NLP Coaching in a VUCA World

April 11, 2018

What has NLP got to teach us about how to cope with an increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World.


So, what is a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA), well for most of us it’s the world we live in every day. This has probably been the case for many many years, yet the pace at which we experience it has increased. Perhaps for many people it isn’t the VACU elements of their day, their month or their year that they notice it’s the lack of the periods where it isn’t where we can rest or be at peace. The ferocious pace of life has taken its toll and is relentless. If we were to listen to the popular media almost every one of us of is subject to a world at or close to overwhelm and are worried or anxious about how we present ourselves in the world and not living up to our responsibilities. The more connected we have become the more bombarded we are with emails, meetings, and information; placing greater and greater expectations on ourselves that is becoming almost impossible to meet. This increasing demand from multiple directions, with the constant challenges that all of this creates is causing to be in a VUCA world.


The VUCA concept seems to have been first introduced to the world in the early 90s by the US Army War College to refer to the multilateral world that emerged after the end of the Cold War and was characterised as being more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous than ever before. This is sometime bizarrely referred to as the start of the VUCA world almost implying that we had never lived in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous World prior to that time.


Much of my time in the military was spent in a VUCA world and so I regularly ask myself what is there to learn from the busy flight deck of a ship at night with 10’s of Royal Marines and helicopters waiting to deploy in the dark. Dealing with what needed to be done, what was expected to be done and any emergency that came up on the way and reconciling the differences in all of this. There are always some simple answers but may not be quite as easy as expected to achieve as we get drawn into the sense of importance we can create about being part of a VACU world or unconsciously relishing in the secondary gain when we get the attention of others that come to our rescue.


“We are all better that we know if only we can be shown the way” Kurt Hahn. Learning the lessons of being able to step back and take the meta position on our own world may just be able to give us the way we are looking for to plot our own course through a VACU world?



By Ian Pitchford

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