Systemic Team Coaching: the next big breakthrough in leadership development

As an avid reader of HR In Sights I’ve often stumbled upon wonderful articles which have helped me grow, both personally and professionally.

Sharing an excerpt from an article posted by Ben Quarless. Thank you Ben.

Systemic Team Coaching is a process by which a team coach works with a whole team in the context of their organisation’s current and future requirements to help them improve their leadership as a whole team and as individuals. Connections with, impact on and ability to influence and lead in the wider system are additional outcomes that the approach achieves.

In Systemic Team Coaching the team is coached a team as a unique and coherent ‘whole’.
Systemic Team Coaching is therefore not the same as individual coaching of each team member in a group setting and is also fundamentally different to ‘team building’ which is generally more focused on improving team-member relationships.

A systemic team coaching approach considers the team to be an inseparable entity whose performance and results depend on the systemic, interactive, operational responsibility of its members – functioning both together and apart.


The work starts with an inquiry as to the purpose and mandate of the team in the organisational context. The rationale and mandate for the team are examined from different perspectives to create clarity and purpose. Systemic Team Coaching is also primarily focused on achieving clear performance results as measured by mutually-created and measurable criteria.

Five conditions for effective Systemic Team Coaching

Systemic Team Coaching emphasises and focuses on the system alongside individual and team challenges. There are several conditions that engender effective Systemic Team Coaching:
1. There is a team of a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to or can create a common purpose with a set of agreed performance goals and are willing to examine how they can most effectively work together and hold themselves jointly accountable
2. The team collectively aspire to achieve a greater level of performance
3. The team can be open to working with others on their learning and performance journey
4. The team recognise the importance of meeting stakeholder needs and connecting their work to the needs of the organisation
5. The team understand the impact they can have in motivating and inspiring others across the organisation and beyond
The right practitioner
A Systemic Team coach works with and alongside the team and does not stand outside with a focus on facilitation alone or indeed training alone. The answers lie within the team and wider system. As a result each team member has the opportunities to develop personally and professionally alongside moving towards greater organisational health.

Therefore it is essential that organisations work with a coach who has the capacity to work with the whole team and see beyond the individual personalities. Someone who challenges thinking and will variously provoke and invite the team to expand the boundaries of its’ thinking to enhance performance.

Does it deliver?

Systemic Team Coaching can deliver extraordinary results for the team and organisation. This holistic approach has been shown to deliver increased performance and collaboration amongst key teams because it actively seeks to work with the organisational factors that sometimes unconsciously block teams from working effectively together.
In my experience, within a System Team Coaching session you are likely to hear bold cut-through statements that get to the core of some of the organisation’s most acute challenges and the team coaching work which takes places is therefore deeply embedded in the service of the organisation’s overall performance and health.
Systemic Team Coaching actively looks for ways to connect the work and journey of the team back into the organisation and explores shifts and changes that it can make institutionally – upwards, laterally and cascading through the system. As a result, profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction and employee morale all benefit from the team’s improved ability to connect with, impact upon and lead in the wider organisational system.

Excerpt taken from article in HR In Sights posted by Ben Quarless

Executive coaching strengthens leadership pipeline

The growth of Executive Coaching Industry in India, over the last few years, gives me immense joy. In the earlier years of setting my business, most of the meetings with potential clients were devoted to building an awareness of the Coaching. The scenario has evolved now, and clients are seeking out coaches for their personal and professional development. The media has played a wonderful role in bring Coaching to the forefront.

Sharing here an article which was published in The Economic Timees.

“Executive Coaching helps successful leaders to become more successful. It is viewed as something special for ‘High Potential Leaders’ to do better in future and improve their retention rate”, explained Dr. PV Bhide, President-Corporate HR, JK Organization during an interview with TJinsite, research and knowledge arm of According to him, the Coaching Industry is growing exponentially in India and is estimated to grow from present Rs. 200 Crore per annum to Rs. 800 Crore per annum by 2014.

Perry Zeus and Dr. Skiffington (of the Behavioral Coaching Institute) defined executive coaching as a time bound dialogue between coach and coachee within a productive and result oriented context. In their view, it is about change and transformation that the coachee aspires, which emanates from asking the right questions rather than providing the right answers.

Rajendra Ghag, Executive Vice President, HR & Admin of HDFC Life christened executive coaching as ‘Gold Mining Mentality’. It is brought into play to unleash the true potential of senior leaders and improve their performance by asking relevant questions. “We hire coaches, who are seasoned professionals from the industry. An ex-chairman of a big company is brought to train senior leaders of our organisation and reduce interference in their work”, he added.

