The foundation of systemic phenomenological work


6 September 2022| Family Constellations, Personal

Me too. And that is the starting point.

The other day, I facilitated an organizational constellation for a group of internal consultants & team coaches from a large and established organization. What became apparent was that many people in that organization were tired. Frustrated. Brought to their knees by all the changes over the years. Distrustful. So why would they accept “having to do something” with a team coach or another consultant?

As the facilitator, I felt a similar vibe with the internal coaches and consultants: they were tired and searching for connection. After all, they had also been part of the same organization for many years. Their place in that organization had changed several times and people had been moved around and gone.

“Me too. And that is the starting point.” I asked the leader of the coaches/consultants to say this to the representatives of the leaders and employees in the organization (their internal customers). She looked at me with questioning eyes. I repeated the sentence. She looked at the representatives and said it. But she didn’t seem to feel it. It did not seem to sink in. I asked her to say it again. “Me too. And that is the starting point.” And again. “Me too. And that is the starting point.” Slowly but surely, she started to understand. She was part of the same thing. And saying this in the constellation was the spark to renew the internal customers’ trust in her.

Being part of the same thing also requires accepting and owning your own share and role. What is it like for and with the pool of team coaches? If they were to hire a team coach themselves, what would their needs be?

And if the starting point is “me too”, that also does something to the arrangement between the team coach/consultant and those they work with. It creates parity, without having to lose your professionalism.

And to further clarify what their role is or isn’t, in principle, one more sentence came to mind, which I had her say to her internal customers: “I cannot undo what has been done (to you). And I see you.”

The clarity this sentence brought was perhaps meant even more for the team coaches themselves than for their customers. Because nothing is more human, even for a team coach or consultant, than to actually subconsciously wanting to take away the pain and create a more beautiful world for all the employees.

I first heard the phrase “me too” when I attended one of Bert Hellinger’s seminars. In a large constellation which contained hundreds of attendees, with groups of perpetrators and victims, related to WWII, he spoke, in that characteristic Bert Hellinger way, slowly: “Ich auch…”

(He actually said it like this: “I-i-i-i-i-ch-ch     au-au-au-au-ch-ch…”)

These seemingly simple words contain the core of systemic work: ultimately, we are all part of the same thing and the parts all reflect the whole. For me the penny dropped there, years ago. Since then, I have used the “me too” in family constellations, but the penny had not yet dropped in the same way in an organizational context.

So, this constellation, like so many others, again also taught me a lot.

Me too. And that is the starting point.

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About the Bert Hellinger Institute

People are constantly evolving. With each other, without each other. In families, in teams, in organizations. Systemic thinking makes us aware of the “why” of our being and doing. Organizational and family constellations create room for movement. The BHI provides courses, workshops and training programs in the field of systemic work, constellations, leadership and coaching. This is how we contribute to the development of people, organizations and society.

For up-and-coming and established leaders. An initiative of the Bert Hellinger Institute.