Adult Development by Otto Laske

Otto’s Bio

Otto Laske is a multidisciplinary consultant, coach, teacher, and scholar in the social sciences. His focus in both private and organizational venues is his clients’ emotional and cognitive potential for creative and imaginative work. His overriding strength is the capability to invite people to dialog in trusting and thoughtful ways by unburying their inner voice. He is a specialist in developmental interviewing and listening.

As a coach, Laske’s central perspective is that every individual creates his or her own world that has to be respected and understood from the inside out. As an organizational consultant, he is guided by the notion that both organizations and the public sphere depend for their strength and flexibility on supporting people in their life-long endeavor to construct the real world in ever more realistic ways, by moving away from simplistic emotional and cognitive models of themselves and their world. He often strives to make clients aware of their own psychological profile (as far as he understands it) as a potential barrier against their own development as adults.

Otto is internationally known as a teacher and mentor of evidence-based developmental coaching. Since 2000, he has educated an international student body in a methodology of social- emotional and cognitive coaching called CDF (Constructive Developmental Framework) at the Interdevelopmental Institute, Gloucester, MA, USA. He has successfully worked with teams since 2015, especially teams on their way to self-organization.

Find here his free publications on the topic.

Some remarkable quotes

“Compassion cannot function without developmental understanding and a certain humility in being able to both separate oneself from others and link oneself to them.”

Otto Laske

“All of us can learn from each other. So by coaching-mind I mean being open to helping others and being helped by them. So it is a mutuality. It is not that here is a coach and there is a coachee, that is a ludicrous distinction, because developmentally coach and coachee are sitting in the same boat, which is a developmental journey.”

Otto Laske

“Thinking for me, good thinking, developed thinking has to do with how close are you to how the real world functions. Of course nobody knows, but I cannot think of thinking without the world that I am thinking about. And I actually think that there are degrees of coming close to, or being distant from this thing we call ‘reality’.”

Otto Laske

“I think we have not moved so far away from the times of Julius Caesar. The world was always complex. This invention of a “VUCA world” is the creation of a logical mind which has not yet caught up with the complexity of the world and therefore finds it so bewildering. While what we are seeing before us may be more emphatically in motion, and complex and confusing, I think essentially reality hasn’t changed, actuality has changed.”

Otto Laske

“I think a leader who is navigating an ocean is a very different person from one who is sitting at his desk looking out and seeing everything is in order as it should be. So there is always a suspicion that I may not be right, that I need help to understand something more completely. And so I need to engage others to help me at whatever level of development I am.”

Otto Laske

“Learning does not offer the guarantee of development….  In an organisation we need to develop a culture in which people get excited about their own development and can be employed in such a way that this development actually happens. And not just learning.”

Otto Laske

“As Elliott Jaques always said ‘Competences you can decide not to use, but you cannot decide not to use who you are’”

Otto Laske

People, Organisations And Methods Mentioned During The Interview

Transcription of the Episode

This time we took the effort to transcribe the whole episode. So if you want to read or quote certain phrases, feel free 😉


  1. Thank you for presenting these quotes. I increasingly feel that what is still missing is an ‘epistemology of composing or designing a life’, i.e., a description of how depending their developmental level, people construct the way they live and work. In my view, there has been an overemphasis on ‘work’ relative to ‘life’ although people certainly develop through the work they are doing to earn a living. But how work is handled has much to do with people’s outlook on life. So the question arise: “what is people’s outlook on life at various developmental stages, psychological profile apart?” You might say that is a matter of something like ‘temperament’ which is physiological anchored. But wait. There is are several interpretative levels between raw physiology and how people, even unconsciously, interpret it. By itself, temperament explains nothing. So, what we need is an applied epistemology — theory of knowing — about life, perhaps including work, but not work alone.
    For instance, what does your ‘life ahead’ look like at Kegan-stage 2 compared to 3? What does it look like at S-3/4? What are people at S-3/4 incapable of ‘seeing’ or even ‘desiring’ about their future? That’s what interests me. Are there level-specific commonalities of people’s vision of the future, and the past, at, e.g, S-3/4, and how do they compare to visions of individuals at S-4. My hypothesis is that ‘composing a life’ has a lot to do with developmental potential but also realization of potential up to a specific point during the life span.
    So that’s what I mean by an epistemology of composing or designing a life at various stages of adult development.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.

Diese Arbeit ist unter der Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) Lizenz lizenziert.