Systemic Coaching – An Overview

Jun 23, 2020

There is some amount of confusion about what systemic coaching implies. To simplify, let’s look at it as coaching both, the individuals and the teams they work in within an institutional context. Within this context, both the individuals and the teams are coached in alignment with pre-agreed institutional goals. These institutional goals are influenced by the interests of multiple stakeholders. These stakeholders impact the institution and are in return impacted by the actions of the institutions.
Individuals and teams need to understand stakeholder impact on them. They can then co-create their team vision, goals, and actions. This helps them collaborate on them for optimal outcomes. It requires that members of the team should work together synergistically, and be emotionally bonded towards commonly agreed outcomes.

Responsibilities of a Systemic Coach

  • Emotionally bonding a group of people as a team working in a safe interdependent space. It will help them be ready to work on a common vision (no group can be coached unless it forms a team).
  • Allowing multiple stakeholders’ views to be heard and understood by the team. This should be done from an outside-in, future back perspective to co-create a team vision/agreement in line with the sustainable growth of the institution, which is acceptable to the individuals.
  • Partnering with the team in a journey of awareness and action from current reality to the agreed vision. This must be co-created using collaboration. The coach must sustain this practice through follow up with experiential action learning.
The systemic approach to coaching is far more complex than individual coaching due to the multiplicity of clients, stakeholders, and their interests and subtexts.
An experienced coach will coach the energy space of the relationship between individuals and their interests to integrate and synergize. The fundamental principles of client centricity and the competencies remain the same. They merely become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This is the reason why the systemic approach is best suited for any change, the more uncertain the better.

Useful tools to facilitate 360 degree perspective:

  • Constellations
  • Polarities
  • Empty Chair
  • Multiple Voices
Good team facilitators can be good team coaches. They already know how to resolve conflicts and help form a team. They merely need to acknowledge what the team is saying and doing through listening and observation. They call out and share what is coming up for themself non-judgmentally. They inquire as to where the team wishes to go.

Common Inquiry Themes:

  • What can I do far better as a team rather than individually?
  • What are the 3 most value-added things I can do in line with the agreed outcome?
  • How best can I derive support from the team (how best may I support another)?
  • How best can the institution support me (how best may I support the institution)?
  • Where are our differences coming from? How may we resolve them? How can the team/institution help?
  • How can we serve our stakeholders better?
The systemic approach leads to openness, authenticity, transparency, honesty, and other centricity in thinking, communication, and action leading to a transformation in institutional culture.
Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

Read Next