Mastering team coaching (Part 2)

18 February 2019
Caroline Sumners

In my previous article about mastering team coaching, I outlined four important skills that the best team coaches should look to master. In this second part I’m going to outline four more. When added together, these are the skills I believe every team coach should master in order to provide the most valuable learning experiences for their clients. Of course, there may be others relevant to a situation, but in my experience these competencies form a strong platform for consistent success.

Emergent change
In the first part of this article, I talked about awareness, presence and having a relational stance. All are critical in creating an environment ripe for authentic dialogue. It’s this environment that breeds emergent conversations, rather than pre-determined ones, and highlights what really needs to change skipping past any underlying assumptions.

Here and now

Developing emergent conversations will highlight what needs to change and, ultimately, lay bare the gap between where the team are now, and where they would like to be. It’s always important to remember however that decisions and solutions can only happen in the here and now. As such, by staying focussed on what happens ‘live’ in a coaching session, a masterful team coach can help the team best identify the most significant opportunities for real, lasting change.


Also called mutuality, co-creativity is simply the practice of ensuring that the process emerges amongst the entire group with everyone able to have their say. It’s the opposite of having a pre-prepared agenda controlled by one person’s ideas. Mastering this provides the kind of relaxed, open environment crucial to unearthing the most pressing issues and identifying effective solutions.

Active experiments
It’s important to give teams activities that will help them create change. I find the best way to do this is through the spontaneous suggestion of ‘active experiments’ in response to dialogue as it is happening. This is powerful both because these experiments emerge naturally when the time is right and because they encourage a culture of experimental thinking. When combined this approach can have a huge impact on teams.

Outlined across these two posts are eight skills that I have found crucial to mastering truly effective team coaching. When taken together they paint a picture of the coach themselves as a primary tool in the team coaching process helping teams negotiate their ever-changing landscapes and ultimately lifting them up to achieve their own success.