Terrence Maltbia, PhD, Faculty Director, The Columbia Coaching Certification Program, Associate Professor of Practice for Adult Learning & Leadership Programs, Teachers College Columbia University

#032 (Part 1) & #033 (Part 2): Frontiers in Executive and Team Coaching: Reflections and Insights on the Interdisciplinary Nature of Team Leadership Coaching and Implications for the Future

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and leading organizational coach, Dr. Terrence Maltbia, for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast.  Dr. Maltbia is the Faculty Director of the Columbia Coaching Certification Program and an Associate Professor of Practice for Adult Learning & Leadership Programs in the Department of Organization & Leadership at Teachers College Columbia University.  Since joining Teachers College in 2006, he has become internationally recognized as a scholar practitioner in the areas of strategic learning; executive and organizational coaching; global leadership development; and emotional, social and cultural intelligence.

In this special two part episode, Terry shares reflections and insights on the interdisciplinary nature of team leadership coaching as well as on the emerging frontiers of the coaching field.  In Part 1 – Episode #032, Dr. Maltbia shares reflections on establishing the Columbia Coaching Certification Program, on Theories of Change, on the Interplay between Executive and Team Coaching, and on his approach to Team Leadership Coaching.  In Part 2 – Episode #033, Terry shares a Challenging Team Coaching Case from his coaching practice involving a sales team and its leader, shares a range of penetrating insights on Team Coaching Competencies, shares his thoughts on Process Consultation, and a visionary perspective on the Future of Executive & Team Coaching.

This is a very rich episode and both executive and team coaches will discover a wealth of practical insights, lessons learned and recommended resources for taking their coaching practices to the next level.  Terry’s visionary insights about the coming of age of the coaching field and the new frontiers that are emerging are truly thought provoking. These are two essential episodes that you will surely not want to miss!

Listen Now – Part 1 


Listen Now – Part 2 


Contact Dr. Maltbia:


  1. Organization Development: A Normative View by Warner Burke
  2. Team Building: Current Issues and New Alternatives, 3rd ed. by William Dyer
  3. Leading Teams: Setting The Stage for Great Performances – Richard Hackman
  4. Organizational Transitions, Managing Complex Change by Richard Beckhard and Reuben Harris
  5. Organizational Learning II: Theory, Method and Practiceby Chris Argyris and Donald Schon
  6. Feedback and Organization Development: Using Data-Based Methods, by David Nadler
  7. Process Consultation by Edgar Schein
  8. Practical Facilitation: A ToolKit of Techniques by Christine Hogan
  9. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins
  10. Starting Smart: Clarifying Coaching Goals and Roles, book chapter by Robert Witherspoon, in M. Goldsmith’s at el, Coaching for Leadership



Part 1 – Episode #032: Themes covered: Reflections on Establishing the Columbia Coaching Certification Program, on Theories of Change, on the Interplay between Executive & Team Coaching, and On Team Leadership Coaching

