Research & Case Studies

Team coaching: The limitations of a systemic approach

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Paul Lawrence – Principal, Centre for Coaching in Organisations

The term ‘systemic coaching’ is now becoming increasingly prevalent in the team coaching literature, almost inevitably given that writers in the broader team development literature have long acknowledged that factors outside the team influence events taking place in the team. Less explicit in the team coaching literature is a more nuanced consideration of what it means to be a systemic team coach.

Many use the term ‘systemic’ simply to mean ‘holistic’ – taking a balcony view – but use of the term ‘systemic’ also implies some kind of theoretical perspective, a perspective not often made explicit.

There exist hundreds of different systems theories, many of them incompatible and there exists a train of thought that says to think systemically is not always helpful, indeed that it may limit our understanding of the working of small groups.

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