Would you like the good news or the bad news first? Well, let’s get the “bad” news out of the way first …

The new world of work is being accelerated by technology at a phenomenal rate and the way we work is changing forever. We currently have four generations in the workforce and they all think and operate differently. Jobs are changing, new jobs are emerging (65% of children entering school now will have jobs that today we have never heard of) and we are already seeing many jobs disappearing as technology in some way replaces human intervention. The gap between leaving education and reaching the point of senior contribution in an organisation has gone from seven years to between three to seven years. We used to read yesterday’s news this morning on a dead tree and now we read today’s news right now.

So how is this affecting us? What we notice is that mental health related illness is predicted to be the No. 2 reason for people taking time off work by 2020. The popularity in meditation, mindfulness and yoga has increased significantly as people seek ways to handle additional stress and anxiety and the term “resilience” is being used with great frequency. Brain hacks and extreme forms of diet are among the many pursuits of those trying to find a way to thrive in our turbulent world.

The term VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is quoted frequently to describe our current “state” … and yet does this have to be “bad”? What if VUCA meant something like: Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility? How different might our experience be if we were to adopt an alternative mindset and decide how we want to engage with the world of today, tomorrow and beyond? A different mindset is certainly needed to thrive in this new society—an experimental mindset where we act and learn at the same time, where “execution” is learning, where we need to be ok with getting it wrong sometimes!

In today’s world, we are more connected than ever, however connection mechanisms are changing rapidly and we can find that challenging when our traditional social wiring is required to do this increasingly virtually. In the US alone today, more than 15m people do 100% of their work on a mobile device. With greater connectivity, we also get more overload on the brain, so we need to look at how to help the brain to deal with it. Technology is disrupting the way we work, creating more unpredictability and we are experiencing the highest levels of leadership and organisational change ever.

So, what is the answer to our predicament? Economic and social historians don’t appear to be too troubled by our current experience, stating that the human race has faced similar radical change in previous “revolutions” and has found a way to reinvent itself, rise up and, not only face the challenge, but grow and develop as a species as result. Well, that may be true … and so what is it that can help us to do that?

What I notice is that, alongside the rise of the digital or fourth industrial revolution, there has also been the emergence and rise of coaching. In 2017, the ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study showed that the top 8 goals for coaching were:

  1. Optimize individual/team work performance
  2. Improve communication skills
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Expand professional career opportunities
  5. Increase self-esteem/confidence
  6. Improve work/life balance
  7. Improve business management strategies
  8. Increase wellbeing

Clients achieving positive results from coaching in these areas are not only performing better, they are also showing the agility and creativity needed to thrive in this digital era. Beyond 1-1 coaching, we also see that teams tend to relate and perform better when engaged with a coach and/or a manager/leader using good coaching skills. Beyond teams, we now see how coaching is being positively leveraged to develop a coaching culture and thereby improve the performance of the organisation as well as the wellbeing of its employees. So, what is a coaching culture? In “Making Coaching Work,” Clutterbuck and Megginson describe a coaching culture as one where “coaching is the predominant style of managing and working together and where commitment to improving the organisation is embedded in a parallel commitment to improving the people.”

The ICF has conducted several surveys and research into this important area and the most recent one, “Building a Coaching Culture for Change Management, 2018,” shows a strong relationship between coaching and effective change management. Not only that, organisations which handle change more effectively, tend to also perform generally better! The ICF has identified six characteristics of an organisation with a strong coaching culture and these are embodied in the ICF’s Global Prism Award which celebrate organisational excellence in deploying coaching with rigorous professional standards, addressing key strategic goals, shaping organisational culture and yielding discernible and measurable positive impacts.

In 2018, the winner of the ICF Global Prism Award was the National HR Division of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE). HSE’s National HR Director, Rosarii Mannion says:

“Investment in coaching is a key component of our leadership strategy, generating significant benefits for our staff. This, in turn, translates to a better experience for our public and patients.”

You can read more on this great case study from the ICF here.

At Tracy Sinclair Coach Advancement, we work closely with organisations to help them to develop strategies to build a coaching culture and develop coaching capability using a blend of external and internal coach practitioners as well as managers and leaders using great coaching skills. Debbie Copping, Leadership Development Manager, BT Group says:

“Developing internal coaching capability is important for an organisation as it promotes a culture where employees and leaders feel empowered to take accountability for their own decisions, thinking for themselves and encouraging others to do the same. By developing the coaching capability in-house there are long term significant savings compared to the cost of only using external coaching suppliers. Tracy Sinclair Ltd are totally professional and highly reputable. Their programme design, coaching and facilitation skills are of the highest order. They display genuine interest in and consideration for the needs and circumstances of those on their programmes in order to help them develop their coaching skills. I’ve seen coaches grow in stature and confidence and be highly motivated to complete their programmes. I have no hesitation in fully recommending Tracy Sinclair Ltd.”

One of the people trained as an internal coach at BT was Learning and Development Manager, Grant Aldred who says:

“I was thrilled to receive my ICF ACC Credential last week. It’s the final recognition of the almost two-year journey that I’ve been on and which has been very rewarding. My journey to ACC certification began in May 2017, joining an amazing cohort of people, in the company I work for, BT. They sponsored the programme to create an internal coaching community within the organisation.”

If you’d like to see more about how coaching positively impacts change management and organisational performance, take a look at this ICF video on Coaching Culture:


So, are you ready? Are you ready to use coaching as a powerful tool to help your organisation successfully navigate this new landscape? As W. Edward Deming said:

“Learning is not compulsory … neither is survival.”

Instead of survival, how about leveraging coaching so that you prove the economic and social historians right by learning, growing, developing; by reinventing yourselves and showing the agility and creativity and needed to thrive and be better than ever before! Are you ready?

Tracy Sinclair, MCC

Tracy Sinclair is a multi-award-winning Master Certified Coach (MCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She is also a trained Coaching Supervisor, Mentor Coach and ICF Assessor. Tracy trains coaches and works with managers and leaders to develop their coaching capability. She works as an international Corporate Executive and Board Level Coach, a leadership development designer and facilitator working with a wide range of organisations. Tracy also specialises in working with organisations to support them develop coaching culture. Tracy has co-authored a book Becoming a Coach: The Essential ICF Guide published in 2020 which provides a comprehensive guide to coaching for coaches at all levels of skill and experience, the psychology that underpins coaching and the updated ICF Core Competency Model. In this same year she founded Coaching with Conscience which exists to have a positive impact on society and our environment through coaching. As part of this work, she collaborates closely with MIND, the UK’s leading mental health charity and the British Paralympic Association (BPA). She also offers pro bono personal development and coaching programmes to young leaders (18-25-yrs). Tracy was named as one of the Leading Global Coach winners of the Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Awards of 2019 and was a finalist for the Thinkers50 Coaching and Mentoring Award in 2021. She won the ICF Impact Award for Distinguished Coach in 2023 and is a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches. She was the President of the UK ICF from 2013-2014 and was an ICF Global Board Director since 2016, serving as Treasurer in 2017, Global Chair in 2018 and Immediate Past Global Chair in 2019 and Vice Chair and Director at Large on the International Coaching Federation Global Enterprise Board in 2021.

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