The Importance of VUCA for Coaching and Supervision

Reflection of the EASC Conference 2018 in Germany

According to the feedback of about 150 international participants and the voices of the partners, the EASC conference in Eichstätt, Germany was a complete success. The Catholic University of Eichstätt offered a place for encounters, dialogues and high-level input, and the cooperation with the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and the Cardinal Wiazynski University of Warsaw enabled highly qualified keynotes. Fourteen workshops and poster sessions offered a wide range of professional expertise and the many discussions brought new ideas for cooperation between science and practice in the field of supervision and coaching.

VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The discussion on the importance of VUCA for supervision and coaching had a wide range.

Prof. Stefan Kühl, for example, questioned the specific nature of VUCA in his organizational-sociological analysis and highlighted recurring waves of dismantling and building hierarchies and bureaucracies in organizations. Culturally difficult to unite are the democratically constituted society and the owner-influenced organisational structures.

Dr. Christoph Schmidt-Lellek explained life coaching as a relevant support of resilience and self-control in the face of increasing burdens in the VUCA world with a decreasing security and the sense of purpose by organisations.

Prof. Carsten Schermuly presented studies and meta-analyses on the effects and side effects of coaching, focusing on the effects on coaches as well as on their clients. In view of the historically still small scope of research and the difficult funding landscape (the lack of a clear definition of “coaching” alone hampers the application for third-party funding), the state of research needs to be further developed. Based on increasing flexibility, agility and other characteristics of VUCA.

Prof. Eric Lippmann pointed out the requirements for coaching and supervision in organizations. Based on the shape model of the five pillars, he showed the influence of VUCA on individual identity and the paradoxical situation of the necessity of adaptation and personal profiling.

The workshops offered extremely interesting insights into the practical work and reflection by colleagues. As always, the time for exchange in the plenum and in informal discussions was too short and many would have liked to have talked to each other for even longer.

Once again the meeting of the members and participants was the real treasure of the conference: to see each other again as well as to get to know many new colleagues was a great pleasure. “Please more often” and “Please more of it” was the most frequent feedback at the end.

An important result is the continued excellent cooperation with the University of Eichstätt and the newly founded cooperation with the Wyazinski University in Warsaw.

Another sustainable result is the publication of a compendium on VUCA, Coaching and Supervision, which will include scientific contributions and field reports from practitioners.

We thank all organizers, supporters and the many helpers who made this conference possible.

Please stay tuned. The next EASC conference for supervision and coaching will be held in Barcelona in September 2020.

Susanne Rieger