VUCA is gaining traction in the coaching world and certainly has application to the world of coaching church planters, pastors and network leaders. The notion of VUCA was introduced by the U.S. Army War College to describe the more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous multilateral world which resulted from the end of the Cold War.  

Previously, I discussed how to Coach VUCA.  To take VUCA from diagnosing to action requires a different framework.  Today I will flip the framework to coach on leadership “agilitly” so that leaders can take action to navigate change effectively (see diagram above).  

While coaching a newly established pastor in a new congregation to enhance their small group ministry I asked the question: “What is the state of your current small groups?” This question led to a number of insights about the health of the groups, fruitfulness, purpose, model, support and training, etc. This assessment gave him a realistic view of what he had to work with.

As he explored the future of their current small groups, it was apparent what he could expect. People would be cared for, lives would be impacted and about 20% of the congregation would assimilate into a group over the course of a 12-month cycle. Dissatisfied with those outcomes, he was led to prayerfully consider the “best case scenario” for small group environments where “life” was the primary goal.  From that place he envisioned disciplemaking communities where personal and community transformation took place.  The values shifted from assimilation to disciplemaking, meeting for the purpose of meeting to service in the community and maintaining group participation to growth through evangelism.

The point of the VUCA model is that the more a leader knows about a situation and, the better able the leader is to predict the potential impact of the actions proposed; the more capable the leader becomes at navigating change.

Regarding the pastor and his small group vision. With a clearer sense of WHAT IS and the necessary RIGHT ACTIONS – the better able the church has become at incorporating the vision for small group ministry.  

Once a vision is clarified then the following key questions are helpful when coaching a leader to Lead Through VUCA.

Vulnerability: Be Reliable

  • What promises do you need to keep in this situation?

Uncertainty: Be Trustworthy

  • How can you engage people?

Complexity: Be Direct

  • What information do people need to have?

Ambiguity: Be Understandable

  • What is the most compelling manner to articulate your vision?

As you coach leaders, this simple framework will be very familiar. See if these questions help you raise your effectiveness as you coach leaders who initiate bold new visions to make more and better disciples.  Please submit questions below that you have used to help leaders, Lead Through VUCA.


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