Richard Boston, Managing Director & Dean Taylor, Chartered Business Psychologist, both of LeaderSpace Ltd.

#037: The LeaderSpace 5 Step Team Coaching Process

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s guests and leading organizational coaches Richard Boston and Dean Taylor for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast.  Richard and Dean are with LeaderSpace—a consultancy specializing in leadership and team performance based in the United Kingdom and in Australia.  Richard is Managing Director at LeaderSpace and a Chartered Business Psychologist with a thorough knowledge of leadership, team performance, and psychology. He’s the author of ‘ARC Leadership’, arguing that leaders need to be Authentic, Responsible and Courageous if they and their organisations are to move from surviving to thriving in a complex world.  Dean is a Chartered Business Psychologist with a special interest in emotional intelligence and positive psychology.  He is highly skilled in leadership assessment and development, emotional intelligence, team and organizational development and psychometrics.

In this episode of the podcast Richard and Dean share a range of insights from their rich team coaching practices. Themes covered in the episode include: the LeaderSpace 5 step team coaching process (1. Engage, 2. Assess, 3. Align, 4. Progress, 5. Review); co-team coaching; future trends in team coaching including: habit formation in teams, where team coaches can really make a difference, bringing multiple teams together to accelerate change, catapulting coaching across organizations and within industries to address systemic challenges, and more. In the podcast, Richard and Dean also share a number of compelling stories involving teams in the management consulting, charity and public sectors.

This episode is brimming over with a wealth of practical tips, techniques and resources that will help every team coach take their coaching practice to the next level. It’s an episode you will surely not want to miss!

Listen Now


Contact Richard & Dean


  1. www.leader-space.com
  2. Boston, R. (2014). ARC Leadership: from surviving to thriving in a complex world. LeaderSpace Ltd. For bulk orders, contact Richard directly to get four books for the price of three!




Part 1 – Getting to Know the Coaches: Richard Boston & Dean Taylor


  • Two guests on the show today: Richard Boston and Dean Taylor of LeaderSpace, a consultancy specializing in leadership and team performance
  • Based in the United Kingdom, speaking today from Bristol
  • Richard and Dean have worked together since 2002 and are key players at LeaderSpace, based in UK and Australia and working with clients on all continents but Antarctica
  • Richard’s foundations are as a psychologist, has postgraduate qualifications in forensic and organizational psychology, executive coaching, and systemic team coaching. Interest in systems thinking and is the author of ARC Leadership – Authentic, Responsible, Courageous = 3 qualities that research suggests are crucial to success at team and organizational levels
  • Dean is a chartered scientist and human behavior specialist, has worked with senior teams for over 15 years. Has an interest in applying positive psychology research/methods using strength-based approaches, evidence about the impact of emotions on decision-making and performance, and habit-formation
  • Both are fathers and have learned about organizations through that lens as well
  • Richard: experience of being a musician and a performer, being on a rugby team, running and individual exercise with a personal trainer – all of these experiences outside of work inform team coaching. Importance of supervising team coaches to bring outside perspective and challenge your work
  • Dean: There are always parallels we can bring in to coaching work; thinking broadly is key – what are strengths people have in other domains that can be applied in a work setting? Worked as a psychologist, identifying people’s strengths, focuses, difficulties. First contact with positive psychology related to emotional intelligence; led to positive psychology which he found expanded beyond boundaries of psychology as a field à neuropsychologists, behavioral economists, etc talk about strengths and how to use them. Importance of interdisciplinary nature of team coaching

Part 2 – Perspectives on Coaching and Team Coaching

Approach to Coaching

  • Process consultation, Gestalt, NLP — integrated approach works well
  • Analogy of being an explorer: you don’t know the territory, but you have a good process for exploring and mapping
  • Process is never linear. 5-step process drawing on Prochaska, Gestalt, Peter Hawkins, Senge, Clutterbuck, Keegan & Leahy, others – took key ingredients and looked at what was needed to create sustained change
  • Systemic map based on systems thinking – Barry Oshry, Litwin, Torbus, Hogan, etc
  • 5-step Model: Engage, Assess, Align, Progress, Review


