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Team Coaching - An overview and guide for business leaders and coaches

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

The Science Of Coaching - Team Coaching: Is the sum of your team greater as a whole or is there something blocking your team from outperforming the rest?

If you asked your team what their purpose was together, would they all respond the same? A famous conversation documented between John F Kennedy the American President and a Janitor at NASA mopping the floors states that when JFK asked what the Janitor does there he responded:

"I help put a man on the moon".

A completely undiluted statement of team purpose!

As team coaches at The Science Of Coaching, we learn that teams are only as good as the conversations that they have, with themselves and each other. To build the strongest, most cohesive teams as leader or as a coach, you need to ensure that communication is at the highest level. This is as well as nurturing trust, openness and understanding of the team's purpose. As a coach you will be encouraging teams to have conversations internally with themselves and with others which they need to have in order to be high performing. I have been lucky enough to learn this as one of the first graduates from the EMCC team coaching certification course, designed by Professor David Clutterbuck. World renowned organisational development, team coaching researcher and coach with numerous publications and studies listed HERE.

As a team leader it is almost impossible to have the same perspective as an external looking into the team. Therefore bringing a person in from outside of the company or your division, to give a holistic view of how the team is performing and how it can perform better is extremely important. Ideally bringing an externally qualified team coach in is the best solution. This helps with a non-biased 360 view of where a change can be made, rapidly with the highest possibility for advanced performance and team success.

As cost is an issue at the moment for many companies, here are some ideas to help leaders build rapidly changing and high performing teams.

Know if you’re coaching a group or a team

A group is being coached together towards a similar outcome. So you may be in a coaching group to learn a new skill. A team is a group of people who are all working towards the same purpose and the same goal, with the same outcome. These people will have an interdependence on each other in order to reach that goal. Ensuring that there is a common purpose and interdependence to reach the outcome is a measure of a true team. Does your team have clarity of shared purpose? All of them? Really? Have you asked them individually what the team purpose is? What is the team's "why"?

Send someone in your business on a team coaching course

Team coaching is a really new phenomenon. Professor David Clutterbuck has observed high performing teams from around the world with some of the biggest organisations like Facebook and Google being studied to create his team coaching program. He has set up a course with a new coaching model, helping leaders understand how to coach their teams through change to high performance. Team Coaching certainly helps newly formed teams perform at a high level with greater rapidity (click for the study here). Having someone in your organization or business that is fully trained is a huge value add.

Carry out pre-coaching session work

There is an amount of work which can be carried out before the team coaching sessions. This can be in the form of anonymous questionnaires. The pre-work can give you a view of where some initial strengths and weaknesses may lie, with the team as a whole or with individuals or processes. There may be areas for immediate improvement. For example, there may be individual coaching requirements for the team members or team leaders first. It can be a good idea to carry out interviews for all of the team members to gain an understanding of what their thoughts are about the team, its formation, what the purpose is and the future direction. Again, if this is carried out with an external person, there may be a higher level of disclosure relating to issues.

Coach in pairs with an observer

I would strongly suggest that you bring people in who are qualified from a different division to carry this out if you are using internal coaches. There should be a maximum of 6 to 8 people being coached, with one person carrying out the team coaching and the second observing. The observer is noticing any changes in body language, language patterns, facial expression and behaviour of the remainder of the team members when coaching is taking place. As a singular team coach it is very difficult to coach, watch the whole group and take a full 360 picture of responses.

Use a tried and tested team coaching model

It’s great getting all your team members in a room and carrying out some basic team coaching exercises. Unless you have the pre-work in place and specific team coaching models which you are using, this may not be efficient enough for advanced performance development. There are a number of team coaching models which can be used to build openness and cohesiveness. For example, trust building exercises, “the elephant in the room” exercise and others. Make sure you know what they are and use them. Professor David Clutterbuck and affiliated coaching schools teach these models on the EMCC team coaching courses.

The way in which team dynamics work is significantly changing. Companies like Netflix, Google, Facebook and other advanced team systems are proving that shifting organizational structure, from authoritative, decision-making leader structures to self-governing teams is building some of the strongest, fastest growing companies in the world. Understanding your own team dynamics is going to be one of the most important anchors for your company's future success.

For a conversation about how team coaching can help your business send a message to

Caroline Langston is the Founder of Successful Consultants Ltd, an executive, personal and career development coaching company in Hong Kong, with her partner Patrick Bennett founding the practice in New York. She is also the Founder of Recruiters Give Back, a nonprofit providing free information and coaching to people who are unemployed. Caroline is also the Founder of The Science Of Coaching. Caroline is dedicated to coaching people for success and happiness in their careers and lives. She is a Certified Professional Coach at International Coaching Federation standards. Certified Team Coach and is also degree qualified with further certifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming at Master Practitioner and Coach level.


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