A – Getting to Know the Coach: Dr. Terrence Maltbia

  • Background
    • Faculty Director, Columbia Coaching Certification Program
    • Associate Professor of Practice for Adult Learning & Leadership Programs, Department of Organization & Leadership, Teachers College Columbia University
    • Since joining TC in 2006, he has become internationally recognized as a scholar practitioner in the areas of strategic learning; executive and organizational coaching; global leadership development; emotional, social and cultural intelligence.
    • Dr. Maltbia is a 2011 Cutting-Edge Award recipient for work co-authored with R. Ghosh & V. Marsick, Trust & Presence as Executive Coaching Competencies: Reviewing Literature in Inform Practice and Future Research; Academy of Human Resource Development.
    • He won the Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award for his pioneering diversity practitioner research.
    • Terry enjoyed a successful career with Westvaco Corporation (now MeadWestvaco), where he held many posts including Transition Consultant during the merger with Mead Corporation, Vice President Organizational Effectiveness Center of Excellence, Director Corporate Development and Training, Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President, Group Manager Marketing Personnel Development, Sales Training Manager, Manager College Relations and Corporate Employment, Sales Manager, and Sales Representative. He also spent two years as a Senior Consultant for Rath & Strong Management Consultants, a process improvement firm based on Boston.
    • Today, he provides coaching and consulting services to Corporate and University-based Executive Development clients focused on high impact leadership and building organizational capability, sample clients include: Colgate, Columbia Business School, Covidien, HBO, Newmont Mining, Oakland University, Pfizer, The Ohio State University, The State of Ohio, Trizetto Corporation.
    • Dr. Maltbia received a B.S. in Business Administration from The Ohio State University, and holds masters and doctoral degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University.
    • He is a former Vice President and current Chair of Academic Standards for The Graduate School Alliance of Executive Coaching Programs and is a member of the International Coach Federation, Academy of Management, and Academy of Human Resource Development.
    • At Teachers College, he teaches Qualitative Data Analysis; Leadership; and a 3-Part Series on Emotional, Social and Cultural Intelligence.
    • Author of numerous books and articles
  • Additional Personal & Professional Information
    • Sports and music – two key experiences that have shaped him as an executive and team coach going back to when he was a child
    • Interplay between music and sports: you learn your individual craft; there are also small ensembles of duos and trios; need to know your part as well as when you are front stage as well as backstage
    • Interplay between being front and back stage; individual and team
    • Individual and team coaching

