Where we’ve come from
For the last 20 years our work has been coaching people, private and corporate, in situations that are often conflicted, with significant issues of either unrealised potential or underperformance, complexity, and often a feeling of stuckness or frustration amongst those involved.
People’s first response is often to draw on answers, tools and approaches that are known to them and acceptable to their organisations. It is only when the difficulty continues, when the frustration intensifies and we know that we are at a dead-end, and where we care enough about the situation, that we begin to look for new ways forward. The good news is, once there is a big enough frustration – or curiosity – we can start working.
What we have also found on our way through experience – and sometimes plain pain – is how certain complex adaptive dynamics work. We have looked intensively (MSc in Environmental studies…) at how nature works and then, 20 years ago, adding the human element to dealing with complexity, a whole different layer of confusing entanglement.
We have been inside the rabbit hole of different schools of thought, followed some teachers and studied theories, experienced thoroughly some more approaches to change, transformation and complexity. We have been through the deep end of approaches like Integral Theory, Consciousness Training, Coaching approaches, Theory U, Holacracy, SDi, Learning Organisations, Adult Development or Developmental Theory. What we have found is what works and what doesn’t. While each of these approaches holds a kernel of truth and have greatly – some more than others – contributed to our skill base and our development, the truth each of them holds is necessarily partial. What is worse though, that truth becomes sour the minute their teachers and practitioners turn around and promote their teachings as the only valid lens and start to offer cookie – cutter recipes to deal with adaptive complexity, non-linear change and transformation.
Wrestling with our own truth and integrity over the years, we have found ways to scaffold our clients thinking, be thinking partners to them, enable change and transformation, personal and corporate. We have discovered a set of navigation skills and a way of reading the landscapes inside and outside of us – our own inner world and the outer landscape of people, groups and organisations, that assist in finding a way through the challenging complex terrains in which we find ourselves. Slowly, as we have learned to accept uncertainty, confusion, fear, anger, power games and ambiguity as the predictable weather conditions one initially finds in such terrain, we have also learned to provide these skills to our clients.
I what we call complexity coaching, all these things fall into place for us. The coaching aspect means that we don’t come with ready made solutions and recipies and that we enable our clients, private and corporate, to find their own solutions. The complexity part means, that we draw on a multitude of perspectives and that we work with what is, with probing, sensing and safe-to-fail experiments for adaptive contexts. We also get to work with the system, the field, the in-between spaces, the relationships and the emergent micro-shifts.