Current Research: Does Team Coaching Work?

Current Research: Does Team Coaching Work?

The 1950’s witnessed the birth of a number of seminal business ideas, including the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis; the Strategy Grid; Management by Objectives (MBO); and coaching as a managerial activity. It took another 20-plus years for coaching to move into the mainstream, though it was primarily focused on executive-level individuals. Driven by globalization, the reduction of hierarchy with a shift to team-based organizations, and the work expectations of Millennials (and now Gen Z), the practice of individual and team coaching has grown in popularity. The increased investment in coaching has also raised questions about the effectiveness of coaching, particularly team coaching, on team performance.

One study, conducted by Dimas, Rebelo, and Lourenco, examined the effects of team coaching (provided by both the team leaders and team mates) on team performance and team member satisfaction with the team. The authors surveyed 506 people from 75 teams across both public and private sector organizations. Using multiple regression and hierarchical linear modeling, they demonstrated a significant, positive effect of peer coaching on team outcomes, with team leader coaching being fundamental to the encouragement of peer coaching. Interestingly, coaching by the team leaders alone was not enough to enhance team performance.

Concerning team member satisfaction, results showed that when there was more team leader coaching behavior (direct and indirect) there was a higher-level of team satisfaction. Research by J.R. Hackman (2012) supports the author’s conclusions, placing team coaching as one of six conditions enabling team effectiveness, including:

The research by Dimas, Rebelo, and Lourenco provides strong evidence that team coaching works, and it can play an important role in building and sustaining a highly-effective team, particularly when the team leader ensures that there are solid team fundamentals in place.

Dimas, I., Rebelo, T., & Lourenço, P. (2016). Team coaching: One more clue for fostering team effectiveness. Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée. (66). doi:10.1016/j.erap.2016.05.003

Hackman, J. R. (2012), From causes to conditions in group research. Journal of Organizational Behavior. (33) 428–444. doi:10.1002/job.1774

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