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Team Coaching vs. Group Coaching

What is the real difference between a group and a team? 

Depending on who you are the answer to this question seems obvious, irrelevant, or supremely important. Or maybe you dont think there is a difference. But as you think about it more, the distinction can seem further nuanced and confusing.  

 Before we go deeper, take a second to reflect on what differences come to mind for you, and what the implications of those differences are. 

 Lets start with some definitions: 

 Group: A social entity capable of acting as a whole and of expressing feelings and thoughts over and beyond those of its [individual] members (Smith & Berg, p. 63). 

 Team: "A small number of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach, for which they hold themselves mutually accountable Katzenbach and Smith (2003). 

 Given those definitions, the distinctions seem immediate and important: all of us are part of different groups but how many of us are part of a real team? If youve ever experienced the satisfaction of working with a team that really understands its purpose, and works together to achieve, then you know it is an exhilarating way to work. 

 But do you ever feel like your team is NOT committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach? 

 One of the most frustrating feelings as a leader is coaching a team of people who you know have complementary skills and could achieve incredible things together but arent. 

 Do any of these problems sound familiar? 

1. Lack of clarity about team goals, roles, responsibilities, procedures  

2. Juggling multiple, and often competing, individual performance expectations and team expectations  

3. Little time to collaborate and innovate  

4. Building trust, dealing with conflict, holding each other accountable, and achieving team results  

5. Myopic visionnot seeing the whole picture  

 Its easy to be part of a group, its much harder to form a cohesive team. Think about the differences you have experienced between being part of a group and being part of a team. Next, we will explore the particular challenges of coaching a team and how to overcome them. 

How about you? What do you think are the differences between leading a group versus leading a team?



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