Our systemic coaching does not replace
classical coaching. Classical coaching is useful when individuals make
decisions in controllable environments with simple objectives. Our systemic
coaching is useful when making relationship decisions, especially in
complex environments or with ambiguous objectives.
Shadows provide information about what obscures the light.
The ways in which people help people are evolving. The differences between
coaching, consulting, counseling, mentoring, intuiting, therapy and supervision
are often vague; changing quickly and disputed. Many descriptions appear
more esoteric than scientific ... we call them psychotheologies.
Each psychotheology has evangelists and critics. Each seems
to have professional associations and litigious lawyers. Each
seems to have private languages, codes of conduct and official
paperwork. Each claims special methodologies and techniques.
See Comparison of Helping Styles
How do they compare? They all claim to help people solve
problems, find success, enjoy relationships and control
emotions. They all have similar roots. They all support
people. They all claim to help people move from where
they are now, to where they want to be. All this fuss
is about conversations!
Roots of Change
A psychiatrist told me,"Psychotherapy
didn't empty mental hospitals: Thorazine did".
The dawn of psychotherapy began around 1900, from its origins
in neurology (about 1850), animal magnetism (about 1800) and
medieval magic. Counseling has been recognized since about 1960,
and life coaching emerged around 1980. Our systemic coaching
was mostly developed since 1990.
- Phineas Quimby,
a famous mental healer, wrote that wrong beliefs were
the cause of most life problems. He created the New Thought
movement, which was relabeled as Positive Thinking
- a basis for modern coaching.
- Early psychotherapists Adler and Jung wrote
that people are the creators of their lives, and involved
their clients in goal setting, life planning and creating
their futures - what we now call coaching.
- Carl Rogers' book, Client Centered Therapy,
helped shift counseling and therapy to become relationships
in which clients are assumed to be able to change and develop
- a shift towards coaching.
- Abraham Maslowís book, Toward a Psychology of Being,
helped coaching emerge in the early 1990s. Maslow's post-doctoral
student, Dr Clare Graves, discovered a hierarchy of emergent human
values - one of the foundations of our systemic coaching.
These and other pioneers helped create a foundation for coaching.
Coaching integrates many fields to partner with people for their
success. Most coaching and consulting is for people who are healthy and
self-motivated, while most counseling and therapy is supposed to be for
people who suffer from psychological problems. An important question
is, "How can you recognize psychological problems?"
Psychological Problems & Mental Illness
Many psychological problems are characterized by a lack of
control, often with behaviors that involve unpleasant thoughts and
dysfunctional actions, such as compulsions, substance abuse or sexual
disorders. Some psychological problems may be called mental illness.
Mental illness is a very broad term that carries a burden of
social stigma, embarrassment and fear. Few people will admit
that they or any member of their family suffer from any kind
of mental illness.
Psychiatry is a medical specialty. If any of
the following apply to you - we suggest that you seek medical
or psychiatric assistance:
- You lose or lack control of yourself
- You are often anxious and/or depressed
- You are in a severe health or emotional crisis
- You are considering harming yourself or others
- You have no friends and people seem to avoid you
- You are generally dysfunctional, immature or
- You need psychoactive medication, alcohol or
drugs to function
If you pass that ... probably you can focus on what
you want and on what makes sense in your life.
Coaching & Therapy: Comparison
Coaches usually assume the health and well-being of their clients,
while therapists may assume otherwise. See Solution
Focused Therapy. The following table summarizes some important differences
between our coaching and psychotherapy. See also
Alternative & Complementary Therapies.
people who want to achieve a goal
with identifiable dysfunctions
|Deals mostly with
a personís present and future
||Deals mostly with
healing past trauma
achieve a defined success
manage old pain
|A coach helps people choose ways to
discover their own answers and find their own power
||A therapist has the answers,
power and chooses techniques. A client is incompetent to choose.
emotions are natural and normalizes them
emotions are symptoms of problems
|A coach helps people identify their
goals and challenges, turn challenges into victories, and motivates people
to reach their goals.
||A therapist diagnoses, then provides
expertise and guidelines to provide a path to health.
is usually rapid and enjoyable.
is usually slow and painful.
Coaching is about discovery - therapy is about recovery!
Evolution of Good Intentions
Every problem has many
solutions that are nice, simple and useless.
Most people have good intentions when they
attempt to help others solve problems or devise new possibilities.
However, consequences do not care about the goodness of
intentions. This table compares the evolution of change-work.
(The comparison is simplified to highlight core concepts.)
||I solve my problems
... or I die
||Trial & terror:
|2. Archaic therapies
||Our ancestors / powers /
gods will bless us if we do the right rituals
||Shamanism, Mesmerism and
energy work: solve problems by placating or
applying esoteric forces.
||We are the experts. Our power and skill can
||Psychiatry & hypnotherapy: problems
result from biochemistry or from wrong beliefs that can
be installed by chemicals or hypnosis.
||You can only change using the ways that
our founders developed
assume problems originate in early family. Solve problems
by (psycho) analyzing the cause of the problems.
|5. Success coaching
||Set goals and persuade others
to gain rewards and avoid failure
||Behavioral psychology: problems
result from conditioning and programming. Solve problems
by rewarding some behaviors and punishing others.
|6. Relationship coaching
||Solve problems with self-esteem and better
||Humanistic psychology: problems originate
in poor relationships. Solve problems by providing a good
|7. Systemic coaching
||Develop human systems by resolving emotional
||Couple, family and team coaching: problems
start in trauma and relationship problems. Solve problems by supporting
|8. Global coaching
||Coach leaders of human systems to
cooperate in a changing global environment
||Community coaching: coach leaders
to create adaptive power structures and cooperate with other leaders
to achieve global goals.
Do you want life coaching or systems training?
Do you want to solve emotional challenges and relationship problems?
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