In this episode, Katie is talking with Sunčica Getter and Marita Fridjhon about Systemic supervision. CRR Global’s new Systemic Supervision program launched at the start of this year, as a way to help team coaches ‘walk the talk’ through understanding the many levels (and layers) of systems that may show up in systemic coaching. Systemic supervision is a reflective practice, that uses the principles of RSI as a framework for deepening our understanding of ourselves and the systems that we are working with.
For more information about CRR Global's systemic supervision program, please click here.
Sunčica Getter, MA, PCC, is a systemic coach, consultant and educator. With over 20 years of experience, her focus is on transformational leadership development and systemic culture change. Sunčica is a faculty member of CRR Global and a UK Faculty Lead and Senior Consultant for Performance Consultants International. Her work in coaching education has seen her train, mentor and supervise coaches and design and deliver academic, public, and in-house coaching training and accreditation courses. Her experiences collaborating with world-class coaching institutions and diverse clients have made Sunčica a trusted systemic coaching consultant. She advises companies and institutions on the implementation of systemic coaching and systemic thinking for both organisational and community development.
Marita Fridjhon is co-owner and CEO of CRR Global and mentor to an ever-growing community of practitioners in the field of Relationship Systems work. She designs curriculum and operates training programs in Relationship Systems Work for coaches, executives and teams. She came to this work from an extensive background in Clinical Social Work, Community Development, Process Work, Family Systems Therapy, Business Consulting and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She has an international mentor coaching practice of individuals, partnerships and teams. Her primary focus in coaching is on systemic change, leveraging diversity, creative communication, deep democracy in conflict management and the development of Learning Organizations.
For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time
We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity to nature, to the larger whole.
Relationship Matters Season 3 Bonus Episode 3
KC – Katie Churchman
SC - Sunčica Getter
MF - Marita Fridjhon
[Intro 00:00 – 00:06]
KC – Hello and welcome, welcome back to the Relationship Matters podcast. We believe Relationship Matters, from humanity, to nature, to the larger whole. I’m your host, Katie Churchman, and in this episode, I’m talking with Sunčica Getter and Marita Fridjhon about systemic supervision. CRR Global’s new systemic supervision program launched at the start of this year as a way to help team coaches to walk the talk through understanding the many levels and layers of systems that show up in systemic coaching. Systemic supervision is a reflective practice that uses the principles of RCI, relationships systems intelligence, as a framework for deepening our understanding of ourselves and the systems that we work with. I’m delighted to be welcoming back Marita Fridjhon, CEO and co-founder of CRR Global, and to introduce Sunčica Getter to the Relationship Matters podcast. Sunčica Getter is a systemic coach, consultant and educator. With over 20 years of experience, her focus is on transformational leadership development and systemic culture change. Sunčica is a faculty member of CRR Global and a UK faculty lead and senior consultant for Performance Consultants International. Her work in coaching education has seen her train, mentor and supervise coaches and design and deliver academic, public and in-house coaching training and accreditation courses. Her experiences collaborating with world-class coaching institutions and diverse clients made Sunčica a trusted systemic coaching consultant. She advises companies and institutions on implementation of systemic coaching and systemic thinking for both organizational and community development. So without further ado I bring you Marita Fridjon and Sunčica Getter.
KC – Sunčica, Marita, welcome to the Relationship Matters podcast. A welcome back to you Marita and Sunčica, it’s so wonderful to have you on the show at long last.
SC – It’s such a pleasure to be here Katie.
MF – It’s always a pleasure to sit with you Katie, for these conversations, and double pleasure to share this conversation with you Sunčica. It’s an important one and you are such a leader in this field that I’m just… it’s an honor for us to have you with us and to collaborate with you, it’s awesome. I’m a fan!
SC – Excited to be here.
KC – I can’t wait to dive into this topic because, to your point Marita, it’s very important and it’s very topical and I guess, I wanna start with why now. This whole piece, systemic supervision, why now? Why is it emerging?
