Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching: How it Can Make a Difference for You at Work

By Kathy Hay, CPCC.

We’ve all been there…sitting around a conference table with the ‘TEAM’, feeling frustration, anger, disempowerment, fear, or boredom. Does anyone really care what you think much less about how you are feeling about yourself and everyone else in the room?

Here’s a scenario; Mike from accounting demands that the sales department didn’t do their job, Mary from sales answers him with “that’s not true we did not get the right information quick enough from marketing”, and tempers flare in all those departments. The Team Leader is leaning into a conversation. Beside him, Joanne looks up at Mike and Mary, laughs nervously, then continues doodling on her paper waiting to leave the meeting and the atmosphere that is strained and confrontational.

Is this a typical ‘TEAM’ meeting at your office? Do you wonder why you joined the company? Where is all that amazing energy that brought you there in the first place? Or why when you have so much to offer yet you never get to give your opinion?

Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching – created by Marita Fridjohn, MSW, CPCC, PCC and Faith Fuller, PhD, CPCC of the Centre for Right Relationship have developed a new and innovative theory and practice based simply on ‘right relationship’ in all parts of our lives – work and home. This work is now being used in corporations around the World including IBM and Boeing. There are more – and more – certified Life Coaches that are being trained in this highly skilled work and we have several of them who are members of Career Professionals of Canada. Now we are introducing you to Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching because we love it and we know it works!

Consider this; from a young age we learn that life is about connections or relationships – although it is never taught in class like math or science we are expected to ‘get it’ through our day to day interactions with family and friends. And, guess what, we are really not that great at it!

Right Relationship is the ability to create AND maintain conscious and intentional relationship. Put simply conscious relationship is the awareness of what is happening in any given situation and intentional relationship lets us have a choice on how to respond.

At work the ability to relate well with your boss and co-workers is a crucial part of our existence within a company as well as a key component to your own health and happiness. Conflict amongst organizational team members would once have meant calling in a professional facilitator to power things forward or the group could be sent into mediation – a typical “Who’s done what to Whom?”

With Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching, we focus on “What’s Trying to Happen?”

Going back again to our example, think of the team as a system. No individual, group, or organization is ever in isolation! People are always part of a larger whole or a system. There is and will always be crucial connections and interactions going on within that system as well all of the other systems we are in; family, friends and other co-workers for instance.

As an Organization & Relationship Systems Coach we know that the relationship of the system is the client. Looking back at the example and coming from the curiosity of  “What is Trying The Happen?” we can begin to see several signals that lay under the words. A signal is how we send or receive information.

Possibly this may be what it is really all about; Mike is having a sense of fear that his accounting department did not make the company it revenues. Therefore, Mike’s criticism of Mary is really from a place of fear for his job and fear how it will affect his family thus perhaps representing an undercurrent of fear for many in the room.

For Mary in sales; Mike and the rest of the members just don’t understand what is going on in her division or her ‘land’. She is caught between marketing and accounting each who work in their own ‘lands’. As Organization & Relationship Systems Coaches we recognize a classic example of Team members not understanding what another Team member really does in their ‘land’ or division of the company. Until these members travel between each others ‘lands’ they will never appreciate what the other has to do.

The Team Leader and the doodler are not really paying attention. Disconnected for different reasons; the Team Leader could be holding the information card of cut backs in the company and why does it always fall on his shoulders to tell the group about it.

Whereas Joanne the doodler may be fantasizing over getting out of this Team and joining another that is more constructive and friendly.

As you can see the theory of ‘what’s trying to happen?’ is edgy work. By further unfolding the situation, as Coaches we will see and educate the Team about what’s showing up and get curious.  Such signals are (an auditory one from Joanne laughing nervously), outer, inner, or secret roles in the members (Mike’s fear based role), role nausea (Team Leader) and Mary caught between departments through misinformation (my land, their land = our land).

All of this can be used as information on how this Team can move forward in a positive, conscious and intentional way. From a place of curiosity, using the skills we teach them and having a Team of Organization & Relationship Systems Coaches join the system, not to repair or modify it rather to ‘reveal’ itself to the Team. This supports the Team members to become “response-able” to better perform the necessary tasks of the system; making the system self-regulating. And, because of the self-regulating nature of systems, a change in one area of the system produces change in the rest of the system.

So, now you know that relationship systems occur in every part of our daily lives; home, work, and at play. As we learn to navigate our relationships at work and home, we are building the skills and muscles for successfully interacting on a global scale. Ultimately Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching is Worldwork however for those of us in the Career Professionals of Canada we are prepared to begin our work right here.

Kathy Hay is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, and Organization and Relationship Systems Team Coaching Advisor in CPC. She operates Value Your Own Life Inc. anc can be contacted at www.valueyourownlife.com.

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