Krister Lowe, PhD: Organizational Psychologist, Leadership & Team Coach, Host of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast

Episode #056: Krister Lowe, PhD: Assessments in Team Coaching

Join Dr. Krister Lowe for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast! In this episode, Krister shares his thinking around using assessments as part of team coaching engagements. This is the first in a 3-part series focusing on resources for team coaches. The second episode will look at leading team coaching books for team coaches. The third episode will look at some of the leading team coach training programs available. Specific themes explored in this episode include:

1. The Pros & Cons of Using Assessments
2. Overview of individual Level Assessments
3. Overview of 5 Team Level Assessments
4. Alternative Methods of Assessment: surveys, interviews, focus groups and observation

Listeners will find this episode useful for understanding why to use assessments in the first place as well as what options are available for doing so. Krister also shares some of his experiences using assessments with clients.

Finally, listeners are encouraged to go to http://www.teamcoachingzone.com to subscribe to the Zone’s weekly newsletter which has information and discounts on upcoming team coaching training and assessment certification programs along with other helpful information for team coaches.

Have a great day and remember to Stay in the Zone!

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Resources Mentioned

1.Team Level Assessments Explored in the Episode

2.Books/Articles Mentioned on the Podcast

3. Listen to the Episode:








Part 1 – Episode Introduction

  • Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of the TCZ podcast!
  • Summer and watching the Olympics which has been super inspiring. It’s truly incredible to see what humans are capable of achieving when talent and potential and hard work and discipline come together.
  • The stories of the athletes are really inspiring
  • This summer I’ve been working on gearing up for an exciting Fall at the TCZ:
    • New podcast episodes
    • New blog posts
    • Columbia Coaching Conference this Fall (October 19, 20, 21 New York City)
    • Our second Team Coaching Zone sponsored workshop this year with Ruth Wageman workshop in November (November 9, 10, 11) on Diagnosing & Coaching Teams in New York. Back in January we had a great 3 day workshop with Peter Hawkins. You can get more details at: http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/events/
  • Be sure to subscribe to the TCZ newsletter at teamcoachingzone.com for weekly/bi-weekly updates. In addition to content like the latest podcast episode, blog posts, webinars, etc…I also include in there a section on upcoming team coaching events and trainings. I have some exclusive discounts on team coaching related products and training programs that some of the previous guests of the podcast are extending to the TCZ. So to check that out you can subscribe to the TCZ newsletter at www.teamcoachingzone.com.
  • Email me at teamcoachingzone@gmail.com, krister@teamcoachingzone.com with comments, questions, suggestions
  • Have 1 or 2 minutes to give a rating and review of the podcast. Head over to iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/team-coaching-zone-podcast/id954639894?mt=2

Part 2 – Context and Overview of the Episode

  • In this episode I’d like to talk a little about using assessments in team coaching engagements.
  • Throughout my podcast I’ve come across a number of assessments that team coaches use. I’ve been experimenting with a number of these in my own practice and the frameworks behind them.
  • The three questions I most frequently get asked about by listeners of the show are:
    • Recommendations on assessments
    • Recommendations on books
    • Recommendations on team coaching training programs
  • So I thought it might be good to have a 3-part mini series of podcast episodes that focus on each of these topics. in this episode we’ll kick that series of by taking a look at using assessments in team coaching engagements.
  • I’d like to cover a few themes in this episode including:
    • A brief discussion of pros and cons of using assessments.
    • Using individual-level assessments
    • Using team-level assessments
    • Some alternatives to using assessments: such as other surveys (i.e. SurveyMonkey, interviews, focus groups, and observation
    • I’ll also share some tips and lessons learned throughout as well using assessments from my own team coaching practice.
  • Alright, well with that behind us let’s get into it

Part 3 – Pros and Cons of Using Assessments

  • Pros and Cons: A brief discussion of pros and cons of using assessments.
    •  Pros:
      • Generating buy-in for change: reducing anxiety, creating a collective sense of our current state
      • Data-Collection-Feedback is part of a change process (Kurt Lewin’s idea of unfreezing–>moving–>refreezing).
      • Data / Measurement– face validity; concretizes what can be abstract
      • Metrics – pre and post, ROI
      • Provides data that can be fit to a model (you can collect data and then fit to a model as well however it’s more parsimonious)
      • Cut to the heart of a team’s strengths and areas for change
      • Can be a shiny object that can lead to coaching engagements
      • At the end of the day they aid in getting a conversation going
    • Cons:
      • Costs to get certified and ongoing costs to pay for the instruments: I think of this as more of a value for money issue
      • Drinking the Kool-Aid: there is a comfort in relying on instruments as a crutch or overly playing into our need for concrete things to hold onto. Comforting for novice practitioners but I’ve also seen this with experienced practitioners. Helps manage complexity.
      • Could delay or distract you from getting on with the some of the core change work which an instrument can’t do for you. Instrument is an aid to support change and not a proxy for the change process itself. The tool helps with diagnosis but needs to be coupled with coaching to come alive.
      • My bias in coaching: the discovery work in coaching (needs assessment and retreats, etc…) are often the fun and easy part, the work on really changing and following through on goals and taking bold action is much harder and that is where coaching comes in and is really more at the core of the change process. (Note: I would steer folks looking for change frameworks to the work by Richard Boyatzis at Case Western University on Intentional Change Theory; David Nadler on Feedback and Organization Development: Using data-based methods; Warner Burke on Organization Change: Theory and Practice. I see team coaching as fundamentally a process of learning and change and so I think it is important for team coaches to have a theory of change that guides their practice).

