Carl Jung said: “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”

When you look at The Cosmos, or The Milky Way, from a distance it’s possible to see that there’s a structure, an order, to all the stars and planets in the system. Our solar system.

Or, stand a long way back from a Jackson Pollock painting, and you will find your own pattern within it. What you see will not be the same as what someone else standing in front of the painting sees.

Have you considered that in our lives we are shining like stars in many systems? The families we were born into, the ones we marry into and create, teams at work, departments, organisations, communities, villages, cities. And the list goes on. And not forgetting the most important consellation which is our own. Our unique system. We are a system too.

Plato said: “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” With coaching, we have a tendency to focus only on those elements of our own system that we can change. Indeed, when I did my coaching and NLP training, it was suggested to me that the only thing that’s truly within our control (and therefore that we can change) is the response that we make to what happens to us. Many years later and I realise that unless we understand or intuit our place within the bigger system, and we and the system are mutually impacted, then changing one small part is unlikely to effect the bigger change.

If you think about the relationships you have with others, say the family you were born into, changing the way you respond or behave is going to impact the whole system over time. However, if other members of the system are unable to adapt to the change, then the system as a whole may return to it’s default settings over time. And your change is lost. If you can remember The Matrix Trilogy, you might remember the code, and how Mr Smith is driven to see that The Matrix (or system) remains constant. It’s a wonderful metaphor.

Systemic or constellation coaching helps clients to see the system which is relevant to their coaching question. I find that I spend a lot of time as a coach mapping out my client’s system so that I can ask a more helpful question to bring about a new perspective. I am learning that it is of even greater value to enable my client to map their own system and decide what needs changing to bring about their own solution.

I spent a few years of my childhood in South Africa. We had a fantastic US TV series called Cosmos by Carl Sagan. I expect some of you have seen his Blue Dot.

I rather like this quote from him: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Executive Coach Meriel Swain is particularly interested in helping people who are at some sort of crossroads in their life. Meriel works using a lot of intuition and at quite a deep emotional level.