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Homer, the wasps and systemic coaching

For me, the entomologist Jean Henri Fabre is an early representative of systemic thinking and research. 

In 1897 he bought his Hamas, a piece of wasteland in Provence, to devote himself to studying ichneumon wasps. He believed organisms could genuinely be understood only together with their natural environment. 

Heinrich Schliemann, a contemporary of Fabre and the discoverer of Troy, destroyed all the information essential for understanding the finds during his first excavation of the city. He regarded the earth and the rubbish surrounding the finds as negligibility. 

Even today, it is by no means self-evident that events and problems can only be seen and understood in overall contexts. I am thinking of the disregard for the climate catastrophe in full development in energy production in recent decades. 

In coaching, too, one finds the concentration on only one aspect of human psychology or one aspect of social contexts.

Systemic thinking and acting, in contrast, assume the interconnectedness and interdependence of everything with everything else. That means that coaches who work systemically try to focus on as many possible sections of the client’s living environment as possible.


Interventions in systemic coaching do not aim at achieving a particular behavior but try to activate and strengthen the search activity of the system to be coached.


In practice, this means that the coachee, the system to be coached, is strengthened in its resources and its own activity since they have an information and experience advantage in their environment that the coach cannot catch up with.