Team Coaching: A Powerful Way to Accelerate Team Performance

By: Julie-ann Odell

Organizations, business leaders and personnel are driven to learn to work more effectively together in today’s fast paced, highly volatile, complex and globalized business environment.

How we do business and the way we work has completely changed and is constantly evolving.  The coaching profession came into existence to fill an unmet need in this interactive, fluid world of rapid change and complexity that has to create diversity and inclusion as an integral part of strategic growth, and organizational success.  It has grown out of diverse fields such as social psychology, quantum physics, the humanities and group dynamics and as a modality of support to personal and professional development.

Coaching has also changed in response to the rapidly changing landscape in which teams now operate and has been the fastest growing component of leadership development in the last 10 years. The U.S. estimated market value alone for personal coaching was $955 million in 2015 and $1.02 billion in 2016. It is expected to reach $1.34 billion by 2022 — a 6.7% average yearly growth rate from 2016 to 2022.

The newest kid to appear on the coaching block in the past decade is team coaching which is increasingly becoming a popular coaching choice, as organizations turn to the team as the engine of business.  Team coaching adopts many of the principles of executive coaching but the fact that the client is a team, not an individual, makes a huge difference.

More and more team coaching is being incorporated into organizational development, as a standalone program or as a follow on to training, and team coaches can often find themselves working with a geographically dispersed team with members who connect from across the continent, or across the globe. At the organizational level, being able to involve more employees in a coaching process at one time is a key advantage. Providing these services at a lower per-capita price has definitely been an initial selling point for organizations, as is the time factor.

Common types of teams that benefit from coaching include:

  • Project teams

  • Matrixed teams

  • Teams with new leaders

  • Teams after a merger and acquisition (M&A)

  • Virtual Teams

  • Leadership Teams

  • Any team that wants to build trust and alignment.

Team coaching is now well rooted as an avenue for leaders to draw on in support of better business results, better relationships and enhanced personal and collective goals, as it is highly impactful with cultural change and improving leadership. Team coaching engagements take place in the context of an organization, which operates with existing goals, vision and values that are shared by all team members to differing degrees.  The team coach focuses on three levels of impact: self/individual, team and organization.

As organizations start to roll out this work, the added advantages of the cross-functional fertilization that happens among parts of the organization, through the relationships and conversations that happen among peers, becomes an even more important advantage of the team coaching process. This can lead to culture change over time, as initiatives that bring together members from different parts of the organization have a significant impact on building new relationships. These new relationships can then transcend acr