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Decorative: The ICF Thought Leadership Institute's Futures Thinking Framework. Image description: a very tall building with a lot of hexagonal shapes on it

The ICF Thought Leadership Institute’s Futures Thinking Framework: A coach’s guide to navigating disruption

Explore the ICF Thought Leadership Institute’s groundbreaking Futures Thinking Framework. This framework is designed with coaches in mind–to empower coaches to navigate disruption and drive client success.

Welcome to futures thinking – a multidisciplinary framework that empowers professional coaches with tools to anticipate change, envision possibilities, and actively shape the trajectories of their endeavors.

Revealing potential futures: Beyond prediction

Futures thinking, often called futurism or foresight, develops a long-term vision of the future based on signals and trends from various domains. The goal is not to predict a specific future but to explore various possibilities, facilitating informed and proactive decision-making and collaborative action.

Contextualizing disruption: A world-systems view

Utilizing a world-systems perspective in futures thinking is essential to understanding uncertainty and preparing for a range of possible outcomes. Exploring alternative futures frees us to critically examine the worldviews and mythologies that underlie our collective prospects. By honing futures thinking skills, we become adept at  recognizing and addressing the limitations and biases of our perspectives. This synergy between world systems perspective and futures thinking equips us to navigate complex global challenges with greater clarity and strategic foresight.

Methodologies for illuminating the path forward

Interdisciplinary futures methodologies are designed to help people think about the future. Futures methodologies, such as environmental scanning, trend analysis, the Delphi method, scenarios, backcasting, and causal layered analysis, offer practical tools for businesses, governments, and individuals to make informed decisions in an increasingly complex world.

The ICF Thought Leadership Institute: Co-creating insight through STEERE

The ICF Thought Leadership Institute (TLI) utilizes the STEERE model, an adaptation of the STEEPLE model found to be the most effective in organizing thinking around the trends. Organizing contemporary thinking around trends, TLI closely examines the most relevant social, technological, economic, ecological, regulatory, and ethical forces impacting the coaching profession.

Navigating the STEERE framework

The ICF Thought Leadership Institute uses guiding questions from each of these domains to systematically analyze trends, gaining a comprehensive understanding of their impacts and implications. 

The ICF Thought Leadership Institute STEERE framework

Social and cultural factors 

  • How might this trend impact different groups, their social norms, and shared cultural attitudes?
  • How is public opinion or perception shaping and responding to this trend?

Technological factors

  • What technological advancements enable this trend?
  • How does this trend disrupt or enhance existing technical infrastructure?

Economic factors

  • What are the potential economic implications for both consumers and businesses?
  • How does this trend affect employment and labor markets?
  • What role does global economic interdependence play in this trend?

Ecological factors

  • What role does sustainability play?
  • How might the coaching profession impact ecological patterns?

Regulatory factors

  • How might this trend influence policy priorities or decision-making?
  • Are there any legal barriers or opportunities that impact the development and adoption of this trend?
  • How are international organizations engaging with this trend?

Ethical factors

  • What ethical concerns are raised by this trend’s implications and consequences?
  • Are there conflicts between short-term gains and long-term ethical considerations related to this trend?
  • What efforts are being made to ensure that the ethical implications of this trend are adequately addressed?

Embrace futures thinking with the ICF Thought Leadership Institute

Ultimately, futures thinking can equip coaches with tools to shape the direction of their coaching practice and to improve client outcomes by enabling them to imagine various possibilities and anticipate and adapt to change. By staying attuned to external factors that influence individuals and organizations, coaches can effectively navigate disruptive environments and support their clients to steer toward a future that aligns with their personal or professional goals.

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