Can I Coach the Team?

20 Questions to enhance Teams

‘Can you do something with my team?’

‘What seems to be the problem?’

‘Well morale is really terrible, nobody seems to care about working here and we have lots of conflict’

‘So can I ask, what have you done to them?’

A not untypical conversation whenever I get asked to facilitate a Team Day, sometimes called an ‘away day’ or ‘teambuilding’ event.  Whilst I may be a bit harsh on the leader in this scenario, I do think that this kind of ‘state’ within the team is not a natural one. Something must have happened (or not happened), to create it.

I do believe that people inherently want to come to work, do a good job and have decent relationships with colleagues. We have simply not tended to their needs if this isn’t the natural state.

State is at the heart of a lot the coaching I do, so it begs the question; ‘Can I coach the team?’.

Well the good news is, yes you can. And if you do it now you might prevent some of the issues faced by our leader above. Team Coaching is actually becoming more recognised and there are models and processes to do this.

However, I feel that every leader or manager could wear their coaching hat at every team meeting or forum and, with a few incisive questions, help the team to reach their desired state or reach a specific outcome.

One of my fallback exercises working with Teams is my 20 Questions for Teams. These aren’t meant to be exhaustive but just a tool to help teams through appreciative inquiry, playing to their strengths and eliciting a more resourceful state.

If you want a copy I can gladly email you a pdf but here are some of my favourites:

  • When are we all at our best?
  • What makes us most alive, vital and creative?
  • What’s important about what we do?
  • What will make us most productive?
  • What is the potential of this team?

My experience is that usually there are one or two questions that most resonate with the team (I let them choose) and this helps them to have open and constructive conversations.

And the thier state often changes.

These are the sort of questions that our Coaching ILM learners become adept at using but in reality most managers could easily pose these or formulate thier own questions. It just requires a bit of courage to break free from the usual team norms and approach it with an open mind and heart.

Why not try these out at your next team meeting.

Let me know how you get on and happy coaching!


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Posted by John Drysdale
10th September 2019


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John's Blog

Why be a coach or mentor?

I am a little biased but I love both coaching and mentoring. I used to enjoy being the ‘trainer’ which satisfied the performer in me but as I get older there is something that I find deeply satisfying in being a coach or mentor.

More than that, I find it a privilege to work with people.  People that trust you enough to share their greatest challenges, dearest hopes, deepest fears and core beliefs about life. I can think of few professions in business that afford you such intimacy. I feel lucky and grateful each and every session I get to spend with my clients. (more…)

Speaking Truth to Power

For those afraid of speaking …

(But) TED is a tough, pressured, hugely stressful gig, even for experienced public speakers, and I’m not that. Standing in the wings waiting to go on, I told the stage manager that my heart was racing uncontrollably and in an act of great kindness, she grasped both my hands and made me take breath after breath. And what you don’t see in the video – deftly edited out – is the awful, heart-stopping moment when I forgot a line, followed by another act of collective kindness, a spontaneous empathic cheer as I composed myself and found my cue. “That’s when the audience came onside,” an attendee told me. “You were human. That’s when you won them over.”  Guardian April 2019


This from Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist at the Guardian who has in this last year investigated the role of tech corporations and their platforms in influencing the workings of our democracy.  What makes her TED talk so compelling is because here she is facing those very same technology giants on their turf.  And speaking truth to power.


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This week I had the chance to attend a seminar at the Leeds Coaching Network featuring renowned coach, writer and speaker Julie Starr.  You may be familiar with some of Julie’s work including; ‘The Coaching Manual’, ‘The Mentoring Manual’ and ‘Brilliant Coaching’ and the session was everything you expected it to be. (more…)