What does a systemic coach do?
How can you practise this new niche of coaching?
Are companies looking to hire such a coach? How does it impact company baselines?
If you have been wondering about questions like these, then you are in the right place.
In this article, I will give you a breakdown of everything you need to know about systemic coaching.
What Does a Systemic Coach Do?
Let us understand what systemic coaching is all about.
There are a lot of questions about what such coaches do. This is because it is a relatively new niche in coaching. This form of coaching is, however, increasingly becoming popular in organizations.
According to this website, the Wikipedia definition of systemic coaching is simple. It is a form of counseling that employs constructive conversation, aimed at human problem resolution.
“Systemic coaching recognizes that in order for two or more persons to interact effectively in a social system, any one individual or group of individuals within that system, each as an element of the whole, may require or benefit from coaching aimed at restoring equilibrium or creating new alignments.”
One of the primary reasons for the growth of systemic coaching in the recent past is the over-all value that organizations get. Such a coach focuses on bringing about organizational change among all the entities that operate within it. This specific type of coaching ensures the alignment of individual goals to organizational goals. This pays dividends in the long run.
Executive versus Systemic Coaching
Does an executive coach have the same role to play as a systemic coach?
No, they are two different niches in coaching although they may borrow from each other.
How do their priorities differ?
This website explains what an executive coach does. An executive coach is a qualified professional that works with individuals (usually executives, but often high-potential employees). A coach helps them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and act as a sounding board. Coaches ask questions, challenge assumptions, help achieve clarity, provide resources and provide consultation.
However, this is reserved for the top leaders. Companies invest in high-potential employees or top management by hiring an executive coach. The returns are fabulous. Coaching definitely helps employee performance and increases engagement and loyalty.
On the other hand, a systemic coach realizes that a person cannot succeed alone.
Systemic coaching is now such an important feature in executive coaching, that some also look at systemic coaching as a leadership approach. An article here explains how this pans out. Giving a specific example of a company, the author explains:
“Systemic coaching takes the complexity of people and their context into account. It aims to reduce complexity in order for the coachee to understand more about her/himself.”
Why Hire a Systemic Coach?
How can a systemic coach help clients within an organization?
Within the executive environment a systemic coach helps leaders to understand the diversity of needs among employees and provide solutions. This is also a key element in agile leadership, a term that is becoming extremely popular in the last few years.
A systemic coach can help leaders in many ways. I have listed some of them below.
Learning to listen
As a leader knows, crisis is a part of everyday life. Most leaders build systems and put processes in place to avert such crisis as much as possible. Alternately, they build back-up systems so that team members know what to do in a situation that is urgent. However, an effective leader also knows that a calm demeanor is crucial during an emergency. This helps his entire team focus on finding a solution. As a first step towards this, a leader has to listen without reacting. This is where a coach could help the leader by training her to listen effectively and analyze each situation objectively.
Leading a multi-cultural team is not an easy task. An agile leader learns to understand how each team or member reacts and prepares for that. A systemic coach shows leaders how different teams have a direct role to play in his/her own achievements and the company’s baseline.
Understanding the self
A trained leader is best equipped to understand his/her own limitations when it comes to managing teams. Becoming aware of how decisions affect all members and the repercussions help managers lead successful teams. This training is best attained from a coach.
Who Hires a Systemic Coach?
What does the target audience look like? Or more specifically, who can a systemic coach help?
.Are companies currently hiring? I am sure you have all these questions cruising through your mind right now.
Don’t worry. There is a job market that is thriving for professionals who lend value. As a systemic coach, you will definitely be in demand.
Target Audience of a Systemic Coach
Regardless of whether you are beginning your career as a systemic coach, it is natural to worry about the future. The global pandemic and current economic challenges pose a threat to all jobs. So your concerns are valid.
However, with the right mindset as a coach, relevant training and good marketing skills, you can take your coaching practice places.
Be smart about how to package your services.
For starters, let us identify some organizations that will benefit from a systemic coach.
The systemic executive approach has been doing the rounds for a few years. So the chances are that large MNCs or companies have already heard of them. If you are starting your career as a systemic coach, look in the neighborhood. Is there a company that is struggling due to an internal web of policies and headstrong leaders?
