Helicopter View A Leadership Imperative

All my clients are taught the Helicopter View. This is essential to life, leadership, love and most importantly the concept of being resilient.

If you are a client and you don’t know what the helicopter view is, then this article will make up for my lack of diligence. If not, and you do know what it means, skip this post.

Why Self-Help Fails….

A leader who is stressed by the same problems that stress their team is no leader.

The Art of Coaching – Chris Walker

The Way I See it….

I have absolutely no doubt that most people try to make change from within the bubble of thought that caused the problem in the first place. This gives way to groundhog day. Banging our head against a concrete wall will eventually yield results but for my clients, this is not what they are paying large amounts of their personal cash to achieve. My clients want change and they want it in the directions they choose.

Change is the leader’s responsibility. And in broaching the topic of change at home or at work we are given two distinct paths.

  1. Evolution
  2. Revolution

1. Evolution

If we summarised the universe’s intent, it’s purpose for life on earth into one work, it is evolution. This is the real overview effect. The one who understands the process of evolution will see order in what other’s define as chaos. That’s what I, as a coach, can do well.

Chaos is a Viewpoint

I’m driving down the highway at 110km/hr and the car in front of me creates a dangerous situation. I see chaos and respond with emergency braking. If i was “Lewis Hamilton” – F1 World Champion 2019, I might smile and drive around the situation. How we see things reveals our mastery of them. And when it comes to life, love and work, human nature, I see order in all chaos. That’s where, as a coach, I earn my Championship flag.

What gives us certainty on any specific topic of mastery is the application of non changing principles. A chemist has the periodic table, a mathematician has numeric binumeral. The ancient Egyptians had the stars. There are unchanging principles in all areas of life. And mastery requires the application of those principles at our fingertips to be called a champion. You too will be a champion in your field.

But – in sport you’ll see there are grades. A grade, B grade, C grade etc. The champion in C grade will not be the champion in A grade unless they change their viewpoint. The secret to being champion and staying champion in any walk of life is EVOLUTION. The ongoing application of fixed principles to ever more complex problems. See below an Astronauts Evolution of View – the Overview Effect.

The Overview Effect: It is the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

Mt Everest from Space looks so easy to climb doesn’t it….? Overview – Helicopter View

Your life has an overview too. What stresses you day to day may not change but how you see it will. For example: you may have a confrontation with someone and that’s going to happen no matter what your viewpoint is, but you will not be traumatised by it as much if you have a higher viewpoint. The conflict will just become a part of the jig-saw of the day. This we refer to as non-reactive.

As we evolve we attract larger challenges, B grade to A grade, how we react, reveals our evolution, and therefore our viewpoint. Constant growth is needed to expand viewpoint and this is one of the most vital elements of constant weekly coaching.


When evolution doesn’t take place on a daily basis, revolution hits.

A client might be diligent with their personal management while they experience pain or fear, but then, when they think the world is flowing perfectly in their direction, might slack off and be less disciplined about learning and growing. I will then get a call some months later when a massive tsunami hits them: it can be a big disappointment, a renewed sense of fear, a pain, a hurt or simply a trigger memory but whatever happens, a tsunami in life is no different to a tsunami in nature, it’s a real challenge. Total chaos and lost perspective.

Tsunami in life, Tsunami in Nature
The wreckage of a Tsunami can impact millions of people. In Nature and In our Life.

Revolution hurts. It is a testimonial to stalled evolution. In nature, the tectonic plates beneath the sea may have suddenly moved and caused the tsunami, but they could have moved a micromillimeter at a time and remained undetected. One is evolution we aim for it in coaching, the other is revolution, we are in serious damage control.

Revolution in life takes the form of urgent change. This is a reaction to a reaction. Pain relief, emotional struggles, mental illness are all signs of stalled evolution and would become really rare if the life coach, me, were doing their job well. But sometimes we don’t.

The human ego is a strong and strange animal. It’s mission is to prevent change. It is anchored in protecting the status quo and when provoked, it can seriously push back against coaching. The coach is left with a dilemma: confront the ego or placate it… if confronted the ego will banish the coach to the toilet along with the dentist and rectal thermometers. If not confronted the ego will sign on for coaching but slowly edge the owner toward a revolution for which the coach will again be blamed.

The solution is to create a space for coaching where the ego is permitted to take a back seat, in other words, a safe place to trust a process. After 40 years in self-help, meditation, yoga, workshops, retreats and study, I don’t trust any of it and would not place myself vulnerable to what I perceive as incompetent, compartmentalised teachers who regurgitate information that they themselves can’t even practice. Experience has taught me that finding a teacher who walks their talk is impossible. Instead, i found a teaching.

Nature’s Universal laws:

  1. The are the same everywhere
  2. They give an ultimate overview
  3. They can be applied to everything
  4. They are not a humanly concocted solution to a compartment of ego pain
  5. They prevent revolution
  6. They are focussed on evolution
The Keys to the Gate of Helicopter Viewpoint in all walks of life.
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