Learning to be uncomfortable is an art. This month it has struck me that to be at my best coaching leaders who are also learning to be comfortable in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain Complex and Ambiguous) it would serve me well to get used to being uncomfortable. As an accredited coach we are assessed against competency standards to be able to be at our best in the market place but we also need to face into the changing reality that the key challenge for many of our clients is to cope with not having any idea of what to do next.
When I notice my uncertainty of what to do or ask next I have learnt that my best bet is to share how I feel. When I am stuck, I offer the feeling to the coachee by way of empathy to help them feel seen and heard in our joint stuckness. At first I thought that this would show incompetence. Now I feel it would be wrong to encourage leaders who are working on being authentic to not be modelling such behaviour.
Offering instincts and listening intuitively whilst living with the discomfort of not knowing what the client might do next, can help leaders share their personal thoughts on the challenges they are facing. The exploration of these thoughts may even be the breakthrough in the idea generation or option selection that has alluded the leader in a more public forum. Listening for what the client is not saying and therefore offering a probing line of enquiry like "What question would you like me to ask here?" may be enough for a new insight for their presenting issue. It may even lead to a fertile innovation space for the client to find new pathways from the 'stuckness'. It's this thought that makes me like being uncomfortable and embrace it and go with the flow. How can I help you learn to love working whilst uncomfortable?