Earlier, executives were reluctant to be coached, but now it is viewed by candidates as a sign of being on an accelerated career growth path. Underlining the challenges of the executive coaching industry in India, Dr Bhide articulated, “There is a need for impetus in propelling research to identify what practices would be more effective from Indian coachees’ point of view. As most ‘Global Coaching Certifications’ teach western coaching models and methodologies.

During one of the Skills Dialogue session, a series of high powered panel discussions organised by, industry experts pointed that there is absence of experienced coaches, who have finer business wisdom as compared to what theoretical coaching model based methodologies provide. And, on the demand side there is a need to sensitize CXOs and HR heads to focus on improvement, change, and outcomes rather than merely a feel-good factor.

Suggesting the way forward, Dr. Bhide advised organisations to identify specific domains that can be benefited most through executive coaching and create a culture of coaching by nurturing internal leaders and managers to become coaches.

Together, experts expressed the want to bring in more structure into this emerging industry to help define the engagement models and professional approach that this function requires in the Indian context.

Link to article:

Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

Psychologist and researcher, Robert Plutchik created The wheel of Emotions – a model of human emotions and their relations and combinations. It consists of 8 basic emotions, opposed in pairs, and multiple shades.
The model resulted in a circumplex where emotions and variations are represented by different colors and hues. This circumplex can be flattened in a 2D view (see below) to allow viewing of all emotions at once.
Plutchik identified eight primary emotions, which he coordinated in pairs of opposites: joy versus sadness; trust versus disgust; fear versus anger and anticipation versus surprise.


Intensity of emotion and indicator color increases toward the center of the wheel and decreases outward. Akin to a color wheel, variations in color intensity correspond to variations in emotional intensity. Thus, the eight primary emotions occupy the middle ring of the flower with more intense forms occurring in the center (depicted by bolder colors) and milder forms the extremities (depicted by paler colors).

For example, “Rage” is the stronger form of “Anger” while “Annoyance” is the weaker. Similarly, terror becomes fear and then apprehension; Ecstasy becomes joy and then serenity.
Further, secondary emotions are displayed as combinations of the primary ones: Acceptance and apprehension combine to create submission.

Personally, I find this model pretty illuminating. Although, Plutcih’s model is a good start, it seems to be incomplete. It has often been argued that many complex emotions have not found place in this model. To that extent, this model is limited.

Check the ‘Coachability Index’: Interview in People Matters, Nov 1, 2011

This article appreared in People Matters – November 1, 2011 issue. It carries my views on the field of coaching in India at present and the future trends which may be seen in the industry. Would be happy to recieve your comments.

Cover Story »

Check the ‘Coachability Index’

Nov 1st 2011
By Shalini Verma

How matured is the concept of ‘executive coaching’ in India?

I would say it is still in a very nascent stage. Though there has been substantial growth in the last 2 years and while there are no ready figures, my guess is that we have seen a growth of 30-40 percent. Culturally, given the family and social structure in India, a person naturally tends to fall back on family and friends for any advice or feedback in life. This non-judgmental and professional help and support has never been a trend in India. Further, at present, the number of coaches in India is far less – a few hundred to cater to a population of one billion. There are also no specializations in India as yet, unlike in Australia or the UK, where there are different categories of coaches for different requirements – parenting coaches, wealth management coaches, relationship coaches, weight loss coaches, etc. In India, everything is under the broad banner of ‘life/executive coaching’. Coaching in India is on the growing curve. The growing number of MNCs in India is redefining the work culture here and the change in the social fabric due to the emergence of nuclear families will propel the need for coaching.

What is the role of a coach? How does it contribute to business productivity? When is coaching useful/required?

Coaching is a dynamic, creative and systematic process, where the coach enables the coached to get useful insights by the power of asking high-gain questions. It enables the coached to become self-aware especially about his/her strengths and weaknesses, unhelpful patterns, aspirations and challenges. It is a highly valuable tool that can enhance employee engagement in the organization and build a culture of support and encouragement. The role of a coach is to bring coherence between the efforts of the individual and the company. This in turn will lead to increased productivity, reduced cost, lowered rate of attrition and higher motivation. Coaching can be applied at multiple occasions. At the organizational level, a coaching intervention may be especially useful during times of quantum change, for example, mergers, acquisitions, and significant changes in market conditions. At the executive level, it maybe useful in times of role transitions (change in role), in case of performance issues and even to fast track the high performers.

What is the ‘coaching style’ that you have adopted and why does it work best for you?

I use the ‘facilitative’ style of coaching where I take the ‘whole person approach’. While it is possible to focus on just one area, life cannot be put into water tight compartments. A change in any one area of one’s life is bound to have an impact on the other aspects of his/her life.

In the short run, at times, this approach may not seem to be impacting the business goals directly, but in the long run, I am very positive that it is bound to benefit the business.

We use the LEAP (Leadership Enhancing & Acceleration Program) framework, which works towards bringing coherence between individual and organizational goals.

