In trying to meet their purpose, all organisations have ongoing issues that need to addressed, and often re-addressed. Often, these issues are what we call “Wicked Problems”, or problems that resist attempts to solve them and are part and parcel of the Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) workspace we now inhabit.

The challenge in solving wicked problems is not solely a function of the complexity of the problem itself. It is as much a function of the perspectives and assumptions we bring to it. The patterns of conversation and interaction we use to solve complex and wicked problems is usually what makes them so difficult to solve. Often, the torch we are using to find our way through the darkness ends up focussing in directions that are not useful.

Effective organisations are able to shine their light on their wider organisational system to see what is actually holding their problems in place. They develop the capacity to have more complex perspectives, notice their assumptions and shape the right conversations to address the complex issues they face. This enables them to respond more adaptively in their VUCA environment.

Helping teams to “lift their torches” and explore problems in new ways, helps leaders, and their teams to illuminate more of the organisational systems in which complex problems emerge and persist. With a wider range of options available to them, organisations are able to more efficiently notice and navigate their way toward effective and sustainable solutions.

What is Our Purpose?

Our purpose at Ascent Coaching and Training is to help co-create flourishing individuals and communities by supporting the emergence of purposeful, sustainable, adaptive and resilient organisations.

We partner with clients to co-create purposeful, sustainable and resilient organisations by improving the quality of their conversations:

Conversation 1

  • The quality of an organisation’s conversation determines the quality of its relationships, and the quality of its relationships determines the quality of the organisation.
  • We help leaders co-create conversations that are coherent rather than fragmented in terms of expressing and meeting purpose.
  • These conversations allow leaders to hold and express purpose adaptively and to enable those they lead to connect to purpose in personally meaningful ways.


What is our Approach?

Our approach is one of scaffolding leaders to engage with the tension that inevitably accompanies the uncomfortable conversations that are necessary to uncover bigger perspectives at individual, organisational and societal levels.

When people thrive, so do the organisations they work for and, we believe, our communities more broadly. To do this we believe that we must not only focus on developing individuals, but also on understanding and developing the relationships between individuals. These relationships are expressed primarily in the form of conversations and it is these conversations that form the culture of the organisation. By co-creating better organisational conversations we build positive, purpose driven cultures that are agile and able to effectively adapt to the ongoing, and emerging, challenges of organisational life in today’s complex world.

Adaptive CultureOur coaching – either one-to-one or group coaching – facilitates learning by experiential activities and co-creating thoughtful and reflective spaces that enable leaders to surface and challenge assumptions  and to explore new perspectives and thereby engage more effectively in the organisational conversation. Our aim is to equip leaders with the perspectives, mind-sets and skills to help them adapt and thrive in complex, volatile and often tough climates. We seek to develop leaders to be agile, change-ready and able to effectively adapt an ever-evolving environment.

What Informs Our Thinking?

Our work is grounded in systems thinking (Stacey, Cilliers, Cavanagh), coaching psychology (Grant, Cavanagh, Spence, Lane, Stelter) and sustainability (Cavanagh, Purser, Byung-Chul Han). We adopt a trans-disciplinary approach which is informed by complex systems theories, cognitive behavioural psychology, adult developmental psychology, leadership and management studies, sociology and coaching philosophy.