How to Boost Your Confidence in Group and Team Coaching | By Jennifer Britton

Group and Team Coaching represented by happy business people doing high fivesLack of confidence in group and team coaching is common - whether you're a new or experienced coach. For some people it's the complexities of working with more than one coaching client at a time and for others it's that they just don't know how to approach working with groups and teams.

This article gets you to think about your own level of confidence in working with teams and groups, as well as providing you with ideas of how you can build your skills muscle and confidence in running your own group and team coaching programming.

Confidence is very personal: Before reading on, coach yourself and ask, "What approaches will help me build more confidence?" and consider 2-3 things you think would help you boost your confidence levels. Then as you read the article, note the ideas that resonate with you.

Confidence in Group and Team Coaching

If you need more knowledge around group and team work there is a whole body of theory around how groups form and operate, where they get in trouble and how they can excel. Today university courses, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), and on-demand programs can fill any gaps you may have around these theories and latest research.

To feel more confident around group and team work, for many coaches it's simply about getting out and "doing the work". That means getting into practice - actually working with groups and teams - to gain confidence. If you are someone who learns and excels experientially, below I share how to boost confidence working with groups and teams.

Here are 7 ways to Boost Your Confidence as a Group and Team Coach:

1) Consider your own base of experience

The chances are that by the time you've reached adulthood you have been part of a myriad of groups and teams - from school groups, to special projects and committees, sports teams and perhaps even virtual teams. While there is a growing body of science behind what makes teams and groups excel, taking time to reflect on our own team and group experience can be valuable. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • What has been your own base of experience in being part of groups and teams?
  • Which teams excelled?
  • What made that happen?
  • Which teams hit many roadblocks?

womanMP9001850562) What are your strengths, skills, styles and biases?

Our ability to adapt our skills, approaches and even styles is key in group and team coaching. So it is important to get a sense of your natural strengths, style and biases. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are the things you lead and excel with naturally?
  • What blindspots do you have?
  • What are your preferences?

For a more detailed exploration, consider what is needed from you as a coach if you were to work with the following two entities:

  1. Entity A: a special project team brought together for a highly visible project. The team is made up of high performers with technical expertise in their respective areas.
  2. Entity B: A team which has struggled with vast amounts of internal conflict, has inherited a new team leader.

In each one of these instances, ask yourself:

  • What skills would you bring to the table?
  • What potential issues might need to be focused on first?
  • How would that adapt your "coaching presence", tools and approaches?

3) Acquire more experience with working with groups and teams

The context of teams and groups continue to evolve, particularly in the realm of combining teams for a bigger project, virtual/remote teams and global teams. Continued practice or engagement with teams and groups, and learning from that experience is key.

We often say things are exponential in the realm of group and team coaching. Which means that tricky issues as well as opportunities can be magnified, and things evolve quickly. Ongoing practice, and reflective learning, is encouraged for both new and experienced group and team coaches. Some ways to get more experience could include:

  • Gain experience with groups through speaking or training first - what do you notice about interaction, approaches, styles of these groups?
  • Offer to co-facilitate and partner with others to help you gain strength in new areas eg. with virtual teams or new industries.
  • Seek out opportunities to test out new approaches. Non-profits (and for profits!) are often eager for support at low and no cost. If you are eager to try out new approaches and have groups/teams ready to be an experimental group consider these questions:
    - What tools or approaches do you want to road test?
    - What organizations do you think would benefit from some support?
    - What could that look like?

4) Get clear on what type of teams and groups you want to, and can, serve

There is tremendous diversity in the realm of teams today, from intact teams to virtual teams, project teams and public groups you bring together. Questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are the types of teams and groups you want to serve?
  • What are the industries you want to work in?
  • What experience and expertise do you already bring to the table?


5) Co-Lead a group or team

Co-coaching or co-facilitating with another coach can add a tremendous value to team coaching engagements in particular. Together we can provide two sets of eyes, a myriad of perspectives and different language or "voices" which connect with different team members in different ways.

Co-Leads can also bring additional skills and tools that you then don't need to invest in. Also, in a team context you will likely encounter a wide variety of personality styles. Some personalities will match with yours and some won't and a co-lead can help with that.

If this interests you, during the contracting phase of team coaching engagements, sponsor or explore with the team leader the possibility of bringing in another team coach to lead with.

6) Shadowing or observation (for newer coaches)

Having been involved in mentoring leaders and facilitators for more than two decades myself, I have a preference for actively involving someone being mentored. Without active involvement of the coach shadowing it can be a difficult process, more so for in-person and smaller groups. Instead don't simply shadow or observe, participate, learn and bring your own complimentary skills and experience.

householdMH9003143497) Consider what you already have in your toolbox

Many coaches are surprised that they can bring in tools and approaches they already use with individual clients to the team and group realm - with some adaptations. Questions for you to ask include:

  • What tools do you already have for working with core coaching topics such as strengths, values, vision etc.?
  • How might you be able to adapt these approaches for group and team coaching?

Note: Groups and teams are incredibly diverse, so consider carefully what you want to add and offer in the Group and Team Coaching Realm. I meet coaches all the time who continue to add a slew of assessments, training and other resources without taking the opportunity to practice and put it into action.

In Summary:

Group and Team coaching can become two additional legs of your business, widening the scope of the support you offer to clients. Now that you have read this article, what activities do you want to undertake to build your confidence in the group and team coaching realm?

JenniferBritton-214x300Contributing Author: Jennifer Britton is known for her contributions and thought leadership in the areas of group and team coaching. The author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013), these books are used by coach training schools globally. Jenn also coaches coaches, providing programs including the Mentor Coaching Group (for ICF ACC Renewals, ACC and PCC applications), the two-day November 5-6 Group and Team Coaching Intensive Program in Toronto, CANADA (19 ICF CCEs) and the ongoing virtual Learning Lab and Design Studio™ - a learning portal for professionals who meet throughout the year focusing on group and team program design, facilitation and marketing topics. Learn more and register for these programs at


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