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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

Jul 1, 2019

Introduction: Paul is a significant contributor in the fields of coaching, supervision, team coaching, systemic thinking and research. He has written 3 books and numerous articles and blogs. He lectures on the Masters of Business Coaching Program at Sydney Business School and presents regularly at conferences, workshops and webinars.  In 2018 he founded the Centre for Coaching in Organisations. In his spare time Paul writes “rather gory historical fiction”


Podcast episode summary: This particular episode with Dr Paul Lawrence illuminates the complexity and dynamic nature of teams and how teams are part of a nested system. Paul shared his wisdom and work with teams. He spoke about the importance of Dialogue and how dialogue is fundamental to change. Similarly he spoke about structural dynamics and how this thinking can be taught with teams to help the team see their engrained patters and importantly their stuck patterns. Team Coaching is still in its infancy and not to be confused with Team Building, Team facilitation or Consulting. Team coaches need to be robust enough and able to contain their own anxiety and help the team learn from the creative tension that is almost always present. This show was very honest and real where Paul communicated his passion and excitement for his work with teams.


Noteworthy points of discussion

  • Coaching as a discipline is still nascent and Team Coaching is in its infancy. Much confusion about around what it entails and how to distinguish it from Team Building/Team Facilitation and Team Consulting
  • Dialogue between practitioners is helpful to share what is most useful for teams
  • Dialogue is central to change and is at the heart of sustainable change. Change requires leaders adopt a mental model that is curious, respectful and without agenda-that is often challenging
  • Dialogue is simple to articulate more difficult to practice because it asks of Leaders to suspend judgment, be open to understanding others and to be hugely aware of their own internal biases.
  • Dialogue is not just about listening it is also about saying what needs to be shared in an open, honest and respectful manner and that is often tougher especially as you go higher up the organisation where power dynamics are at play.
  • Team Coaching is a tough gig. Team coaches need to be robust, able to hold anxiety and able to look for tension on the team. Tension is always there and if mined can provide real insight and learning
  • Structural Dynamics is a methodology that can empower the team to manage its own dynamics and stuck patterns. The 4 player model is described and demonstrates what is necessary in vital conversation but what is often missing
  • Contracting with the team and the team leader is imperative and will help understand what the real work is for a team.


Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation

  1. Lawrence, P. (2014) Leading Change how successful leaders approach change management. Kogan Page. UK
  2. Lawrence, P. & Moore, A. (2018). Coaching in three dimensions. Meeting the challenges of a complex world. Routeledge .UK
  3. Lawrence, P. Hill, S. Priestland, A. Forrestal, C. Rommerts, F. Hyslop,L. & Manning,M. (2019), The Tao of Dialogue, Routeledge. UK
  4. Lawrence, P. Whyte, A. What do experienced team coaches do?
  6. Hawkins,P. Leadership Team Coaching and the five disciplines model
  7. Bohm, D. On Dialogue (1990), Amazon
  8. Kantor,D. Reading The Room, Amazon