Team Coaching 1

Earlier this week I learned that ICF (International Coaching Federation) will at some point in the near future offer a specialization certification in team coaching.  Having coached teams for many years, naturally I’ll go for it.  But it did get me thinking.  How many of you out there might be interested in the specifics of team coaching and how it differs from individual coaching?  Let’s start with understanding the needs of team members.

Sociologists and psychologists have written volumes about human needs.  Perhaps most famous is Abraham Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs in his seminal paper, A Theory of Human Motivation.  This hierarchy ranges from basic human needs (food, water, clothing, shelter) to self-actualization (finding purpose).  According to Bill Butterworth (2006), the list for team member needs can be crunched down to 3 areas: belonging, a sense of worth, and a sense of competence.


Please see previous blogs for a more in-depth consideration.  But in short, wonderful individuals make up your team.  They all have something in common: an innate yearning to belong.  Some are more in touch with this feeling than others, but we all possess it.  The football team, the marching band, the science club – all are group activities that are built around the concept of belonging.

A Sense of Worth

Life at its best: nothing to lose, nothing to prove, nothing to hide.  When we are secure enough in who we are, there’s no need to prove oneself to anyone.  Self-worth is not based on how others view us and we don’t need approval to feel our self-worth.  A person with nothing to prove is the quintessential team player.  If we create an environment of open, honest communication, our team will grow together.  A team that is growing together is a team that feels good about themselves.  Effective teams stimulate healthy self-worth.

A Sense of Competence

We want to feel as thought we are making a contribution to the group with which we’re connected.  Everyone can make a positive contribution to the team.  Effort should come from our skill sets or strengths; the treasure chest of talents that makes each of us unique.  It is that uniqueness that makes us so valuable to our teams.  Unless we have confidence in our uniqueness, it’s highly doubtful that the team will.  Effective teams are made up of a variety of skill sets applied to roles.  Each role relates to that team member’s core competence, which in turn leads to maximum efficiency and, ultimately, superior team performance. 

Weekly Challenge: As a leader, how can you influence your team culture to meet the three basic team member needs?

Supporting Your Success!