A Family’s Most Important Project of All
Welcome to another edition of “Steve tries to take a bunch of ideas and spin them into something coherent and useful for enterprising families and those who work with them”.
It should be interesting as I try to weave together the fact that families are very interdependent, that recognizing this is a key to intergenerational success, and that proper guidance on the journey will be of enormous help to them along the way.
These thoughts have all been brewing in my head for a while, stimulated by various recent interactions, and now it’s time to share where I’ve arrived. Thanks for joining me again.
Coaching Every Family Member Is Ideal
My favourite gigs with families are the ones where I get to spend both one-on-one coaching time with each family member, and then also participate in their group meetings.
While I’ve noted that in some cases it’s possible for a family to make progress in situations where there’s only one family member who’s sufficiently motivated to seek outside coaching, my best engagements are those where I get to work with everyone, both individually and together.
While recently discussing some cool aspects of coaching in general with another coach colleague, we kicked around the importance of the coach exuding an attitude of “I’ve got your back” and “I’m here for you without any other agenda, unlike most other people in your life”.
You can imagine that this might be a difficult role to play when you work with many of those “other people in your life” as well, and you wouldn’t be wrong either.
Serving the Whole Family’s Interests
The keys to doing this well are quite simple, in fact, but please don’t ever forget that simple is not the same as easy.
The first key is for the coach to see themselves as a servant of the entire family, not simply the one who hired them, or the one who pays their bill, but the group as a whole.
And then there’s another key that goes with that, and that’s the fact the to truly serve the family, it’s much easier when that coach is not serving an institution whose logo is on their (the coach’s) business card.
Family members are interdependent, and coaching them on their family journey is a special role with a unique skillset.
In fact, it’s more than just coaching, it’s also a bit of facilitation and lots of guidance.
Guidance for the Journey, Not the Destination
The term guidance is one that has grown on me lately, as I’ve re-branded my services and now call myself a Family Legacy Guide.
Part of the appeal is that I want clients to realize the importance of the journey they are on together, as opposed to any particular destination they’re trying to reach.
This is bringing back memories of a piece I wrote in 2018, There Is No Destination, the title of which is the first part of an expression I had recently discovered then, which is completed by “It’s ALL Journey. All. Of. It.”
The Individual – Togetherness Dichotomy
When working with various family members I also need to keep in mind the “familiness continuum” that exists, and how each person sees that.
Every member of the family is trying to find the right balance between their own individuality and the togetherness of the group, and that’s also a moving target.
By alternating my interactions from 1-on-1 calls with each of them to meetings with the group, I can stay on top of how this balancing act is evolving.
It’s during the group meetings that I notice issues that I can then take up with them individually.
Interdependence and Moving Targets
Most families underestimate their level of interdependence, as well as the importance that learning how to work as an interdependent system will have on their ability to transition their business or wealth to the rising generation of their family.
A few months ago in Planning your Family’s Declaration of Interdependence we looked at the fact that there needs to be a realisation that they are in fact all dependent on each other, in all directions, in order to make true progress.
The family is on a long journey that they are all on together, and so having someone come along with them, at certain strategic stages, can make all the difference in the world.