Systemical coaching focuses on finding solutions to problems, which the coachees the develop on their own under guidance. The coach supports solution-finding processes by asking the coachee „systemical“ questions. This process works effectively, because in systemic ways of thinking the solutions one developes for one’s self are much more useful than advice from a consulter. Underlying this approach is the framework of „systemic-constructivist theory“. According to Sonja Radatz this means:
- „systemic“ means that changes only can happen if all involved people participate and agree – changes being pursued alone or against the freewill of others will not occur.
- „constructivist“ means that one specific issue will be judged differently from various people. In other words: every person observes issues differently. Therefore objectivity does not exist, everything remains at a subjective point of view.
Constructivist theory argues:
- There is no objectivity – everything will be judged in a subjective manner; this includes my own judgement of my experiences. In the context of coaching this means that everything the coachee explains is valid because it reflects her or his own perception.
- In this context: every observation I make as a coach remains my own observation and is therefore subjective because it reflects my own standards of evaluation.
- In life, especially in economic life, there exist so called undecidable questions. For those questions there will always be more than one valid answer. A person who tries to answer an undecidable therefore has to take on a great deal of responsibilty. An example of this could be: „What defines a company’s success?“
- Every action a person makes is, in the moment the action occurs, reasonable for this person. Therefore it is useless to give „good advice“ to do something or not to do something, because from a systemical point of view the adviser will not fully be able to understand the reason behind doing said actions.
- The behaviour of a person will be determined by the person itself – exactly according their own personal patterns. Humberto Maturana called this „Autopoiesis“ – this means „self-arrangement“ in a person’s ongoing history. From this it follows that people do not sustainably change their behaviour based on external sources (i.e. because a consulter tells them what to do). People change their behaviour only when it make sense to them.
- People „behave“ differently in different situations. In common speech this will be described as „this person is …“. But people „are not“ – they only behave according to different situations (i.e. during a lesson in front of students you „behave“ differently than at home with your family). This means that everybody’s behaviour can change within a few minutes.
- Problems are always time-dependent and situation-dependent. Moreover, they are always unique, because problems are only recognized as such by the person affected by the problem. The result of this will be that every person is the only one expert on earth for her or his own problems! Therefore it is quite impossible to understand the problems of other people. But: if I cannot understand the problems of other people, I cannot solve those for them. Therefore no hypothesis suffices to solve a person’s problem, because this only would create a new, externaly developed reality which is useless (from the perspective of the person seeking a solution).
- In this context it also means that problems should never be neglected; they require appropriate attention.
- Problems emerge because of problem-oriented descriptions, explanations and judgements – a change of problem description, -explanation or –judgement could possibly solve the problem.