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Coaching Executive Teams

June 29, 2011

Linkage’s Andy Goodman answered a few questions following his recent presentation on Coaching Executive Teams. His presentation addressed group coaching for executives and focused on the whole team and its overall performance, rather than individual performance. He also discussed improving operational initiatives between team members, the changing dynamics of organizational landscapes, and managing tension for team success. 

Here are a few questions that came in following his presentation…

What is the impact of multi-site exec teams or teams with a lot of matrix reporting where perhaps the CEO/President has executives who do not report directly to him or her even if at the same facility physically?

Matrix structures pose a whole host of potential issues from geography to reporting relationships. The key to effective team structures in a matrix environment is similar to the keys for leadership in a matrix. It is largely relationship based and focuses more on trusted influence and empowerment as leadership competency strengths. Matrixes require far more collaboration and communication to keep on track. Things don’t easily flow down nor are some cultures accepting of a top down flow of information or instruction. Coaching teams in this environment tends to focus on collaboration and accountability without authority. 

Is it possible to fully coach a senior executive team as an internal coach?

Yes, but this is fully dependent upon the relationship the internal coach has with the most senior executive on the team. Trust or assumed trust becomes the issue. Not that people don’t want to be trusting, however if there is a perception that things may not remain 100% confidential then the effectiveness of the internal coach becomes more challenging. External coaches, just by the fact of their independence, are given more of the benefit of the doubt.

What is the difference between team building and team coaching?

Team coaching is not necessarily team building yet team building can always benefit from team coaching!

In other words, team building–defined as the construction of a team and the continuous development of the team to be as effective as possible.  Coaching at all points of this process can add enormous value to the team’s ultimate effectiveness.  Teams can and usually are built without the benefit of coaching and use coaching typically as an aid to accelerate effectiveness.  This is a miss in my opinion as the coach can be an extremely valuable part of the discussion as teams are built.

Andrew Goodman

Andrew Goodman is the Executive Vice President of Linkage and serves as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  He specializes in executive coaching, talent management, strategy and innovation and is responsible for directing Linkage’s Executive Search Practice, Linkage Executive Advisors.

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