Can team coaching serve as a vehicle for leadership development in addition to generating better business results? How does team coaching create collaborative energy across teams and organizations? What happens when team coaches slow down the action in order to allow moments of truth to surface? Join show host Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s featured guest Dr. Hilary Lines to explore these and other interesting topics on this week’s episode of the Team Coaching Zone podcast!

Dr. Hilary Lines is a Founding Partner at Touchpoint Leaders where she is a practicing Executive and Team Coach. She is also a Faculty Member in team coaching at the Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC), and a co-author of the book Touchpoint Leadership: Creating Collaborative Energy Across Teams and Organizations (with Jacqui Scholes-Rhodes). Themes covered in this episode include:

  • Lines’ journey from business researcher to HR professional working with R&D teams, to leadership development and change management consultant and later to Head of Partner Development at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Consulting, to leadership coach and consultant at IBM, to leading her own Executive and Team Coaching business and becoming a Faculty Member at the Academy of Executive Coaching.
  • Teams as nested entities
  • “Leadership at the Touchpoint” as first described in Touchpoint Leadership: Creating Collaborative Energy Across Teams and Organizations (Lines and Scholes-Rhodes) that spans individual, team and organizational coaching
  • Organizations as networks of relationships; relationships as the prime source of value creation in organizations
  • Team coaching as a vehicle for leadership development and creating collaborative energy
  • Leadership as residing in the relationships between individuals, teams and organizational systems
  • Hilary Lines and John Leary-Joyce’s forthcoming book on Systemic Team Coaching
  • Story of coaching a team in a professional services firm
  • The role of team leaders in team coaching engagements
  • Moments of choice as team coaches: Slowing down the action in order to surface moments of truth
  • Coaching individuals on the team in addition to the team and the team leader
  • Team coaching as a learning process
  • Insights into the training of team coaches: the What, the How and the Who
  • Trends in the team coaching industry
  • Resources for team coaches and more…

This is yet another episode chock full of learning gems for team coaches. Get into the Team Coaching Zone today and let Dr. Hilary Lines help you take your team coaching practice to the next level! To learn more about Dr. Hilary Lines visit:

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Part 1 – Getting to know the Team Coach

  • Executive & team coach and Master practitioner, facilitator & advisor in organizational change, innovator in leadership development
  • Founding Partner at Touchpoints Leaders
  • Faculty member of Academy of Executive Coaching
  • Co-Author of Touchpoint Leadership: Creating Collaborative Energy Across Teams And Organizations
  • Hilary specializes in helping senior leaders work with conflict and difference within their teams
  • Her doctoral research examined the factors that help and hinder the inspiration of R&D scientists
  • After her doctoral program, she worked in HR as team facilitator at a pharmaceutical company. She then worked at PWC first as a Leadership Development and Change Management consultant at PWC, then worked internally as Head of Partner Development. After, she became a Coach and Leadership Consultant at IBM. In 2005, she started her own coaching business

Part 2 – Approach to Team Coaching

  • Organizations are networks of relationships. The relationships are the prime source of value in an organization.
  • “An organization’s value is in its relationships”
  • 3 core elements for an effective leader:
    • Self-awareness
    • Resourceful/ Agile at the touchpoint (of connection)
    • Leader needs to be aware of the landscape of connections, and know where to intervene
  • Her book integrates case studies from one to one coaching, relationship coaching, team & organizational coaching
    • Primarily written for leaders and widely read by coaches
  • Team coaching is a vehicle for leadership development – Hilary designs leadership programs and integrates team coaching
  • As she coaches leadership teams, she helps them develop capacity for shared leadership
  • Leadership resides in the relationship between people
  • She is currently in the process of writing a book, Systemic Team Coaching, with John Leary-Joyce.
  • A trap team coaches may fall into: In the beginning phases of working with a client, we are drawn into taking sides. We should coach the unit as a system and the leader’s interest as it relates to the interest of the system as a whole.
  • We should pay attention to the language that the team members are using
  • “There is no such thing as a difficult person” She helps leaders shift their perspective of individual behavior as it relates to the system – “what is this person saying on behalf of the system that is being interpreted in a very judgmental way?”

Example 1: Professional Service Case

  • Her work as an external consultant to a team had the challenge of creating shared leadership which would build a culture within the organization
  • Early stages consisted of scoping and inquiring
  • Internal Inquiring from the team: where are their ambitions, where are they as individuals, how do they manage conflict, collaborate, make decisions?
  • Inquiring from key stakeholders: survey data, role of board, commissioners etc.
  • Discovered that the team’s task was in conflict with the business culture and performance metrics
  • She coached the team to work with their board for dialogue. Slows team down to create relationships, a necessary condition for the broader team challenge
  • Helped team map out their other touchpoints (in addition to board). Encouraged them to put themselves in the shoes of the relationship that they need to build contact with
    • Uses empty chair technique to embody the perspective of other and practice conversations
  • Recognized a desire of team leader really build share leadership. Wanting team leaders to “step up… and take more power”
  • However, also recognized the team leader’s discomfort with silence in the room
  • She helped interrupt this pattern to leave more space for other team members. Then, power within the team was able to gradually shift
  • Team started to take responsibility for their expertise and strategy.
  • Shifted sense of belonging across the business. Team leader carried out commissioning dialogue
  • Group members matured individually and developed as leaders, as the team was developing and maturing

Example 2: CEO v Head of Ops

  • Inquiry showed a rift between CEO and head of operations
  • CEO was conflict avoidant, as soon as the conversation regarding conflict with head of operations emerged, CEO requested conversation be “taken off line”
  • Hilary intervened as a team coach and suggested that they explore the conversation as a point of learning
  • As a team coach, we must be tuned into learning opportunities such as these
  • Hilary gives teams the choice to slow down and explore learning opportunities, or hurry up with the agenda and ignore them

More on team coaching:

  • At the heart of good team coaching is coaching the relationships – with commissioners, team leader, team members
  • Incorporates one to one coaching with all team members, in addition to team leader
  • Team coaching is a learning process – learning collectively and individually
  • At the academy, she encourages team coaches to be aware of their unique ways of coaching:
    • The “what” – what are the foundations and underpinnings in the way you view your world, your work
    • The “how” – tools and techniques used
    • The “who” – confidence and resilience. Knowing yourself, when you might take yourself out of being resources for the team
  • The confidence – willingness to work with the unknown, slow down process, to challenge and hold safe space – is most important
  • Team coaches should integrate team assignments in parallel with learning through team coaching

Part 3 – Closing / Parting Advice / Words of Wisdom

  • Stay tuned for upcoming book (to be release by early 2018) – Systemic Team Coaching
  • Recommends Leadership Team Coaching by Peter Hawkins
  • Recommends Team of Teams by General McChrystal
  • Field of team coaching is increasing, coming from coaching and leadership backgrounds. She is noticing a shift in organizations requesting team coaching
  • Important to be clear on your team coaching style
  • Encourages coaches to explore teams within teams, focus on the connections between teams
  • Recognize that teams operate in the organizational system and is important bring OD perspective to team coaching work
  • Reach out to Hilary:

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