Five Oaks Consulting

Building cohesion, effectiveness, and performance

Team Coaching

Team coaching:

What is it, and how should I imagine the benefits?

Has your team been suboptimal in its outcomes, due to lack of a shared purpose or coherence, lack of a sense of belonging, bad meeting management, low quality decision making, the absence of common work products as a team or the absence of of mutual accountability? This is a fairly common problem in our sector.
There is help for this!

Let me introduce you to team coaching

Team coaching is distinct from team building, team training, team facilitation, and team consulting. The latter are all valuable interventions in their own right, by the way. Team coaching is distinct in that it helps teams develop and maintain new behaviors and ways of working in real time, doing real work that leads to needed work outputs, during real meetings and work sessions, and with real results — producing long term, sustainable improvements in team cohesion, effectiveness and performance.

Let me emphasize this again: Team coaches make interventions in real time, during real, everyday team meetings and work sessions where real work is done. They do this to challenge teams on how they interact and how this, in turn may affect trust, motivation as well as results. Please note that team coaches do this only with regard to focus areas that the team itself has chosen to focus on after the team coach has collected data during a diagnostic phase and presents the possible range of issues back to the team. As a result, teams have ownership of what to work on, which increases their willingness to change habitual behaviors, ways of working etc. This, in turn leads to better team effectiveness and performance but also cohesion, trust and candor.

Team coaches do sometimes complement this work with bits of team training on key content chosen by the team; they may also facilitate team discussions or retreats, if and when the team asks for this. Individual assessments may also be added if the client so desires.

How does team coaching happen – step by step?


The coach has initial intake interviews with the organizational sponsor (if different from the team leader), the team leader and potentially with a few team members, as part of a diagnostic phase.


The team coach undertakes document review, as needed, on organizational strategy against which the team has to perform; large organizational change processes underway; key competency expectations, KPIs in place etc.


We will often use a Corentus Voice of the Team (VOTT) exercise, as part of the diagnostic phase, in the form of full interviews with each team member to collect comprehensive and systematic data on the team’s current current state as perceived by members, leader, and other stakeholders, as well as its desired state (including desired outcomes). This will include perceived team strengths, areas for development, the overall organizational context in which the team ‘lives’, and perceptions on team leader strengths as well as areas for development. Depending on the timeline and budget available to the client, a more limited mini-VOTT may instead be chosen.


The team coach presents the Voice of the Team results to the team, and facilitates a discussion in which the team selects its focus areas for the team coaching trajectory. Note that the team retains ownership of what these focal areas are.


A 4-12 months trajectory ensues, with regular one on one individual coaching and alignment sessions with the team leader to prepare them for upcoming team meetings or moments of decision making. In addition, the team coach observes and systematically collects targeted data, aligned with the chosen areas of focus, at regular team meetings and work sessions. The team coach makes ‘moves’ during these team meetings, as needed, by asking permission in the moment to share an observation based on the data tracked, or an observation about reoccurring team dynamics, processes, outcomes (or the lack thereof) and underlying norms that seem to be at play. The team decides in that moment what to do with such data and observations shared by the team coach. The team coach also has individual debrief sessions with the team leader after important team meetings. ​


Team training on team effectiveness modules (e.g. on Challenging Conversations, Effective Communication; Meeting Mastery, Mutual Accountability etc. ) may also be added to the Scope of Work if the team so desires and budget is available.


During the last month of the engagement, the team coach will facilitate measurement of impact derived from the team coaching, during which the team self-assesses any impacts it has observed. The coach also shares observations. Depending on time and budget, this self-assessment may be complemented with a survey that also includes stakeholders external to the team (multi rater evaluation, 360 or 270). The team celebrates progress, and outlines its own next actions, support needed during that next phase, accountabilities agreed upon, etc. ​

My team coaching credentials

I am a graduate of Corentus, the renowned team coaching and team coaching training company. I am currently in my Practicum stage, after which I will receive certification. I really valued the high quality of Corentus’ content, their training approach and their values. About half of Corentus’ clients are social purpose-focused orgs, and they wish to grow that portion. In fact, they have asked me to join them as a Corentus ‘core practitioner’ for part of my time—which I have agreed to. But I will also offer this service under my own practice, Five Oaks Consulting.

This is a new coaching offering that I am very excited to offer to my clients!

Let me know how I can be of help to your organization.

What to expect from Five Oaks team coaching: Cohesion and more optimal outcomes as a team including:

  • Share a sense of purpose
  • Create joint work products that can be accomplished with all team members contributing
  • Improved cohesion and a sense of belonging. All members are encouraged to live out their identity freely
  • Improved meeting management, for instance reducing the number of meetings and ensuring clear objectives or outcomes. Allow all team members equal participation 
  • Reduce digital fatigue as meetings are more productive and engaging
  • Create clear actions steps after meetings 
  • Fully use  asynchronous ways of collaborating to reduce number of meetings
  • When agreements or commitments are broken, know how to renegotiate such commitments, apply consequences as needed, leading to strong mutual accountability