Magazine Article | January 1, 2016

Stop Managing! Start Coaching To Increase Productivity And Profitability

Source: Life Science Leader

By Dr. Terri Levine, best-selling author

Management is dead and doesn’t work. As you move into a coaching-based leadership model, a main area of coaching focus will be teamwork. Teamwork is the art of having a group of people work together harmoniously and effectively toward a goal or with a particular purpose. It is that unique melding of group work and individual personality into a well-functioning unit. It includes the one-shot, all-important push toward a specific performance target and/or the day-to-day operations of a business unit.

By coaching teamwork you can help your employees function better. By coaching individual employees to improve their performance, you naturally will help produce better teamwork among those who report to a specific supervisor. In any case where teamwork is an issue, the coaching goal is for the team, the team leader, or both to become more thoughtful about how the team works together and to turn that thoughtfulness into activity that will produce a team that willingly works together to create extremely high performance.

The following coaching questions are intended to create that thoughtfulness. These questions and the corresponding answers are the foundation for effective coaching around teamwork. Your further work with a team will build from what the team leader and the team members — if involved in the coaching process — tell you. So, as with all other coaching, your first job is to be fully present with, and responsive to, the team.

These coaching questions will open the door. Use your wisdom and understanding of the team and situation to expand upon this list.


  1. Is the team challenged on a regular basis? Real teamwork is created out of meaningful goals and projects that challenge a team. It is therefore important for the team and the team leader to identify what work would be significant both for the business and the team and to use that work to build the team.Is the team challenged on a regular basis?
  2. Is the team a manageable size? Teams that are too large are unmanageable. Teams that are too small lack the synergy and energy necessary to grow and thrive. The leader and team should be able to quantify the minimum and maximum numbers of members necessary to work well and without struggle.
  3. Has the team developed a common purpose? Teamwork comes more naturally when the team has a common purpose. The purpose may involve a specific type of work for the business. It is important that the team contribute to developing the common purpose so that each member owns that purpose. If the common purpose is dictated strictly from above, it is often difficult for members to adopt and accept it as their own.
  4. Does the team have measureable goals? Teamwork accelerates when there are specific measurables that tell the team how they are performing. Again, it is important that the team have significant input into development of the measurables if the members are to feel fully accountable for achieving those metrics.