Logo Bridge the Gap with Cécile Guinnebault

Cécile Guinnebault - SYSTEMIC Coach

Let's get acquainted

I am an Accredited Professional Executive and Team Coach, and founder of Bridge the Gap Coaching.

You will find below 5 sides of my personnality and background. And as meeting is the best way to get to know each other, please don't hesitate to book a call on my e-calendar

Looking forward to meeting you!

Portrait de Cécile Guinnebault par Amelie Marzouk

How did you become a systemic coach?

In 2003, I was still a change management consultant. A prestigious theatre’s Head of Training called me. She wanted to try to resolve a conflict between two managers through coaching. Back then, coaching was quite new in France, especially for middle managers. Moreover, my client had strong preconceptions about coaches and coaching. As for all the rest of my professional life, I learned to swim once in the deep end!

Against all odds, my tentative intervention yielded good results. I had done systemic coaching without knowing it, encouraging my coachees to develop a strategy to take their conflict as far as they could. Until then, everyone had urged them to calm down and reconcile... in vain! They ended up giving it up on their own. My vocation for systemic coaching was born.

What was your academic path?

Academic studies are the great trauma of my life. As a child, I was a brilliant pupil, always at the top of my class. To such an extent that my parents thought that I could do my year 11 (sophomore in the US) by correspondence, without any educational supervision. I followed my family for a year to the US, where my father had been appointed. Over there, I learned English and a lot of other things any teenager would find valuable. Back in France the following year, I found myself last in my class, unable to catch up. I fell into a terrible depression and my academic career was over before it even started.

After a mediocre graduation, I studied law by default. I absolutely hated it! Unsurprisingly, I gave up before achieving my bachelor's degree. I then took on a series of badly considered, low-paying jobs. It was highly educational! At the same time, I learnt how to play Go: this ancient strategy game taught me how to think.

How did you end up in management consulting, then?

Precisely because I was a Go player! One day in 1992, a consultant showed up in an adult initiation to the game I was hosting. One thing leading to another, he explained to me that his consulting firm used Go to add some glamour to executive offsites.

Having quickly realised that he would not become a Go instructor in 3 days, he preferred to partner with me to bring value to his clients. This collaboration resulted in a book in 1994. Above all, I was hired as a junior trainer at Bossard Consultants, a French consulting firm that was almost entirely populated by graduates from the French equivalent of OxBridge or Ivy League! I felt terrible not having attended college. That said, it was during those years at Bossard that I really studied, on the job. I thoroughly loved it.

What development path did you follow to become a coach?

I followed hundreds of hours of continuous training in public speaking, andragogy, leadership, organisational sociology... Then, in the 2000s, I completed this skillset with a series of coaching tools, as I learned to coach: NLP, Transactional Analysis, MBTI, etc. I became a well-equipped craftswoman. Unfortunately, an academic diploma remains a must in France. When the coaching market became competitive, I lost ground to certified coaches.

In 2019, I enrolled at the Academy of Executive Coaching. Unlike French schools, this British coaching academy considered my 15 years of professional experience. I took a test for direct admission to the Advanced cycle. In May 2020, I finally received my Advanced Practitioner Diploma with Merit and Distinction!

How about the systemic approach?

This is what really shaped my coaching model. In 2016, I took an initiation module at the Gregory Bateson Institute, and it felt like a homecoming. This approach matched exactly the way the game of Go had taught me to think! That is:

  • Interactional: it focuses on relationships more than individuals.
  • Contextual: the relevance of an action or a strategy always relates to the context. This requires constant reassessing of a situation’s strategic potential.
  • Pragmatic: it is the result of your action that tells you if you played well or not.
  • Humanistic: it is impossible not to make mistakes, but it is possible to leverage them strategically.
  • Paradoxical: it is often by going in the opposite direction to one's initial goal that one obtains the best results.

I felt home, at last!

What do you find exciting about executive coaching?

To support my coaches in retrieving the resources they have set aside, often by social and professional formatting. Indeed, prestigious universities and large corporations are extremely prescriptive when it comes to behaviour. This leads to psychological and managerial beliefs - most of them counterproductive - to which managers and leaders try to conform no matter what. Helping them get rid of these beliefs and reconnect to their deep resources, is in my opinion, the main contributions of systemic leadership coaching.

