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Systemic Constellations at Agile Coach Camp Montreal

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Michael Spayd demonstrated a powerful coaching technique called Systemic Constellations at Agile Coach Camp Canada 2011, in Montreal, Quebec.

In the session, Michael asked the group, of about ten to fifteen people, to circle around as tightly as possible. Next, he sampled the group for a specific work situation they would like to discuss.

Once Michael selected a volunteer, he helped her create a list of about four to seven people, groups, or events that were tied to the situation and could be represented in the system.

Michael then asked the volunteer to select someone in the group to represent herself. Once her representative had been chosen, she selected others from the group that would represent the rest of the list she had provided. Michael made sure that she asked permission from each person and that they each had the right to refuse. He encouraged her not to select people based on physical appearance or other small details, but to just go with what felt right to her.

To the people who were selected, Michael made it clear that this exercise was not a role playing exercise, and that they should not try and get into the character of the person or group they represented.

Those not selected were asked to circle around the others and simply observe. This would create a protective barrier to support what was happening in the system.

Michael had the volunteer silently position the representatives, beginning with the person representing herself, by moving them by hand to a position and facing that felt right.

The people in the system were instructed to go blank and to feel what comes to them. Michael reminded those on the outside that they are there to provide an energetic container for what was happening.

Starting with the person representing the volunteer, Michael asked the representatives to report what they felt. The responses included things like, "I want to turn", "I want to move", and "I feel isolated".

After listening to the feedback, Michael asked the volunteer to make a few slow, strategic moves to the system. He reminded the volunteer not to analyze it, or discuss it out loud, but to reflect on it.

After the changes, Michael checked in again with how people were feeling.

Unfortunately, the session ran out of time around this point, but the power of the technique had been demonstrated. The volunteer was not only able to get valuable feedback on what the current state of the system was, she was also able to get feedback on the possible side-effects of making changes to the system.

Systemic Constellations comes from family systems therapy and was develped by Bert Hellinger and draws on the works of people like Virginia Satir.

More information can be found on the Systemic Constellations Wikipedia page.

Thanks to Isabelle Therrien for providing the images.

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