By |Published On: May 11th, 2020|Categories: Evidence Based Coaching|

EBC Blog: Uncertain Times:  Coaching as a Way Through

Guest Blogger:  Laurel A. Coleman, MA, MEd –

We have a situation. These are uncertain times, unprecedented as a matter of fact. Across systems and geographies, there is a search for answers, options, and a way out of the demise created by the pandemic of 2020. Public, private, non-profit organizations, and individuals are seeking options to help allay the fears of the uncertainty. Could evidence based coaching be an option and, if so, how can it help?

A Temperature Check

Companies as well as communities are having to figure out how to function, and at some point, thrive in this new economy. There is a need for relief as individuals, organizations, and systems are perplexed by the current state-of-affairs. I am moved that there may be some light ahead. I ask, when will that be? One cannot imagine that this will not end; it is the uncertainty that is more problematic. We hear a frequent refrain, “are we there yet?” Evidence-based coaching has been used in a variety of contextual settings to assist in addressing the tumultuousness of chaos and uncertainty. We are confronted with the paradoxical situation that devastation can bring new beginnings and opportunities.

Systems Offer Direction for Practical Application

Systems thinking creates a platform for exploring coaching as a viable resource at the individual and organizational level. For example, coaching is studied and applied in contextual frames from financial, societal, governmental, educational, and business settings. Not surprising then, that coaching is evident when considering addressing complexity, chaos, and the aftermath. This offers evidence and hope.

Our systems are being stretched and pulled in unexpected ways, but there is research that explores interventions at various levels and contextual frames that may offer insights. These interventions take form and dimensions that assist at the individual and systems level. Coaching as a practice is bi-directional in benefits; coaches and coachees benefit from the coaching relationship.

A Reality Check – Reflective Dialogue

Considering coaching as a strategic resource in uncertain, chaotic, and complex times is not novel. However, expanding the role that evidence-based coaching can play in circumstances such as adding it to the recovery plan of the pandemic of 2020 is much more significant. The role of coaching in seriously traumatic situations has been debated for sometimes now. However, there is new thought that coaching may play a role in seriously stressful circumstances.

Facing reality, coaching services are very often the first to be eliminated in a downsizing or rightsizing of the organization. Coaches help coachees and organizations in countless ways, but it is unfortunate that they experience such a demise. Sustaining the wellbeing of individuals and teams is one objective of the coaching relationship.

How Coaches Can Help their Clients

How can coaching help people tell their story? Scaffolding provides the vehicle for framing and telling the story. The narrative is influenced by psychological, humanities, and neurological influencers. With regards to the later there is some degree of debate. The narrative is impacted by space, time, and sequence. Coaching provides a space for telling the story.

During this complex, chaotic and uncertain time, I have firsthand experience in coaching others. First, encouraging them to use this time to promote their talents as they are housebound. This is a time to step into the light of the internet spotlight as some have quietly desired. Secondly, as I witness the new normal,  I see how it impacts organizations, workers, and communities. I experience it as an entrepreneur building a coaching practice. I wonder is there a role for larger organizations including foundations to come together to assist entrepreneurs and the community through coaching programs or services?

Call to Action –  Building Partnerships to Meet the Need

This is a call to action across the systems to engage and provide support through formal or informal means to humankind. It suggests that philanthropic foundations and companies develop partnerships with the coaching community to scale-up supports and programs to assist the broader community to address the coronavirus pandemic. This partnership could include business owners, health care systems, educational systems, NGO’s, faith-based organizations, families, and youth as we begin to rebuild our economy.


History has shown that our society has experienced daunting health blows in the past and recovered. This present pandemic is increasing awareness of the unmet needs of individuals as workers, parents, caregivers, health care workers, front liner workers, teachers, and others. People are maxed out emotionally. Unfortunately, in the past coaching has been first in line to be eliminated; I am suggesting a new narrative. One that includes a reflective pause. Evidence based coaching can play an important role for individuals and organizations in helping to ease the trauma as we move into a recovery. There is a role for coalition building including funding sources to help partner with evidence-based coaches. Let the partnering begin!

Biography of Laurel Coleman, MA, MEd

Laurel is an experienced business consultant, coach, speaker, and writer. She has worked with Access Health CT, City University of New York, Accenture, Science Park Development Corporation at Yale, LISC and 1199SEIU. She has a passion for helping organizations and individuals turn issues into opportunities. She is committed to the human side of the organization: planning, coaching, professional development, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion. The ultimate objective is helping individuals and organizations excel. Laurel holds a M.A. (Fielding Graduate University), M.Ed. (Cambridge College), and is a doctoral candidate in the Human and Organizational Development Program at Fielding Graduate University. She hosts and produces several public affairs television shows, including  WORKN’ IT! on Citizens Television. Laurel thoroughly enjoys serving as the official food tester for her sister’s online food blog. or

About the Author: Terry Hildebrandt

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