Allison Crumpler, Associate Director of Learning and Leadership Development at Novella Clinical

#043 – Reflections of an internal Team Coach: Developing an Organizational Culture of Team Coaching

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s show guest and leading organizational coach Allison Crumpler–the Associate Director of Learning and Leadership Development at Novella Clinical. Allison provides executive, management and team coaching with an emphasis on functional and cross-functional collaboration to achieve ultimate team, project and process optimization. Allison is also responsible for the development and deployment of leadership training programs and the oversight of the clinical technology training group.

In this episode of the podcast Allison shares her journey beginning with a 15 year career for the YMCA where she rose to becoming the Associate Branch Executive Director and where she developed a passion for coaching and leadership learning and development. She then moved over to Novella Clinical and over the past two and half years has become an internal team coach and has now coached a dozen teams. As part of her journey she pursued formal training as a coach through the TeamAdvantage team coaching program as well as through the Healthcare Coaching Institute in Raleigh North Carolina. Themes explored in the podcast include: the journey to becoming a team coach; the Team Advantage team coaching process; coaching team leaders; overcoming roadblocks and setbacks in team coaching; fostering an organizational culture of team coaching and more.

Allison is an inspiring example for team coaches looking to make the leap into team coaching. And her story also highlights the value for companies of investing in the development of internal team coaches and developing a teaming culture. This is an episode that all team coaches will surely not want to miss!

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Contact Allison


Part 1 – Getting to know the Coach: Allison Crumpler


  • Associate Director for Learning and Leadership Development for Novella Clinical
  • Provides executive management and team coaching expertise with emphasis on functional and cross-functional collaboration to achieve team process optimization
  • Development and deployment of leadership training programs, oversight of clinical technology training group
  • “The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks”
  • “If you’re not changing, you’re becoming irrelevant”
  • Focusing much more on teams; something had been missing. Now with focus on teams everything feels more efficient

Journey into Coaching

  • Grew up in North Carolina; majored in parks & recreation and led to work with YMCA
  • Realized she had a passion for coaching; brought it to jumping over to health sciences and clinical research realm
  • Initially came to Novella as a trainer and has developed toward team coaching; currently working on ICF certification
  • Training felt too “one-off” – working with teams allowed for more extended engagement
  • Went through Team Advantage program and brought it to Novella; great jumping off point within the organization
  • Process allows for looking back on what the team has accomplished, how to go forward in the future
  • Ongoing team coaching process, 12-week process

Part 2 – Perspectives on Team Coaching

Approach to team coaching

  • Team Advantage work relies on collaboration with other groups that are not going through the same process; this can create a stumbling block
    • Team Advantage allows for planning ahead and pushing through this
  • Staying closer to the team lead throughout the process has been a key lesson learned
  • Celebration at the end with awards, recognition – paper plate awards
    • Brings closure to the experience, allows for articulation and reflection on how to bring it forward
  • Other teams approached her and wanted to participate – one that stands out is one that was in a crisis; chaos, lack of trust, etc
    • Worked through the team charter and used that to execute the charter
    • Hard experience to work through – took time but it took off
  • Working through team members coming to you offline; undermines the team in some ways
    • Solution: address concerns with the person first, then escalate
    • Realizing that they were their own internal customer allowed for great success
  • Point system allows for accountability

Story: challenges and lessons learned

  • Working with team leader during week 5; frustration about the way things were going at that point
  • Learning opportunity after de-escalation of this frustration. The negative leadership attitude was trickling down through the team, so dealing with this was effective
  • Pressure of delivering results was creating anxiety for leadership. Giving leader the floor was helpful in order to regroup, find a balance between facilitating the team and helping the team be more effective
  • Lesson 1: leader can come to find this balance once you leave the team; it’s important to be intentional about setting the leader up for success when you exit. Expect that there will be difficulties! This group was 15 people, so would have limited it to 8-10 for better results.
  • Lesson 2: By checking in throughout the process you can as a coach reduce the mishaps and know sooner when something is going wrong
  • Lesson 3: Lean into the process!

Developmental steps as a team coach

  • Confidence level changes
  • Getting challenges under your belt allows you to mold the process to fit the team
  • Knowing that this is not about you, but about the team and how it performs – takes the focus off you and allows for space for the team to be the focus
  • Learnings and team development are more valuable than one business outcome
  • Importance of creating a team coaching culture; creating internal appreciating for coaching

What’s next? What’s most exciting to you now?

  • Project partnering on business optimization group focusing on improvement and efficiency, and how to take the team/people aspect to combine with the process piece
  • Recently kicked off collaboration looking at process and people
  • Understanding the potential of systemic impact
  • Looking at cross-functional areas of the organization to create collaboration and not competition – how to get a group from 5 different functions to work together and serve the needs of the client more efficiently

Part 3 – Resources, Parting Words, and Contacting Allison



  • The Essential Wooden – John Wooden
  • The Discomfort Zone – Marcia Reynolds
  • Team Advantage

Words of Wisdom

  • The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks
  • Unless I’m pushing myself to learn more, I’m average and will become irrelevant. Don’t stop growing!

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