SC – Well, let me try to offer the beginning of an answer for it because I think we can look in two directions. So, why now in the field of practice? Team coaching is becoming much more the norm out there in organizations, in the systems. And we have seen a big shift from approaching the organization development, not from the perfect generic design but facilitating that self-generated evolution of the team or a system. Before that we had consultants come in, tell what needs to be changed in the structure, but what became clear, actually, that there’s an inherent quality of appraises of the self-generated learning in any system and for that you need team coaches and team coaches, they require a space where they can reflect on their practice, where they can be supported to develop, to develop themselves, because we are our own instruments for this work so we need that support to be resourced because our wellbeing, when you work with systems, it’s a, I remember Marita always saying, it’s like working with a 900lb gorilla so you have to build your stamina! So there’s something about resourcing and developing the capacity to work and I think that’s from the field, if we start there.
MF – What I want to add to that is that when we talk about systemic supervision because our training is always focused on the evolution of the system and it focuses on the relationship itself. With that in mind, there is a very different complexity from having only, different from having one person in front of you. Even though that person themselves is a multitude of worlds from their own internal selves. Now, if we imagine that we sit with a team of 8 to 50 to whatever people, and all of them have their own internal team or inside teams that are participating in the meeting, there’s a physical complexity to that where… it’s one of the reasons I hold that for team coaching in ICF, team coaching competencies now make that clear as well, that when you have a team in front of you that is always good to have more than one coach, just because of that complexity that is in front of you. And how do you concede to focus on that web of connection that is the system itself, and I think that’s the piece that’s systemic supervision in the way that we are evolving it, really is valuable.
KC – That’s interesting. So something I want to land is systemic supervision is very different from other types of supervision and this is going to be quite new to a lot of people.
MF – Yeah, I want to be careful there because are there people in other organizations that trained and that do systemic supervision with individuals. When they hold the individual as the first system there already is a systemic approach. It’s when we, like I said, when you put 10 people in a room, now you have not only 10 people, you have a couple of thousands of people because each one of those 10 people bring their own 100 inside selves to the conversation. And we never know who’s the one that’s out at front. So systemic supervision, working with teams, just does have a different complexity to it. Yeah.
SF – And I think it’s that level of complexity that requires then an approach that can hold that, in a way, and that’s where we’re hoping to offer, I hope we are offering, because when you are doing systemic coaching you are a coach but as we know, you know, we need to change the system in order to know it, right, so we always tap into the system a little bit, so we’re participant observers in a way. And what happens in supervision is you’re really sitting and observing yourself retroactively, back in action, and your own internal system in order to then get the capacity to strengthen that observer facilitator coach. And it’s just very, it’s a lot of complexities, Marita was saying, much more than individual supervision.
MF – I really want to underscore what she just said, Sunčica there, the whole piece of talking about what’s sitting in front of us when we coach a team is multitudes but we haven’t talked about the thing that we’re talking about now – when I show up as a team coach, I show up with all of the internal complexity of me and I have this wonderful story where when Apple products came out, however decades ago, and Siri started showing up, I was one day in my novelness with all of this, sitting and playing with my phone and I was playing with Siri and at some stage I said Siri, how many of you are there and there was a lull of a pause and she said I am one but within me, I’m multitudes. I’ve never been able to get it to repeat that, people think I’m making it up but that’s it. It’s that me as a coach, as the team coach, as the systemic team coach, sits in front of that team with my own multitudes and that is part of what systemic supervision for team coaches are working with, is knowing the reflection of knowing who am I when X, Y, Z shows up in front of me in the process. And to then be able to go back to the next session with a very different insight and awareness and my own evolution as a coach.
KC – This is so interesting and I think, I came into this conversation thinking oh, systemic supervision is supervision for systems coaches, but it is a systemic approach in its own right, isn’t it?
