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Complex issues like climate change, systemic racism and polarized opinion have no easy solution. It’s easy to feel powerless in trying to tackle what design theorists Rittel and Webber call a ‘wicked problem.’ We may not agree on what the problem is or whether it's a problem at all. Can relationship systems coaching and leadership make a difference?
The answer is yes. Addressing a wicked problem requires that we first decide what we do agree on - and then create space for voices, opinions and strategies to emerge. Untangling complex knots of relationship fits naturally with the relationship systems coaching skillset.
The essential work of addressing a wicked problem is most likely to succeed when it begins with a conversation. This approach does not involve a fixed plan but is fluid and responsive, shifting to adjust to what is needed in the moment. To help explain how relationship systems coaching can address wicked problems, we collected ideas from interviews with experienced Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™) practitioners.
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It’s not unusual to hear people say that discovering Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™) feels like coming home. Often they can’t wait to learn more. This visionary model provides a framework for coaching systems of any size. If you want to build on your existing skills, we have options! From free community calls to mastery-level programs, there are many ways to expand your knowledge of all things ORSC.
Ready to go deeper and further? Consider these options.
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In coaching and leadership, active listening is a key skill that‘s so much more than just hearing what is said. As relationship systems workers, we are watching the full complexity of what’s happening within a team. We become sleuths - gathering information and noticing all of the signals that the system is sending. We listen to the words that are spoken, catch the subtext, and see, sense and intuit what’s going on below the surface.
While coaches use active listening to work with both individuals and systems, listening to a system or team is slightly different. These hints about listening to teams were drawn from a May 2023 conversation in our Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™) community.
When life loses its zip, relationships get stuck, or work feels like more of a chore than a calling, you may be looking for ways to press the reset button. How can you refresh not only yourself, but also your relationships with partnerships and teams? Relationship systems coaching offers many ideas to renew a sense of purpose.
Renew Your Relationship with Yourself
Consider what lights you up. It’s easy to get so absorbed in doing and producing that we forget about the why behind our work. What happens when you go back to the essence or Original Myth that first brought you to where you are? What possibilities are flirting at the edge of your awareness?
Anyone looking at a map knows that the clean line which marks the separation between countries does not reflect reality. So it is with CRR Global communities on this continent and across the world.
As neighbouring countries sharing the same long border, Canada and the United States cannot help but affect one another. The relationship between us doesn’t fit into tidy outlines. Edges blur across geography and in relationship, as complex systems interact.
Recently, our parent company CRR Global has been exploring ways to simplify the experience for our clients and community. This means that starting in 2023, we will be relaxing geographic boundaries and sharing more spaces between these communities.
Pausing for the purpose of giving thanks is built into our national culture, even recognized as a national holiday. While it can be easy to let rituals of thanksgiving slide by on a superficial level, making a habit of gratitude actually supports wellbeing when it extends beyond the surface. A true expression of appreciation can be deeply meaningful, cushioning the challenges that can arise when relationship becomes difficult.
There is a reason why gratitude is embedded in spiritual and religious practice, and an argument can be made for consciously cultivating it in our daily lives. It turns out that counting our blessings is good for us, both as individuals and as part of the larger systems to which we belong.
In giving thanks for what we appreciate, we cultivate a metaskill which permeates and reinforces the systems we serve.
What does it take for a relationship to flourish?
After emerging from a prolonged period of forced togetherness during the pandemic, many couples find themselves looking for a relationship reset. Is it possible to reignite a relationship which has gone stale? For Maddie Weinreich, MCC, ORSCC, the answer is a decided yes.
“Although we may have longed for this involvement and had a magical beginning together, we often find ourselves complaining about our partner. As couples, we know how to push each other’s buttons,” Maddie says.
“Yet there’s a commitment in place, and many reasons to make the relationship work. We long for intimacy and the return to our original myth.”
Are you walking the talk of right relationship in your working partnerships?
The Alchemy course turns the lens of Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC™) on these partnerships - specifically, on any situation where two people are co-facilitating in tandem.
Thanks to an Alchemy demo by CRR Faculty members Lori Shook and Judy van Zon, our Next Great Chapter community members had a quick taste of the art and science of co-facilitation. Lori originated the program in partnership with the late Jim Patterson as well as CRR Global co-founders Marita Fridjhon and Faith Fuller. She emphasizes that the co-facilitation relationship is the foundation for any coaching, teaching or partner-led session.
Trigger warning: This article contains details about CRR Global co-founder Faith Fuller’s experiences with cancer, which may be upsetting for some readers.
For Faith Fuller, coming to terms with her cancer has been akin to a shaman’s journey.
“Every relationship with a life-threatening illness is profoundly personal and intimate. It affects everything,” she says. “You can either dance with it or fight with it. Usually we do both.”
After her diagnosis with a form of endometrial cancer last year, developing an intentional relationship with the disease became Faith’s top priority. As she entered treatment, she discovered a different identity that came along with the diagnosis, as well as a cohort of travelers who were journeying with her along the same cancer road.
For several years the USA has been navigating a massive state of emergence, with all of the disruption that accompanies it. Tensions are also flaring at the global level. Having grown up in South Africa during apartheid, the conflict and polarity feels to me like deja vu. In some ways, it is even worse.
We do not yet know what is trying to emerge in these frequently fiery conflicts. Most of us have little individual influence over the larger whole, but we can choose to navigate conflict within our own communities.
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