The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    The Growth Rings Indicator

    by Stacia Jorgensen / April 29, 2019

    The Growth Rings IndicatorThe next time you find yourself with a free moment, head over to our newest, interactive content by participating in the Growth Rings Indictor quiz. This is a web-based, survey-like tool developed by the research team at the EcSell Institute and designed to help all types of individuals learn more about their current location within the four Growth Rings. The Growth Rings are based on the concept, originally introduced in the TEDx Talk below, that without some challenge, discomfort, and exposure to new experiences, we limit ourselves from our fullest potential (Tweet This).

    The Growth Rings consist of the following four rings:


    Environments where there is no capacity for development, advancement, or meaningful progression are found in the Stagnation Ring. Stagnate environments are often found in places that are highly bureaucratic and where process and procedure leave very little to no room for experimentation or deviation from rules that have been put in place. Characteristics of environments that are in the Stagnation Ring include those where creativity or innovation is not valued, lengthy or rigid steps must be followed regardless of their value or effectiveness, and where independent thought or action is not just limited but discouraged. Fortunately, there are few environments that truly fall into this ring.


    The ring that most of us gravitate to is the Order Ring. In this ring, we often feel satisfied because, while there is some room for experimentation and risk taking, the things taking place around us are predictable and feel safe. The rules and processes in place make sense to us because they work and we get a repeatable and desired outcome from them. The trick with this environment is that even though we feel comfortable and things typically run smoothly, Ordered environments lull us with their security. We miss out on great possibilities because we aren’t being propelled to stretch our capacities and abilities.


    The Complexity Ring is where the magic happens. Complex environments are those where predictable outcomes are now being challenged. Here, individuals have more room or are being compelled to think and act in ways that might feel uncomfortable, new, or difficult. Some people gravitate to this ring because they enjoy the thrill of trying something new and the risk of failure doesn’t deter them. Many of us shy away from the Complexity Ring because the challenge and stress of stepping outside our comfort zone feels unsettling. Regardless of our preference, the Complexity Ring is where the largest capacity for growth exists. (Tweet This)


    The Chaos Ring is comprised of environments where there is a complete lack of structure. Outcomes aren’t just unpredictable but erratic and unstable. Growth is extremely hampered in the Chaos Ring because individuals in these settings are just trying to survive. Fear and uncertainty are often a part of this ring. I liken the Chaos Ring to a tornado – Where will it form? Will it go one direction or another? When we are in a state of Chaos, making decisions and developing is nearly impossible simply because we don’t know how best to react to what is taking place around us.

    Based on these descriptions, you may have a good sense of which one you currently reside. But what does your Growth Rings environment mean for you on a personal level? The Growth Rings Indicator is an extremely useful tool because it allows for a scientifically-based way to understand how your environment is impacting your growth. (Tweet This)

    At the end of the Indicator, you can receive an individualized report that offers insight into where you are in the four Growth Rings. Even more valuable, you will receive thoughts to consider and suggestions for navigating your current Growth Rings environment. Understanding what Growth Ring you are in is powerful information as it helps you navigate your world in a more informed way to reach higher levels of personal growth. (Tweet This)

    Additionally, there are times where our current environment doesn’t always line up with how we feel about our current environment. The Growth Rings Indicator can help identify if this discrepancy exists and ways you can work to shore up gaps between what type of environment you are in and how you are feeling.

    It may be helpful to note that our environments can change from day to day – even from hour to hour depending on what takes place in our lives. Because of this, it may be helpful to retake the Growth Rings Indicator at different points in our lives and at different points in our personal or professional growth. We encourage you to come back to explore these concepts often.

    For all you team leaders out there (and not just leaders in a business setting – I’m looking at you, too, parents, coaches, mentors, and teachers), this tool can be an invaluable way to help your team reach higher performance. When used as a collaborative development tool, you can gain valuable insights into when your team could use some additional growth opportunities or when you might need to insert more predictability.

    We’re excited to be part of your growth journey!

    The Growth Rings

    The Coaching Effect Book

    Get your copy of the Amazon Best-Selling Book, The Coaching Effect

    Available on Amazon 

    previous post “The Coaching Effect” - An Effect Businesses Can No Longer Ignore
    Next Post Announcing the 2019 Coaching Award Winners
    Stacia Jorgensen

    Stacia Jorgensen

    Stacia Jorgensen brings an array of experiences and invaluable expertise in data collection, analysis, and research reporting to the Ecsell Institute as the Executive Director of Research. As part of her role, she leads all research initiatives, the creation of coaching performance assessments, and was instrumental in helping Ecsell translate coaching into a series of measurable metrics. Stacia’s goal is to help Ecsell’s clients discover actionable insights surrounding coaching effectiveness that allow them to achieve the highest levels of performance. Her research discoveries now provide sales leaders a never seen before view of team performance that is changing how teams are coached, led and managed. Supporting Ecsell’s highly collaborative culture, Stacia also brings her analytical and thoughtful perspective to every department within the Ecsell organization.