What are the topics you particularly enjoy coaching on?

The relational challenges for which my clients tell me: “I have tried everything”. I would say that the 3 main topics my coaches ask for help about are:

  • Navigating difficult relationships.
  • Energy management,
  • Self-confidence development,

What is your coaching secret?

Not having an agenda for my coachees. If a company asks me to have an agenda on their behalf, I turn down the assignment. It is an ethical matter.

What advice would you give to someone who is reluctant to embark on a coaching journey?

Take the test that I put together for you! Depending on your situation, the resources at your disposal and your personal preferences, coaching can be beneficial… or not!

Coaching is not a panacea. It only works well when the coachee succeeds in bringing out their coaching request. Sometimes, this request pre-exists the meeting; sometimes it emerges during the first sessions. If it doesn’t emerge, it might well be that taking on coaching is not the best thing for you. And it’s OK!

Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome?

Not exactly. I rather suffered from the “self-taught complex”. On the one hand, I’m confident in my intellectual abilities. On the other hand, I totally lack the social self-confidence acquired in higher education by mingling with the right people. You know, that self-confidence that makes you feel like you belong everywhere.

What is the best compliment your client gave you?

“I hadn’t seen it this way! “

If your loved ones had to describe you in one sentence?

Resilient, against all odds.

What does your ideal day look like?

Write early in the morning, then run a group coaching session. Take an after-lunch nap to recharge my batteries and end the day with an individual outdoor coaching session, weather permitting.

Are you a more empathetic or more confrontational coach?

Both! The helping relationship is a constant back and forth movement between support and challenge. The balance between the two must constantly be adjusted to the relationship, to the moment, to what’s happening... It is an art that needs to be practiced by both the coach and coachee, not a posture that a coach can choose like an outfit!

What was your dream job as a child?

I remember that it was mainly adults who dreamed of jobs for me: archaeologist, parliamentary assistant… To be honest, I would have liked to be a fairy. I would have solved all the misfortunes in the world with magic potions. Professional dreamer would have been a good option too !

What do you like best about coaching your clients?

To see them moving towards a resolution of the challenge they came to coaching with… Whether that answer is part of their initial coaching goals or not. I am always amazed to measure the gap between the objectives set at the start of a coaching programme and the way my coachees actually overcome their challenges.

Did you choose to go into coaching or did coaching come to you?

Just like the rest of my professional life, coaching came to me. In the absence of having followed a traditional academic path, I developed an exceptional ability to seize opportunities… Even if it means seizing too many and failing! But I so much prefer a painful lesson to the regret of not having tried…

Is it important to continue professional coach training?

It is essential, for 3 reasons.

Each coaching, personal or professional, individual or collective, raises questions and learning on both sides. Integrating this learning into supervision or training is necessary, to be able to use self-awareness as a coaching tool.

The second reason is that it is a demanding job, which constantly takes us to our learning edge. Every limit I encounter makes me want to go beyond it.

The third reason is that continuing education is mandatory for accreditation renewal.

What is the new coaching trend you think needs looking into?

The uberisation of the coaching market. This trend is two-fold:

  • the race for low prices, the same that led to low-cost training and consulting;
  • digitisation, via platforms that connect coachees and coaches, and manage the coaching contract. It is no longer HR that offers 1, 2 or 3 coaches to the coachees, it is an algorithm.

This new intermediation greatly facilitates the life of coaching buyers, who save time and money.

My guess is that there will always be room for tailor-made leadership development, to help leaders get their heads out of the water and above all, to break their loneliness. You don't break your loneliness with an algorithm.

With whom do you work hand in hand to deliver your various projects?

Over the years, I have built up a network of wonderful partners. We collaborate to create and lead group coaching and team coaching programs. A graphic facilitator, a comedian, a yoga teacher, an equine coach, a Go champion and a game creator help me offer my clients unforgettable emotional experiences.

Where do you find inspiration?