SF – That’s exactly right, that’s exactly right. It’s a safe, reflective space where coach can understand both themselves and the system they’re working with, that and our wider system that’s impacting the system we’re working with, so they’re gaining the clarity of the bigger picture and their self-knowledge. And what we’re doing is actually deciphering experiences data, you know, we’re deciphering all the information that we get in the system and then again, takes us back to that complexity, can you imagine how much we actually get when we are working with a system?
KC – I love what you said there, experience as date. That’s a wonderful way of putting it.
MF – I also am noticing, Sunčica just talked about in a previous meeting we were in with the team and the speed with which things were happening, it was one of our own teams. And I’m just noticing in this conversation, even as we just talk about supervision and systemic supervision, how we are slowed down. It’s a quieter conversation. It brings different breath, it brings different understanding and I think that is one of the biggest values in systemic supervision for team coaches, because team coaching happens in a very rapid moving world of change. And it’s not always easy for us to slow down to find that pace of evolution. If you can hear just even on this call, the space for breathe, the space to think, reveal and feel heard in a very different way. That’s the picture and that is the pace of evolution.
KC – There’s definitely a theme right now, Marita, running through our podcasts but also my life. Because I definitely came into this call diving into the topic and as it unfolded, as we chatted, I realized that it’s really a step back, it’s that step back from your life and it reminds me of being an actress and watching yourself on screen and sort of analyzing how you were, it’s a whole different perspective on you, I guess in a kind of objective way, would you say?
SF – If I can jump in, objective and yet very personal.
MF – Vulnerable, yes.
SF – Very, very personal. We are, you know, we’re observing ourselves on the screen, I love that, that’s a good analogy, but we’re also noticing what’s happening with us in the moment we are observing. Because we know that there’s gonna be the whole wealth of information that’s going to surface right there and then as we are experiencing our reflection on what happened before. So it’s not just the rational objective, going oh I could do this better or this could have worked a little bit better, it’s a much softer space, you know, it’s a space where we say let’s allow all of those signals that we’re usually in a rush and not pay attention too, let’s allow them to come into focus so we can sit with them and usually that’s where magic happens because that’s when you get to really useful information.
MF – I love that, I’m thinking back of, and the whole systemic approach also showed up so strongly in one of my first careers as a family assistance therapist. I remember, one of the things that we did there was, and particularly in training, we would have the family, it was television cameras, before Zoom, we would film the family and at some stage we would stop the film, take the sound away and we ask the family to look at what they’ve just seen. What are they aware of? What was happening inside each one of them when they were sitting? So you can see how that is the reflective process that we do. And that’s how we then, if we don’t do anything else but just go back to the session, they already are different because they had a moment to see, to sense what was happening, to reflect on that, and then go back to recover and go back in a different way. And I think that’s such a metaphor for what I think we’re doing in systems supervision.
KC – Mmm. It kind of takes into account infinite numbers of systems, I’m realizing. It’s sort of passed me, all of the me’s within me, the system I’m working with, present me and how I’m showing up and feeling, maybe embarrassed by that, and then that probably brings into play how I show up in the future systems that I work with. There’s so much here, it’s almost like a spiral of systems that you’re working with.
SF – Completely, completely. And then that brings up the question, well, how do you work with all of that supervision? How do you choose and pick and where do you go? Which is where I believe that the ORSC model has a lot to offer, because we have developed this specific model for supervision that through using principals of ORCS, and through using the tools of ORSC, we actually can allow the lens that then gives us just enough of ability to relax without going all over the place and so by offering that lens we can dive deeper and it seems to be working really well with our first groups.
