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On your marks, get set... Oh!

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Where do I go when I want to know how to scope, diagnose and contract for group and team coaching?

In preparation for this blog, I went on a small adventure into the principles of setting up and contracting for a team coaching intervention. At first, I struggled to find information on how to go about setting up the intervention; by this I mean the scoping, analysing, and diagnosing. What I found were books that offered detailed theoretical perspectives on the concept of team coaching.

In Group and Team Coaching, The Essential Guide (2010) Thorton provides a marvellous account of the advantages and disadvantages of team coaching and outlines some core principles of team coaching. For example, Thorton describes how teams are groups, but groups may not always be teams and our ability to recognise the difference will improve the coaching experience. In chapter 2 Thorton makes clear the principles of transference, projection and provides a beautiful account of ‘holding’; this is all useful information in the diagnostic and active phases in terms of what to look out for (Thornton, 2010). However, I still needed a step by step, clear cut idea of how to go about the initial intervention phase.

This has to be a really important feature of the team intervention process, so where do I go to find out more?

Maybe Clutterbuck, et al., 2019 might provide the answer to my question. I highly recommend this book for anyone thinking about team coaching. It offers a wealth of information and is presented in a way to keep you on those thinking toes. It offers a definition of team coaching as one that is similar to catching a tiger by the tail. It really gets you thinking about what might be the right way to start your practice, while bulging with information to deepen, develop and build best practice. A great read and really useful to those who are ready to dive a little deeper into concepts, theories and principles relating to team coaching.

Yippee, found it!

Clutterbuck, Coaching the Team at Work 2nd Ed (2020) is a fabulous starting ground. In my opinion, this is a go to book for those starting out in team coaching. Chapter 5 The Practice of Team Coaching presents a step by step approach that offers practical guidance on how to manage the initiating phase of team coaching and suggests some really useful ideas about scoping, diagnosing and establishing the contract. This book is different in its practical approach, rather than theoretical underpinning. Tables and diagrams make it easy to digest and less onerous in terms of the application of difficult theoretical perspectives. Clutterbuck (2020) gives a range of diagnostic tools that are ready to implement, a kind of off the shelf guide. The point being that we all have to start somewhere and in my opinion this is a great place to put a pin on the map.

Figure 1. Clutterbuck 2020 The Practice of Team Coaching Chapter 5 In short, I wholeheartedly recommend the reading list below to get you started on team coaching, However I also recommend thinking hard about the process, from set up, through to intervention and finally exit. I know I have to work hard in the scoping and diagnosing phase, this is crucial to my practice to gain a solid understand of what is going on, it is only then I am able to identify an appropriate intervention and also accept that I might be wrong and remember that good plans are always amended to accommodate the now.

Let us know about your best team coaching reads, we would love to hear from you.


Clutterbuck, D. (2020). Coaching the Team at Work. London: Nicholas Brearly .

Clutterbuck, D., Gannon, J., Hayes, S., Lordanou, I., Lowe, K., & Mackie, D. (2019). The Practitioners Handbook of Team Coaching. Oxon: Routledge.

Thornton, C. (2010). Group and Team Coaching, The Essential Guide. Hove: Routledge.

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