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Team Coaching vs. Group Coaching - What's The Difference?

written byErickson Coaching Internationalon 09/04/2015

Surely, they’re the same thing? Actually, there’s a subtle difference between team and group coaching that might not be immediately apparent upon first glance, and while they tend to fall under the umbrella of executive coaching to enhance professional development, they can also be utilized for almost any group or team session.  

Team Coaching

When we talk about teams, we are talking about people who are all aligned and headed to a common goal or outcome, such as the completion of a particular project, the start of a new business unit or the closing of quarterly sales efforts.  

Key concepts:

  • As a coach we don’t need to be experts on the content; we are experts in the structures that help people tap into their greatness
  • Team charters can assist the team to stay on track and motivated to reach their common goal – a team coaching session can work to create a team charter as a form of coaching contract
  • Extremely useful for teams that are newly forming, with new leadership or re-forming after adjustment and helps to accelerate team performance
  • As coach, we serve multiple roles as support and coach for the team leader, keeping the coaching process in place for the team, holding everyone accountable for their actions, and ensuring that all members are participating

Group Coaching

When we talk about groups, we are talking about people who come together with a common interest but do not always have the same goal in mind. For example, a group of people may come together to be coached on effective leadership, but each individual has their own final goals to which they would apply their new skills.  

Key concepts:

  • A useful tool to follow up on any kind of training, as a coaching session can help learning retention and application of learning
  • A cost-effective and efficient way to reach a number of professionals at the same time
  • Sessions focus on goal setting, accountability, and action
  • As coach, we are responsible for holding the space so that each member can contribute and creating a climate of trust and confidentiality for all

To better illustrate these concepts, the diagram below shows how teams are brought together for a common goal, whereas groups are brought together around a common topic:

(Reference: "Using Group and Team Coaching for Professional Development"Training Industry.)

To learn more about the specific benefits of team coaching, watch this video on our organizational coaching page.

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