Carissa Bub

Carissa Bub, Leadership & Team Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and CEO of Intellegra

#040: What is Your Team’s Story? The Role of Story and Emotion in Team Coaching

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s guest and leading organizational coach Carissa Bub for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast. Carissa is a successful leadership and organizational coach, former journalist and entrepreneur with over 15 years’s global experience.  She helps clients to co-create future fit organizations increasing both social and business value.  As a former broadcast journalist (BBC) turned executive coach, her trusted reputation is built on challenging senior management, board directors, global teams and next generation leaders to proactively drive change and consistently deliver high performance results.  Carissa is on the Global Coaching Faculty at BlackRock, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Royal Society of Arts.  She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and has a number of additional qualifications including: Organizational Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC), Master NLP Practitioner, Psychometric Assessor, Team Diagnostic Consultant, Post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism, Diploma in Performance Coaching, and a Diploma in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology. Carissa has run her own leadership development business since 2002, and recently launched her latest endeavor–a new company called Intellegra.
In this episode of the podcast, Carissa shares her journey from studying child psychotherapy to entering the world of broadcast journalism to conducting media training for companies and executives and then into executive and team coaching.  Themes explored in the podcast include: the role of story and emotion in teams and team coaching; the role of relationships; helping teams give voice to the emotion in the room; coaching for hygiene in teams vs. performance and systemic change; helping teams shift from being management teams to leadership teams; contracting in team coaching; building teams of teams across silos; walking away from team coaching when you aren’t a good fit; slowing down to focus on what really matters; reinventing organizations; life long learning and more.  She also shares stories and tips from her own team coaching practice.
Carissa’s insights about the power of story and emotion in teams will leave every team coach wanting to learn more about how to leverage these two powerful aspects in their own coaching practices.


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Contact Carissa

Resources Mentioned

  1. LaLoux, F. (2014). Reinventing Organizations.
  2. Team Coaching International: Team Diagnostic Instrument.





Part 1 – Getting to Know the Coach: Carissa Bub


  • Leadership and organizational coach and former journalist with over 15 years’ global experience
  • Helps clients co-create “future fit” organizations, improving both social and business value
  • Former broadcast journalist for BBC
  • Helps clients proactively drive change and consistently deliver high performance results
  • On global coaching faculty of Blackrock and a member of Global Coaching Federation, European Mentoring and Coaching Council, and the Royal Society of Arts
  • Has run her own leadership development business since 2002 which has recently culminated in launched of Intellegra
  • Certified professional co-active coach
  • Master practitioner of NLP


  • Since she was 18 always studied and worked – a passionate learner. Being a team coach requires continued learning about craft and self; a lifelong journey
  • Has always been an outsider, first generation British, teaches you 1) how to be an observer – what’s going on, what are the norms, 2) to listen to nuance, body language, what’s not said, 3) to tell your own story, own your narrative, to say it in a way that builds relationships
  • Learned to really quickly get to the heart of emotion, to challenge by asking questions
  • Power of love in all its forms that is missing in organizations – how to replace fear with love so people can find meaning and fulfillment
  • Trained to be a child psychotherapist before going into journalism – wanted to understand what made a person who they were – found it didn’t fit with her nature
  • Became a journalist because she loved telling stories
  • Got into media training for executives and managing directors, working with management – how to help people find their authentic voice to get the story across so it’s credible and compelling
  • Kept being told she was a coach, so she decided to find out what that was
  • Creating a safe space for people to speak up – this is what people want from team coaches today
  • Got trained in NLP, then trained as an executive coach – CTI in a co-active model
  • Then trained as a team coach, then as an organizational and relationships systems coach
  • Saw the power of a systemic model – suddenly seeing everything in 3D; felt highly intuitive
  • In the first wave of Team Coaching International (2006), connection to George Johnson
    • This model gets people wanting to get back in the room together
  • Jacqueline Peters – relationship systems: at the core is safety in relationships and when you get to this you can create an ecosystem where teams are productive
    • When you create a safe space, people can breathe and be open to listen, to say things that are honest that they know may be painful, brings relief, acknowledgement of truth for the sake of moving forward
    • It’s about creating boundaries, an environment where people can be heard, seen, recognized
    • Emotional intelligence (Geetu Bharwaney) as allowing teams to fulfill potential
  • Often teams are close, friendly but do not challenge each other – you have to be close to do this, but also willing
    • Sometimes there isn’t the time or space to take the risk of challenging someone