MF – And again, you can see how some of, it’s really interesting because part of what we built from when we train organizational systems coaching and when we work with the principals of RSI is deep underneath all of that is a belief, is a value, that the system is actually dreaming us. That we are not the only ones that create but that we also are the ones being dreamt. So one of the things that is fascinating for me in systemic supervision is even though if we, let’s say that we listen to what a supervisor that we’re working with or a coach that we’re working with, let’s say we listened to what happened in the session but we listened from the principal of the emergence and then find out, what was it when I saw what was happening there, what was emerging for me as a coach and what is it that I saw there. So you can see how from that principle of emergence is a whole set of things which might become visible. And if you sit on the next set of coaches, even if you use a principle of emergence, it’s a very different emergence that’s being dreamt up and that we are then tracking. So, it’s not predictable and predictive in the same sense that we can say if I work from emergence this and this and this will happen. It has that openness to reflect and wait. To feel, to see, and to reflect on what actually is showing up in retrospect.
KC – There’s so much here but it, firstly it sounds like the spaces you create in the systemic supervision groups are very psychologically safe. Because I was thinking about the idea of working with infinite systems and there’s so much potential there but it’s also very vulnerable to show up and start to see all those different systems, and then to put on these different glasses, looking through the principles, that creates a sort of safety net but also a framework for, as you say Sunčica, to work with these many, many systems, otherwise it can feel overwhelming. But now I’ve got emergence, now I’ve got roles, I can start to work with those pieces more skillfully.
SF – Yeah, it is that and I have to say, in the first group that has finished their sort of journey of the group supervision together, one of the things they reflected on or underlined in their feedback is exactly that space that they were sitting in that is very vulnerable and yet very safe because it is the space of exploration where anything can happen, right, so there’s a huge potential, but there’s safety in trusting in these RSI principles that very quickly builds up in the group that then allows us to know that we are ok to swim in the not knowing.
MF – That’s great.
SF – Because there’s trust that some, exactly what we need, the piece of information that we need, will slowly start to emerge more and more clearly in the chaos or complexity, however you want to call it, in the multitude of information and that’s what’s been happening, in the beginning you start and you’re just invited to swim and there’s lots of data but then through this lens it sort of did assist through. And what’s really irrelevant for everybody starts becoming more and more clear and internalized and really, really experienced and I think that’s what we also want to underline, the learning that happens here is truly experiential. So there’s a shift in our own system which happens which Marita was a big proponent for, Marita you really held the banner for that and I think people loved that the most is that you walk away as a different partitioner, from the groups.
KC – So the safety emerges from trust in the principles? I just wanted to underline that.
SF – I believe so!
MF – Yeah, I believe so, and again, if there is, you know if you just think in terms of the principle of the emergence, that systems on a constant state of emergence. Nobody can claim perfection in how we are responding to the speed of change. Nobody. So if we begin to look at it from that’s what systems do, now how do we create from it? The moment you sit in the question of how and what is wanting to happen when this happens? You can feel already in that, it’s a very different speed of reflection from sitting in a meeting and saying ok, what are we going to do about it? What’s the next thing? What’s the next action? And that will happen but if I now receive a supervision session on what was happening there I return to the next meeting in a very different way in my own evolution and that is what all of us, every single one of us, need as systems coaches. Particularly working with teams because there is no way that any one of us ever shows up perfectly. There is a place where we are reactive, there is a place where we can get triggered, there is a place where we fill in the blanks because we, as coaches too, are human beings. Those are the things that if we can reflect and sit and work with that and we go back to the next team coaching session a little bit more evolved.
SF – We observe that reactivity and triggering because we all do get reactive or do get triggered. Now, we can approach it in two ways. Right, one way is let’s talk about what you can do differently and that’s very useful but at the same time it tells us that it was the matter of our skill that was showed up that way. Of course, that’s only partially true, anything is systemic thinking. The other part of the truth is that we, something is communicated through our reactivity. So, something that the system is living through we are experiencing through our reactivity. And so if we can have the stamina and heart to sit with both and say what can I do differently, but also what do I need to understand about that moment that I was reactive that’s useful information, that opens up a whole new space?
