This is the seventh year that I am sending out a range of Systemic Team Coaching Christmas Crackers 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. We need to coach the connections, not the person
    For coaching to move beyond very expensive personal development for the already highly privileged, we need to coach the connections: the connections between the leader and their team; between the team and the team of teams; between the organization and all the stakeholders; between the various functions and between the organizational issues.
  2. Turn blame into need and complaint into request
    The biggest loss of energy and time in team meetings comes from spending time on polluting BMWs. This stands for Blame, Moan and Whine. We can make a big difference by turning every blame or complaint about the present or past into a clear request about the future.  See also my blog on “Grumble to gratitude”.

  3. Discover the extra team member beyond the persons in the room; she is called synergy
    Many teams tell me how pressured and over-worked they are. To one leadership team of 6 who expressed this, I said, ‘You are not making use of the 7th member of the team.’ They asked who the seventh member was.  I said, “she is called synergy.”

  4. Team coaching requires a team of team coaches
    To work systemically it is often more effective to co-coach a team, with two systemic team coaches.  In that case, it is essential for the co-coaches to turn up as a team, one that is more than the sum of its parts and not as a relay-race.

  5. The team is not your client but your team coaching partner
    When team coaching, the team is our coaching partner, and the client is all their stakeholders that the team serves and co-creates value for.

  6. An effective team takes responsibility for each other’s performance, learning and well-being
    I learnt this from my colleague David Clutterbuck, which I think captures very well the movement from individual accountability to collective mutual accountability.

  7. Is your inner team more than the sum of its parts?
    I wrote a blog on this earlier in the year. We all play many roles in life and how we work as a team makes a big difference to both the quality of our lives and the positive difference we can make in the world.  Do your internal team members collaborate or compete with each other? Is your inner team more than the sum of it’s parts 

  8. A purpose without a plan is a dream
    We discover our purpose by discovering what we can uniquely do that our stakeholder’s world of tomorrow needs, if we do not turn this purpose into a plan, it remains a dream, and we are surrounded by unmet needs.

  9. When we are in the spotlight, only the ones behind us can see our shadow
    Carl Jung said that the greater the light, the darker the shadow. This is particularly true for nearly all strong and charismatic leaders.  We all need help from those who are behind us and in our shadow: our team members, followers, our children and our partners.

  10. When the rubber hits the road, the road nearly always wins
    Reality is stronger than the best developed strategies and plans of any individual or group.  As one of my teachers said, “Those who do battle with the reality of what is, never win.” So, we need to welcome reality as our teacher and partner.

  11. To work from source is to realise that the source is not only inside you nor only outside you.
    When our work is in flow and we are working from source, we are not doing the work by ourselves, but in partnership with the world beyond us when the inner and outer merge.

  12. We are not our emotions but the space in which they happen
    The more we can witness our own emotions without identifying with them, the greater our ability to witness the emotions of others with compassionate empathy, without becoming collusive or reactive.

  13. “Beauty is love made sensate.”
    Let me end with this wonderful quote from my friend and teacher Elias Amidon, as it captures in five words much of what I am writing about in my book which is to be published by Routledge in 2024: “Beauty in Leadership and Coaching: and the transformation of human consciousness.”

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 program with www.coaching.com.  called Team Development Essentials and Practitioner program in 2024.

I will also be running a number of Systemic Team Coaching® Practitioner Certificate 3-day intensives in 2024.
Houston, Texas, USA January 22-24  
Singapore, March 13-15
Paris, France, April 24-26
Milan, Italy, May 15-17
Prague, Czech Republic November 4-6.   For more information visit the website

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.
For more information visit: Advanced Retreats

Peter Hawkins
21 December 2023
©Renewal Associates 2023