George Johnson, CEO of Team Coaching International

#036: Building A Successful Team Coaching Business

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s special guest, George Johnson, for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast. George is the CEO of Team Coaching International—a global professional services firm with a clear purpose: to help our clients create and maintain high-performing teams and organizations. George is a serial entrepreneur who has worked with over 150 clients. He was the co-founder of Internet Broadcasting, worked with United Health Care and Techies.com and also founded three non-profits and two consulting practices. George was the former president of the Minnesota Coaches Association and has been coaching since 2001 as well as conducting strategic planning for over 30 years.

In this special episode of The Team Coaching Zone podcast, George shares insights on how to build a team coaching practice and business. Themes explored in the episode include: the emergence of the field of team coaching; the business case for team coaching; research findings conducted with more than 100 team coaches on the state of their team coaching practices; pricing of team engagements; generating executive coaching clients through team coaching engagements and vice versa; developing a niche team coaching business and more. George also shares insights and lessons learned from Team Coaching International’s experience coaching teams as well as training team coaches. An overview of Team Coaching International’s range of current product and service offerings is also provided.

This is an episode specially tailored for team coaches who are looking to gain insights into how to establish a successful as well as sustainable team coaching business!

Listen Now


Contact George


  1. http://teamcoachinginternational.com
  2. Team Coaching Training Programs:  3-Day Team Coaching Intensive – foundations; working with a team as a system; 4 team diagnostic instruments.  2-Day Advanced Course – 5 competencies of team coaching; co-team coaching.  Note: Special Discounts – promo code <<save750>> to get $750 off the 3-Day intensive course and promo code <<save500>> to get $500 off the 2-Day Advanced Course.
  3. Team Leader View, Team Diagnostic, Team 360 View, Organization View: A suite of assessments designed specifically for team coaching.  Developed by Team Coaching International.  Certification in TCI’s team coach training program is required to access and use these assessments.



Part 1 – Getting to Know the Coach: George Johnson


  • CEO of Team Coaching International
  • Based in Minnesota
  • Successful serial entrepreneur who has coached over 150 clients for the past 12 years
  • Co-founder of Internet Broadcasting, worked with United Health Care and Techies.com
  • Has also founded three non-profits and two consulting practices
  • Former president of the Minnesota Coaches Association; has been coaching since 2001 and strategic planning for over 30 years
  • “I have a deep conviction that people can find a better way to work that gives them the freedom and fulfillment they desire without losing their soul to their work in the process. This is at the heart of sustainability and success for me.”


  • Most important thing is that team coaching is a business ready to explode; all the factors in the world (breakdown in hierarchical management, millennials, holocracy movement, changes in consciousness, complexity of what happens in business) lead to a huge opportunity for team coaching
  • Excited by opportunity for business and for coaches that want to commit to helping them
  • Journey to coaching:
    • Had been working for a dotcom that was about to go public when that bubble burst
    • Had friends who knew about coaching; he still wanted to work with people and business and became a coach 14 years ago
    • Went through Coach Training Institute
    • Co-founded a program through CTI called A Better Way to Live and Work; all about how to grow a coaching business
    • A year ago he was approached to start Team Coaching International
  • Shift in Consciousness: 10 years ago people didn’t know about coaching and they do now, but it’s become a commodity; the key in the future is not going to come from an individual (how much productivity can you “squeeze” from an individual?), it’s going to come from teams – teams have to be responsible for the results, not just the leader
  • Complexity now is a bigger challenge for companies – how to adapt to this?
  • Coaching is coming alive now because the conditions are right for it

Part 2 – Perspectives on Coaching and Team Coaching

Approach to Coaching

  • TCI has been around for 10 years, founded by Alexis Phillips who created the Team Diagnostic assessment given to teams to find out from individuals what it’s like to be on the team; compilation of these answers shows a lot
  • After assessment there is an ongoing coaching program that people become part of – at least 6 months of coaching and then take the assessment again and create a sustainability plan
  • Majority of coaches who do the assessments do not do the follow up coaching, but if they do, they will improve the team performance indicators by 20%
  • Training coaches on how to do it – Team Coaching University (nuts and bolts of running a coaching business)