MF – And when you listen to, when I listen to you Sunčica, the principle I chose is systems rely on roles for executing as functions. The role that is the triggered unskillful is a role that belongs to the system. It is a systemic event. It was one person that spoke out and acted like that, but if we hold it as a systemic expression, then we can see it differently so ok, what is going to happen and how is this a systemic event rather than one being the troublemaker and the other person being the whatever, whatever, whatever. So, it really is, you can see how, when we begin to listen, if we then use the lens of the principle it really reflects back very differently.
KC – This is so fascinating because I realize this isn’t just something to get better at team coaching, it’s a part of practicing what we preach and I think so often we’re quick to put things in binary boxes, oh, I was a bad coach, I didn’t do very well in that session. But actually not having that constructive conversation with self about what is that saying or why did that part show up? And this feels like a safe space in which to then be the sort of systems coach on your own system and with others in a safe way.
SF – That’s exactly it. You know, why bad coach? Even if we label ourselves at that moment. Why bad coach with this theme at this moment? That we really then dive into, right? And as you said Katie, we can’t do that. A) we can’t do that on our own. Really, we cannot fully, it needs a relationship to hold that and another thing is we don’t have time, we’ve all three of us talked about rushing, rushing, rushing, so I think there’s something really important, we started this conversation with why now? Because now, in the world that we live in, is the time where you need to hold these spaces, reflective spaces, as sacred because those are the spaces where you can hold and reflect so we’re not on autopilot, we’re not continuing to make mistakes, so it’s a space of recovery and thinking and resourcing and allowing ourselves to be compassionate to what we think.
MF – Yeah, Sunčica heard me say this a number of times, but I truly believe it is this practice, doing what we’re describing and navigating through here. I think this, we now do the training for supervisors, we do the training for coaches in team coaching, we give all of this systemic work in a privileged environment that is team coaching or systemic team coaching or systemic work. My high dream is that this, in 50 years from now or hopefully 20 or hopefully, I don’t know how long, it’s this is what we will all be able to do on the street. This will be the way in which we navigate life because it’s only when we stop and pause for long enough to have this kind of conversation that we can return to the ones that was difficult. If we don’t, it keeps ratcheting up and that is when we get aggression and some of what we see in the world at the moment.
KC – This is something that we all need. Not just coaches but everyone could do with some sort of systemic supervision.
MF – Yes.
SF – Absolutely that. You know, we have plans and Marita can speak to that about using this for leaders in organizations, in institutions, because they need spaces to reflect which can be created through coaching but this is very specific this kind of really diving deep, it’s a different kind of practice. So, it’s true for leaders, it’s true for anybody who belongs to a system that they want to have an impact in and I believe that’s a lot of us these days!
MF – Yeah. And I want to underscore what you were saying just now Sunčica, it’s that at the moment I think it is focused on a training world but I also hope that as we begin to have more and more practice and experience in this and more and more coaches are doing this form and allowing themselves to be supervised in this way, that our coaches will begin to in their coaching of parents or families or teams, begin to demonstrate this. Imagine that there has been something that happened… I know that there’s a couple in a family, we’re working with a couple, but things will show up in the different, the parent’s different approach in getting kids ready for school, that end up becoming a fight between the parents after the kid’s got dropped off at school. What we begin to do now is also have them sit in coaching with us and reflect, tell their story again, what happened, and then heal and listen into who were the different selves in you that showed up during that event. And if we can set even further back, how was what showed up in them to a part of what showed up in you? And begin to do that kind of shopping that actually it now has become at the end of each day they try to make the time, that as a couple and as parents, sit down to do that kind of reflection during the day, of what happened the day that went. So, there’s a very different way but you can feel how it begins to create space to pause, slow down, to reflect on what happened and look at it from a very different perspective that is growing them not only as parents but also as individuals. And then going back to discuss some of these things with their kids, those kids will grow up to be different adults from what they would have without it. So, it really is… I hope it becomes contagious.
