We all constantly overestimate our capacity to understand the world around us. In responding to climate change, Brexit, COVID-19, conflict between nations, we see time and again pleaders attempting to reduce complexity to single, simple causal connections. Simple causal explanations enable us to feel we are in control. If this is a problem for the global community – what are coaches doing about it?

I would argue that many coaches are exacerbating the problem. We tell ourselves our clients have the answer, that the answer lies within. We encourage them to move quickly to identifying a goal, building plans and taking action. We hold them to account, making sure they follow through on agreed commitments. We urge our clients to get things done. We fortify our client’s reluctance to slow down and reflect upon the complexity of the world, to think about events differently. It is not our role to tell our clients what to do. It is not our role to hold our clients to account to our agendas. But it is our role to learn to think differently and to further develop our capacity to challenge our clients to think differently.

In this book we explore five different ways of thinking systemically, and suggest how we as coaches can play a more useful role in helping wider society deal more effective with complexity and change. If you’d like to explore some of these ideas at a high level before buying the book, please check out some of our resources.