chapter  1
27 Pages

The flow we’re in

This chapter explores the picture of the extent of the stressed world people inhabit and the effect of coaching work has on us, notably in heightening anxiety. It includes an addition to our perennial anxieties of identity and mortality, that of exacerbated existential anxiety, from living in a 24/7-networked world, digitally plugged in to the global mainframe. The chapter also explores other features of the seismic currents we attempt to swim in that bode well, bringing positive new energy to the seascape. A term coined by the military and popularised by leadership literature throughout the 1990s, despite its overuse, volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) remains a pertinent shorthand to describe the environment that coaching must operate in now, a world that affects coaches as much as their clients. A coaching example of work with a client over several years shows the entangled nature of the personal, contextual and structural within one company.