KC – I do, I was just thinking about how wonderful it could be if every meeting was part of a systemic vision because how amazing would that be in terms of showing up consciously and intentionally, it’s really hard to not just go in on autopilot and this feels like a way to step out of yourself and all the different selves that show up in your system and then start to chose differently, I guess, and then see why. Why did I show up that way. What’s that information?
MF – Yes. So we’re talking about these groups and I said, Sunčica, I think we just need to give more clarity about what we’re talking about, the group supervision that we’re talking about is, we, it’s groups of four that come together for four sessions and at each one of the sessions one of them will present, will take a session that they’ve done and share that with the rest of the group that they are, with the other three. And Sunčica will pick it up from there but just so we get a better idea of what it is that we talk about. And there are different forms of group supervision around, so this isn’t the only one but at least this is what we hold as systemic supervision for coaches.
SF – Yeah, for now. So one person presents their case, they bring the system that they’re working with or about to start working with, any point is fine, the system that they wanna think through. They talk about it for a little while and the others listen and they listen, you know, it’s an embodied listening. They’re really not listening just to say oh, you could have done this differently or to give feedback differently, it’s not that idea. The idea is to start noticing if we ourselves are vessels of awareness, what’s going to bubble up as we are listening, to the surface, if we are listening to this particular story. And the supervisors that are doing it are encouraging everybody to be in this generous act of service to the person that they’re listening to and then the supervisor facilitates the conversation where everybody then talks about their experience and then that experience then becomes the material for one who presented to think through their case. So it’s very, again, there’s a structure to it but it’s non-linear because we don’t know what’s going to show up and we don’t know the exact amount of time that we might be talking about something. We have fabulous supervisors so I have to shout out to Kate Haye who held the first group, to Dorothy Atkinson who’s holding the second group and we’ll mention the other names as well, who are just masterful in holding this reflective space where the gift is not just for the person presenting the case but for everybody else sitting in that group and offering reflections, they actually, each one of them for each supervision, said that they got exactly the information about them and their own system that they needed in that space.
MF – I think that’s a, we so often talk about parallel process, because in listening to it it’s almost as if there’s also a parallel process between what the listeners are experience in listening to this, that then also can come back as a parallel process one way or the other, in terms of what happens when some of the clients. And it’s from that kind of sharing, and again, it is a way to reveal the system to itself and through the listening to the others revealing what was happening to them that the coach that presented gets new information and can begin to see different pictures and really leave with their own sense of evolution. Their own sense of learning about themselves but also a much deeper, better, loving, forgiving, whatever, image and awareness of the team that they’re coaching. It truly is lifegiving and I think it is improving coaching and systemic thinking hugely.
SF – And if I may add just one thing because I think we in the group are very proud of, that we really practice in parallel all the time. So, we get together between each of the group supervisions and we reflect on our process and the process with the supervisors, so we have truly immersed ourselves in the same kind of learning and I think that’s really the world that just comes up again, that pride in that we’re walking our talk, as we speak, and so, which makes those supervisions much more impactful.
KC – You really are walking what you talk and there’s a real leaning into relationship in terms of the learning piece. Learning doesn’t happen in a bubble and you use that for everyone to develop and grow from every session.
SF – Yeah. And I have to, I mean I’m sitting here with Marita but I really owe a huge gratitude for CRR Global because you know for these supervisions to happen we have to have those generous infrastructures for the people who are delivering it. I think much more generous than in other context in terms of the amount of time that we’re given to reflect and prepare and to process and to sit with it and to listen back, but that’s exactly what’s needed. We can’t do it in another way.
MF – And again, I think some of the conversation is also moving in the direction of strategic, that with the announcement of the team pushing coaching competencies that ICF came out with, I think it was last year, but we now have team coaching competencies for our coaches that we train, that then begins to open up the door too how do we now create a training for coaches who are certified or want to be certified or are… how do we create a training in systemic supervision for team coaches? So there’s a product in the work with us, that we are working on, that will become the training that will be accredited with ICF as well, as soon as the ICF accreditation for that becomes available, so you know, it’s in our own evolution as CRR Global and with an enormous amount of help from you Sunčica, we now are talking about that there is a CRR Global education that really consists of three different pillars.
