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Why team coaching trumps individual coaching in performance improvement

Coaching plays a vital role in the current business landscape. According to the International Coaching Federation’s 2023 Global Coaching Study, the global business coaching industry is valued at $4.5 billion.

According to a study conducted by in partnership with Together, 66% of respondents acknowledged that coaching positively impacted their individual performance, and 57% recognised its contribution to enhancing organisational performance.

One-on-one coaching for employees, particularly senior leaders and managers, is widely recognised. However, team coaching possesses substantial untapped potential and warrants serious consideration.

    Where does this potential come from?

    In a typical business environment, employees bring unique talents and behavioural traits. However, the organisation’s success relies on their ability to collaborate within a team. At the senior leadership team level, this is critical.

    While individual employees play pivotal roles and their contributions should be acknowledged, it’s essential to recognise that the team’s collective effort ultimately achieves the organisation’s broader goals.

    When a team receives coaching, the benefits ripple through to each member, creating a synergistic dynamic where the collective success of the team amplifies the growth and development of every individual within it.

    Less expense, fewer resources, more effective

    selling a business

    Individual coaching sessions can represent a substantial investment and might extend over several weeks. It calls for a significant time investment from every team member, compelling them to put aside their ongoing projects momentarily, detach from team engagements, and devote time to their learning and development.

    I’m not suggesting that one-on-one coaching lacks value. On the contrary, it provides highly personalised support, can be customised to meet individual needs, allows for more accurate progress monitoring, fosters both personal and professional development, guarantees confidentiality, and can benefit the entire team’s performance. In numerous cases, it comes highly recommended.

    But, when it comes to individual coaching, the team’s needs take second place. 

    Why team coaching outperforms individual coaching

    Consider the scenario of coaching your sales team. The success of team coaching in this context hinges on a critical objective: enhancing sales figures. Consequently, the entire coaching programme is designed with this central aim in mind – to elevate the team’s sales performance.

    Team coaching supports the team as an organic unit. It provides guidance, sets up routines and practices, and creates opportunities for group learning. It shifts the focus from individual performance to collective impact.

    The idea is to make team members understand each other better. They should know what everyone is good at, what they’re not so good at, and what they want to achieve. It’s not just about getting along with your boss; it’s about building better relationships within the team.


    Team coaching also pushes everyone to work together better. They should be good at solving problems as a group and dealing with any team issues that pop up. It’s all about taking responsibility together and making things happen.

    Macro and micro benefits of team coaching

    While one-on-one coaching might not impact the whole team directly, team coaching invariably aids each team member. A team is essentially a collective of individuals, so the efficacy of team coaching is contingent upon its ability to confer benefits at both the individual and group levels. To illustrate, here are some of the macro (team-wide) and micro (individual) benefits of team coaching:

    Macro benefits of team coaching

    • Improved communication and collaboration. Team coaching encourages individual team members to communicate effectively. They should be able to understand each other’s perspective and act accordingly.
    • Enhanced problem-solving and decision-making. The team will handle challenges more efficiently. They decide collectively for a larger goal.
    • Increased accountability. Each member takes responsibility for their actions. They contribute to the achievement of a shared goal.
    • Advanced team dynamics. They are better equipped to address conflicts, resolve misunderstandings, and build trust. They can create a positive and supportive work environment.
    • Boosted team performance. Overall productivity improves. Team endeavours are more effective. There is a greater push towards organisational success.

    Micro benefits of team coaching (at individual level)

    • Enhanced individual skills and competencies. Team members are encouraged to develop and improve their individual skills and competencies—creativity and innovation blossom. Communication improves. Additionally, they develop leadership qualities.
    • Increased self-awareness and self-confidence. Individual team members better understand their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, preferences, and motivation triggers.
    • Improved feedback and learning. Team members learn to constructively give and take feedback. Every piece of feedback is considered as a learning and growth opportunity.
    • Reduced stress and burnout. Team members receive comprehensive support. It provides them with access to resources and strategies to effectively manage their workload, while also paying attention to their emotional wellbeing and overall health.
    • Amplified motivation and engagement. Since individual team members are valued and their contributions are recognised and rewarded, they experience a sense of belonging and appreciation.

