Inside ANCHOR: Our Human-Centered Practices Certification Program

Mar 25, 2024 | About L2L, All Blogs, ANCHOR Certification, Human-Centered Practices

Now that our first ANCHOR Certification Program cohort is well underway, we want to take a moment and share with you all things ANCHOR, starting with why we created the program.

If you’d like to learn more or talk to us about certifying your team, contact MJ Mathis at

What is ANCHOR?

ANCHOR is the name of our certification program that trains and supports you in becoming a facilitator in our Human-Centered Practices. Once certified, you can use Leverage to Lead materials to facilitate sessions within your organization.

Not only does the program help foster stronger relationships and teams, enhanced connection, and a deeper sense of belonging, but when teams grow in emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, they can transform all aspects of work, from how they run meetings to how they give and receive feedback.

What are Human-Centered Practices?

We see Human-Centered Practices as the foundations for personal, professional, and relationship development. 

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Human-Centered Practices include:

  • Organization-wide shared vocabulary and aligned practices regarding terms related to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Awareness of our beliefs about power, emotions, identity, equity, and belonging;
  • Emotional strength and agility to hear differences, engage in healthy conflict, acknowledge mistakes, learn, grow, and be fully human;
  • The ability to uncover, confront, and disrupt our conscious and unconscious biases;
  • A mindset of learning and growth that welcomes uncertainty, not having the answer, and even not yet knowing what we don’t know;
  • The curiosity and capacity to identify and explore our knowledge gaps about ourselves, others, and the systems in which we work and live.

The tools for these practices include deep listening, compassion and empathy, holding power responsibly, emotional awareness, navigating discomfort, tension, and conflict with inner agility, and building relationships. 

These are all skills and behaviors that center our humanity and the humanity of others so that we can do work that is hard together and with integrity. 

Often clients engage with us because they’re looking to hire or fix a crisis in their work culture. They usually want a targeted approach to a specific challenge. But just as often, after multiple meetings and observations of their culture, our strategy and advisement session guides them to Human-Centered Practices for teams and sometimes the entire organization. 

Why do we start there?

Because you can’t build the relationships required to do intensive work without Human-Centered Practices. 

In a truly diverse and collaborative culture, colleagues will disagree and experience the discomfort of difference. We need to listen, show compassion, scrutinize our socialization, sit with our discomfort, and act with intention instead of reactivity. We need to lean on the tools and skills of Human-Centered Practices to work together. 

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Why a Certification Program?

We have seen the results in our clients’ organizations and within our own team. We’ve seen individuals and teams transform, then start to transform their organizations. 

Human-Centered Practices make us aware of our identities, power dynamics, and emotions–all things we traditionally acknowledge in the workplace–and they expand our capacity to navigate them all with compassion and healthy boundaries. 

Teams once stuck in a culture of passive aggressive criticism started asking for what they needed and establishing boundaries to care for themselves, and leaders who began to respond to their teams’ with humanity and compassion. 

We’ve known teams who resisted change with vocal doubt, suspicion, and inaction, change their relationship with the power they hold, alongside their leaders who began to hold their power responsibly and encourage real collaboration instead of avoiding its discomforts.

And within our own team, we’ve experienced the tension of revising our values together–how during disagreements, with intense emotions arising, Human-Centered Practices pushed us to lean into curiosity instead of making assumptions, communicate instead of pulling away, disrupt urgency and take time to listen deeply, and train our focus on our shared purpose.

This is all to say that bringing Human-Centered Practices to more people in more organizations is our commitment to building cultures where we can all thrive.

How Does Certification Work?

Becoming a certified ANCHOR facilitator is about so much more than learning a set of materials. We recognize the vulnerable and intensive nature of Human-Centered Practices, and our program is designed to nurture facilitators with an intentional structure, one-on-one support, and community.

There are three levels of certification:

  • Level 1: Identity & Deep Listening
  • Level 2: Power Dynamics and Co-Creating Equity in Relationships
  • Level 3: Exploring Emotion and Inner Agility.

In each level, certification happens in four stages with your Leverage to Lead facilitator and fellow members of your cohort.

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Participants experience the material with Leverage to Lead facilitators; reflect deeply on the experience; examine the practice (choices, personalization, and integrity) of facilitation; and prepare to implement the materials with others.

Once you complete all sessions and one-on-one meetings in your level, you’re certified to train others at that level. 

Curious about ANCHOR Certification?

In the coming weeks, we’ll share more about the experience of becoming a facilitator, an inside look at how we created a certification program (roadblocks and all), and what we’ve learned since completing the first level with our first cohort.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our website and contact MJ Mathis at

All Content is intended as general information only and either owned by us. Results will vary for each individual and business, and we do not make any representations or guarantees about the Content or any earnings, hiring, or other results you may experience if you choose to rely on or implement any advice or tips in our Content. You are solely responsible for your decisions and results.