B. Reflections and Insights 

  • Reflections On Founding the Columbia Coaching Certification Program
    • Launched in Fall of 2007
    • Terry entered Teachers College in 2006; was a Masters and Doctoral student at TC starting in 1989 as well
    • Terry got exposed to sales coaching early in his career; late 1980’s
    • Sales coaching has had a large emphasis in the sales and marketing space: is really linked to performance; line of sight between behavior and performance is really clear
    • Worked as a sales rep, a coach and then moved into organizational development
    • TC had some courses on coaching; at the same time he was noticing the emerging field of executive coaching
    • Developed a partnership between Teachers College and the Business School at Columbia to establish the coaching program
    • Started with 3 doctoral students and doing some research: looked at professional coaching organizations around the world with more than 500 members – found 40 organizations that met that criteria.  All of the associations had competency models; lots of overlap between the competencies and codes of conduct or ethics.  What they couldn’t find was an explicit coaching “process.”
    • Analyzed the outcomes of the review by looking at:principles, ethics, core coaching competencies and process to see what research support existed for each component. This led to some articles by Dr. Maltbia and colleagues on competencies in executive and organizational coaching.
    •  TC has a number of disciplines that coaching draws on: adult learning and leadership and social-organizational psychology.  Emphasis on behavioral change and behavioral sciences, executive behavior and leadership and organizational design and management
    • Program is based on 3 foundations: guiding principles (ethics), core coaching competencies, and process
    • Process – what happens in the space between the coach and client; the coach can only do so much
    • Going into 9th year now: two cohorts per year
  • On Theories of Change
    • Have an explicit theory of change that is influenced by a number of inputs
    • Based on the “science of human performance”
    • Program is focused on a speciality area within the larger coaching field: executive and organizational coaching
    • At the end of the day organizations care about performance: so program draws on understanding human performance
    • Influences & Underlying Frameworks: draws on Terrence Jackson – main heuristic and theory of change: context, content, & conduct; lot can fit under that (e.g. Burke-Litwin model of organization change; Nadler’s change model, Boytazis’ intentional change theory, etc…)
    • Doesn’t matter to Dr. Maltbia which underlying theory of change coaches draw on but believes they should have an explicit theory of change
    • The Columbia Coaching theory of change (Context, Content, Conduct) is a generalist one but the participants are encouraged to do their own research project and adopt their own specific approach within that generalist approach
    • Quote: “You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  You teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”  Shelf life of knowledge is very short.  Program is committed to developing a Community of Practice of scholars and practitioners.  Not trying to make them researchers but wants them to be consumers of research.  Participants engage in a coach specific research project: a topic, a question, scan of literature the topic, can also collect original data through interviews and surveys; and link the study to the three elements of the Columbia Coaching model
    • Balances generalist approach of the program with each coach also developing a signature specialist approach based on their specific interests
  • On The Interplay between Executive and Team Coaching
    • Terry’s early career in organization development focused more on working with groups than individual; worked with individual leaders in preparation for working with groups and the organizational system
    • Terry’s current consulting practice involves executive coaching, group coaching, facilitation and organizational development and diversity consulting
    • Finds that team leadership coaching is very useful
    • Lewin’s equation: behavior is a function of the person x the environment
    • Executive coaching is useful but not sufficient for the task of organizational excellence
    • Culture eats strategy for breakfast; if you approach only focuses on the individual then you are only working one side of the change equation.  Individual coaching is inherently not operating at scale.
    • Doesn’t deny the value and importance of one-to-one coaching; rather needs to be put into a context
    • How do we scale coaching? Coaching is customized which is great but also costly.  This is why the Columbia program has two tracks (external and internal)
    • Executive coaching is wonderful and yet when you want to scale it this is where Terry’s interest in team leadership coaching comes in.
    • Terry really interested in how do we build coaching cultures.  At the end of the day that is when our work as coaches is sustainable in an organizational context.
    • Individual, Teams and Organizational levels: Teams are really the bridge between individual and organization; its really hard for individuals to have a clear line of sight with what the organization is trying to do; teams can help with that bridging and driving performance
  • On Terry’s Approach to Team Leadership Coaching
    • A blend of executive coaching and what Terry learned and experience in learning and development, in talent management, and in organizational development.
    • Begins with one-to-one coaching with the team leader for 3 to 6 months depending on the aim
    • Combines team leadership coaching with team coaching: leader still the client, the unit of analysis becomes the team
    • Doesn’t do one-to-one coaching with individual team members if he is coaching both the team leader and the team as a whole; hard to keep alliances clean if you also try to coach individual team members.  Supports individual team members to get coaches if needed but not to receive coaching from Terry in this respect. Intervention gets muddy if you do based on Terry’s experience.  For him there is an ethical line here.
    • Work with the team typically lasts 6+ months; sometimes 3 months when it is a start-up but typically 6 to 12 months
    • Terry feels strongly that coaching of the team leader for 3 to 6 months up front is critical; this view is informed by process consultation and the notion that the team is the leader’s team and not his team. Important to help the leader maintain his/her role.
    • Terry incorporates process consultation and process observation into the team coaching part while helping the leader maintain his/her role
    • Goal of scalability and learning transfer: the mark of a great coach is that when you leave the work is sustained or when you reenter you are taking work to a new level and not recycling past work
    • Role is to support the team via process observations and other coaching interventions
    • Results are always important in addition to the learning and capacity-building
    • Really understanding the strategic context and guiding emphasis of the coaching with the leader: draws on Michael Watkins work on the first 90 days and the focus of understanding the strategic context. Is the client in a startup, realignment, turnaround, sustaining success.  The challenges and opportunities is influenced by the strategic context.  Within that, what does the leader want to achieve in terms of performance outcomes.  What does that suggest about our coaching emphasis in the one-to-one coaching component.
    • Does the team leader need: skills and knowledge; performance; development; executive agenda/organizational role work (draws on Robert Witherspoon’s work here)
    • Does some basic contracting stuff/data collection depending on what comes out of context assessment.  Might use some personality assessments like the Hogan or the NBI; if it is about culture than the IDI.
    • It’s important in Terry’s view to get really clear on the coaching emphasis (i.e. Context in the Columbia coaching model) because “if it is everything than it is nothing.”
    • Importance of metrics and indicators: tries to help client articulate quantitative metrics, qualitative metrics, time metrics (cycle time), resource metrics, all in service of impact metrics
    • One of the challenges in the field is how to do you position the value of coaching: field tends to attract more right brain people than left brain measurement folks.
    • Terry much more right-brained but because he spent 20 years working in organizations where measurement was critical he has learned to work outside of his thinking preference.
    • Most coaches have testimonials which is great but not sufficient for most organizations especially when they are working in a market downturn when budgets are getting tight.
    • When the agenda starts getting fuzzy as you get into the engagement and as you start increasing awareness at the individual team leader level and/or team level, being clear on the metrics can help you be deliberate about changing or modifying the agenda; the metrics ground you in decision making.
    • If the language in business is money, then the alphabet is numbers.
    • Despite being very right brained Terry realizes that to stay in business you have to be able to talk numbers.
    • Transition into the team coaching component of the engagement – some core components: the role of the team leader; the coaches’ role as a process observer and intervenor; getting team clear about the unit of analysis (i.e. team vs. individual); identifying the intentional change process of the team; team foundations around the Tuckman stages/phases of team development.
    • Terry’s modification of the Tuckman model: Forming, Norming & Exceling.  Intervening elements of Storming and Performing.

