online web builder


1 March 2021


The Climate Change challenge

I remember as a child having a 'Stop the bloody Whaling' poster on my bedroom wall and avidly watching anything that featured one of the two Davids (Attenborough or Bellamy).

My parents were from the 'make do and mend' war generation and big lovers of nature and the great outdoors. We holidayed in the remote west Highlands of Scotland, where crofters scraped a living off the land with a few sheep, some chickens and possibly a couple of cows. Theirs is a barren yet beautiful landscape, dominated by hills, bracken, sea and the Hebridean islands themselves which, when silhouetted against a west coast sunset, are hard to beat as landscape anywhere in the world.

This was my early appreciation of nature (and our impact on it), which has stuck with me to this day.

I am on the fence as to whether humankind will be able to balance our inherent need for shiny and new with the challenge of being carbon neutral by 2050 (the target set for this objective by many countries), but I have been thinking about what I can do to tip the scales in favour of us getting this balance right. 

If you have not seen it, David Attenborough’s BBC series, A Perfect Planet, brilliantly explains how the forces of nature; volcanoes, the sun, the weather and the oceans, shape life on Earth. The series also explains the impact humans have on it all and the ticking clock of climate change that we ignore at our peril, as well as at the peril of all other species that share the planet with us.

Last month I looked at Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, which picks up climate change as part of the focus for this agenda, but I feel climate change warrants its own spotlight, as it is, in my opinion, the most pressing issue of our time. Why do I think it is so pressing? Because if we do not address the issue effectively, there is a possibility we will not be around to worry about anything else.

As a coach, I have thought about how best to support clients who want to consider climate change mitigation as an objective in their coaching. 

To date, only one client has raised climate change as a topic for discussion in their coaching. 

Is this because it is not front of mind to them, or considered too hard to tackle, or because it is seen as a government/big company problem or something else entirely?

This year the UK is co-hosting (together with Italy) COP26 - the UN talks on Climate. The meeting will be held in Glasgow in November (postponed from last November because of the pandemic). There will be extensive coverage of what many are now calling the Climate Emergency in the run-up to COP26, so there is even more reason to understand what each of us can do in this regard.

I think we all need to be asking ourselves, what do I know about climate change? How does it affect me? How does it affect my organisation, my customer base, etc? 

Though I am not sure that we are asking these and related questions.

As a coach, I do not tell my clients what they should be looking at as objectives within their coaching (although I do work with them to help shape their thinking). 

So, I have a proposal, what I describe as One for the Planet – a free coaching session with every set of coaching sessions delivered, on the climate change (or sustainability) topic of your choice.

As part of this offer, your coaching sessions are on the objectives you identify and then I invite you to have One for the Planet at no charge, to look at your relationship with climate change; your fears, purpose, feelings of being overwhelmed, of a scarcity of resources, your ideas as to what you want to do about the issue, whatever it may be, just so long as we are talking about it. 

I took the opportunity last year to undertake some climate change coach training, to better support clients as they think through their position on climate change - a process that was invaluable to me.

So, what do you have to lose?

From the author:

As coaching is not an advice-giving service, these blogs are not written with the intention of proposing solutions to common leadership challenges. Instead, they are thought pieces with the aim of prompting the reader to think more deeply about the topic and reflect on whether it warrants further exploration, with or without a coach.

If you would like to hear more about coaching and how to make it work for you, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter and to share this blog with anyone that might be interested in learning about executive coaching, how it works and whether it could be of benefit to them.