Why the Climate Coaching Alliance?

How It
All Began

In November 2019, the Climate Coaching Alliance was born.


For the answer, we need to dive into the thinking and being of three women – Ali Whybrow, Eve Turner and Josie McLean – who are firmly grounded in the power of relationships and community, a wide systemic perspective of our interconnectedness, and a deep connection with the unravelling systems that have beautifully, generation after generation, supported burgeoning life on earth.

The Climate Coaching Alliance (CCA) is a response to the feedback from earth that all is not well – our climate and ecological emergencies. The formation of the CCA follows the Open Letter to Coaches, the Coaching & Coaching Psychology Professional Bodies and Coach Educators, that was written in July 2019. This letter contained a 10 point ‘wish list’, one of which was a call to create a global climate crisis network for coaches, a space for dialogue and learning.

“Whatever the problem, Community is the answer”
Meg Wheatley

It was hoped that a community like this would resource coaches, coaching psychologists, facilitators, supervisors and leadership development professionals – everyone in fact who uses coaching principles and approaches as methodologies to bring about change and transformation. That such a community would provide a space for learning how to apply coaching approaches with a wider ecological lens, and, as a result, impact clients in ways that align with a truly sustainable way of being, living and acting.

Whilst the Climate Coaching Alliance emerged from a conversation among three women, it didn’t start there and has not stopped there.

This alliance has been enabled by the support of a powerful collective including a host of colleagues, coaching elders (some such as Sir John Whitmore who are no longer with us) and a shift in the tectonic plates of our collective awareness about the crisis we are in. Earth is our main stakeholder and guide as are the living system principles that form the powerful life force that have been honed over the 3.8 billion years since life was first a possibility on this rich and diverse planet.

Support has flowed from coaching bodies around the globe who have been quick to step forward. Support and practical resources have been offered by coaching organisations. Many of those we have spoken to already have a foot in the space we need to occupy. Others are rapidly catching up, and still others are unclear and unsure. We are hearing coaches from across the globe tell us that they have found their tribe.

The major problems of the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think” 

Gregory Bateson

What’s the purpose of the Climate Coaching Alliance?

We represent many forms of coaches and coaching. So, what is our role in this?

  • To enable individual practitioners, and the profession of coaching to develop strategies and practices that provide coaches, the coaching profession, coach training organisations and coaching clients (individuals, leaders and their teams) with the right space to step into their necessary leadership role in the face of our climate and ecological emergency.

We first must move ourselves, raise our consciousness in order to welcome a new way of being in relationship with earth. Once we’ve started, we can offer a very different place of coaching and dialogue with our clients.

  • To resource ourselves and to create spaces to process as we find ourselves both personally and professionally affected by powerful emotions generated by the climate and ecological emergency we are in, and we see the capacity of our planet to support life reduced.

In community, we have the possibility of supporting and challenging each other to step into places that we might otherwise avoid, deepening our courage and integrity. We have the possibility of sharing the weight of what we cannot carry individually, and together find and build practices, strategies and experiments that emerge. As Otto Scharmer noted in a recent discussion with Coaches Rising, “creating connection creates possibilities“.

Coaches and related professions have skills so pertinent to this work. Sir John Whitmore would say that perhaps coaching emerged just for this very purpose, to nursemaid the old human earth story and to play midwife to the new emerging stories.

Listening, holding the space, connecting ourselves and our clients to a bigger sense of what’s important, a bigger purpose, healing the splits that have created the current pain and enabling a more joyful connectedness with self, all of earth’s inhabitants, earth and life.

This is perhaps the awareness Sir John was talking about in that most simple of definitions. From that awareness, what we might take responsibility for and how we might choose to act offers a powerful, irreversible way to engage in who we are and what is ours to do – starting exactly where we find ourselves.

This is the call to coaching embedded in the creation of the Climate Coaching Alliance.