    My preferred approach: 6 Team Conditions Framework

    high performing team

    The “6 Team Conditions Framework,” initially known as the “6 Conditions for Team Effectiveness” framework, is a research-backed model for enhancing teams and organisations. It comprises three “Essentials” – fundamental prerequisites for a team’s existence and operation, and three “Enablers” – additional elements that empower a team to prosper and excel. For instance, think of the Essentials as the foundation of a building and the Enablers as the elements that make the building thrive, such as electricity and plumbing.

    Below, I explain the six factors that make the framework complete.

    Real team: A real team consists of members who know each other well, maintain stable membership, and interact directly. They collaborate over a significant period, achieving meaningful, interdependent goals. Take, for instance, a project team within a tech company, united in their effort to develop a new software product. Here, each member is well-versed in their specific roles and they work in unison towards the common goal of ensuring the product’s successful market introduction.

    Compelling purpose: A compelling purpose for a team involves a clear, inspiring goal that motivates members, aligns with their values, and directs their actions. It should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, a marketing team aiming to increase the company’s online sales by 30% within the next six months sets a compelling purpose that inspires team members and guides their marketing strategies.

    business purpose

    Right people: Having the right people on a team implies a diverse blend of knowledge, skills, and relevant perspectives. They should be motivated, committed, and available to contribute towards the team’s purpose. For example, a successful startup’s founding team includes individuals with distinct technology, marketing, and finance expertise, all sharing a deep commitment to the company’s mission and readily available to drive its growth.

    These are the three essentials. Personally, I feel that team coaching has no meaning without a real team. In fact, the three Essentials mentioned above, coupled with the right kind of team coaching, lead to the three Enablers.

    Sound structure: A sound team structure implies an appropriate size, manageable priorities, and well-defined roles and responsibilities. It also involves adhering to shared norms and practices for effective collaboration and coordination. Consider a successful project team within a large corporation, with a limited number of core priorities, clear roles for each member, and established communication protocols that ensure efficient collaboration and task execution.

    Supportive organisational context: A supportive organisational context is about equipping teams with the essential resources, incentives, information, and learning opportunities needed to enhance teamwork. It also means nurturing a culture that appreciates and recognises the importance of team achievements and ongoing education. For instance, a progressive financial institution might guarantee that its project teams are provided with cutting-edge technology, access to pertinent training programs, and an environment that celebrates teamwork, all of which are crucial factors in fostering innovation and achieving success.

    Expert team coaching: Expert team coaching involves having a qualified and experienced coach who can support, guide, and challenge the team to enhance their working practices and outcomes. The coach also assists the team in monitoring and evaluating progress, facilitating feedback exchanges, and learning from their experiences. Just like a championship-winning sports team has a seasoned coach to refine their strategies and techniques, a high-performing corporate team benefits from an expert coach to optimise their performance and achieve their goals.


    Team coaching can help your team reach its full potential. A team coach can help you:

    • Prepare a team charter: A document that contains the team’s purpose, goals, rules, norms, and expectations. It carries a collective vision and values. It defines the behaviours of individual team members. It may also contain guidelines on giving and receiving feedback.
    • Organise team huddles:  Schedule regular meetings to share updates, celebrate successes and deal with challenges. These huddles can be scheduled in advance. They help your team communicate, collaborate, and be accountable to each other. A great way to stay focused and motivated.
    • Carry out performance reviews: Your team members learn from experience and pinpoint areas for improvement. This creates a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and adaptation.

    Engaging a team coach represents a strategic investment that profoundly affects your organisation. They offer valuable insights, improve communication channels, and encourage teamwork, enhancing team dynamics and elevating problem-solving capabilities. The expertise of a team coach is instrumental in setting motivational goals, aligning team values, and stimulating unified efforts. Additionally, a team coach is adept at unlocking the varied talents within the team, optimising the use of resources, and nurturing an environment conducive to innovation.

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    Written by business growth coach Dominic Monkhouse. Find out more about his work here. Read his new book, ‘Mind Your F**king Business’ here.

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