A Coaching Session from the Systemic Perspective (or Learning to Co-Create)
By Guadalupe Rodríguez
In memory of Michael Blumenstein
One of the great challenges I have faced during my career as a coach is to offer my clients forms and tools that contribute in a way so they can see possibilities, in places where they could not find them.
The Principle of Co-Creation is the main input of Michael Blumenstein’s Theory to my job as a coach, that, among other ideas, is based on the next premises:
Enoughness. Beyond the context in which a person is born and raised and beyond his or her “psycho-social conditionings” to become an adult, every human being is an “autopoietic” living system (according to Maturana), 100% autonomous, structurally closed, and functionally connected, with the capability to make choices.
We all possess an inner space: “I Enough” or my “Center” that only I know, and stays untouched by the exterior, where potentially I have available all the resources needed to face my challenges.
Social Systems. We, human beings, create relationships with other individuals and interact with them creating different social systems where –according to Niklas Luhman’s communication Theory- the most basic level of the relationship is the conversation between two people, which at the same time represents the simplest form of social systems. This is how we participate in many social systems that exist, as long as there’s someone making contributions to the system. It’s common to find people, teams, and organizations with a high level of confusion, between two or more of the social systems in which they participate. For example, in the cases of those who have a family business where both systems (family and business) compete to overlap each other.
Responsibility. Under the systemic premise, there are no guilty of a result and all of the participants in the social system are 100% responsible of their own contributions.
In a business, family, couple, governments, organizations, society, etcetera, no one can take on the contributions made by others, and all can choose how to react to the contributions made by others.
It becomes common to add judgements and automatic routines or drivers (conscious or unconscious) to our behaviors, emotional and conversational repertoires, as unique answers and absolute truths, offering models and reality constructions that close the door to dissent, to mistakes, to not knowing, because we have been trained to seek for those who are guilty instead of contributing towards learning.
Uncertainty Principle. Heirs of a long-standing tradition of lineal mechanicist and binary thinking (good-bad, correct-incorrect, false-true, black-white, friend-foe, innocent-guilty, wise-ignorant, etcetera) it’s common for us to search depictions to help us make reality simpler and make the universe less complex. Trying different resources like getting out of the box and learning from the future is possible when we open ourselves to “I don’t know”, “maybe”, “perhaps”, “possibly”.
Form VS Content. Far away from universal recipes, easy and standardized formulas, every person and every social system can and needs to find the best way to relate with itself, of making agreements, coexist and work.
The subjects to treat could be as simple or as complex, as trivial or relevant, as needed. A good form is one that offers a healthy coexistence focused on reaching the purpose that is wished to co-create together, where all of the system participants have the same opportunity to participate and be heard in an environment of respect without devaluation. The best way to make agreements is by consensus.
This way each coaching process is unique and relies a 100% in the hands of the client. The scales of grey that we can observe are infinite and you just have to be willing to practice your curiosity and capacity of wonder to discover a new landscape around.
Accompanying a client to imagine a future where “what could happen if…?” can transform what seemed like a dilemma into something totally new.
· Realizing that isn’t always necessary to make a choice right now
· Learning to look at one’s self recognizing and honoring each’s story.
· Be willing to let go control, and leave behind that which doesn’t belong to me or doesn’t work.
· Knowing how to open and close cycles.
· Create spaces for other voices, offering a generous and deep listening.
· Seek for balance, learning how to give, ask, and receive.
· To live in one’s body, feeling it, listen to its language and learning to honor it.
This are some of the mysteries that a coaching session can explore, because just as Michael said: “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood” and “we all deserve to have a good life”.