Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Game of Teams

Teams are the new unit of currency in business. Harnessing the wisdom and brilliance of teams is not easy. It can be messy, confusing, non linear and complicated. Learn from your peers and thought leaders about what it takes. Listen to their stories, pains, and pride when it works. This show is about the magic of mining work and relations for high performance, satisfaction and fulfilment on teams

Nov 30, 2022



  • Marva Sadler is the COO of Coaching.Com and has a reputation for her extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching.  She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 25 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations
  • Marva has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, and as a Board Member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. 
  • Ms. Sadler is a certified Theory of Constraints Jonah.

Podcast Episode Summary


  • This episode shares wisdom about Leading a team and the kinds of principles that help teams be great together. Applying Civil Discourse, being human and kinder with each other in our interconnected world are themes that feature across his conversation. 


Points made across the podcast episode 


  • Important to remember that Marva, in addition to the career highlights shared, is also the mother of five adult children 
  • Biggest lesson Marva learnt from her own family is that a Leader is not without honour except in her own family. 
  • Marva recognised that her children saw her as a parent or “just my Mum” and that kept her grounded, maybe humble but with a sense of perspective. 
  •  In a previous role, as owner for a small historic woollen blankets manufacturer, reproduction Civil War & Revolutionary War Blankets, Marva was invited to lobby Senators and Congressman. The lobbyist she was with was surprised that Marva could “hold her own” Marva makes the point that they are human too. 
  • Her attitude in communication even in the face of authority is to treat people with respect. 
  • Marva was doing very well in her previous role in a Tech Strategy Consulting firm and one of the main reasons she moved to WBECS to become CEO for a coaching company was because she believed there was a serious deterioration in civil discourse. 
  • She asked the question, “who are the people most likely to change the way we speak to each other”? not politicians because they are part of the problem and not the religious because they have lost influence. Her answer was businesspeople and all of the people they touch. 
  • The people most likely to influence businesspeople are coaches. The vast majority of coaches believe in and practice civil discourse. 
  • The reason Marva got back into coaching was the desire that more/all people speak to each other more kindly. 
  • WBECS firmly believe in the value of Team Coaching. It is a significant trend in the industry and the next step in the evolution for coaches. 
  • Coaches are needed to help Leaders; businesspeople think about how to do things together. We can multiply our impact when we work with teams. 
  • Teams are the building blocks for how organisations get their work done. 
  • There are many approaches to team coaching not all of them coming out of coaching perse, for example agile principles housed in agile development and agile management of teams. 
  • The project management institute or PMI are doing a lot of work around how to make teams more effective. 
  • Important to remember that team coaching is not coaching more people at the same time. It is not about coaching individuals on a team but the team itself, the interactions between team members and the spaces between. 
  • There are skills to be developed in working with interactions on the team and the spaces between that require skill development. 
  • Marva has always been convinced in the efficacy and productivity of teams. She has always worked to help individuals on her teams to work collaboratively, use the collective wisdom on teams to be more creative
  • The process of collaboration on teams gives you answers that were not even visible to individuals on teams. 
  • There are techniques and methods that team coaches teach teams that help teams illuminate how they are showing up as collective. 
  • Marva shares a story from her own history and family system that demonstrates the power of team. She regales a story about her own daughter and how in one year, participating on a soccer team, the team went from success to demise based on the different approaches of two different coaches, one believing in individualism and stardom and the other believing in the wisdom of collective endeavour. The individualist approach meant the girls were pitted against each other and the result was failure. 
  • The question is then what does the team and or team of teams accomplish together by being willing to put their egos aside. 
  • The most important techniques include the systematic view of the ecosystem in which the team resides. 
  • Objectives come from discerning a balanced set of objectives in appreciation of stakeholder needs. 
  • Marva has witnessed a shift in strategic focus from maximising shareholder value, or managing future cash flow, to maximising stakeholder value in a balanced manner. 
  • The former approach was in humane. It did not value the environment or employees for example. Marva goes on to question the value of this former approach and she makes the case for Team Coaches, whom she believes take a broader more balanced and systemic approach to team and team of team value creation in terms of the balanced outcomes they help teams create. 
  • Marva has empathy and sympathy for Leaders who preference 1:1 management of their team members. It is not however the most effective approach a Leader can take such as encouraging interaction among team members, encouraging collaboration and innovation across team divides is critical to team leadership. Getting people not just to row in the same direction but in creating new directions in which they can row together. 
  • Marva is a big believer in rewarding the outcome and the people who contributed to the success of the outcome, she is also a big proponent of letting the group recognise individuals if that is important. 
  • The Team Leaders job is to recognise the group or team and the productive behaviours they display. 
  • Culture is critical to create the conditions where conversations can be had “in the team room” with such psychological safety that team members can disagree, including disagreeing with the team leader. To do this we need to transcend our individual egos. 
  • We can sometimes believe in our own publicity and Marva refers to Marshall Goldsmiths book “What got you there won’t get you here” using behaviours that when overused become weaknesses.
  • Most leaders suffer from ego fragility. Do team leaders really mean it when it comes to disagreeing with them? 
  • One of the best things we can do as Team Leaders is to model the behaviours that support radical candour. How do we admit our mistakes, apologise in front of team members when we have lost our equanimity. etc.
  • It is a hard principle to model vulnerability when often admitting you are wrong can be seen as career limiting. 
  • The construct that you have to be “on” that you are performing, managing everybody’s expectations, is exhausting. 
  • If we can give people permission to put down that holographic image, they are projecting to just being real would be so liberating. This directs energy to the right things instead of reputation management, image management or ego management. 
  • Social media is a place where we curate our images.
  • Marva helps her teams focus on the business outcomes they need to achieve together. It is also important to spend time and energy on working out what are we trying to achieve as human beings with each other. 
  • Marva spends time working on the team by asking questions like “how did we do in this meeting?” 
  • The ROI of establishing relations with team members and between team members, understanding each other, cultivating commonalities and strengths within teams is almost infinite because it gives people the opportunity to navigate the concerns they are dealing with. 
  • WBECS was already remote and had learnt a lot of techniques about operating teams remotely. It believed in the principle of providing support and care for individuals and so it was able to double down on the kinds of supports needed during the pandemic. Marva shares a story of where this principle came to life with a colleague suffering Covid-19 with her daughter at home. 
  • The pandemic taught us many great new norms, caring for each other, considering ourselves as whole persons not just professional suits etc. Some of the threads of these new norms have been loosened. Some people continue to compartmentalise their lives. 
  • Marva believes that some coaches are prone to a form of compartmentalising too. We are taught Civil Discourse in our profession as coaches but sometimes we forget those same principles in other domains of our lives. 
  • Marva shares a story “on herself” to honour the title of this podcast called confessions from the field of Team Leadership, where she was not happy with the way she behaved and how she caught herself and ultimately responded. 
  • Marva shares the labyrinth involved in communication between complaint and solution, pausing & reflecting on experience and evidence, choosing how to respond, managing the space between stimulus and response.  Victor Frankl. 
  • The marriage of WBECS and Coaching.Com means greater access by coaches to technology and the use of a coaching management system and greater access to coaches by enterprises. In the middle hopes to offer a marketplace not just for coaching learning programs but products and services that coaches and companies can use. Principles U is an example of such a product being developed by 
  • is building a responsive and dynamic eco-system, with a desire to raise the global standard of coaching by exposing more people to the value of coaching by lifting the quality of coaching and by bringing all things coaching into one space. 
  • is coaching methodology agnostic. It is an open platform where all kind of coaching, coach training and affiliations are welcomed. 


Resources shared: