This is the sixth year that I am sending a range of Systemic Team Coaching Christmas Crackers out to the wide and growing global community of team coaches around the world.  Each year I take one-line aphorisms that I have found myself using on my various trainings and make a short collection.  Like mottos and jokes in Christmas Crackers, they are there to both amuse and help us see the world differently.  I hope you enjoy them.  Previous years aphorisms are published in the 4th Edition of “Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership” (2021) published by Kogan Page.


  1. For this particular ‘match’ which of my inner team do I need to have on the pitch, which on the substitutes bench and which do I need to rest, so they can be used on another day.
    This was inspired not just by the Football World Cup, but also by Marita Fridjhon ‘s question: “How do we bring our best self to each unique encounter and leave our worst self at home watching T.V.”! We all have an internal team of different sub-personalities, and every systemic team coaching encounter requires us to be choiceful of which we bring into play.
  2. “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction.”
    This quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is as applicable to teams as it is to personal relationships.  Often the best way to develop trust is to have a joint challenge that requires us to collaborate, should to shoulder, looking in the same direction.
  3. Destination precedes the journey; it does not come at the end.
    It is the love for the destination that inspires the journey and creates the route we need to take – read Cavafy’s great poem Ithaka.
  4. The Systemic Team Coach needs to focus on the needs of those not in the room, as much as those who are present.
    These include past, future or absent team members; the full range of stakeholders, the wider community, future generations and the ‘more-than-human’ world of our shared Earth.
  5. Do Not let small groups have an individual report back to the large group.
    The sharing of the dried up remains of a past conversation creates death by serial feedback. Enable the whole sub-group to turn what happened in their small sub-group into a springboard to start a new even richer conversation in the larger group.
  6. Be precise with your intent and instruction or you will confuse the team.
    Many coaches are excellent at asking open-ended questions but as a systemic team coach you need also to enable activities and action, and this requires being clear about the purpose the activity serves and what you are asking the team members to do.
  7. Mobilise the contribution of your extra team member.
    A recent executive team of 6 were complaining that they lacked the resource to do everything that was needed.  I asked them how they were utilising the seventh member of their team.  Who is that they asked. I replied: “She is called synergy.”
  8. If you have no idea what to do next pray.
    This can be to any God, higher power, the eco-system, life etc; it is only important that you pray to an entity bigger than you.  By praying we stop ourselves trying to be heroic or solve the issue by ourselves and develop a humility that asks for help and takes us to the learning edge.
  9. We all have the capacity to double our impact in the world – but not alone.
    Don’t just ask what I can change and what I cannot change, but rather what I can change: a) alone (very little), b) change by a new collaboration with others, and c) influence others to change.
  10. Managers delegate tasks, leaders need to commission outcomes.
    Many leadership teams, get stuck delegating tasks and wondering why the responsibility boomerangs back to them.  Leadership Teams that learn how to commission other teams, with a clear definition of what needs to be achieved, for whom,  by when and within what constraints – and then gives the ownership of ‘how to do this’ to the team, achieves much more.
  11. Originality consists in returning to the origin.
    This lovely quote from the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, connects with my constant inquiry in how we work from ‘source’ rather than from effort.
  12. To do things right first you need love, then technique.
     Another moving Antoni Gaudi quote I discovered in Barcelona this year. It helped me realise that I would rather help 100 systemic Team Coaches fall in love with teams and the world they serve, than help 1,000 learn the basic competencies.
  13. Insight is created in the Neo-cortex of our brains, but change is always embodied.
    This connects with an earlier one-liner “The Coaching Road to hell is paved with ‘aha’ moments and action plans that never get enacted.”

Happy Christmas, Hanukah, Solstice, Dōngzhì Festival, Yuletide, Saturnalia, or December holidays to all my friends, colleagues, and Blog followers everywhere.

There will be a new GTCI Gateway programs and Senior Practitioner program in 2023.

I will also be running a number of Systemic Team Coaching 3-day intensives in 2023.  In addition, I will be holding Advanced Retreats for Coaches and Team Coaches during June and September in Barrow Castle, Bath UK, and an on-line programme on supervising team coaching and Transformational Coaching, all in Bath, UK.
There are also STC Cert programmes happening in Barbados in January, UK, China, North America, Singapore and Africa. For more information visit STC Certificates

Peter Hawkins
22 December 2022
©Renewal Associates 2022