“What creates compelling leadership?”

“What’s different about the leader when people can’t help but follow?”

“What are the common attributes – characteristics that define a compelling leader?”


Always guided by the evidence criteria “do the followers ‘WANT’ to be ‘close’ to the Leader?”, we explored the nature and cause of this attraction, which we dubbed the ‘honey to bees’ phenomenon.

Leaders in the field of modelling excellence and effective leadership styles made significant contributions to the research and development of the Compelling Leadership Model.

Contributing leaders included:
Gene Early, Partner at Leaders’ Quest, Virginia USA
Tristan Soames, NLP Master Trainer and Coach, Europe
Sukhy Bains, Leadership Coach, Associate Certified Coach & Facilitator (ICF), UK
Eleni Pallas, Co-Founder of Leaders for Good, San Francisco USA
Peter Thompson, Learning & Performance Consultant, Instructional Designer, Sydney, Australia
Dr Joel Porter, Senior Clinical Lecturer University of Otago’s, New Zealand


Both compelling and not so compelling models of leadership were investigated – key characteristics of these leadership styles were were distilled and contrasted in view of their effectiveness. Leaders across the international and local community were modelled in a broad range of environments including those involved in political, business, community and localised project leadership.

Adopting the principles of NLP ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ modelling, sources included the utilisation of various sources such as YouTube clips, biographies, media and public performances (speeches and announcements), from both live and recorded, to first hand observations and direct interviews.

Leaders modelled included:

Current and previous Australian Mayors, including the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover More & Warren Woodley, Mayor of Tamworth.

Current and past political leaders including Barak Obama and Kevin Rudd.

Present and past leaders: Ghandi, the Dali lama, Nelsen Mandela and Martin Luther King.


5 common characteristics emerged. These characteristics correlate with some of the latest discoveries of Neuroscience, fields of Cognitive and Applied Psychology.

The ImagineMORE model The 5 Magnets of Compelling Leadership is the result of this investigation. It covers these 5 common characteristics each of the successful "compelling" leaders displayed in their leadership style. The model brings together the decades of experience, current knowledge in various fields of human exploration and more importantly, is grounded on science and evidenced based results.

"The model... is grounded on science and evidenced based results"

Uniquely, the model focuses on the "HOW TO BE" – rather than "what to do". Here we can only present a description of "what" these leaders do. The model however emphasizes the development of these core characteristics – not simply the "know-how" (which could be read in any of the many books on leadership).

The 5 Magnets of Compelling

No matter what the current level of Leadership experience and skill, the "5 Magnet" is a comprehensive model that can take a Leader to the next level in effectiveness.

Magnet 1: Mastering Self – Mental and Emotional Control

“When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm.
           Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.” LL Cool J

Clearly great leaders are able to ‘keep their head’, ‘remain cool, calm and collected’ (as the expression goes.) It’s not what you do, but HOW that has the greatest impact and the HOW flows from the state of mind and the energy of the person.
Characteristics/Behaviours: Routines that build Mental Resilience, Ability to remain Present (quiet/still internal dialogue – sensory awareness), Internal Calibration (self-audit), Emotional Mastery.
Energy: Integrity, Open, Learning.
Enabling Presuppositions: ‘There is always a way’, ‘What matters is that we gave it our best’. ‘There is always room for improvement, so be flexible and willing to change’.

Magnet 2: Leading with Vision – Clarity and Direction

The ‘Vision’ leads – not the person. Often they don’t even consider themselves a Leader.
Characteristics/Behaviours: Clear Vision and Reason for change, Vision, Strategy and Tactics are aligned, Motivated by ‘Greater Good’, Share the Vision, Balance ‘away from’ and ‘towards’ Motivations, Systems Awareness (understand impact of change on the system).
Enabling Presupposition: ‘We can not NOT do this’.

Magnet 3: Presenting with Certainty

This doesn’t mean always beings sure about the result or the path to achieving the result. It’s an absolute conviction that the way is forward.
Characteristics/Behaviours: Good grip on reality – Risk Aware (not risk evasive).
Enabling Presupposition: ‘We CAN and WILL find a way forward’.

Magnet 4: Developing Trust – Being Real

This requires balancing a willingness to share vulnerability while remaining in dependability and strength.
Characteristics/Behaviours: Speak Truth (truth-telling), Assume Responsibility for all the results, Authentic.
Enabling Presuppositions: ‘Perfection is not only not required, it’s an impediment’, ‘It’s our humanness (error) that makes us valuable’, ‘I’m responsible for all the results’.

Magnet 5: Attracting People with Respect

This is more than just being polite. At an embodied level, they honour and value the perspective of the person.Characteristics/Behaviours: Create Rapport, Explore Experience with Power Questions and Present Listening, Use Positive and Affirming Language.Enabling Presuppositions: ‘There is something to learn from everyone’, ‘Everyone has something valuable to contribute’, ‘It can’t be done alone – we must and can work together’.