Part 2 – Episode #033: Themes covered: Team Coaching Challenge Story, On Team Coaching Competencies, On Process Consultation, On the Future of Executive & Team Coaching

C. Team Coaching Story

  • Challenge Story: Terry likes the process side a lot.  He was brought in by a client and the emphasis was going to be on sales team coaching with both the leader and the leader’s team
  • Hackman talks about whether you have a “real team.” Hackman’s work on structure in teams.
  • Realized that he didn’t do enough structure work with the team.
  • He did the 3 months of coaching with the leader and and 6 months with the team: they really like it but wasn’t getting results
  • Came to realize that the team wasn’t a real team.  The team as defined wasn’t correct.  The team were actually customer teams because that is where the work really was happening. The teams were made up of sales reps, customer service reps, technical service reps, and an operations and logistics person. Those four individuals were there real team and were involved in every client engagement.
  • Hackman cites Wageman’s work on the role of team design and team self-managment and objective performance measures.  Found that design was 4x more powerful as coaching on effecting the team’s level of self management and 40x more powerful than coaching on the team’s performance.
  • Terry found that was missing: had team development stuff, and coaching and facilitation skills, what he didn’t focus on was the team’s design and structure; ended up wasting some of the client’s time and money. This is where evidence-based practice is helpful: going back to the metrics, the needle wasn’t moving.  What is going on here? What change/adjustment do we need to make.
  • His approach was privileging “self as instrument” and the process side of the work which is where his preferences are.
  • Realized that you have to work on the structure side: goals, roles, and procedures before getting more into the process side.
  • Engagement was paused and Terry got a chance to do team coaching at the level of the business unit rather than the client’s team.  His boss became the client.  Reengaged with the leadership team of that business unit.  Did a bunch of data collection and refocused on those customer teams.  They got the results and this led to big insight for Terry about the structure of the team and is the team a real team.
  • Is the work interdependent? What is the BART (Boundaries, Authority, Role and Task) of the team. How does design help and how do you build stability into the team.
  • Lessons Learned:
    • There are some transferable skills that we learn as coaches that are useful; but what we learn in one-to-one coach training is insufficient for working with teams
    • Team development work, facilitation skills, team design/structure work
    • Team design trumps process aspects

D. On Competencies for Team Coaching 

  • Clear and deliberate change process and performance process
  • Team foundations – roles, goals, procedures, Tuckman’s phases
  • Organizational design and structure
  • The coaching competencies serve us well for part of the work of team coaching but because we are bumping up a level of analysis to team and system we need additional ones: we need to know about change processes, team and group development, leadership styles, performance measurement, organizational design and consultation is key.
  • Coaches are well-prepared and have an inclination to want to do the group, team and leadership development work, but we often need more rigor in the performance measurement and organizational design and structure stuff (it’s more of the left brain competencies that we need).
  • Recommended References for Team Coaches: The leader’s role and the coaches role: recommends checking out Robert Witherspoon’s worked sourced earlier. Also Edgar Schein’s work on process consultation. Richard Hackman’s work on structure. Beckhard and Harris’ work on organizational transitions. Richard Boyatzis on Intentional Change Theory.  And for more advanced models, the Burke-Litwin Model of Organization Change:  culture and climate levers.

