System Dynamics and Constellations applied to Coaching

Coaches who work with and within organisations provide the best service to their clients when, in addition to their existing knowledge, experience, skills and tools, they have the capacity to understand, access and work with the system dynamics within each client situation.

System dynamics consist of:

  1. Systemic principles which provide a helpful lens for ‘observing’ and structuring a coaching or consulting interview. These principles can help support the coach to find out what is really going on.
  2. Mapping a system through a systemic constellation can provide additional insight, awareness and clarity. It can present a ‘solution picture’ and possible ‘good steps forward’ for the client to implement and resolve the situation at hand.

By seeing 'what is', rather than the usual incomplete picture we have, the field of System Dynamics has the capacity to clarify appropriate hidden forces for solutions.

Recently, I attended an ICF Australasia Victoria Branch workshop for coaches recently – System Dynamics and Constellations applied to Coaching. The workshop was led by Karen Tweedie MCC who is a leader in the space of applying system dynamics to “help leaders see their role in terms of the broader organisational system”.

After sharing the foundational concepts with everyone, Karen took a very different approach and had us experience the power of systems coaching through constellations. We split into groups of four, and three group members represented different elements within the system.

In all instances, instead of the “client’ directing the elements of their system, each element took the place in which they felt best connected. This was an immensely powerful experience for me, as I saw how the three components of my system self-organised around my current business context. Each element then conveyed what they were experiencing and why they had configured themselves accordingly.

For me, it was like a curtain had been pulled back and the invisible connections between my system had been brought to life in front of me. With this new awareness, I was able to move the key components of my system into my ideal state.

What made this experience even more amazing was that this breakthrough was achieved in less than 10 minutes. When we repeated this process with the other three group members, we each had similar realisations in a relatively short space of time.

Whilst this was the tip of the iceberg to understanding Systemic Leadership Coaching, I found it was an approach that could fast track discovery and awareness for clients in organisational settings.


      Karen Tweedie MCC is a past Global President of the International Coach Federation (2009) – the first non-North American to hold this title. She brings over 25 years’ experience in executive coaching, design and delivery of leadership development and coaching solutions for clients. Karen can be contacted on

  Rajiv Jayarajah ACC is a member of the Leadership Team of ICF Australasia Victoria. He is the Principal of Melbourne-based consultancy Bare Inc. offering business advisory, business coaching and 1:1 coaching across Australia. Rajiv can be contacted on