Climate change and you: What would you want your coach to ask you?
As coaches, our job is to work with our clients to find the best way forward. We use open questions and deep listening as we explore their reality. We may shy away from raising questions of the wider environment and climate on which our clients depend.
This does a disservice to our profession and the coaching experience. Our work is an exchange towards answers in a shared context rather than solely an exploration of the client’s concerns.
In the last thirty years, human activity has done more damage to our blue planet than at any other period. We are all affected in one way or another. The decisions we make in our lifetime will determine the future of the human race and many other species. Your climate (emergency) is mine too.
In years to come as our impact develops, how will our industry be judged if we fail to embrace the wider reality of the context on which we all depend interconnectedly? Will we wring our hands and admit lamely that we didn’t feel it was right to ask? It perhaps says more about our own uncertainty and confidence than any right or wrong about coaching orthodoxy when we shy from asking questions about climate change and bio diversity. Last year the industry leaders were unequivocal:
Coaching and mentoring are ultimately concerned with developing the potential of human beings, of raising awareness to enable people to take responsibility for their actions and ownership for their contribution. Coaches have a significant role to play in creating a new way of being in service to a healthy human society and a healthy planet. (AC,APAC,ICF,EMCC, APECS joint statement 2020)
If I was your coach what would you want me to ask you?
We posed this question in recent weeks to several kind interviewees across three continents. You may have been one of 5000 small crowd of viewers of the recordings that have explored how clients and coaches think about coaching and climate. Our work was intended to raise awareness in advance of the Climate Coaching Alliance‘s excellent 24hour workshop. The conversation continues as we prepare for Cop26 and the sense of urgency gathers apace. The interviews showed us that clients and coaches are ready. More, they were enthusiastic in urging coaches to get on with this issue.
The answers ranged from everyday things that people do and want to do more of, to the need to press policy makers and make connections at the highest level of industry and policy. As one said: “We need our coaches to challenge us to think more and take action”
So the questions that I have are:
- Always: What would clients really like their coaches to be asking about their place in the world and its future?
- How can coaching academies better train coach-students to be able to see the whole environmental context in their work?
- What will bring down the barriers towards broaching the subject, which is not a “subject” but reality?
- How should supervisors adjust their work to ensure that the industry is supervised better?