Even the toughest explorers need coaching


It’s strange how one experience can lead to another so unexpectedly.  This weekend I attended the Adventure Travel Show at London’s Olympia, thinking I was going to come away with lots of ideas for future holidays off the beaten track.  I did that, but what really resonated with me was a reference to an NLP reflection exercise.  This made me draw an unexpected link between the Amazonian rainforest and the skills we need in today’s world.

My inspiration came during a talk by Ed Stafford, explorer, film-maker, author and motivational speaker, about his world record-breaking expedition to be the fastest person to walk the Amazon.  Despite this being a trip of a lifetime, two-and-a-half years is a long time to be separated from family, friends and the world, save for an on-off internet connection.  Towards the end, Ed was struggling.  “I’d lost perspective and was in quite a dark place but a few handy tips from Phil gave me all the tools I needed to stay positive.”  he said on his website.   Phil Parker, NLP practitioner, advised Ed to think of somebody he admired and visualise that person next to him and what he would say.  For Ed, it was a very powerful exercise.  Remembering his former Army commanding officer, Mark Hale, Ed ‘heard’ his voice an it gave him much-needed perspective during his hour of need, enabling him to complete his mission.

This reminded me of how simple, yet powerful these techniques can be.  Our lives today have become more challenging than ever – gone are the days of a job for life, organisations are changing faster than ever before and this increases the pressure on us, not to mention balancing partners, children, taking care of ourselves, the washing, ironing and finding time for the weekly shop.  Rarely do we have time for self-awareness and self-reflection.  These skills are so important in today’s world, but remain out of reach to so many people unless their organisation invests in coaching or, like Ed, they have an NLP practitioner on speed dial from the Amazonian rainforest.  The power of being coached and the subsequent ability to understand, regulate, manage or even choose to change our emotions is one of THE most powerful techniques we need to tackle today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Changing & Ambiguous) world – or find our way out of our own jungles.