Coaching Tips #9: Coaching Teams, Groups and Communities

team picture
team picture

In our book, TransforMissional Coaching, Steve Ogne and I write a chapter on the unique aspects of coaching teams, groups or communities of people.  In this excellent post, Steve summarizes our "7 Habits of a Great Coach" in a team context.  It's no surprise - most organizations can't function without forming groups of one kind or another to help accomplish goals. But groups can be challenging places to get work done!

Coaching in a group setting is not only possible, but an extremely effective way to help different types of groups reach their potential together.

The process of coaching groups is similar to coaching individuals, yet with slight differences. In this article I'll give seven skills to coach groups effectively.

1. Listen Together When coaching an individual, we listen one-on-one. When coaching a group, we listen together. Group listening is far more difficult than listening to one person. Group listening involves creating a safe place where all members of the group can be heard. It also means being able to prioritize concerns, achieve consensus, and be sure group members hear one another.

2. Meet Needs When coaching one person, the coach must be sure the person's needs are cared for. When coaching a group, it is the coach's job to help group members care for one another and meet one another's needs. It is the responsibility of the coach to facilitate pairing those with a need with those who can meet that need.

3. Party When coaching one person, a coach celebrates with a coachee through personal affirmation. When coaching a group, the whole team needs to celebrate together. This can be done by taking some time to party. This kind of celebration builds relationships, increases respect for one another, acknowledges accomplishments, and motivates for further progress.

4. Dream When coaching an individual, you can strategize by planning together. Strategizing with a group often takes the form of dreaming about the future and what can be accomplished. Groups benefit from both dreaming and planning. Dreaming fuels vision and hope, while shared planning increase ownership and responsibility.

5. Cross-train In a group context members increase their personal mastery by cross-training with one another. Cross-training builds relationships and increases shared learning and respect for one another's contribution. It also improves performance as members prepare to train others in their task. The result is two-deep leadership in every position.

6. Values When coaching one person, you can use Scripture to address character issues that emerge. When coaching groups, you develop the character of the group by using Scripture to develop group values that guide and govern the group's behavior. Some of those values will have an outward focus that governs how the group ministers to others, and other values will have an inward focus on the way group members treat one another.

7. Challenge You challenge an individual by confronting or motivating the person. The same is true of groups. There are times when you need to confront negative behavior - two times in particular. First, when behavior is damaging to the ministry focus of the group, and second, when behavior is damaging to relationships. Finally, a positive visionary challenge is important every time the group gathers.

Adapted from Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl’s book, TransforMissional Coaching.  Reprinted as it appeared on

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