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
- 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
- Ms. Sadler is a certified Theory of Constraints
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
- Important to remember that Marva, in addition
to the career highlights shared, is also the mother of five adult
- Biggest lesson Marva learnt from her own family
is that a Leader is not without honour except in her own
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The project management institute or PMI are
doing a lot of work around how to make teams more
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The question is then what does the team and or
team of teams accomplish together by being willing to put their
- The most important techniques include the
systematic view of the ecosystem in which the team
- Objectives come from discerning a balanced set
of objectives in appreciation of stakeholder
- Marva has witnessed a shift in strategic focus
from maximising shareholder value, or managing future cash flow, to
maximising stakeholder value in a balanced
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Most leaders suffer from ego fragility. Do team
leaders really mean it when it comes to disagreeing with
- 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
- The construct that you have to be “on” that you
are performing, managing everybody’s expectations, is
- 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
- Social media is a place where we curate our
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 Coaching.com 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 Coaching.com
- Coaching.com 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.
- Coaching.com is coaching methodology agnostic.
It is an open platform where all kind of coaching, coach training
and affiliations are welcomed.