Can someone refer you to companies or leaders who understand the value of team work? Sometimes, the organization may be small but leaders depend on multiple teams for delivery. These are the best places to look for your next stint as a systemic coach.
Which leaders welcome systemic coaching?
You can also identify some business leaders and approach them directly. Personalities of leaders are a dead giveaway when it comes to gauging whether they need coaching. A leader can be your target audience if he/she is:
- Ready to change for the better for the sake of the company
- Able to receive criticism and introspect
- Is open to change in self and in systems
- Is sincere and shows integrity
Benefits of Hiring Systemic Coach
Here are some of the ways that a trained coach can contribute towards the overall success of an organization. A systemic coach helps:
- Identify the problem. Such a coach is trained to come in and identify the reason behind challenging company-wide issues. This is the first step to solving any problem.
- Expand family-run businesses. A family business often stagnates over time and a fresh perspective can help expansion or integration plans.
- Understand cultural differences. Often an understanding of the office culture and integration of people can work wonders for a company
- Find their place of authority. This is particularly true for leaders who are new to the organization or transitioning to a new position or role. A systemic coach can help leaders “to get their bearings right” in such a case.
- Develop leadership skills. A systemic coach can help leaders with things they are struggling with. These may include out-of-the-ordinary problem solving or innovative resource management skills, too. Basically, a systemic coach breaks down the complexities in which a leader feels he is stuck.
- Motivate themselves and their teams. A systemic coach is a blessing for leaders who feel unable to overcome the problems surrounding them. A situation like this can be depressing and draining for a leader. A systemic coach is therefore a boon for building up a leader’s motivation and resilience.
- Be more goal-oriented. A systemic coach addresses the problem at the core of the organization. This helps team members understand themselves, their roles and contribution better.
- Build trusting relationships. By addressing issues that are “spoiling the environment” so to speak, the systemic coach helps take the tension out of the office. This helps team members particularly in environments that have witnessed difficult relationships among employer – employee.
- Perform better. A team that is aligned is more effective when it comes to achieving their purpose and goals. A systemic coach does not focus only on the organization but each individual’s role, thereby motivating better performance and engagement.
Does a Systemic Coach Need Marketing?
Let us start by addressing this basic question.
How Much Does a Systemic Coach Earn?
How much do systemic coaches earn? Can one earn enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle?
This website provides details on how much an executive coach can earn.
Coaching is a $3 billion-per-year industry worldwide, and, as the Harvard Business Review estimated, the median rate for an executive coach is $500 an hour. Many coaches will charge for a six- or 12-month engagement, but some will work on an hourly basis.
The reason we are choosing an executive coach as a benchmark is that there are no records of salaries for systemic coaches. This is because it is still a niche that is not common among many companies. Or, they are working within closed circles and do not disclose salaries.
I do believe that there is a market for you if you want to become a systemic coach.
As a first step, subscribe to the link to my free webinar mentioned in the last segment of this blog. I will discuss how you can begin your coaching career as a systemic coach.
Then, reach out to me if you need help to set up your business. To be a successful coach, you will need the necessary skills and training.
Market for a Systemic Coach
As a coach who has worked for several decades, I can tell you one thing.
1. How can I get clients?
2. How do I get noticed in a crowded market?
3. How should I advertise my coaching services?
4. Will I earn enough money to have a comfortable life?
As a systemic coach, you are working with a very specific niche. Now, use that exclusivity you provide and turn it to help your coaching practice.
Do you wonder how you will get your brand name noticed? Refer to my blog How to promote your life coaching business?
How Can You Become the Best Systemic Coach
What are the qualities of a great coach? What is that one trait that sets them apart?
Is there something you can learn to develop yourself?
Some relevant qualities that clients look for in a systemic coach are:
Having a Big Picture Approach
Coaches, like everyone else, react to problems in different ways. Some look at helping clients resolve issues one at a time. They are the ones that celebrate small victories. And there’s nothing wrong with that approach. As a coach, however, you need to keep the bigger picture in mind. Your client needs to learn how the micro adds up to the macro level. This is where they will need help.
