What you are seeing is a mathematical model of the Circle of Coherence. The moving spheres represent people moving within a network. A network can be thin or thick, loose or suffocating, neatly ordered or chaotic.

Using the mouse, move the arrows along the vertical and horizontal axis within the circle. What happens?

When is there more structure, and when is there less? When do the spheres appear to move harmoniously and when do they obstruct each other? What happens if you push one of the arrows outside the circle?


Outside the circle, interaction is not vital: the connection is lost.

There will be chaos. Or the connection is so strong and strangulating that it stops movement entirely.

The centre of the circle represents "Vital Space". What happens if you bring the arrows back to the centre?


A network becomes more coherent when people are engaged in the Vital Space.

In a healthy network, there is Vital Space. Where there is Vital Space, people are willing to do things for the network and to connect with others. There is room for creativity and learning. People sense that their input matters. They feel free to do what they are good at and what they love, in meaningful relationships with others.


Vital Space exists at the intersection of four extremes, along two diameters:

    - Similarity and Difference
    - Me and We


Similarity and Difference:

When similarities in language, culture or ambition are not recognised, there is nothing that binds people in a network. Without sufficient differences in ability and understanding between people, there is no perceived value to the network; nothing to work on or to complement different each other.

Between these extremes however, people are curious and willing to learn.

(This is represented by the vertical axis in the model, as the spheres become more similar or different as the arrow is moved up or down from the centre.)


Me and We:

With Me, self-interest comes first.  With We, the group determines what can and should happen.

Between Me and We there is a constant interplay between input and alignment. It is balancing between the needs of individuals and those of the network.
(This tension is represented by the horizontal axis on the model. The consistency of the network becomes stronger or weaker as it moves to or away from the centre.)


The boundaries between vital and non-vital interaction cannot be determined objectively. As a child we learn to play with them.

The Circle of Coherence distinguishes four constructive patterns within the circle and four corresponding destructive patterns on the outside. Each pattern requires different leadership interventions in order to create or maintain a healthy network.