About Dr Josie McLean

Dr Josie McLean is a catalyst for systemic change.

Expertise and modes of working
She has seeded new ways of seeing and doing things by helping individuals, teams, and communities identify and rethink the unconscious assumptions by which they are being held captive. Josie is well-known for her bold work in developing leaders, individually through executive coaching assignments, within teams using a team coaching approach, or in leadership development programs.  She also has a solid track record for guiding organisations through cultural change. She helps leaders apply the principles of complexity or living systems to their leadership challenges and lead effectively through uncertainty.

Internationally recognised as a pioneer of the Australian coaching industry, Josie received the International Coaching Federation’s President’s Award in 2009. In late 2019, Josie co-founded the Climate Coaching Alliance, a global network of professional coaches committed to influencing coaching professionals to recognise climate and ecological crises in their work.  She has been a lead facilitator for the esteemed Governor’s Leadership Program in South Australia since 2013.

Early career and sample past clients
After an early career as a corporate strategic planner and financial analyst, Josie’s client list has grown to include many of the major blue chip corporations in Australia, agencies and departments from all three tiers of government and SME’s and NPF’s both large and small. Examples include ABC (TV), Bendigo Bank, BHPBilliton, Coles, Court’s Administration Authority, City of Adelaide, City of Marion, City of Port Phillip, Dept Main Roads (Qld), Flinders University, Guide Dogs, RAA, SAGE Automotive, SA Power Networks, Swinburne Univeristy, Maxma, Mighty Kingdom, NRM Mt Lofty Adelaide, University of Adelaide, University of Tasmania, Village Well, Your Place, and Woolworths.

Significant projects include:

  • City of Marion transformation (2009 – 2014) – National recognition by Human Synergistics
  • HomeStart Finance transformation (2014-2019) – National recognition by Human Synergistics
  • Flinders University – College of Science and Engineering – leadership and cultural change, including evolving the workload models and academic supervisor capability (2020 – current)

Research and practice
Josie draws on a wealth of expertise garnered from her research and award-winning doctoral work Embedding Sustainability into Organizational DNA, her involvement as a member of a multidisciplinary research team with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, and her community based activism in The Pachamama Alliance (San Francisco) along with her practical engagement with individuals, teams and communities.  She learned adaptive leadership at Harvard University and studied systems thinking and complexity with some of the world’s finest systems thinkers including Peter Senge, Nora Bateson, Margaret Wheatley, Frijof Capra, Otto Scharmer, and read Donella Meadow’s work extensively.

Recent publications
Josie’s portfolio of work includes the influential book Big Little Shifts: A practitioner’s guide to complexity for organisational change and adaptation, and the acclaimed collaboration with coaches worldwide Ecological and Climate-Conscious Coaching: A Companion Guide to Evolving Coaching Practice. Josie’s most recent book, On Purpose: self-leadership from a systemic perspective for adaptability, resilience and wellbeing, will be released in late 2023.

Complementing these are peer-reviewed academic papers, systems journal chapters and case studies.