The Past, Present & Future of Team Coaching

BY: Dr. Krister Lowe

Feb 27, 2017

Last year, I was lucky to have the opportunity to co-moderate an amazing panel for the 2nd International Columbia University Coaching Conference. The focus was this: what can we learn from the past and present of team coaching in order to understand its future? With an amazing panel of thought leaders and pioneers in team coaching, we were not short on insight.

With such a wealth of information these panelists had to share, here are some of the juicy tidbits for you to take away. Want to listen to the whole conversation? Click here.

On why they decided to dive into team coaching:

  • DJ Mitsch used to manage a lot of high performing teams, and she found that business teams didn’t have a clear way to win.
  • What she did about it: She discovered an approach to coaching teams in four months to accomplish an extraordinary goal. Talk about going the extra mile!
  • Jennifer Britton started as a team leader in the UN, and was curious about how to bring coaching conversations into communities, governments and partners.
  • What she did about it: Jennifer does a lot of her work virtually now, and realized that the value of team coaching is creating pause points and giving teams a new language and framework to work across differences in a safer way.

On what they’ve learned about coaching teams in organizations:

  • “Teach people how to pay exquisite attention to beginnings.” — Ruth Wageman
  • “Bring the team’s stakeholders inside the team.” — Peter Hawkins
  • “If we can help a team communicate differently and deeper, we have done the job of team coaching.” — Phil Sandahl
  • “As team coaches, we are all in with the team — not just supporting the team leader.” — DJ Mitsch

On future challenges, questions and opportunities in team coaching:

  • Is team coaching part of normal coaching, or is it a separate discipline?” — David Clutterbuck
  • “How do we equip rapidly changing culture to retain and be a coaching culture?” — Marita Fridjhon
  • “There will be a decrease in hiring, but a greater amount of partnerships across organizations and systems.” — Peter Hawkins
  • “Human beings are wired to be in the community, and they aren’t very good at it. Team coaching provides an opportunity to help a microcosm to learn together and change together. What are we doing with one team has effects beyond just the team.” — Phil Sandahl

As you may have realized, the world of team coaching is truly complex and has an exciting future up ahead. If there’s anything I took away from this panel, it’s this: teams have truly become an organization’s primary vehicle of learning. They aren’t going away, and will continue to be central in the future.

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