Being an Optimistic Ally
As a coach, you are your client’s biggest supporter. Use that privilege wisely. Learning to negotiate with different teams can be emotionally exhausting. Do allow your client time to understand the implications of working with different teams to reach a common goal.
A systemic coach has to help the client navigate through what seems like insurmountable terrain. But that is just the beginning. The end result is always worth the struggle. Push hard and keep your client accountable. Driving accountability during your coaching sessions will help your client turn it into a habit. And one that s/he will always be grateful to you for.
These qualities are common for coaches across all coaching models.
Irrespective of their niche, all great coaches share some common traits. In this context, you may want to refer to my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach. It’s a great reference point for all the good coaches I have met.
Do Systemic Coaches Need Training?
Are there certain specific degrees needed to practise as a coach? Well, not really. But a lot of executive coaches often gravitate towards systemic coaching.
More than the formal training, what such a coach needs is the ability to break through complex systems and simplify it to show impact. Once any leader understands the impact of systemic coaching, they will want to implement the same.
This is also why a lot of such coaches get their future references through word of mouth. I always insist that you network with your peers and always ask for a reference from your current client.
Certification for Systemic Coach
There are several institutes offering training for systemic coaching.
However, as of now the coaching industry is still unregulated and this means that you do not need to have a degree to work as a coach.
I have written about this in my blog Do you need Coaching Certification in 2020?
However, what you do need is training, familiarity with the challenges of systemic coaching, good marketing skills and positive client recommendations. If you are a new coach and still learning how to become a coach, you may benefit from some training courses from accredited coaching institutes.
You may also consider offering more value to your clients which will also mean more revenues for you. It is a win-win situation!
In my blog, How To Create And Sell World-Class Coaching Products?, I have mentioned some great products that you can offer. Keep innovating and you will never need to worry about your coaching career.
Keep Learning as a Systemic Coach
As with all other professions, learning and development can be a continuous process for all coaches. The latest research, market trends and books are all just a click away thanks to technology. LinkedIn in particular is also a great resource nowadays to keep yourself updated.
Systemic Coach Reading List
As they say, reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
There are several books for you as a systemic coach. I have collated some of the popular titles below. Check out which one is a good read for you.
- Systemic Coaching: Delivering Value Beyond the Individual by Eve Turner and Peter Hawkins
- Systemic Coaching and Constellations: The Principles, Practices and application for individuals, teams and groups by John Whittington
- Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership by Peter Hawkins
- Systemic Coaching: Systemic Work Without the Constellation by Bibi Schreuder and Jan Jacob Stam
- Systemic Team Coaching by Hilary Lines and John Leary-Joyce
- The Practitioner’s Handbook of Team Coaching 1st Edition by David Clutterbuck (Editor), Judie Gannon (Editor), Sandra Hayes (Editor), Ioanna Iordanou (Editor), Krister Lowe (Editor), Doug MacKie (Editor)
- Masterful Systemic Coaching: The Systemic Coaching Collection by Alain Cardon MCC
- Systemic Coaching: A Target Oriented Approach to Consulting by Nino Tomaschek
- Systemic Team and Organizational Coaching: The Systemic Coaching Collection by Alain Cardon MCC
- Systemic Coaching: Coaching the Whole Person with Meta-Coaching by L. Michael Hall
- Quantum Perspectives in Systemic Coaching: The Systemic Coaching by Alain Cardon MCC
- Invisible Dynamics. Systemic Constellations in Organisations and in Business Paperback – April 28, 2005 by Klaus P. Horn (Author), Regine Brick (Author)
- Systemic Leadership by Jan Jacob Stam
Some common coaching books clients look up are listed here.
Videos for Systemic Coach
There are several YouTube videos and podcasts relevant for you as a systemic coach.
I have listed some below.
- Ecosystemic Team Coaching Podcast with Professor Peter Hawkins discusses forces that are disrupting the nature of teams in organizations.
- Insights & reflections on systemic team coaching with John Leary-Joyce is also worth listening to.