Neuroleadership Institute Finland - Flow training

There are days when you feel lucky.

Last week I had one of those days, as I heard that I get to join a course by Neuroleadership Institute Finland.

And even better, I heard that Arto Miekkavaara would run it.

And as a participant would be a world-famous coach and author, and my friend, Antti Niemi.


Back in the day, perhaps six or so years ago, I participated in an earlier iteration of the same course - so this was a great opportunity to refresh the topics in my mind and, more importantly, reflect these ideas in a new great group of people. So something new, something old - guaranteed good time in good company.

The overreaching dramatic arc of the first two days was coming to terms with the ways our brains and nervous system will fail us unless we are careful and well-prepared. Understanding things is not enough. We need to be able to use that knowledge and make good decisions even during the stress and pressure of the busy everyday schedule.

And when you participate in a course like this, you come face to face with memories of moments where you could have behaved better and been more aware of what happens in yourself or in other people. No matter how many good books you have read, courses taken and coaching sessions given and taken, you are still a human and will make sub-optimal decisions.

I enjoyed conversing with smart colleagues and hearing their ideas and experiences in trying to be better human beings, think clearly and create support structures for their own learning. It was fun to see both similarities as well as differences and recognise the struggle of being the best you can be.

It felt good to repeat old learnings of concepts that are familiar from David Rock’s books ( Your Brain at Work, Quiet Leadership, Coaching with the Brain in Mind ) and from multiple other authors.

Among others, we discussed:

  • Scarf model
  • Inverted U model
  • Habit forming
  • Active listening and asking questions
  • Coaching conversations
  • Dance towards insights
  • Cynefin as a sense-making model
  • Laloux’s reinventing organisations as a metaphor for leadership models

The course builds on top of deceivingly simple-sounding concepts that are actually powerful and hard to apply consistently in everyday life.

Thinking about thinking.

Not getting stuck on the details of the problem.

And it is much harder than it sounds.

If you ever get to participate in a course like this, I highly recommend the experience. It requires a lot but is also very rewarding.

For me, the hardest part is facing the fact that I still forget to use all the skills and knowledge that I have. To acknowledge that I am just a human being and that I need to be aware of myself. I need to practice, I need to reflect and knowingly take corrective actions.