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  • Writer's pictureAileen Miziolek

Working With Family Relationship Systems

Join Aileen Miziolek as she talks with host Steve Leglar on the Let's Talk Family Enterprise Podcast, produced by Family Enterprise Canada.


Host Steve Legler welcomes Aileen Miziolek as his guest for a discussion about the intricacies of working with families, and how thinking about them as a "relationship system" can be useful. They discuss ideas around facilitation as an outsider invited to work with a family system, as well as using some basic family systems concepts that can help FEAs better understand the family relationships they encounter when working with clients.

Guest bio

Aileen Miziolek brings a multi-disciplined and integrated approach to her work, including 20 years of experience in complex financial and estate planning for business-owning families. She holds the CFP®, FEA, ACC, and ORSC designations. Aileen is co-author of Inspired Wealth, Financial Leadership for the 21st Century, a book that serves as a guide for making critical life choices about money to create a fulfilling life. Her guidance has helped hundreds of families through the unique opportunities and challenges they face in the areas of inter-generational wealth transfer, business succession planning, estate planning, and philanthropy.

You can learn more about Aileen Miziolek on her website and LinkedIn.

Key Takeaways

[:26] Steve Legler welcomes Aileen Miziolek and invites her to share a little bit about how she ended up in family systems coaching.

[3:20] Coaching individuals outside of their systems leads to functional limitations and even conflict. Aileen explains how combined individual and system coaching offers results.

[6:35] Outsiders to the system need to remain outside and impartial, advisors are well-placed to identify patterns.

[8:28] Aileen’s “Pong” analogy.

[9:51] What should be the very first meeting’s very first question? Aileen explains how she builds a safe container.

[12:36] Aileen explains the ghosts in the system and how they can impact a business family.

[15:06] The system’s mirror may be its greatest function. How advisors can build system awareness.

[16:10] Aileen points out a potential pitfall: are you making the family up? Striking the right balance between structure and flexibility.

[18:16] Aileen offers a sibling example of conflict with positive outcomes and the attitude the advisor should have in the presence of conflict.

[21:47] The learning family culture is how Aileen reframes conflict for families. She shares how she manages system pressure.

[24:39] Nurturing a system’s belief in its ability to overcome is an important part of how Aileen works.

[26:40] Aileen touches on the increase of systems work being done with siblings.

[29:10] Aileen shares her reading recommendation as well as her advice for advisors.

[31:24] Steve thanks Aileen for joining the podcast and sharing so much of her expertise, and signs off until next month.

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Mentioned in this episode

The Let’s Talk Family Enterprise podcast is brought to you by Family Enterprise Canada.

Systems Inspired Leadership: How to Tap Collective Wisdom to Navigate Change, Enhance Agility, and Foster Collaboration, by Frank Uit de Weerd, Marita Fridjhon

CRR Global ORSC Coaching program

More about Family Enterprise Canada

Family Enterprise Canada (FEC)

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FEC on LinkedIn


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