“I’m a leader and have no previous experience in this field. I was expecting to feel on the periphery but left feeling I’d learnt a great deal and inspired to learn more.”
“The constellation approach is ideal for coaches who are used to working deeply one to one and are interested in translating that knowledge into a group environment.”
“For those with an interest in how constellations work in an organisational setting this is the perfect introduction..”
“Seeing how a group of strangers could work so productively together to open new perspectives on complex situations was very worthwhile.”
“John’s teaching and demonstrating was extremely clear.”
“An informative insight to the world of systemic constellations used in coaching individuals and teams, facilitated by John in a relaxed and congenial environment that was thoroughly engaging.”
John demonstrated the technique, language and mood needed for effectiveness – with humour and a pace that allowed time for questions and assimilation.”
What are Constellations?
Constellations are a practical but often profound way to quickly illuminate the hidden dynamics within business, organisational and other relational systems, so they can be influenced and realigned, leading to fresh insights, clarity and enduring resolutions.
The words ‘systemic constellation’ literally mean ‘a collection of objects which stand together to form a pattern’. So, a Business Constellation creates a pattern or ‘living map’ made up of workshop participants who represent the elements of the business, team or other issue being explored.
With guidance from the facilitator the representatives are placed in relation to each other, by the person bringing the issue. A pattern emerges. A pattern which is an external embodiment of the unconscious inner image of the issue – and a pattern that can be interpreted at other levels by the facilitator when working with the representatives.
This dynamic map is explored to find the dynamics that are blocking or causing difficulties and, as the constellation develops, a new pattern emerges that resources and resolves, bringing balance to the whole.
How do systemic issues arise?
Human systems are governed by naturally occurring forces that ensure their effectiveness and vitality. When they are disturbed, or ignored, business and the business of leadership can become unwittingly entangled in the self-righting dynamics and the natural order and flow of leadership and organisational health is disrupted.
It is the attempts to ignore or side step these underlying forces which cause imbalances and entanglements in the system. Once out of sorts the system tries to right itself and calls individuals or groups of people into service of the need to correct and find balance and the natural order again.
A constellation will surface these dynamics and then reveal new paths to enduring resolution, bringing fresh vitality to the whole system.
What informs this way of working?
Constellations are underpinned by simple truths that have been found to balance successful human systems. Key amongst them is that everyone and everything has a ‘right place’ in their organisational system. The purpose, the roles and all the people.A place where they belong. Each different but equally valued. When, as individuals or teams, we experience being in the ‘right place’ systemically, we feel ready to bring our best selves to our role, in service of the purpose and can then function with clarity, in flow with the system.
All human systems hang like a child’s mobile, in delicate balance. The winds of change can easily disturb one part, which in turn influences and affects every other part. The constellation of relationship dynamics changes and causes an imbalance. The sense of being in the ‘right place’ is lost.
The unspoken awareness in the system demands balance and redress. The system calls people – individuals in family systems, leaders and teams in business systems, into the service of the need to redress the balance. This creates numerous cultural, communication, leadership and motivation issues.
It’s the job of a Constellation to identify – and then point towards a resolution – these complex issues, bringing renewed clarity, fresh resources and energy to the system. So that all can find their place.
Where does this approach to resolution come from and what underpins it?
The approach was originated in Europe by systemic specialist and philosopher Bert Hellinger through application within family and organisational systems. It has now been experienced by many thousands of people in Europe and across the world in both personal, organisational, consulting, educational and executive coaching settings.
Hidden loyalties, identifications and entanglements are often revealed in just a few minutes, giving this approach a reputation as an intervention that can quickly get to the underlying dynamics and free up a system, releasing fresh energy that leads to resolution. The principles of acknowledgment and respect for ‘what is’ run through this work and so support people to really look at the truths and honour the past, before trying to move into the future and on into resolution.
Life within an organisation – with founder dynamics, matrix reporting, multiple hidden loyalties and the need for constant change – is often more complex than in a family system. Investors, staff, shareholders, former employees, suppliers and customers make business systems more complex as the interaction with many other systems on a daily basis creates a constant need for re-balance.
An increasing number of professional executive coaches are now training in this methodology and facilitating change at a deep level in individual leaders, teams and whole organisations.
How can I and/or my business access the benefits of Business Constellations?
There are four principal ways of working with business constellations and experiencing the insights and clarity that they can offer.
1. Introductory Open workshops
Coaches and business leaders from different industries gather in a confidential environment to illuminate pressing issues. It is common for powerful insights about business, leadership, coaching, consulting and organisational health to emerge when working on your own business issue but also whilst supporting or observing the work of others. The open workshops also provide an opportunity to hear about some of the underlying principles of systemic leadership, coaching and constellations.
2. Private bespoke workshops
For businesses who have a number of organisational, leadership or other systemic issues to explore and/or who prefer to do the work in complete privacy for commercial reasons. Available in half and full day workshop modules.
3. Organisational health and systemic leadership development workshops
These are one, two or three-day off-site workshop programmes, for cross-functional, multi-team members from one commissioning business, exploring issues of organisational health, personal and professional development and systemic leadership through a mix of exercises and whole group constellations illuminating generic and current issues and building system awareness in this group of leaders.
4. One-to-one systemic executive coaching
Constellations are also very effective in one to one settings where organisational, leadership or other systemic issues can be explored with a senior executive and a systemically trained coach using table top or floor based applications of constellations.
Learning circles and training environments
For coaches and consultants there is a facilitated learning environment, available through this website: coachingconstellations.com as well as other opportunities for training, information for which is available at the workshops or on request.