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Staying Alive In Complex Challenges Of Leadership And Organizations

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A Territory Map For Leaders and Their Coaches

In the last couple of years, I had the privilege of providing advanced training on Executive and Leadership Coaching to many coaches from different schools and approaches. The structure of the training gave me the opportunity to observe participants when they were practicing live coaching. What caught my attention is how many of them frequently resorted to some standard and familiar coaching tools and methodologies, even though the situation was not specifically suitable. That got me thinking about the organizations, their leaders, and the value of coaching to them.


Organizations, human systems are complex. Each part impacts others; all parts are in equilibrium with each other, and each and every one is impacted when you intervene in one. If we want to put it in few statements:

  • Organizations are complex, not simplistic. Linear “impact à effect” thinking usually fails.
  • Relational positions are dynamic, not static. Everything changes. All the time. Especially when you move.
  • Interactions are interdependent, not linear. When you move, your movement impacts all others. And then their move moves you.
  • Behavior is contextual, not personal. 80% of our (and their) behavior is determined by the context we find ourselves in.


To understand why organizations are like this, we need to understand “VUCA”.

Lately, an acronym from the military field, especially from the special forces has been gaining widespread use and acceptance in the business world to define the economic, political, managerial and social environment we all live in: VUCA. This acronym stands for the four critical characteristics of the context of critical operations; and when military personnel are exposed to these conditions, their evaluation, decision-making and responding capability is severely diminished. The purpose of the acronym is to make these conditions visible and thus help the soldiers to build enough capacity to deal effectively with these conditions and regain enough footing to respond effectively.

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