At this time of year, nature pauses, as buds of what will be slumber awaiting the call to awaken. Do you also long to pause, to take stock and reflect on the whirlwind of incredible change that has been our experience in 2020? On the threshold of this fresh new year to come, we have an opportunity to consider what was, what is, and what yet may be.

Even in a time of isolation, we can join with our community – our partners, our families, our teams and organizations – to set intentions. As we tap into relationship systems intelligence, we can find perspective on all that has happened, make meaning of what we have learned, and align on our collective purpose moving forward.

Consider the power that the collective has when many minds are focused on one purpose. The Covid-19 vaccine, so desperately needed and developed in record time, is a prime illustration of what we can accomplish when we focus our energy together.


“Our intention is everything. Nothing happens on this planet without it. Not one single thing has ever been accomplished without intention.
• Jim Carrey


In December, the ORSC Canada Community of Practice came together to explore the epic journey of 2020. Using the lens of Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI) and the adaptive eco-system cycle developed by Vanessa Reid of The Living Wholeness Institute, we considered what meaning the events of 2020 hold, and how to move forward as a community.

As relationship systems coaches, what meaning do we draw from 2020 as relationship systems coaches?

  • This period of revelation has opened our eyes, creating an openness to embrace the complexity of our systems.
  • Although we grieve the disappointed dream, we can also be open to gifts and opportunities that have emerged.
  • The move to utilize virtual platforms more allows us to create together in a disruptive period. We are pushed to be creative and responsive in the ways that we connect.
  • Although moving to online connection and virtual training and coaching has been challenging, it is exciting to connect on an international level and expand our reach with less need to travel physically, and so to reduce the associated costs.
  • Physical isolation has made us more aware than ever of the need for relationship and belonging.
  • The larger system of the world is calling for relationship systems coaching to understand and help deal with collective global trauma.

“The unheard voices hold the loudest cries.”
• Sai Thanmae

Emerging themes

Revealing the system to itself – Our role as professionals is not to provide answers but to foster strong relationship. Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) tools are used to raise awareness, allowing the system itself to recognize issues and align on solutions.

A collective global trauma – In addressing this trauma, what is our role in helping others? What energy and perspective can we bring? How can we hold this delicate balance – normalizing the pain and confusion that people feel, and supporting them as they lean into vulnerability to find their purpose in a strangely altered world? Normalization and resilience are themes that are frequently appearing right now.

Accessibility & privilege – Relationship systems coaching can help to address the trauma that we see. The key to expanding awareness of relationship systems intelligence lies in making it accessible, yet access and privilege continue to be issues.

  • How can we share relationship systems intelligence principles, so that they can be widely used?

  • Might simplifying the language we use encourage engagement and make these ideas more accessible?

  • What balance can be found in sharing these principles while still making a living as coaches? 

Destruction and creation – According to theories of adaptive cycles and eco-cycles, creative destruction must take place to prepare for new growth. What needs to be laid to rest to lay the ground for what wants to emerge? 

Community members made the following suggestions.

  • Place less responsibility on the shoulders of leaders.
  • The system is the client.
  • Powerful relationship creates meaning.
  • Dance between practicality and dream in expanding systems coaching concepts everywhere.
  • Accessibility and alliances can help to support systems on the front lines in need of this work.
  • Build networks and parallel processes to expand these concepts.


“Every journey begins with articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention.”
• Bryant McGill


Moving forward as a community

Finally, we focused on setting intentions for the Community of Practice in 2021, by asking how can we best support this community and the work of our members.

  • Translate ideas being deeply explored, so that they become lively and accessible.
  • Establish the community as a co-creative platform, a place to leverage each other’s wisdom and experience as we develop new ways of using the tools.
  • Focus on a theme, such as trauma, and swap tools for dealing with it.
  • Turn themes from 2020 upside down – for example, look at collective trauma through the lens of Phoenix Rising.
  • Continue to share the role of leader within the group.


“What I’ve found really compelling about this community is a real sense of commitment to each other and to this work … That’s really important ground for being adventurous.”
• ORSC Canada Community of Practice Member


In sharing this process, we hope to help you and your community reflect on what this year has brought, and what you will take with you into the year to come.

To use Vanessa Reid’s Eco-Cycle inner systems mapping model of creative destruction, conservation, germination and growth, ask these questions:

  • What am I letting go of?
  • What systems am I maintaining?
  • What new seeds am I planting?
  • Which roots am I growing deeper?

Thanks to the ORSC Canada Community of Practice members for sharing their insights into our work as relationship systems coaches and leaders. 


WRITTEN BY: Novalda directorKerry Woodcockwho develops core, collective and change leadership capacity in leaders, teams and organizations, andSaralyn Hodgkin is a key ally to leaders and teams who are moving through transitions and complexity, who has been curating dynamic communities of practice for over 15 years.

Question | What intentions are you setting for 2021?

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    Novalda Coaching & Consulting Inc.