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Peter Welch

Peter Welch Coaching

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Book Review: Leadership team coaching – Developing collective transformational leaders by Peter Hawkins

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A key benefit of this book is its comprehensiveness on the topic of team coaching.

It provides a lot of tools and tables to aid practitioners in setting such a relationship up and in enhancing in-house delivery capabilities.
 
The people who are likely to benefit most from this book are HR directors, organisation design and learning and development champions as well as line managers who are keen on using coaching as a tool to enhance employee performance.
 
The author has undoubted credibility in this field and draws heavily on his experiences of working with organisations as an external provider and member of the Bath Consultancy Group in order to provide us with a range of helpful insights.
 
A number of short case studies are cited as examples of this collaborative work and they are generally useful. Hawkins is also quite wedded to the idea of offering a range of models and frameworks, which can appear more academic than pragmatic at times.
 
The book itself, meanwhile, is organised into four parts, which cover high-performing teams; team coaching; coaching different types of teams and selecting, developing and supervising team coaches.
 
Part 1 – High-performing teams. This section puts forward the view that, despite rapid technological change, a ‘wisdom gap’ is occurring. Hawkins believes that many leaders are failing to provide the leadership required in order to tackle this situation and so his premise is that it is important to create high-performing teams in order to provide collective leadership and meet global demands.
 
Team coaching is necessary to reduce the danger of ‘group think’ (the prevailing dominant culture, which reduces independent and diverse thought and increases fear), he maintains.
 
Hawkins also defines high team performance as being more than the sum of its parts. His work recaps effective team-related research that has been published over recent years and introduces the concept of the successful team disciplines – commissioning, co-creating, connecting, and core learning – required for teams to change.
 
The author likewise cites useful examples from his own consulting work in which leadership teams have been challenged to think differently. The examples also serve as useful tips to help improve meetings in general.
 
Part 2 – Team coaching. This section includes a definition of team coaching, the processes of which it consists as well as a clarification of systemic team disciplines.
 
I have always questioned whether team coaching should be perceived as a separate entity in itself or whether it is really an amalgam of facilitation and coaching techniques, process consultancy, with some team development thrown in.
 
Hawkins answers this dilemma with a robust summary of the development of team coaching, citing amongst others Tim Gallwey, David Clutterbuck, Edgar Schein and Jonathan Zneimar of Lane4 as expert voices.
 
He also sees team coaches as adopting less of a traditional task-focused ‘inside out’ approach and more of an ‘outside in’ style by engaging with stakeholders to jointly transform the wider business.
 
Team coaches can comprise anyone from line managers, internally-trained coaches and HR and L&D specialists to external coaches and consultants. Hawkins also advocates that such coaches use the CID-CLEAR model – which has been adapted from its use with supervisory roles – when helping teams to perform more effectively.
 
Part 3 – Coaching different types of teams. This section defines the various types of teams that exist – project, virtual, management, international etc – and provides advice on coaching board members.
 
Hawkins posits that, when board coaching, it can be helpful for members to define their own role, especially in relation to the executive team that they report in to, and to focus on policy formulation, strategic thinking, supervision management and external accountability.
 
He also encourages board members to get involved in both analysis and dialogue in order to ensure that they participate in, debate and own these issues and advocates that non-executive directors be more actively involved to help boost their accountability.  
 
Part 4 – Selecting, developing and supervising team coaches. This section includes a seven stage model for choosing team coaches, building up their capabilities, providing them with supervision and offering them appropriate coaching methods and tools – many of which such as Myers-Briggs, Belbin Team Roles and the like, will already be familiar to experienced HR/L&D practitioners.
 
Reviewer’s rating
 
‘Leadership Team Coaching’ makes a good addition to the bookshelf of people interested in moving their organisation’s culture towards a high-performance, team-based coaching environment. But such a goal is not for the faint-hearted and requires careful consideration of systemic thinking and process consulting methods.
 
Hawkins urges us to adopt team coaching because of the contribution that it can make to the wider system rather than to inter-team relationships and tasks. He ends with a plea for greater, but evidence-based research into team coaching in order to generate performance shifts.
 
This book will particularly appeal to line managers who are interested in coaching; internal coaches who are keen on expanding their role; HR, OD and L&D specialists who have responsibility for developing their organisation’s coaching culture and external coaches and consultants who wish to support their clients in developing a learning culture.
 
Value for money? Yes, a good resource for under £25, particularly if you have an aim behind enhancing performance through team coaching or are keen to extend the range of coaching options offered internally.
 
 
 
  • Our reviewer this time was Peter Welch, director of Peter Welch Coaching.
  • If you’d like to see a film, TV or book review of your own in print, please either send it to the editor at [email protected] or post it directly to our blogs section at www.hrzone.co.uk/blogs based on the format above.
  • We also have a book club area, which provides a list of possible works for review too – all you have to do is email the editor as above, have the book of your choice sent out to you and we’ll publish the review for the rest of the community to read when you’re done.
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