57 coaching-to-the-chaos-how-leaders-can-use-coaching-to-handle-chaos

Coaching To The Chaos – How Leaders Can Use Coaching To Handle Chaos

From our engagements as coaches, we have observed that organisations invest tremendously on coaching their leaders to maximize their potential, innovation and to multiply their results. But what we also observe as a constant is the CHAOS that leaders must endure and overcome.

We have read about the VUCA world, and we are now living through it. The competitive advantage for organisations is teamwork and team leaders often struggle to coach their team to become high performing individuals and teams. When faced with stress and chaos, most leaders often resort to ‘telling’ their teams what to do. They demonstrate this behaviour due to a lack of awareness of where to begin handling the chaos with a coaching lens.

This forced us to think through on how leaders can be Coaching to the chaos across three dimensions.

Coaching to the chaos across three dimensions.


‘Slow down to achieve more’, is a statement that becomes true in such a situation. In order to understand and manage the chaos outside, the leader needs to find the calm inside. This is also exactly like what the turtle does – when it cannot manage the outside, it goes within the shell and comes out at an appropriate time. By going within, the leader develops the ability to embrace chaos and its components – to make sense of it and gain clarity. This then helps them choose the most valuable actions that would get them the best outcomes. These are some of the key capabilities that the leader develops by going within.


This chaos results from 3 factors:

  1. The lack of a larger vision that can motivate and align team members
  2. The lack of connection and clarity of every team member’s efforts to the larger cause
  3. The lack of an accountability framework and measurement that can track progress and achievement

The most complex chaos to fix is within the team since it involves individual and group dynamics that several leaders are not fully aware of. Also, leaders have not been exposed to the possibilities and limitations of the interplay of power and politics. Leaders must learn who the stakeholders are who wield the power and also learn to navigate politics. Politics could be defined as a clash of self- interests. The self-interest of different stakeholders can be synergized by understanding how the power dynamic flows to achieve collective goals.


It is surprising in this day and age; how many teams execute only for the fiscal. That propensity to focus on the urgent and sacrifice the important is so ingrained within all of us. When a business or sales leader wears’ the coach’s hat, the conversations should help them and their team to focus on defining the big picture and then build back their aspirations, visions and milestones from that. A leader as a coach will have a possibilities mindset and then help the team to structure those possibilities to define the execution plan.

Without the big picture, the default action is to look back on the past and define the future, which almost always translates into incremental growth. There will be a lot of discomfort in these coaching conversations, since the team is typically “walking into the unknown”.  The leader as a coach needs to maintain a balance between coaching and mentoring. This allows the team to define, refine, and shine the light on the larger opportunity that they can collectively go after.

“Order in Chaos is Driven Through Perspective” – Venkataraman Subramanyan

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