Systemic coaching: 

What is systemic coaching?

Life within an organisation can be complex. There are multiple groups of people interacting with each other, who all bring their own perspectives, needs and ways of working. With so much in the mix, it is no surprise that people sometimes feel frustrated, overwhelmed, stuck or that they are not reaching their full potential. 

Systemic coaching brings a framework and approach for exploring, clarifying and resolving different types of leadership, team and organisational issues. When we more fully understand the different systems that surround us, we can uncover new opportunities and, where needed, find resolution.


Elaine's systemic coaching offering 

Systemic coaching for individual leaders:

  • Career development: When you are in a challenging role, transitioning to a new position or level, are having difficulty fitting into an organisation or finding your authority

  • Problem solving: For uncovering potential solutions, resources and options for difficulties that seem almost impossible to overcome

  • Energising and motivating: When you want to explore issues that are impacting your energy and resilience

Systemic coaching for teams:

  • Delivering results: When team members need to align more effectively together to achieve their purpose and goals

  • Building team relationships: When there is an enduring and difficult relationship among those trying to manage, follow or lead

  • Performance breakthroughs: When team members feel stuck, ambivalent or unsure of their place or a fresh perspective may be useful

Systemic coaching for organisations

  • Problem solving: Quickly identifying the roots of challenging company-wide issues, when there is no apparent path to a solution

  • Uncovering the truth: When there is something hidden or secret or when something ‘just doesn’t feel right’ in the business

  • Family-run businesses: Where a family business has grown over time and is looking to expand to another level and/or integrate new members into its team

  • Cultural transformation: When there is a need to develop the way things are done and improve the flow of an organisation


Customer endorsement:

The coaching constellations (creating maps) approach provided real simplicity and key insights into the working dynamics of my team. Specifically, I was able to understand and explore the relationships with individual members, if this relationship was where I wanted it to be and what corrective actions I should take in order to create a thriving and enjoyable environment for everyone to succeed. Since working in this way our team has become stronger, more aligned and more supportive of each other, which has enabled us to bring more value to the wider organisation.
— Richard Hartshorn, Head of Master Planning and Capacity, Heathrow

How does it work?

Systemic coaching works by creating a ‘living map’ of your challenge or scenario. This can be done by using small props or post-it notes on a table in one-to-one sessions, or in a team workshop using people as moving reference points to represent factors within the situation. These maps are sometimes referred to as constellations.

Often, the simple process of mapping items in relation to each other is enough to bring clarity and a fresh perspective. The coach works with the individual or group, usually through questioning or offering short sentences so the coachee or team can better interpret the map. The coach’s intuition and ability to provide insightful observations can be key parts of the process.

In the blog "Navigating your way through a business challenge" Elaine explains more about how this process works and the transformative results it can have. 

She has also written about how coaches can use systemic principles to facilitate team development sessions in this post

For more information about systemic coaching, visit Coaching Constellations, the organisation Elaine trained with, which has pioneered this work.