SF – So, our first pillar is core curriculum which is about skills building, so people come to get trained, our task is to get them trained in the skills to be systemic coaches, so we’re equipping them, right, we’re equipping them. And the second pillar is certification and in certification, we’re helping people really embody the skills and apply them, so they’ve learned them but now they have to get into the world and really apply those skills so we’re building those competencies, so it’s not just about skills building, but competencies building and capabilities building. And yet, you know, you still want to continue to evolve because your work is evolving, so the third pillar is that continuous development that is about capacity building and evolving. How do I expand the space of my practice and the depth of my practice which is not going to be about passing the particular threshold of ICF, accreditation or something else, but really just what do I need as a specific practitioner? In which direction do I want to go to widen and deepen my practice?
KC – Yeah. That’s brilliant because, in particular that third pillar, it gets beyond the piece of paper on the wall, not to undermine qualifications but it’s about being a lifelong learner isn’t it?
MF – Yeah.
SF – Exactly that.
MF – And we will see, with time, more showing up there as well. I think that our systems inspired leadership products will probably live there as well, if we look at what is happening around equity, diversity and inclusion, there’s probably some work there. So, I’m really proud and delighted that systemic supervision for team coaches is going to be, because I do think this is an underpinning for just about that approach, that sitting and reflecting is an underpinning for everything and all things that need to happen these days in the world, I really do believe that.
KC – Mmm. This is such a hugely important initiative and I’m coming away with the visual of someone watching a TV and then inside that, the TV, they’re watching the TV and it sort of goes on forever and every level, like supervision and then the supervisors are having supervision themselves, there’s just a, you can never keep learning with this work and I just think it’s wonderful what you’re offering.
MF – Yeah, yeah.
SF – I love that visual of the TV within a TV within a TV. It’s exactly that. And I really want to underline something that Marita spoke to which is in all that with compassion and with heart, lifegiving, I think that is what Marita said, it’s a really life-giving experience. You hold the integrity of our profession, we hold the rigor, but it’s not critical, you know, it’s not judgmental and I think that’s really important for this kind of practice.
MF - What you make me think of when you speak to that, Sunčica, is you can also see how the three phases of systemic evolution plays in there because it’s in sitting in that reflective space that I can in my reflection see how I wasn’t ready to meet the next client where they are because I was still sitting in my response to the previous client that I worked with. So you can see how just that, I can’t tell you how many times that practice of meeting and getting enough clarity and stuff in my own self released, cleaned out, loved, asking the inside kid to go sit in front of the TV with freedom or whatever so that I can be truly able to meet who’s in front of me in the next session. That, you can see how the moment you begin to think in that way, impacts just about everything that you do and I think one of our biggest challenges these days is that meeting place. How do I meet the people in front of me where they are, not just where I am, that’s huge. I think we have no idea how much conflict emergence comes from that place where we’re not able to meet one another where we are rather than where we think they should be, I think that’s huge.
KC – And I’m presuming supervision then gives us the opportunity then to meet ourselves in some shape or form.
MF – That’s it.
SF – To meet ourselves for sure, and I think there’s the biggest gift in ourselves, as practitioners, to also meet the systems we’re working with in fully or in a different way and to meet our wider system in a different way. I mean, to give you a wider example, our supervisors start thinking from the very beginning, start thinking about the original myth of how they got introduced to systems they’re working with. What was the original myth of that relationship? So, as coaches, we have original myths and they don’t start in the first coaching sessions, they start way before. They start with the email exchange. They start with who introduced us to, you know, them. They start with the movie you watched the night before you met with them. There’s so many flirts around those that give that useful information and yet, again, we rarely have the luxury and the gift of time to sit with all of that and then understand how much information we have about the system before we’re truly sat in the room with them.