In the most heterogeneous way possible. Crossing sources of inspiration helps me find metaphors that will help my coachees shift their worldview, reframe their challenges, and ultimately, unearth the resources they need to succeed.

A personal commitment?

To help women succeed, whatever their definition of success, their line of business, their background, their colour or their age.


Do you have a secret passion?

Neapolitan rap.

What is your favourite word?

Serendipity. Allowing yourself to find something you weren’t looking for is so delightful!

How about family?

A husband, and fluctuating numbers of cats and hens. Can I call it a big family ?

My background and professional qualifications as a professional coach

My C.V.

Since 2013  Atsumi –> Bridge the Gap

I founded Atsumi in 2013, leveraging 10 years of coaching practice and 20 years of professional experience as a change management consultant.

My role as a systemic coach: to help leaders and managers identify and leverage their resources on 3 key topics, which are essential to any talent retention strategy:

  • managing difficult relationships
  • stress and energy management
  • self-confidence

To that end, I use the Palo Alto systemic and strategic coaching approach.

In 2020, I created Bridge the Gap Coaching, a blog where I share the learnings of my coaching practice with my network. 

In 2022, Bridge the Gap Coaching became my personal brand. It is now my coaching signature.


2011 - 2013 Ad’missions

Ad'missions is an umbrella firm that helps professionals to become self-employed by providing them with the legal and administrative interface of their independent activity. This support, enabled me to create and test my coaching offer before creating my own business in 2013.


2008-2011  Balthazar

Balthazar is a consulting company combining classic consulting methods, personal development approaches and innovative pedagogical techniques to create high value-added training and team coaching seminars for their clients. I was a senior project manager there, in charge of consultant training.


2003 - 2008 Ad’missions

Independant consultant.

Executive coaching; change management consulting; management training.


2001 – 2002 • Kea & Partners

Consultant, change management project manager.


2000 - 2001 • Cap Gemini

Consultant, change management project manager.


1999 - 2000 • Wolters Kluwer France

HR Director

Merging multiple social status 

Negotiating and organising the 35 hour week. 


1993 - 1999 Bossard Consultants

Management training instructor : design, delivery and project management.

Organisational design consultant : design, delivery and project management. Specialised in change management and operational excellence. 

Coaching diplomas and certificates

Advanced Practioner Diploma 
Training institution: the Academy of Executive Coaching

Systemic Team Coaching Certificate 
Training institution: the Academy of Executive Coaching

Systemic and strategic approach – certified practitioner
Training institution: Institut Gregory Bateson

MBTI – Level I certified practitioner
Training institution : The Myers-Briggs Company

Adult learning certificates 

Accelerated Learning 
Certificate: AL Certificate in Virtual Learning 
Training institution: The Learning Gym, Ltd

High Performance Learning Journey 
Certificate: Bronze Certificate, Brinkerhoff certification
Training institution: The Learning Gym, Ltd

Professional Codevelopment 
Training institution: Association Québécoise de Codéveloppement professionnel

Continuous education

I am fully trained in Sociodynamics. I have learnt the basics of Organisational Sociology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Transactional Analysis and Gestalt.

I am also trained into public speaking, active listening and group facilitation skills, as well as improv theatre. 

The variety of tools and techniques I use ensable me to design interventions that best fit my coachees' needs, expectations, preferences and learning styles.


It took me 4 years to create an amazing supervision team to meet every supervision need arising from my coaching practice. I have the pleasure of being supervised by:

  • Emmanuelle Piquet (systemic therapist and supervisor) – Individual supervision every 2 months to work on my coaching strategies.
  • Séverine Pluvinage (therapist and Gestalt supervisor) – Individual supervision 2 to 4 times a year to gain perspective on my posture and my personal development.
  • Julien Sardou (systemic therapist and psychiatrist) – Occasional individual supervision, to be advised by a doctor in cases of acute suffering and behavioural trouble.
  • Monthly collective intervision with a group of AoEC peers.


I am a Professional Certified Coach and member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).

My first coachee remembers

20 years after we worked together, my first coachee still remembre how our work impacted her.

Read her testimonial on my blog.

Let's meet!

If you want to contact me, please schedule an appointment online, or fill in the form below, I'll come back to you as soon as possible