E. On Process Consultation

  • Terry visited Edgar Schein in Cambridge, Massachusetts and had an in-depth conversation about process consultation
  • Schein’s work on Process Consultation is really a modification of the action-research process: stages of contracting, data collection and feedback, etc…  Has a decidedly process focus. His work was always about placing process consultation in a larger organizational context.  Has some great stuff on structure and process observation and data collection.
  • His later book on Helping: talks about engaging the whole person, head/heart/hand.  Goes beyond Process Consultation.
  • PC helps with both the structure as well as the process of the work.
  • Coaching brings more of the aesthetic and the heart work and the human interaction element.
  • When we look at a lot of the early stages of coaching research it is very qualitative and so as a result a lot of the focus is on the human dimension. Whereas a lot of the research in social-organizational psychologist is quantitative and so the result is more on the data and structural elements.  Both are necessary.
  • One of the challenges with coaching competencies in organizational settings, the pendulum is extreme on one side – the human, relational side.
  • In the coaching space, PC is often called shadow coaching.  Shadow coaching, following a leader around for a day, can be very powerful.  Gives you an “in the bones” context. In like manner sitting in and observing/shadowing a team can be very powerful.  It really gives you a sense of the context which earns you the right to coach them.
  • The team leadership coaching work has really informed Terry’s executive one-to-one coaching approach: the interplay.
  • Recommended Resource: in addition to the leader and coaches role, client definition & stakeholder analysis, change process, team foundations (goals, roles, procedures, communication, decision, conflict resolution, etc…), team development (Tuckman’s stages), team leadership style, and performance measures, is the Belbin Team Roles and Assessment
  • Parting suggestion: giving some thought to “how do I need to refine my instrument as a one-to-one coach to now working with a team as a unit of analysis?”  Process observation skills.  If you reflect on that then you can vet the various team coaching training offerings.

F. On the Future of Executive and Team Coaching

  • Teams and groups and team coaching as an enabler, is already on the organizational radar.  It’s not new.  Lots of research on teams going a lot way back.
  • What’s new is the spin with coaching.
  • In the US, the context is struggling to shift from an individualistic mindset and performance systems to one that is more organizational.  The focus on teaming is about bridging that gap.
  • Terry’s perspective: professional coaching is about 20-30 years old; we spend the first 1 to 2 decades trying to differentiate ourselves from other helping professions.  People and the world move towards interdependence (dependence –> independence –> interdependence).
  • How do we leverage coaching with other helping resources? Talent management, leadership development, team development, etc…
  • In Terry’s own work it is much easier to sell coaching when you can link it to something else: integration.
  •  If coaching is going to realize its promise, it needs to think more about integration.
  • Focus on similarities and differences; balance of differentiation and integration
  • We have spent a lot of work on differentiating coaching, if it is going to have power it is going to need to think about leverage which will come from finding and linking to similarities. This will lead to sustainability and systemic impact of coaching.
  • 2016 Columbia Coaching Conference may focus on expanding the boundaries of coaching; more of an interdisciplinary focus.
  • Questioning, listening, presence are not new; they exist in other helping professions as well.  Coaching has a different take on it.
  • Diversity is about unique mixtures that focuses on both similarities and differences
  • How to power coaching through identifying the similarities with other helping professions.
  • Its about the coming of age of coaching: as a field, moving from adolescence into adulthood; independence and interdependence.
  • Team coaching has an opportunity to jump start the integration from the outset.
  • Coaching needed to go through the independence stage but the next stage of evolution is about moving into the interdisciplinary stage.
  • When we start talking about team coaching, its important to talk about groups vs. teams; the continuum of interventions and what’s the mix between group and teamwork. In order to know what team coaching is, we need to know what it is not.  Team coaching is different from group coaching; despite the overlap.
  • Team coaching may take market share from other helping professions.  Getting ahead of that earlier than later is important.
  • The new frontier of coaching will be in our ability to help link it to other helping professions.

G. Learning More about Terry

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