MF – I cannot underscore that enough. And to add to the complexity of that, I think the challenge for us, all of us as human beings but for us as coaches, is increased a hundred-fold with everything happening virtually. Because when I sit with somebody in a room I have different access and there’s different space for us to meet. If I sit with the team in a room where we coach them, there’s a coffee stand over there that people get some coffee and they chat and there’s a different place in which they can prepare to sit down and be present. When people show up in front of our Zoom screens we have zero idea what happened to them just before they sat down, we don’t know. And there’s no space for us to find out unless we pause for long enough to do just that. And that’s, I think, where we fail most off. We assume that everyone’s ok.
KC – Yeah, and what I’m getting from this is it’s basically putting a pause in the diary, I know we tell ourselves all the time to pause and think and meditate and whatever the reflective practice may be, this is a way of sort of structuring that reflective time and learn with others which I think is so important and I’m certainly coming away thinking I need more of that in my life, in my coaching practice.
MF – It’s interesting what you said, Katie, because I’ve not spoken to this but I am, having walked many different spiritual pasts that in the end all come together in one place, because there is not just one spiritual path, there’s a multitudes of those as well. What’s interesting for me is that there’s something in what we do in systemic supervision that I do think is a spiritual path, and don’t collapse it with religion. I am talking about the spiritual path of evolution that any relationship is. The spiritual path of my own growth and maturation, regardless of age, when I sit in the reflection of what comes up in me when I’m across from one human being or ten. So for me then, our world is beginning to wake up into a different form of spirituality in order to grow - as coaches, it’s just interesting.
SF – Yeah, that reminds me of that exhibition that was happening at MOMA a while ago, I think the beginning of this century with Marina Abramović, it was called The Artist Is Present and she would sit in a chair with one empty chair opposite of her and then the viewers could come in and sit in the chair and they could actually meet, and at first everybody was suspicious, thinking oh, nobody is going to sit in that chair in the opposite and she was surprised that the line was constantly long because we want to be met, we want to be seen, want to be witnessed, and this is systemic supervision, this space to meet the systems, our own systems, the systems we work with, the systems we live in, to meet them, to honor them, to get the intimacy with them that’s necessary if we want to create sustainable change.
MF – I love that.
KC – What a rich, gorgeous ritual I think systemic supervision seems to be. I certainly want more of that in my life and thank you both for bringing this to the world, a real gift.
MF – Thank you for being the, as always, generous host that can sit with us and can prod us from time to time and truly meeting with your guests. Thank you Sunčica.
SF – Thank you.
KC – Thank you both.
[Outro begins 41:08]
KC – Thank you to our guests Marita Fridjhon and Sunčica Getter for shining a light on the importance of systemic supervision. As always, here are my key takeaways from this conversation. Systemic supervision is an approach that can help us to hold the complexity of systems coaching. When you’re working as a systems coach you are both an observer and a participant, and what systemic supervision offers is the opportunity to observe yourself retroactively and better understand your own internal system in order to build capacity, to strengthen how you show up as an observer, facilitator and coach. Systemic supervision offers a safe, reflective space where the coach can better understand themselves, the system they’re working with and also the wider system impacting the system they’re working with. So they’re gaining clarity at the bigger picture and self-knowledge through deciphering experience as data. It’s a way to widen and deepen the practice of systemic coaching in a shared learning environment. For more information about the systemic supervision program please visit CRRGlobal.com for further details. For over 18 years, CRR Global has accompanied leaders, teams, and practitioners on their journey to build stronger relationships by focusing on the relationship itself, not only the individuals occupying it. This leads to a community of changemakers around the world. Supported by a global network of Faculty and Partners, we connect, inspire, and equip change agents to shift systems, one relationship at a time. We believe Relationship Matters from humanity to nature to the larger whole.
[Music outro 43:00 – end]