This is part of a blog series on 7 Levers that co-create a powerful space for coaches to really be impactful.

For all the levers, see the 7 Coaching Levers overview blog post.

This blog covers an introductory view of the lever. More is to follow as this unpacks and emerges

Which bring me to what I thought was the last lever, Lever 5, Activate the System. Everything we do is inside a system. In the words of Demming, a bad system beats a good person every time which means that it is really important that a coaches we are able to see the system we are in and work with it in a way that doesn’t take it head on. Because the system is always stronger than the people. The good news is that people create systems. To change a system requires everyone to start to make small changes to the system. Each change creates a little more space and if we are quietly persistent, changes that were impossible suddenly become our next step.

Systems are to us what water is to fish or I guess air is to us. It just is so we don’t even see them. For most of us, we coach into well established corporate systems that have strong processes and controls in place. Agile is often something completely foreign, a way of doing work that is anti the values of predictability and control and certainty. You can just jump into Agile, it’s a popular way of engaging and also a tough one. Or you can use Agile to do what it does best – solve real delivery problems.

Think of the system as a container! It has limits and edges and no go zones. The system is deeply entrenched and gives people a sense of security and comfort. I can’t be wrong if I am following the rules. As such how people show up and how open they are or are not to agile is going to be informed by the system people are in. How people behave is based on the system they are in. A quick example, agile doesn’t work with hero’s yet most corporate systems can only function with hero’s. If you keep on seeing hero’s pop up then look at what it is in the system that is creating space for that and look for how you can start to shift that and most importantly, look to see if the timing is right. Is the system ready to take that step ? If you are in the beginning of an agile transformation the answer is probably no, so don’t try! You just create resistance and trigger the corporate’s immune system which shuts down your voice and ability to coach people.

Let me put it another way. What if there was nothing wrong and nothing to fix ? Because there really isn’t. The corporate you are in is delivering and is getting work out the door. We are there to co-create a way to do that with more ease, more frequently, fewer surprises and more delight.

The next lever is Activate Leadership