PwC’s 18th annual global survey of CEOs, recently released to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, failed to ask business leaders if they were concerned about climate change because of their lack of interest in the subject the year before. At a time when action on climate change is more imperative than ever, this is depressing if not alarming.
I appeal to Co-Active Coaches in particular because of the whole person approach that places personal values at its heart and recognises the importance of process coaching, as much as goal setting. There is a lot of talk about how values will guide action on climate change rather than scientific evidence or scaremongering. I do not believe however, that these values need to be consistent across people. Many different value sets will guide action on climate change and our values are unique and special to us all.
Joey Clifton, founder of Sustainable You coaches women specifically working in the sustainability field. She reflects that "one of the most important things for my clients is the values work we do. Getting clear on what their values are and what they mean in real terms creates a North Star or guiding light that is much needed when you feel like you’re fighting for a cause alone."
She continues, "the challenge that lies before us is many things, not least massive, overwhelming, paralysing and exciting. It requires us all to stand up and get outside of our comfort zones and be our biggest and best selves."
Indeed, anyone who takes an interest in climate change will have come to the startling realisation that we have a mere 30 years to prevent a dangerous temperature increase. It is a stark picture which unsurprisingly leaves those who engage with it feeling frightened, hopeless and confused. These are not necessarily feelings that will disappear; in fact they form a critical driving force for many, but they are emotions that need to be understood, reconciled, utilised and worked through to avoid paralysis in taking action. Joey reflects ‘sustainability is a big challenge, so it’s integral that the people at the front line are supported, that they can emotionally debrief and feel like they are part of a bigger picture of people working to the same ends.
Emotions are strangely absent from climate change discussions, possibly because it is a field largely dominated by science and yet it is such an emotionally charged subject. Emotional support is required to help people come to terms with our bleak situation and it is required to help turn frustration or confusion into action. So yes, setting goals is important but process coaching in particular has a unique role to play right now in moving the climate change agenda forward.