Part 4 – Individual Level Assessments

  • Helpful at the individual and interpersonal levels
  • Some individual-level assessments mentioned by team coaches on the TCZ podcast:
    • MBTI, DiSC, NBI Thinking Preferences Assessment, Hogan, LeaderNation 360, FiRO Element B, Strengths Finder, Leadership Spectrum Profile, Leadership Circle (Bill Adams and Roma Gaster episode #42), MLQ360 (Doug MacKie Episode #050), Belbin Team Roles, Global Leadership Profile
  • Many of these can be aggregated to great a group composite or group score which can be helpful
  • I find these instruments well suited for team formation and teambuilding and when coupled with an online survey (SurveyMonkey) and interviews can lead to a deeper needs assessment via triangulation.
  • One caution has to do with making generalizations from individual level data to the group level. The referent in these assessments is the individual and not the group. This is a measurement issue but and important one. While individuals preferences and differences impact teams, teams are more than the sum of the parts. Some research by Hackman and Wageman found that coaching each individual in a leadership team didn’t significantly impact team performance. Doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t coach individual leaders, it’s just that a team is more than the sum of the parts. Doug MacKie in episode 50 has a good example of team coaching that begins with the individual and moves to the team. Others Dorothy Siminovitch, Will Adams and Roma Gaster, Terry Maltbia have spoken about the levels of system individual/interpersonal, team and system.
  • My own executive and team coaching interventions I mostly use the NBI thinking preferences assessment and the LeaderNation 360. I’m tempted to play around with a number of the assessments my show guests have recommended but I’ve mainly bene putting my energy into assessments that are “team level” vs. “individual level.”
  • In summary the value I see in using these assessments is really to get a learning process going mainly at the individual level from which you can then springboard to the team level. They can help with creating safety and getting people into a learning orientation and if you are looking at creating a coaching culture in a team it can be useful to have some of these tools in the toolkit.
  • Story of RF and wanting more individual-level assessments.

Part 5 – Team Level Assessments

  • Five team-level assessments for use in team coaching
  • 1) Team Diagnostic Survey
  • 2) Team Ei Survey
    • Based on the work by Vanessa Duskatt & Steven Wolff
    • GEI Partners and EI World
    • What differentiates high performing teams from good performing teams: Team emotional intelligence factors
    • 3 Team Fundamentals (Goals and Objectives, Meeting Procedures, Roles and Responsibilities)
    • 9 Team Emotional Intelligence Norms (Interpersonal Understanding, Addressing Counterproductive Behavior, Caring Behavior, Team Self-Evaluation, Creating Emotions Resources, Creating and Affirmative Environment, Proactive Problem-solving, Organizational Understanding, Building External Relations)
    • 4 Social Capital outputs (Safety and Risk Taking, Team Identity, Innovation, Creating Debate)
    • Podcast #029 with Geetu Bhwarwaney: http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/geetubharwaney/
    • Harvard Business Review Article: Druskat, V. U., & Wolff, S. B. (2001). Building the emotional intelligence of groups. Harvard Business Review, 79(3), 81-90.  Access PDF here.
    • http://www.eiworld.org/Events/Team-Emotional-Intelligence
  • 3) Team Coaching International’s 4 Team Coaching Assessments
    • Based on the work of Phil Sandhal and Alexis Phillips
    • Two Factors: Productivity (7 sub-dimensions) & Positivity (7 sub-dimensions)
    • Productivity Dimensions: Team Leadership, Accountability, Alignment, Goals & Strategies, Decision Making, Resources, Proactive
    • Positivity Dimensions: Communication, Trust, Respect, Values Diversity, Camaraderie, Constructive Interaction, Optimism
    • Podcast #024 with Phil Sandhal: http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/phillipsandahl/
    • Podcast #036 with George Johnson: http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/georgejohnson/
    • Four Assessments: 1) Team Diagnostic (team members view of itself); 2) Team Leader View; (team leader’s view of the team); 3) Team 360 View (stakeholder’s view of the team); 4) Organization View (organizational level climate/health view)
    • http://teamcoachinginternational.com
  • 4) Team Connect 360
  • 5) Polarity Map

Part 6 – Some Alternatives to Psychometric Assessments

  • Surveys (e.g. SurveyMonkey) – create your own survey with qualitative (e.g. SWOT analysis questions)  as well as quantitative components (rate a team on 5 to 10+ team effectiveness dimensions.
  • Interviews – 20 to 30 minute interviews
  • Focus Groups – face-to-face or online
  • Observation – sitting in like a fly on the wall and observing a team

Part 7 – Closing

  • Subscribe to the TCZ newsletter at teamcoachingzone.com to gain access to discounts on upcoming team coaching training programs.
  • Upcoming TCZ sponsored event on “Diagnosing & Coaching Teams Using the Team Diagnostic Survey” in New York City on November 9,10,11 (2016).  For more info check out: http://www.teamcoachingzone.com/events/

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