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Team coaching: Systemic Perspectives and their Limitations

P Lawrence Philosophy of Coaching: An International Journal 2021

The terms ‘systemic coaching’ and ‘systemic team coaching’ are becoming increasingly prevalent in the team coaching literature. This emphasis on a systemic perspective is almost inevitable given that writers in the broader team development literature have long acknowledged the influence of factors outside the team on events taking place inside the team. Less explicit in the team coaching literature is a more nuanced consideration of what it means to be a systemic team coach with reference to a systems literature that emerged in earnest more than 70 years ago. A detailed exploration of the systems literature not only yields an understanding that multiple systems theories exist, but also that there exists a school of thought that says to think systemically may not always be helpful, that indeed it may limit our understanding of the working of small groups. This paper provides a framework through which the team coach, or aspiring team coach, can reflect not only upon different versions of ‘systemic’ team coaching, but also the significance of taking a meta-systemic perspective.

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