What are the other methodologies in coaching? And how do organizations know which methodology will work best for their purpose?

Other methodologies could be more direct and at times, a combination of prescriptive and facilitative methods may be used. It usually depends on the organizational culture. In a free culture, which fosters growth and development and the focus is on the long run perspective, the facilitative method of coaching works best. However, it is important that the organization supports a safe learning environment to ensure its success. Whereas, in the case where there is restriction on time and the organization expects results or outcomes in a short run, the direct or prescriptive method may be adopted. Every organization has its process of studying the need and the philosophy before deciding or screening for the appropriate coach.

What are the challenges in ensuring success of a coaching exercise?

It is essential to ensure that the outcome expected by all three parties – coach, coached and the organization, is the same. One must also consider the willingness and keenness of the candidate. Often, sustaining the coaching journey becomes a challenge as the coaching exercise is quite demanding at times. There is also a need to check the Coachability Index to gauge the eligibility of the candidate as we are not coachable at all times. It is also crucial to gain the right support and endorsement from the stakeholders to ensure that coaching is effective. The organization must provide a safe learning platform to allow employees the time and space to grow and evolve. Coaching should never be remedial in nature or considered as a ‘fix-it’ exercise.

What is the future of coaching in India?

With the changing social fabric and the ever stressful work culture, I foresee the demand for coaching to go up exponentially in the coming years. From life coaching, spiritual coaching, career coaching to executive coaching, newer specializations will emerge. Also I expect that coaching in India will combine the eastern philosophy into the whole coaching concept and then it will emerge as a powerful tool for the growth and development of the human resource.

Shalini Verma is Founder & Director, The Sky Scrapers Academy


17 tips to double your productivity in 14 days : Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma, leadership expert, author and Life Coach, shares 17 of the tactics he has learned that will help us lean into our productive best in this age of dramatic distraction:

1. Turn off all technology for 60 minutes a day and focus on doing your most important work.

2. Work in 90 minute cycles (tons of science is now confirming that this is the optimal work to rest ratio).

3. Start your day with at least 30 minutes of exercise.

4. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.

5. Turn all your electronic notifications off.

6. Take one day a week as a complete recovery day, to refuel and regenerate (that means no email, no phone calls and zero work). You need full recovery one day a week otherwise you’ll start depleting your capabilities.

7. The data says workers are interrupted every 11 minutes. Distractions destroy productivity. Learn to protect your time and say no to interruptions.

8. Schedule every day of your week every Sunday morning. A plan relieves you of the torment of choice (said novelist Saul Bellow). It restores focus and provides energy.

9. Work in blocks of time. Creative geniuses all had 2 things in common: when they worked they were fully engaged and when they worked, they worked with this deep concentration for long periods of time. Rare in this world of entrepreneurs who can’t sit still.

10. Drink a litre of water early every morning. We wake up dehydrated. The most precious asset of an entrepreneur isn’t time – it’s energy. Water restores it.

11. Don’t answer your phone every time it rings.

12. Invest in your professional development so you bring more value to the hours you work.

13. Avoid gossip and time vampires.

14. Touch paper just once.

15. Keep a “Stop Doing List”.

16. Get up at 5 am.

17. Have meetings standing up.


Emotional Intelligence Coaching

One of my favorite books on coaching is: Emotional Intelligence Coaching: Improving performance for leaders, coaches and the individual by Stephen Neale, Lisa Spencer – Arnell and Liz Wilson.

What made me pick this book was the Foreword written by Sir John Whitmore – “I believe that Emotional Intelligence and coaching are inseperable…..the book focuses on emotional intelligence first, indicating that it is the foundation stone for good coaching; it goes on to address the basics of coaching and then to tie the two together.”


It’s a book I highly recommend especially for the coach community. Not that my peers are not ‘emotionally intelligent’ already, but the book is sure to add value in some way or the other; both to them at an individual level and to their clients via their further sharpened skills.

I have personally received a lot of value from this book. One of the gems I picked up is ‘The EI COACH model’ (Page 152-153) which is a unique amalgamation of the process of coaching and the principles of EI (Emotional Intelligence). The authors have developed the model around the acronym

E (emotions)

I (intelligence)

C (current)

O (opportunities)

A (actions)

C (change measure)

H (how are you feeling now?)

The benefit a coachee would derive (over other models) is the ability to gauge his emotional wellness ( barometer) during the coaching sessions, between them and even after the coaching intervention is complete, if this model is used well.

With exercises and questionnaires to develop one’s own emotional intelligence and thereby be instrumental in helping the coachee develop his/her own, this book is a rich resource.

I agree with the authors “ Asking someone who is not emotionally intelligent to coach others is like sending a newly qualified driver out on the roads in a Formula 1 car.” (Page 48)