Victoria Gimeno. Director Institutional Relations. IE University
1 August 2016
We all form part of interconnected systems - family, work, friends…- and they can sometimes collide with each other. The solution to these collisions lies within ourselves.
Why is that when there are problems at work we take them home with us? Why does our mother-in-law’s behavior affect the family we have created? How come a friend’s comment can threaten the stability our relationship with our partner? It’s really quite simple: because we are all part of interconnected systems, so that a crisis in one area, such as family, work, relationship, circle of friends, etc, creates an emotional tsunami that washes over the others.
A lot of the time, the problem we face is that we don't know the true origin of our anxiety, and are thus unable to do anything about it. The most likely thing is that we are paralyzed in the face of a difficult situation and cannot find the cause or the solution. As a coach, I have found that it helps my clients to use a visual model, drawing on a piece of paper themselves at the center and the different people in their lives, both personal and professional, closer or further away, and using arrows to indicate whether they have a positive or negative influence on them. They can also write down their feelings, decisions, objectives…
This way of describing a problem is very simple and allows us to see what’s really going on, which is the first step toward solving a problem. I often see that my clients are being pulled in different directions: “I have to get on with my boss, but this is what is destabilizing my marriage,” or “I have to look after my ailing father, which leaves me no time to be with my children.”
Listening to your coachee describe how he or she interacts with the different people in his or her life, and what is missing in those relationships, can give you valuable insight into how your coachee sees his or her life, as well as allowing them to see things from a different perspective so as to be able to take the first step toward implementing change.
In short, this type of systemic coaching can be a powerful tool, allowing our clients to see the systems they are part of, what their role in each of them is, and how they feel about said role, allowing them to see things from the outside and thus understanding the bigger picture, allowing them to repair relationships and to find the way to solve problems and move toward their goals.
Go on - try it!