Part 2 – Perspectives on Coaching and Team Coaching

Approach to Team Coaching

  • Power of narrative
  • Team coaching has an ongoing process to it – not just one or two days; ongoing journey to look at identity and challenges to overcome: coaching vs team effectiveness
  • Example: sitting with a leadership group of investors, 90-minute meeting – thought they could make real progress, but reminding them that this
  • As a coach, you don’t have to fit into an organization completely
  • Short-term engagements should be specific; but if it’s about relationships, it needs to be longer term. Coaching happens outside the room. Be honest with clients about what’s achievable in the time.
  • Can’t assume clients know what the options are – short term, long term, executive coaching
  • If client is dealing with communication and relationships, she uses a diagnostic to look at communication style to help people understand themselves and then create a structure
    • TCI Team Management System – looking at team management style
    • Looking at productivity and positivity
    • Gives some metrics, very intuitive
  • Measurement at the end of the engagement – tries not to focus on numbers
  • Best practice may be to sell all instruments/models up front, but clients often prefer to take baby steps
  • 1-2 days to look at diagnostic, look at a challenge, then create a roadmap for next 6 months and schedule first two sessions; people get quite excited by the results
  • Example of a team she has worked with over five years: 3 iterations of the team
    • Learned how to let go of people and embrace new people quickly, learned to process emotion and be proactive with change
    • Learned how to own their story
  • Once teams understand what work is being done, there is a huge appetite for more
  • Typically 6-8 weeks between sessions
    • Frequency depends on the urgency of the needs of the team

Creating Space for Teams to Reflect on who they are

  • Helping teams understand what their story is about
  • A story is the most meaningful and memorable way of transferring knowledge
  • Each team shares a story and shares the responsibility for transmitting it and evolving it
  • How does a team navigate complexity?
  • The future is just a story that hasn’t happened
    • What’s trying to happen?
  • How do we understand our story and how to make it meaningful for those who need to make it happen? Understanding your part in a narrative and shaping it to be what you want
  • Exercise: creating a timeline on the wall with highs and lows of the organization from the beginning à team members feel part of something that came before, what happens next?
    • Creates incredible focus
  • Moving forward often means dismantling or opening boundaries to other teams – understanding teams within teams
  • Book – A Team of Teams, looks at the challenge of scaling up with multiple teams
  • Example: an all-female management team
    • Didn’t see themselves as a team – team identity wasn’t initially there
    • When they took ownership of their identity
    • One session with the board helped them understand what was going on and empower the management team to take ownership of the organization and grow it as they saw fit – trust went up 47%
    • When there isn’t strong trust, it doesn’t mean there is distrust, but that people don’t know each other well enough – socialization is important in teams, working through conflict is important too; seeing conflict as an opportunity for change and growth and not as a threat
    • Narrative went from: “management team, responsible for helping people to do their job,” to “we are leaders unlocking the potential for the business, here to serve the world, have a mission, wanting to shake up the industry” – incredible confidence came out of this
    • Article: “The Wives of the Organization” – looking at citizenship in an organization, gender implications
    • Shift from individuals who saw themselves as leaders of vertical systems but didn’t see themselves as a horizontal team; looked at cross-functionality and breaking through that silo mindset
  • “For once we’re not being done to, but we’re given the space to be open and talk things through”
  • Value of space, presence, being there in the moment; giving people permission to have a wide range of expression
  • Teaching team to use itself as an instrument
  • At the root of coaching is prompting awareness and giving people a choice

Example of Working with a Team where it hasn’t worked

  • Wasn’t the space for relationships: a leader who doesn’t want to work on himself, and a level of fear and toxicity – sort of a bullying environment
  • Team was bottom line focused, not looking at relationships
  • Leadership was unclear, in transition, ambiguous
  • It’s good to know as a coach which kinds of teams are a good fit

More on the power of narrative

  • The reason story works is because it moves our hearts, it’s about characters, something very primal about it
  • Each team is part of a wider story – once they embrace what that is, opportunities open up

What is most exciting now?

  • The world is moving so fast, and it’s shrinking – people become overwhelmed and want to slow down, talk about what’s real, prioritize
  • The speed and endless possibilities have made teams want to slow down and make time and space for each other – mindfulness, meaning, purpose
  • Frederick LaLoux book looks at how organizations saw themselves in this world, many organizations getting rid of functions, re-defining roles, looking at the business of business, coming back to purpose, leaders seeing themselves as change agents
  • How do we empower people to manage themselves, how to be more efficient with our time and energy
  • Because of options available, people are opting out of working in organizations
  • People do seem to want to be making time for conversation
  • People are also wanting to make time for learning and understanding why and how you are doing what you’re doing – shift in consciousness, asking people to take more authority for themselves
  • Interconnectedness, mindfulness revolution, elasticity for people to learn as they grow older, presence has a massive impact on others
  • The Four Hour Work Week (Tim Ferriss, 2007) – challenges concept of only living once you retire, there’s got to be a better way
    • Has a podcast as well
  • Richard Boston: if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat
  • Driven by wanting to be compassionate in society; if through work people can grow and develop, they will be better in their roles outside of it as well
  • Perhaps it’s not about leadership, but eldership – broadly rethinking and reshaping relationships


  • A play on reading between the lines – looking deeper within groups

Part 3 – Parting Words & Contacting Carissa

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