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Dr Paul Lawrence

Principal, Centre for Coaching in Organisations

After completing a PhD in Psychology, Paul Lawrence embarked upon a corporate career with BP plc, leading teams and businesses in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Australia and Japan. Paul has been working as a coach and consultant since 2007, based in Sydney Australia, and has clocked over 3,000 coaching hours working with individuals, groups and teams. He is also a qualified coach supervisor, working with individuals and groups. Paul conducts research on a regular basis and has published more than dozen academic articles and book chapters. He has authored three books; Leading Change: How Successful Leaders Approach Change Management, Coaching in Three Dimensions: Meeting the Challenges of a Complex World and The Tao of Dialogue. Paul teaches coaching at the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong and is the Regional Chair for the Association for Coaching (AC) in NSW/ACT.


BREAKOUT SESSION #1, Tuesday 3 September

What the ‘bleep’ is systemic coaching?

The emergence of the term ‘systemic coaching’ has accompanied a new level of focus on complexity. The term is often used as if it represents a single approach/set of ideas, whereas in fact it is being used to describe some very different approaches. There is a risk that the term becomes appropriated by a plethora of practitioners, many using the term to describe approaches that lack substance or grounding. Indeed, systemic coaching may become the new neuro-leadership, a good example of “pop-science band-wagoning” (Grant, 2015). In this session Paul will outline four quite different approaches to systems thinking and illustrate how each might show up in the behaviour and style of a coach. Paul will offer a critique of each approach, while at the same time arguing that each approach may have value at least as a metaphor. The series is aimed at ‘systemic’ coaches, leaders interested in becoming more ‘systemic’, and those inside organisations responsible for contracting leadership and coaching services. All in service of raising awareness around the whole concept of what it means to be ‘systemic’.