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Developing Community Leadership
Martyn Carruthers

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

Do you want to accelerate community development?
Do you want to lead communities to survive challenges in difficult times?

Coaching & Developing Community Leaders

There are many types of leadership, from passive through aggressive, from democratic to fascist, from zero to hero. Small and mid-range community members need to learn complex, cooperative skills to survive, let alone prosper. In a rapidly changing world, the consequences of error can be extreme.

Don't Step in the Leadership

Community leaders attempt to accomplish community goals by organizing people and resources. But poor leaders may use ineffective or outdated leadership skills, hoping that what they learned in high school football or the military might be applied to a community who may dislike the idea of leaders.

The resulting frustration may cause wannabe leaders to blame community members for being disruptive or for deliberately sabotaging the leader's goals. Such behavior increases the suspicion of the community that leaders are an expensive luxury.

Common community goals include: Survival, Respect, Stability, Success, Relationships, Evolution and Influence. Reaching these goals will require that many basic goals are fulfilled, e.g. food production, purchases of tools and supplies, repair and external services (such as electric power, veterinary bills, architect plans ...).

Push can become shove when decision making is discussed. In most communities, how leaders make decisions is at least as important as their decisions.

  1. Most communities want better leadership
  2. Coaching can improve community leaders' skills
  3. Coaching is a good investment for people with leadership potential

Insight into Leadership Coaching

Compare leaders' wish-lists with our coaching competencies  ...

What Leaders Want


What Coaching Delivers

Leadership skills
Faster promotion
Better teamwork
More opportunities
MORE Leadership skills
Better productivity
Better teamwork
More member satisfaction
Better client satisfaction
Better productivity
MID More member satisfaction
Better client satisfaction
Lower costs
Business development
Lower costs
LESS Faster promotion
More opportunities
Business development

This shows how managers and coaches perceive the benefits of leadership coaching. Coaching may not offer the exact values that leaders most want, although clients report increased satisfaction, better productivity and better problem solving.

Leadership coaching helps leaders make better decisions by reviewing past decisions and considering future decisions. This requires dissociation skills - to step out of a challenge and study the situation as an informed outsider; emotional skills to recognize and interpret feelings; and inspirational skills (different to persuasion and other manipulative behaviors) to transform a community.

Dissociation is stepping out of a context to review a problem or challenge from different positions.

Emotions are information. Leaders uncomfortable with their own emotions or the emotional elements of their relationships may avoid or hide feelings rather than acknowledging that their feelings and the feelings of others are essential for building and maintaining strong relationships.

Inspiration is an integration of insights and intuitions gained from experience. Some communities are notoriously conservative - inspiration can provide focus and courage to realize goals through inspired community participation.

As leaders learn to use dissociation, emotions and inspiration, they can clarify personal and community goals. This may expose conflict between their own goals and community goals. Some leaders strive to achieve their own goals at the expense of their community. Balance is possible.

Types of Community Leadership Initiatives

Our systemic coaching helps leaders perceive communities in terms of survival, hierarchies, boundaries and partitions. Communities can be assed in a hierarchy of leadership goals ... community leaders must have or learn skills appropriate to the community hierarchies, boundaries and sub-groups!

Community Survival of ... Leadership Goals
Individuals Body Cells & Genes Create and protect children
Families Family Traditions Provide children with family and life skills
Schools Knowledge Provide children with knowledge for adulthood
Neighborhood Cooperation Provide families with security and safety
Town Municipal Services Provide neighborhoods with life support
Country Regional Character Provide towns with life support
Religion Religious Dogma Provide countries with principles
Military Military Power Provide countries with protection
Political Party Political Power Provide country leaders with authority
Country National Traditions Provide countries with national culture
Humanity Human Species Provide humanity with genetic diversity

There appear to be optimum sizes for each type of community, from families to humanity. Larger systems spontaneously break themselves up into smaller systems to achieve a new stability. Attempts to persuade, fix or manipulate individual members to conform may harm or disintegrate a community. Lead a community to lead you ...

Leading & Changing Communities

Systems thinking can help you look at human communities with a wider perspective than individual behavior. Systems theory can identify and interpret repeated patterns (habits) and predict the consequences to individuals, couples and families in communities.

A community may include people who operate well by themselves but do not integrate, and a community may suffer from any lack of integration. You can learn to recognize the functions of a community, and their interrelations, and diagnose problems by recognizing the patterns of interaction. Then focus on determining future goals rather than reacting to past trauma or disappointments.

You may know less about your community than about any other community that you observe!

Systemic Community Coaching

Community behavior depends on its entire structure (not the sum of its parts) including boundaries, traditions, past members and previous challenges. A community structure determines member's behavior, which determine family and community events. Too often, leaders only notice and respond to events. Leaders may miss the broader scheme exposed by systemic diagnosis.

For leadership coaching to be effective ...

  • Community support must be continual and firm
  • Coaching goals must align with community values and needs
  • Community values and needs must be articulated and shared

Some systemic principles of community leadership are:

  • A community has an optimum size range
  • A community seeks balance with its environment
  • A community is greater than the sum of its members
  • Communities are sub-systems of many larger systems

A community may experience the same problems repeatedly - many problems will repeat. Community members typically recognize the patterns of problems, rather than the underlying dynamics. As the members mature, they can better recognize and deal with the underlying dynamics.

Systemic Community Behavior

Communities have predictable patterns of interactions (cultural and community traditions) that cross generations. Community interactions can modify these cross-generational entanglements. We offer external observation and assistance to end these entanglements.

Each community member affects all other members. The leader's moods and actions affect all members. Community members respond to each other's emotions in predictable ways. Many solutions create new problems - and often a solution is worse than the problem. Our community coaching seeks solutions that benefit all members. We help set standards for quality as well as priorities for action.

Violation of systemic rules in human communities can lead to dysfunctional behavior - and tragedy in subsequent generations. Cross-generational entanglements underlie many personal and professional problems. Restoring balance and harmony to a community can manage emotional, physical and systemic symptoms of its members. See quantum coaching.

Problems Create Community

While community systems create problems - problems can also create community. We coach communities to change their structure, rather than attempting to change individual compensation behavior.

When community systems are honored; when guilt is healed and duties clarified; members feel enormous relief. They can move forward with a sense of life instead of burdens of depression and guilt.

We can help you solve whatever stops you solving your problems.

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2005-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email