Summary of Coaching the Team at Work

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Coaching the Team at Work book summary

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Coaching is a complex and, at times, slippery concept. Is it teaching? Encouragement? Therapy? Leading? The answer is always, “It depends.” David Clutterbuck does a fine job of explaining in detail just what it depends upon. He combines an impressive array of research and experiential accounts into an overview of the topic. He starts with coaching in general, then focuses on the even more complex process of coaching a team. Clutterbuck is clear and honest. He makes a point of identifying where different approaches to coaching clash and, more generally, explaining what is and isn’t known about team coaching. He includes many models and metaphors for coaching, and often presents his key points in list and table form. As a result, getAbstract suggests his book to anyone who is responsible for coaching teams, and to those who must lead teams or serve on them. The main weakness of the book is a corollary of its strengths: Clutterbuck works so hard to include all major coaching models and perspectives that the reader may have to do some sorting.

About the Author

David Clutterbuck, a coach, mentor and consultant for 25 years, has written nearly 50 books and hundreds of articles. The former New Scientist news editor and “serial entrepreneur” is also a university lecturer in England.


Your Job as a Coach

The word “coach” is related to the word “coax”; that kinship points out some of the meaning of the word. To coach is to bring out possibilities in others that they have not yet realized. As a coach, you will work in a fairly “formal relationship” to help employees develop a greater understanding of what they’re doing. You might help people reach their goals, either through assisting them in developing skills or offering them emotional support, or both. Coaches guide individuals and groups through business experiences as they learn to ask better questions of themselves and others. Coaches work according to one of two broad models:

  1. “Traditional” coaching – The coach helps learners define and reach their goals, much like a sports coach working with athletes. Both agree on what each learner needs to do to achieve his or her goals, and the coach tracks the process and shares feedback.
  2. “Developmental” coaching – This approach is rooted in Socratic questioning, using open-ended inquiries to motivate learners and help them examine their own performances.

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