We knew we wanted to offer a special kind of leadership development. And we knew we wanted a name for our new venture to say it all – in a simple word. It proved to be anything but simple!
Inspiration finally struck in November 2013 when Martina Weinberger attended a Leadership Training for future board members at INSEAD. The Professor claimed that in an effective board you needed to achieve ‘a Toguna spirit’ of true engagement, honesty and openness. He went on to explain that Togunas are palaver huts in rural Mali. They serve as a meeting place that allows people to come together – sheltered from the heat of the sun – to discuss important issues, to have equal say (Togunas are built low, so that everybody has to sit down and interact as physical equals) and thus come to wise decisions.
We firmly believe that creating ‘Toguna spirit’ is at the core of everything we do.
Leadership and coaching – the Toguna way
At Toguna we provide space for leaders away from the heat of the corporate sun, connecting resourceful people. No-one at Toguna is in sole possession of all wisdom, knowledge and insights. It’s coming together in the Toguna spirit that makes the difference and brings superior learning and insights.
As you step into our safe space, you will feel trust and mutual respect, which ensures that you are comfortable to be yourself. You no longer need to project a public image, to impress others; we ‘meet at eye level’, as who we are. Everyone in the Toguna is your partner and mutually interested in each other’s growth. Everyone under the roof of the Toguna practises (or learns to practise) insightful questioning, empathy and supports others to experiment with new behaviours, building on those that made them successful to date.
In the Toguna you get the time, space and support to do your best thinking – resulting in wise decisions for a more successful future as a leader.
“In my early professional years, I was asking the question:
How can I treat, or cure or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way:
How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?“
Carl Rogers, in: On Becoming a Person, 1961