Home Concepts Ethics Generativity and the Greater Good: The Life and Work of Two Professional Coaches

Generativity and the Greater Good: The Life and Work of Two Professional Coaches

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Resiliency is an essential leadership competency that requires emotional and social effectiveness skills development for several levels of relationship: first, the relationship with oneself; then relationship with others; and finally relationship with one’s own environment.

Here is a statement regarding the basic operations of Lee’s executive program (Salmon, 2009, p. 60):

To help leaders develop resiliency and other leadership competencies, most of these organizations have used executive coaching programs over the past five years. The executive coaches help their clients with the leadership challenges of stress management, adaptability, agility, and flexibility in managing change.

It is interesting to note that Lee specifically focused on stress management as an important component of resiliency for executives. The source of this stress is embedded in the title of Lee’s article: “during Times of Crisis.” I suspect that ongoing stress was (and still is) widely experienced among executives who were working in the US government during the first decade of this century. Stress and crisis are undoubtedly still prevalent in US governmental agencies—and most other governments in our challenging world. Crises frequently occur in 21st Century governmental institutions that must live in (and address issues embedded in) what is often called a VUCA environment. To these conditions of volatility, uncertainty complexity and ambiguity I would add turbulence and contradiction (Bergquist, 2020b). A perfect storm of swirling crises will inevitably be generated in this VUC-Plus environment.

High levels of stress are also likely to be found among leaders outside of government who are taking on the enormous challenges associated with achieving the Greater Good in this VUCA-Plus world – whether this Greater Good is related to Lee’s concern about the environment or to other major issues such as poverty, nutrition, or social justice. It is easy to lose one’s work/life balance when dealing with one or more of these often overwhelming and frequently shifting issues. One can easily drown in a perfect storm of crises. It is important, therefore, to take care of oneself while taking care of everything else.

For instance, in an interview conducted for this issue of The Future of Coaching, Alex Petroff speaks about the stress he experienced in his work on poverty and agricultural practices in East Africa. His own work/life balance was in serious disrepair. His coach, Bill Carrier, provided valuable assistance as Alex adjusted to shifting conditions associated with his work inside and outside Africa. Bill encouraged Alex to take better care of himself. Without a better work/life balance and better management of stress associated with his work, Alex would never have been able to sustain his work in Africa. As Generativity One providers of caring service to other people, we must also care for ourselves.

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