What is Team Coaching?
Team Coaching is a structured process of coaching the whole team, both together and apart, over an agreed period of time (Leary-Joyce, Lines & Hawkins 2014), and is concerned with the role of the team within the system as a whole. (Team Development is concerned with similar outcomes, but follows a more bespoke process to target key effectiveness and performance gains, and may take less time.)

Team Coaching removes barriers to change and substantially increases individual and team performance through increased levels of maturity, ownership and confidence to act effectively. This includes unlocking challenges that otherwise prevent teams from moving to a higher level of performance.
What is Team Development?
Team Development is a bespoke process that is designed to improve a team’s core functioning and effectiveness, and undertaken as a journey rather than a single event. The process is designed to meet a client’s key requirements and typically involves a detailed diagnostic followed by a series of workshops to bridge the existing and desired states.
How will it help?
Team Coaching and Team Development create:

- Improved alignment on common purpose;
- Increased collaboration & learning;
- Greater collective leadership;
- Higher stakeholder engagement;
- Co-created business transformation;
- Increased performance levels;
- Enhanced awareness of system dynamics.
How does it work?
The common features are captured in the process section below. Both team coaching and team effectiveness include upfront diagnostic work, interviews and design time prior to any team workshops. Typically Team Coaching follows a more structured process that may take more time and is often within an organisational context of change. Team Development packages are more bespoke and focus on a particular area of the teams core functioning, with an aim to increase one or a number of team performance drivers.
What do you work with teams on most?
I specialise in working with teams on building trust and cohesion through increased psychological safety, developing more effective approaches to change, and increasing sustainability and resilience. In particular I help teams to work below the surface with the topics that are ordinarily avoided or pushed away. In these conversations I support teams to work through challenges in more conscious and thinking ways, and by applying humility and respect. Teams are often surprised at the substantial value this creates for key team functioning areas such as belonging, engagement, safety and productivity.
What prevents team development and team coaching from being effective?
Both team development and team coaching rely on the buy-in and commitment of all team members and their immediate sponsors. Any development work will cost the team time, energy and effort, and some degree of change is inevitable. Teams should ensure that they have adequate bandwidth before commencing, and find themselves in a fairly stable state (ideally not having members leave or new members join during or close to the work period). Teams should typically not be larger than 10 members.
How can I learn more?
Please contact me to discuss your requirements and questions.
Are you qualified?
Yes I hold a number of qualifications which you can find on my About page, including a Systemic Team Coaching accreditation from the Academy of Executive Coaching, and accreditations in key diagnostic tools such as Team Connect 360, Performance Climate System and the 5 Behaviours of a Team assessment.
What is your philosophy on this work?
I believe that the invitation for growth and transformation is the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning and occupies most of my waking hours. I commit to engaged clients who wish to become more authentic, more effective and to choose thriving over surviving. I believe that being effective with others begins first with being effective with one’s self, and I have learned that you can’t give others what you don't have and you can’t lead others where you haven’t been. For me this work is not for the faint-of-heart nor the tactical problem-solvers. For those with a growth mindset who are ready to have courageous and provocative conversations that you are unlikely to have anywhere else, you are in the right place.
What is your process?
While each client engagement is unique, the features that are common will likely include:

1. You connect with me by email or phone to communicate your interest and potential requirements (as the team leader or with the team leaders agreement), and complete a team development focus questionnaire.

2. We schedule a requirements and chemistry session and decide go/no-go (includes the team leader).

3. I send a proposal and contract for the work including commercial terms, resourcing needs, expectations, objectives, progress tracking and sponsor/stakeholder arrangements. Once the proposal is signed we are ready to begin.

4. I work with your key coordinator to schedule team psychometric assessments, data inputs and stakeholder interviews.

5. Data collection commences – interviews are conducted, data inputs are sourced, and psychometric assessments are completed.

6. Results are analysed and a high-level review with the team leader follows.

7. The team intervention is designed and the first team session is scheduled (for team coaching this will be a combination of working with individual team members as well as working with the team as a whole).

8. The intervention/s commence in our agreed format.

9. We work through, iterate and advance the key areas of focus while gradually transferring and equipping the team to own the team’s development for the long-term.

10. We complete the work at the point we agree to end with a review, mutual feedback, and completion of a sustainability index.

What Psychometric assessments do you use?
Team psychometric assessments, typically in the form of 15-30min confidential online questionnaires that each team member completes, help to create an accelerated team profile in a reduced timeframe. They are best thought of as informed hypotheses, but are nevertheless remarkably rich, interesting to the team and represent a helpful start-point for further development. Team psychometric assessments are recommended to be delivered as part of a wider team development or team coaching experience (and sometimes combined with individual psychometrics such as Neo-PI3, MBTI, Firo-B or TKI). Preferred team psychometrics that Russell is accredited in include:

Systemic Team Connect 360: Team coaching enables teams to identify and resolve their challenges over a programme lasting several months – resulting in deeper learning and more sustainable change. The Team Connect 360 diagnostic supports this by measuring Expectations, Tasks, Relationships, Stakeholders and Learning.

Performance Climate System: A team-effectiveness model with a particular angle on team climate and organisational culture, with links into both Tuckman’s stages of team development and Thomas Kilmann’s conflict instrument.

The Five Dysfunctions of a team: A focus on five behaviours for team effectiveness that address potential team dysfunctions, with Trust as the foundation (validated recently by Google’s discovery of Psychological Safety as the essential feature of high performing teams - see “Project Aristotle”).