What do experienced team coaches do? Current practice in Australia and New Zealand

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What do experienced team coaches do? Current practice in Australia and New Zealand
Publication Date: 
February, 2017
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring
  • One third of organisations use team coaching.
  • Team coaching is 30 years behind individual coaching in definitions, training, research.
  • > 130 published team coaching models (2013)
  • Most coaches transfer what they do in coaching individuals, add a dash of facilitation or team building, and wing it. (Clutterbuck, 2008)
  • Some coaches start from a deep understanding of team process and dynamics, and distinguish between team coaching and facilitation (Clutterbuck, 2008).
  • This study summarizes interviews of 36 team coaches.
4 Team Coaching Models in Literature
  1. Hackman & Wageman - developmental and non-relational. Design intervention based on stage in developmental journey. Focus on performance not relationships.
  2. Clutterbuck - definition of team coaching:
    a learning intervention designed to increase collective capability and performance of a group or team, through application of the coaching principles of assisted reflection, analysis and motivation for change.
  3. Hawkins - five disciplines of high performing teams
    1. A clear commission from those who bring it into being, including a clear purpose and success criteria. (task/external focus).
    2. To develop its own mission, including purpose, goals, values and ways of working (task/internal focus).
    3. To constantly attend to how it works together, constantly reviewing and co-creating (process/internal focus).
    4. To engage with external stakeholders effectively (process/external focus).
    5. To continually stand back and reflect on its own performance and process, constantly learning both as a collective and as individuals.
    Thornton–psychodynamic approach –coach manages relationships and brings a system perspective
Study Insights
  1. Evidence from this study, combined with the literature, suggests a development pathway for individual coaches:
    • A basic understanding of dialogue, as described by Isaacs (1999), Kantor (2012) and others.
    • Think systemically, becoming familiar with the literature around systems theory, complex adaptive systems and complexity theory, and putting into practice that understanding working with stakeholders.
    • Develop group and team facilitation skills, particularly when working with task.
    • Develop educational skills, learning how to explain new ideas and concepts clearly and effectively.
    • Learning varied approaches to working with team and/or group dynamics, developing the confidence and ability to work with team
    • relationships.
  2. The team coach may be better off seeking to understand the client’s needs and recommending an intervention accordingly, then attempt to argue conceptual distinctions.
International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring Vol. 15, No. 1, February 2017

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