that recognizes the complexity of human interaction that overly simplified codes or rules can struggle to capture.

What this means in practice:

  • When in a meeting, we reveal the truth of what we feel in the moment even when it seems inconvenient, slows down the decision, or contradicts what we or others have just spoken. (I’m frustrated by you…)
  • At the same time, it sometimes looks like drawing a strict boundary and prioritizing getting a certain action done (Hold on, I’ve got to put out some fires right now, let’s connect on this tomorrow).
  • It can also mean being open to new insights and changing opinions spontaneously. (I no longer feel that way at all, and I totally get what you’re saying)
  • Slowing down and taking a breath is always welcome (Taking a breath to feel the room and waiting in silence before beginning an event)
  • When taking an enrollment call, we shine a conscious light on the hard feelings around money, power dynamics, etc.
  • It’s ok to put off decisions until we have more information (Let’s connect after the weekend is over and see what feels right between us when we have more information)

What this means in practice:

  • Noticing when we want to hide, avoid, or run away from uncertainty, pain, or discomfort, and staying in instead
  • Asking for help when things get tough (Reaching out on voxer/email/facebook when feeling vulnerable, even/especially if it is personal and not work-related)
  • Communicating directly to a person you have trouble with before seeking outside help or complaining to another (Wow I notice I’m complaining about so-and-so a lot, give me a second to reach out and set up a meeting with them before we keep talking)
  • Bringing loving challenge when we notice the other avoiding or falling into habitual patterns

What this means in practice:

  • Willingly sharing feelings in business meetings, dealing with clients/participants
  • Owning our projections, but also owning our judgements of one another
  • Feeling the impact of our ownership
  • Going deeper than the level of form—looking for underlying/archetypal/psychological patterns beneath our assessments and feelings of particular goals, outcomes, successes, and mistakes

What this means in practice:

  • Including and speaking the felt experience of what’s going on in our experience (I feel a pain in my belly) (I just feel disgust when I read the calendar)
  • Allowing these embodied feelings to be meaningful and valued inputs in our decision making, especially when the stakes are high (I get excited when I think about inviting so-and-so to this event, even though they said they hate me… I think I’ll send them a message)

What this means in practice:

  • Trusting non-rational experience, mystical states, ceremonial rituals, and intuition as much as strategy, best business practices, and analysis (John hands Jordan the Keys to the Kingdom in his underwear one morning)
  • Openness to change, at all levels of scale (You’re right, a yearly option is a good idea even though we had decided to go with just one price)
  • Staying with and feeling uncertainty instead of seeking certainty through analysis, planning, etc (while fully utilizing and trusting analysis, planning, strategic thinking, etc., when called for)

What this means in practice:

  • Checking in personally before diving straight into business
  • When sending an email, considering the receiver and how the tone feels to read / considering the sender and where they must have been at to send that particular msg (This message is curt; it will only take me fifteen seconds to add “appreciate you doing this, and hope your wknd is delightful” but will make a big difference on receipt
  • Not needing it any other way (I can see how important it is for you to be in a leadership role, and I appreciate your courage and asking for it)
  • Fully owning our need to have it another way (Yet I still don’t trust you and I’m afraid of letting go of control)

What this means in practice:

  • Including Integral Theory (AQAL/Ken Wilber), adult developmental psychology (Cook-Greuter, etc), orders of consciousness (Kegan/McNamara) into everyday conversation and business decision making
  • Including line/circle, yin/yang, masculine/feminine energies and archetypes into leadership dynamics, conversation, decision making, and strategic planning.
  • Including spiritual teachings, conversations, and practices into leadership, decision making, and relationships, such as (but not limited to:) meditation, prayer, states of awareness, nonduality, God, forgiveness and confession

Way of Working

We relate using the Five Principles. We make decisions using the advice process and considering what our values and the purpose of any given project and Circling Europe as a whole are. We use integral theory—particularly in recognizing relative hierarchies, yet also the wholeness of each part.

In addition to the 5 principles of Circling, we draw inspiration and practices from the following:

Deliberately Developmental Organizations / a feedback culture:

Reinventing Organizations, “Teal,” and Integral Self-Organizing:

The term “Circling®” is a registered trademark. Circling Europe has a license from the International Circling Federation to use the term, in accordance with their guidelines, in relation to the training and facilitation we offer. The European Circling Approach is one of three schools licensed to offer Circling Certification. You can read about the unique distinctions between the three lineages, as well as the standards of service required of licensees, on the International Circling Federation website. 

“All terms are potentially controversial, and those who seek controversy will find it.  Yet those who seek clarification will find it as well.” – from A Course in Miracles, Clarification of Terms


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