  • Engaging team, leader, the system (stakeholders involved), and coaches. Use this instead of the term “contracting” which sounds transactional. Look at 3 core disciplines instead of a systemic map: 1) establishing direction (of coaching itself), 2) securing commitment, and 3) building capacity. You need these things in place when engaging with a team.
  • Example: working with small management consultancy of people who had worked in back office of investment bank. Experience was working as individuals, goal was to create a whole team approach to business development, service delivery, etc. Engagement process was difficult – one team member had not bought into the concept of sacrificing for the team. Important to acknowledge the explicit needs of the team, but also those of the people involved. In this example, the individual broke off from the team and the rest of the team could move forward with their shared direction
  • Importance of being somewhat directive as a coach – helping teams understand where to shine a light. Difficulty when teams are less committed than the coaches – important to clarify commitment and capacity to do the work.
  • Analogy of a shed: someone wants to build a skyscraper but says let’s start with a shed – it’s the wrong foundation, and when you try to build the skyscraper the groundwork isn’t there. It’s difficult to do an incremental approach from team building to full coaching engagement.


  • Mapping and exploring phase. Coaches must be on board. How to simplify representing systems? Visuals are helpful. Bring in a framework that helps teams look at themselves, gradually building and reacting to what happens in the room, but also acknowledging the systems in place that contribute to direction. In addition to diagnostic questionnaire, look at the boundaries around the team and the system. One question they ask is how many people are on the team – often get different answers! Very revealing and helpful in understanding the team better
  • Example: team that described having had a toxic culture in the past. Denial about impact of this history on the present team, but much happening on that team now was related to it. Used systems framework to create discussion points
  • Four concentric circles: 3 words on each and rotate the circles to generate discussion topics
  • Gap analysis between where team is and where it wants to be, looking at strengths moving forward


  • After assessment, what is the direction the team is going to go in now?
  • Is there commitment in and around the team to go in that direction?
  • Exercise to gauge commitment and capacity in the room to deliver on the direction they’re saying they want: creating an axis in the room (commitment + capacity)
  • Accessing minority views, agreeing to disagree, how to address conflict, etc.


  • How as coaches to affect change?
  • Terrence Maltbia: key competencies of team coaches (listening, picking up on discrepancies, language, asking questions, etc)
  • Playing back own experience as a coach is a way to demonstrate empathy, with an element of risk here too because coach experience is different from the team
  • Responsibility for team and individual goals, and not losing sight of the systemic influences on the team
  • This work happens over time


  • Different approaches: 1) re-running diagnostics, 2) asking team to assess impact and have key stakeholders in the room so you can get the robust stakeholder view of the impact of the process
  • Example: charity team – was clear at the end that there had been a change in how they worked with their own clients; reframing what the concept of the work was and managing how it could happen made a huge difference – allowed for more authentic, responsible, and courageous work
  • How to measure progress? Many qualitative results come out that are not always easy to anticipate; sometimes the best change is that which is unexpected so a priori metrics are not defined
  • Closure piece from Gestalt – celebratory aspect of this as well, with stakeholders in the room it helps concretize the progress made

What’s exciting to you now and what’s the future of team coaching?

  • Positive psychology and behavior change, ways in which we form and replace habit – all of this is useful for individual level but more and more is being learned about how to do this at an organizational level. The Power of Habit – how to apply this to teams to help adapt, change, and improve?
  • Immunity to change (Keegan and Leahy) – how systems and individuals can get stuck, related to habit formation, coaching will continue to be more interdisciplinary
  • Around the theme of responsibility, what are we doing to use our skills as team coaches to really make a difference? Bringing multiple teams together to accelerate change, scaling it up, and looking across organizations within similar or related industries to address challenges on a multi-organizational and regional level. Systemic challenges such as productivity, supply chain challenges
  • “The future needs to be increasingly systemic”
  • ARC Leadership book: looking at what can get in the way of courage,
    • Available directly for purchase on Amazon; or to buy more than one you can go to their website directly and get 4 books for the price of 3!

Part 3 – Words of Wisdom

  • Team coaching is coming up and will be an increasingly flooded market; the podcast is a great resource
  • Go to leader-space.com for more information about their approach and much more content to flesh out what was discussed in the podcast


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