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Close-Up on the 5 Stages in Team Coaching

by David Swain

Team coaching is quickly becoming a go-to solution for organizational teams who are looking to increase their efficiency, effectiveness, and team dynamics. While you may already know the benefits to this approach, do you have a clear understanding of what to expect of the process? Here is a breakdown of my method: 

1. Interviews

I start off the team coaching process with one-on-one interviews with each team member including the team leader. The interviews are structured to assess both the team’s strengths and where their effectiveness is being hindered. These interviews give us a good picture of what is going on with the team.

2. Plan Development

Based on the information discovered during the interview process, I then introduce the team to a sequenced plan that will help them work on the problems and issues they have identified. This plan usually spans a 6-9 month period.

3. Coaching Sessions Commence

The first full team coaching session takes place over a few days as part of normal business operations. As part of regular meetings, I observe how the team interacts. I draw the team’s attention to problems or areas of interest as they arise with a question based approach. The purpose of this and subsequent sessions is to work as a team to:

  • Overcome resistance, doubt, and disagreements through open communication.
  • Uncover hidden doubts and give space to team members reluctant to voice ideas or opinions.
  • Allow productive conflict to happen and resolve it by creating an environment of mutual respect and trust.
  • Reaffirm team goals, and team members’ mutual accountability to each other.
  • Learn coaching skills, and how to coach each other when necessary.

As an example, I might observe the team avoiding making a decision. In this situation I would draw the team’s attention to the fact that the conversation keeps going off track when it comes time to make a decision, guide them through a discussion on why this is happening, and help them create their own solutions to the issue. Every situation is different, but I might ask “Are you all committed to making a decision for the good of the company? If you are avoiding committing to this decision, does that mean there are reservations or doubts about the decision being the right one?” These questions help the team understand and resolve the problem.

4. Coaching Sessions Continue

I will continue to attend meetings on an ongoing basis (again, these meetings are a normal part of your organization’s operation). During these meetings, I work with the team on problem areas in real time—staying in the moment and facilitating the conversations that will overcome the problems at hand. Depending on the team’s identified needs, I would visit once every 2 weeks or once every month

5. Individual Leader Coaching

While the team coaching sessions are underway, the team leader will also receive one-on-one executive coaching. These sessions help the team leader understand the dynamics unearthed in the team sessions and develop strategies to best manage these individuals and issues. These sessions are also preparing the leader to maintain open, healthy dialogue between team members after the coaching process is over.



David SwainDavid Swain, BSc Mgmt., MSOD, CEC, PCC with over 30 years’ experience in both coaching the leaders of large organizations and leading them himself.




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