The Business of Team Coaching

  • Survey around business case for team coaching – responses from 115 team coaches
  • How many team coaching engagements do you plan to conduct? 70% plan on 3-5 per year; almost 25% say they will do more than 10 engagements per year
  • How much do you plan to charge? 20% less than $5,000; not everybody does a full methodology; 35% charge $5-10,000; 25% charging $10-20,000; another 20% charging over $20,000 per engagement à You can build a business that works
  • People may be underselling their value
  • Business case point: working with the whole team brings huge value

Teaching Coaches How to Grow a Business

  • Developed 7 Entrepreneurial Skills: the hardest to teach and the most important was the importance of developing a niche – having one thing that you are the best at
  • Bringing in your background to be part of your team coaching specialty
  • Health Care, Mergers and Acquisitions, and IT Projects
  • Also Government, Education, Small Business, Boards of Directors
  • The important thing is to bring your own experience and passion to your coaching practice
  • When you go in with a proposal for team coaching, go in with the idea that you will engage with the client on an ongoing basis
  • Free Team Leader Review – allows team leaders to do an assessment on how they view their team; can use it as a sales tool
  • If you’re serious about growing your business you have to be willing to put in the time
  • Individual coaching engagements don’t always lead to team coaching engagements, but often what starts as team coaching can lead to individual coaching
  • Just saying you’re a “team coach” begins to define your niche; refining that further to an industry helps even more: “I’m a team coach for small businesses, etc” à first mover advantage; helps define where to put time and money as you grow a business
  • If you’re not coming from a consulting or training background, it is important to understand how to develop the business side
  • Perception that team coaching is very competitive – not because they’re competing against other coaches, but against other budget priorities for clients
  • TCI Introducing certification program next year – will have a track to help people understand how to do full methodology and ongoing coaching, but also a track about how to grow a team coaching business; you can contact George directly to find out about it, happening next spring
  • A challenge for team coaching right now is that it is less common place than executive coaching, but it’s an opportunity to get into the business early
  • Explaining team coaching can be difficult; sports metaphor can help; there’s an opportunity in bringing in something new and fresh

Impact of Team Coaching

  • Krister’s UN study on coaching culture: there was very little mid-level and senior level executive coaching; people were really tired of 1-2 day team building events and wanted something new
  • Case Studies – on TCI website there is a resources page with 15 case studies showing success in team coaching engagements; looking at “Team Performance Indicators” and KPIs
    • One case study is about a health care team that had 18% patient satisfaction; after a year of working with TCI this rose to 82%
  • Team coaching work is a Trojan horse – getting team members to have conversations they wouldn’t have otherwise; can be uncomfortable
  • Interdependencies among many factors contribute to team functioning
  • Teams are more complex now – more happening, speed of internet, virtual teams (people aren’t face to face) à after coaching there is improvement
  • Goal is to help teams produce results
  • Good to help ‘broken’ teams repair, but very exciting to help new teams and build team cultures to help side-step the conflict that happens when people don’t have a methodology to work as a team
  • Leadership development programs aren’t getting clients the results that they are looking for – TCI now working with worldwide Fortune 500 companies to teach leaders how to take team work into their teams à helping the leader become a team coach
  • Example: Detroit manufacturing company that has decided to take team diagnostic tool to every team within the company
  • Example: TCI training people internationally and in US to continually improve team coaching in-house
  • Scaling team coaching within a company to create culture change within a company
  • Amy Edmondson’s book on teaming: Organization’s fundamental organizational unit of learning is the team – the organization learns through teaming à leading to innovation in performance
  • Getting teams to observe and realize what is contributing or detracting from success brings huge improvements in team results
  • One vision of team coaching work: goal that it will one day no longer be needed

What’s coming up in 2016 for TCI?

  • Trainings in China, South America, Europe; two additional trainings this year as well (Atlanta November 10-12, 13-14; and San Raphel November 16-18,19-20). People can sign up on ‘Training’ tab on TCI website. Special offer for listeners: Intensive course: save750 code to save $750 off course or for Advanced course save500 to save $500. Intensive course is 3 days and will give you access to all four products. Advanced course is 2 days and will teach how to scale up engagements with clients to do more ongoing work.
  • New for next year: getting certified as a Team Performance Coach: in-depth study of initial sales process, and complete methodology. Most significant training on how to grow a coaching business – starting April 2016.

Part 3 – Words of Wisdom

  • We need to get the word out on a bigger stage about what we’re doing – podcast is a good catalyst for this
  • Hoping to build a more collaborative community for team coaching – ocean is very wide and there’s no need to be competitive. Now is the time to build the market.

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