For all of us, coaches and clients, it seems clear that the years ahead present us with some unprecedented challenges as events across the world impact upon us personally. Some of these events may be home grown such as leaving the EU, and some may be global such as the changing political landscape, and environmental crisis.
In the 1980’s the business world, recognising the fast changing world they were working in, called this VUCA, which has since been extended to VUCCA – a world that is volatile, uncertain, chaotic, complex and ambiguous. Whilst we may have experienced the impact of this in our working environments through, for example, organisational and systems change that never seem to stop and a 24×7, always connected working life , we haven’t until recently really experienced this in our personal lives. This has and is changing, and with it brings personal challenges that can have a significant personal impact.
For example, the environmental crisis is complex ranging from climate change, to plastics as well as human destruction of the natural world, decline of bee populations and the rising number of people inhabiting the planet. Faced with this we may believe that we, as one human being, can’t make a difference so why bother. We may feel that we can’t make changes due to financial constraints, or there is no alternative being offered that would allow us to make the choices we want to.
Other challenges, such as the changing political landscape, displaced people through war and the increasing wealth divide are no longer issues that are distanced from us. They are now very personal as many of us experienced through the recent decision for the UK to leave the EU. These personal experiences can also bring into sharper relief the differences between us and others, including close family members and friends. For example, we may feel out of step with the younger generation and their views on the environment, causing us to question our understanding and knowledge. We may find it harder to push these differences aside, feeling distanced from those we are close to. All of these things can destabilise us. 2020 and the decade ahead will continue to challenge the way we see ourselves, questioning our sense of purpose, the meaning of our lives and our place in the world.
Personal, human impact
This changing face of the world leads to some very deep felt experiences. I have experienced this for myself and I have struggled with some of my deeply felt responses to what has and is happening. My anxiety levels were sky high, and still are high, with Brexit, I have a constant sense of guilt when I put plastic wrapping in the bin, and I was devastated watching the story unfold in Australia as the fires raged. Mine, along with many other people’s experiences, are complex, bring about conflicts within myself (and potentially with others) and can raise some uncomfortable and sometimes ambiguous feelings for me.
Our clients may also be experiencing these deeply felt experiences and they may bring them into the coaching space, either consciously or unconsciously. As coaches we need to be able to hold a coaching space for them that gives them a way to raise, uncover, understand and manage these feelings and issues; issues that can question the very core of themselves. This also means that we need to address these issues for ourselves and know we have the resources and right approaches to safely hold that space for our clients.
Art Based coaching offers clients a safe space and a language that helps them access what they are experiencing, what that means to them and how they want to resolve those experiences; creating a space to understand their purpose and meaning and how to achieve and sustainably maintain it.