Arc of Systems Coaching

Sequence of steps in systems coaching

1. Pre-contract (this stage is often referred to as the Kick-Off Meeting)

The goal of this stage is to determine the possibility and comfort level of potential cooperation between the Coach and the System (hereafter referred to as the Client).

It is important to note that this stage can be applied both for long-term interaction and for a single session within systems coaching with a new client. During this (often short) stage, the upcoming (possibly long-term) relationship is discussed, with the parties not yet bound by commitments and knowing nothing about each other.

The result of the stage is a decision regarding the upcoming interaction. If it is mutually positive, agreements are developed regarding expectations from each other, the format of the meetings (online, offline, duration, regularity), and so on.

2. Contract
The goal of this stage is to define the boundaries and rules of cooperation.

It is important that the contract regulates the relationship between both parties and, therefore should be mutually agreed upon. It helps to maintain the established boundaries and rules throughout the entire interaction, to determine the responsibility of each party within the joint work, and to manage mutual expectations.

The result of this stage is a coaching agreement with the established rules of interaction (which can be either oral or written in a legally binding format).

3. Presenting the situation
The goal of this stage is to identify the current request for the session and the system's current state through points of contact (shared values, views, etc.). Each session of systems coaching should be limited to the framework of the request being addressed in that session.

It is important to note that after establishing rapport and defining the boundaries of the problem, the situation "as is" is described. Various visualization tools from systems thinking are often used for this purpose.

The result of this stage is the client's agreement with the resulting description (visualization) of the "as is" state of the system.

4. Hypothesizing & identifying resources
The goal of this stage is to formulate hypotheses for a possible solution to the current situation and determine the resources necessary for it.

It is important to note that at this stage, there is no understanding of which of the formulated hypotheses will work. To choose the most appropriate approach, it is necessary to understand the required efforts and have the corresponding resources (in a broad sense).

The result of this stage is the selected way of achieving the desired result and an understanding of the sufficiency of resources.

5. Action plan
The goal of this stage is to formulate success criteria and define steps to achieve the desired result.

It is important that the plan may include a sequence of specific steps and alternative ways to achieve the result according to the criteria. A good plan allows believing in its feasibility while not limiting the system's ability to self-organize with excessive detail.

The result of this stage is a plan - a set of necessary measures formulated and agreed upon within the system for the client's implementation.

6. Completion
The goal of this stage is to exchange feedback and ensure the intention to implement the formulated plan.

It is important that the implementation of the resulting action plan is the responsibility of the Client and directly depends on their belief in it. If the coach is part of the system, they may share responsibility with it. To improve possible further relationships, a feedback tool is often used, which allows for finding growth areas both in interaction and in the formulated plan.

The result of this stage is understanding the Client's intention to implement the planned course of action and the conclusions of both parties based on the feedback.

7. Post-Contract
The goal of this stage is to support the Client and update long-term agreements if necessary.

It is important to discuss the terms and format of providing support to the Client before concluding the coaching contract and carefully consider their ability for self-organization in resolving their requests.

The result of this stage is a created supportive environment for the Client and updated agreements for long-term relationships.
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