What is Team Coaching? | College of Executive Coaching
Coaching Article

What is Team Coaching?

February 23, 2021
By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

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Team coaching helps teams reach their goals, while creating a sustainable environment that cultivates engagement, team health and success. A team coaching process helps teams align around a common purpose, establish an inspiring vision, create healthy team relationships with clearly defined roles, be accountable for behavior as well as outcomes, and make constructive decisions in line with the team and organizational goals.

Teams are a group of people put together for a common purpose, ideally with defined roles and identifiable goals. Teams are generally expected to produce results beyond what an individual can achieve. However, it is common for teams to struggle, produce poor results or even fail completely. Frequently teams succumb to unhelpful patterns and unresolved conflict.

What is Team Coaching?

Who could benefit from team coaching?

  • Work units
  • Branch offices
  • Senior teams
  • Board of directors
  • Medical clinics
  • Professional practices
  • Multi-national teams
  • Cross-cultural teams
  • Virtual teams
  • Small business teams
  • Family businesses
  • Academic departments
  • Research teams
  • Military teams
  • And more
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What are examples of when a team would benefit from team coaching?

  • When a new work plan is required
  • When teams combine
  • When a new manager takes over a team
  • When team conflicts need to be worked through
  • When team efficiency must increase
  • To address and reverse burnout
  • When conflict or distress decreases productivity
  • When a team is not reaching goals
  • When engagement is low
  • When there are major organizational changes, such as a merger, rapid growth or downsizing
  • When a successful team embarks on a new challenging project
  • To increase understanding and appreciate diversity.

Does team coaching require different competencies than individual coaching?

Although all coaching can be challenging and stimulating for the coach, a fundamental difference with team coaching is that coaching a team inherently involves more challenge and nuances as a team is a complex, dynamic system and more than a collection of individuals. Each individual team member has different types of interactions with the other team members, partly as a result of differences in personality style, work style, history, interpersonal needs and culture.

When a coach coaches a team, the coach enters a system that has complex rules related to belonging and behavior that are not clear and not documented.

Usually team members learn how to be successful in the culture of the team by observing "how things are done around here." A team coach has a challenging and rewarding role in learning about the team, the team’s characteristics, roles and the unique "rules" of that particular team.

The team coach uses professional coaching competencies, including "team" coaching competencies, along with an understanding of team dynamics, to help the team further their collective potential.

Becoming a team coach involves learning, commitment, practice and feedback. The rewards of becoming a team coach are huge as teams accomplish amazing achievements — and are even more likely to be able to do so when aided by a professional team coach.

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