Constellation workshops for directors, managers and team leaders
See the big picture
When business leaders and their organisations face a time of change or challenge, when they face an inflection point, a constellation workshop will create insight, clarity and fresh direction. The workshops reveal the underlying dynamics and patterns that both limit and resource leaders, teams, organisations and the wider system. By creating this special kind of relational map of an issue, leaders can see how lasting change can begin and endure in a confidential environment. Constellations are particularly useful when the source of the issue or the solution is not clear, where previous attempts to change have not endured or where there is a sense of ‘stuckness’ in the whole or part of a system. Standing in the ‘what is’ illuminates dynamics, softens hidden loyalties, completes missing conversations and opens up fresh paths to resolution and ‘what could be’.
Leaders looking to release inertia, enter or exit a system, prepare for leading a change or resolve dynamics that limit movement into the future find these workshops a refreshing release from confusion and dilemma. They leave the workshop with rich insights and clarity about direction, responsibilities and actions.
Constellation workshops can be used to explore, illuminate and resource issues that challenge, confuse or are hard to resolve, including:
Personal & professional
- Illuminating inertia or resistance in self
- Connecting with fresh resources
- Finding the next step on career path
- Preparation for a difficult conversation
- Easing of intractable issues or conflict
- Setting a new direction
- Aligning self with role and organisation
- Finding resources to enhance work life balance
- Finding your place when an ‘expat’
- Softening personal dynamics that limit professional journey
- Joining a new system in a healthy way
- Succession planning
- Leaving well, leaving a legacy
Leadership & role
- Mapping the relational pattern amongst key stakeholders
- Planning/aligning the team in advance of critical change
- Releasing ‘stuckness’ in teams and their relationship to others
- Leading team/organisation through change and transition
- Dissolving resistance to change
- Improving key relationships, dissolving conflict
- Resourcing or repurposing a leadership team
- Repurposing a team, group or resource
- Refining strategic focus
- Testing alternative product/service offerings
- Balancing regional/global focus
- Leading a virtual team
- Managing a matrix organisation
- Supporting successful mergers and acquisitions
Team & organisational
- Testing organisational structure alternatives
- Strategic alignment of key parts
- Identifying dynamics behind resistance to change
- Pre or post major legal, social or regulator changes
- Critical issue resolution
- Building organisational health
- Decisions at crucial choice points
- Identifying best investment and funding partners/options
- Mapping, analysing and cutting through complexity
- Facilitating culture change that endures
- Aligning for sale, merger or acquisition
Welcome from facilitator,
These workshops emerged naturally out of my leadership and organisational coaching practice for leaders facing challenges at the personal, professional or organisational levels. From direct experience in multiple contexts I knew I could trust constellations to offer leaders a way of looking and learning that’s simply not available elsewhere.
As Albert Einstein famously said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift”. Access to the intuitive mind, to our non-cognitive knowing, is available through the simple process that constellations offer. They access embodied, tacit information and show the resources and blocks in the system. Held just out of consciousness these show us, time and again what supports and limits the flow of leadership in contemporary organisational life.
When the source of the issue or solution is not clear, where previous attempts to change have not endured or where there is a sense of stuckness, constellations provide insight and clear direction. The workshops offer a fresh lens for looking at organisational change, the communication of that change and the impact on the system. Leaders looking to enter or exit a system, clarify their legacy, prepare for a difficult transition or resolve dynamics that limit movement into the future find these workshops a refreshing release from confusion, dilemma or inertia.
I look forward to hearing about the challenges and questions you face as an individual, a professional and as an organisational leader and to guiding you through this practical but profound process.
“I was struck by the power of this experience. Implicit knowledge did indeed become visible, tangible. Extraordinarily useful for the senior team.”
Chief People Officer, global fashion business
“Unbelievably powerful. My leadership will be much richer for the insights.”
Team leader, global medical company
The workshop structure
Although the process of a constellation is fluid and emergent, one that surfaces tacit knowledge and shows hidden dynamics in systems, the framework in which it is facilitated is structured. As a client bringing issues to explore to a commissioned workshop you can expect to have a briefing with John, structured time to process the information that emerges on the day and an agreed process to clarify insights and actions afterwards. There is time for sense-making as well as questions about the process and the underlying principles that build and sustain organisational effectiveness. The workshops are designed to leave you with fresh information and clarity about the way forward in your organisation, team and/or role.
To ensure a useful, productive and valuable outcome our approach is structured like this:
- Briefing. This is often in the workshop itself so as to limit the stories and ideas about the issue but can be, where that is requested or particularly appropriate, some days before the workshop.
- Constellating. The process itself: from mapping what is, to revealing the hidden dynamics and establishing fresh paths to clarity and resolution.
- Sense-making. Both with and through the representatives, but also with John during the constellation.
- After-care. If you would like, John will follow up with you and/or your coach to clarify any questions or share further reflections, some days after the workshop.
It is often useful to attend the workshop with at least one of your close associates. For example CEOs and other executive directors are welcome to bring their HR directors or OD consultants with them so that there is one person bringing the issue and one (or more) in the ‘observer’ position. This, along with other structural issues discussed in the briefing process, ensures you leave with rich insights and clarity about responsibilities and actions.
Naturally all our comissioning clients expect total privacy around all commercial, organisational, professional and personal information. On many occasions the workshops are dealing with market sensitive information as well as personal dynamics connected to role or organisation. As a result the representatives selected for each of our workshops are drawn exclusively from our own trainings in systemic coaching and constellations and are also:
- experienced executive coaches who are used to working with senior leaders within private and confidential agreements
- screened for each workshop to ensure that they do not have any kind of conflict of interest with the organisation (and/or other screening filters as required by the commissioning client)
- required to sign a binding non-disclosure agreement (NDA) specific to each workshop
Further, in situations where information cannot be spoken or named John facilitates ‘concealed’ or ‘blind’ constellations where only he and the client have explicit information, provided in a prior briefing. Representatives are only assigned letters or numbers, each representing a different person or part of the system being explored. This enables the workshop to work content free and process-orientated and so provides a further level of confidentiality in situations where that feels appropriate or more comfortable for the client.