If You Are Coaching Your Team, Who Is Coaching Your Organization?

What Makes a Great Business Coach?

Organizational consulting psychologists are distinct in their consulting and coaching methods that typically make up three key areas in which is their focus: organizational consulting, group coaching, and most importantly, individual coaching.  The approach, methods, and tools that have proven to work in any one area, very well may not work in all of the areas.  Therefore, a consulting psychologist will typically approach his or her work by first assessing and coaching the individuals of the organization.  The overall objective of this approach is to improve or create group performance that will ultimately spread to the operational quality of the organization as a whole.  Consulting psychologists are focused on the betterment of the organizations’ human capital.  When they are working on the organization as a whole, a specific group, or on each individual person, the focus is the people.  Without people, groups do not exists, and therefore organizations cannot exist (Lowman, 2002).  We will first discuss basic descriptions for the role and strategies of organizational coaching, group coaching, and individual coaching.  Lastly, we will look at the basic strategic requirements to successfully move from coaching individuals to consulting organizations as a whole.

The Role and Strategies of Individual Coaching

Consulting psychologists predominantly, function within an organization to help owners, leaders, and stakeholders to better understand the necessity of change.  The consultant strives to ensure that all parties truly understand the major differences and adversities that are required to facilitate positive value-added change with incorporated proven strategies.  When the consultant takes on the individual coaching role, they come prepared to handle the impact of diversity.  Diversity comes in all emotional, psychological, and political forms that bring potential problems such as lack of confidence lack of trust, social allegiances, fear of intimacy, preferential treatment, equal treatment, and defective suppositions of fairness (Graham & Robinson, 2002).  Persson (2007) states that a consulting psychologist in a coaching role is oriented to seek success, result-performance, and directed by specific goals the require taking action to create sustaining change over time.  Coaching is more of a practice of taking action than acknowledge theory.

A consulting psychologist will need to have a solid foundation comprised of an individual level of core competencies in order to bring value to their individual coaching role.

These competencies (Lowman, 2002, p. 776) should include being self-confident in dealing with executive level individuals as well as the individuals on the shop floor.  They must perform job analysis in order to provide individual assessments on all levels.  These extended individual assessments are key to their ability for facilitating employment selection, career development, and vocational planning.  The consultant must be prepared to incorporate problem-solving interventions in the workplace.  We now look at the expansion of the individual coaching role to that of a group-coaching role.

The Role and Strategies of Group Coaching

When a consulting psychologist takes on a group or team-coaching role, they must assess which method or process that will best fit the culture and climate of the organization.  One of the key methods used today is Emotional intelligence (EI).  Maddocks (2009) defines EI as using emotions to guide behavior.  That is, using thinking about feeling, or having feelings about thinking.  The group coach must be able to guide and direct the group members to manage behavior as an individual as well as behavior as a group to be effective in the common goals.

A consulting psychologist in a group-coaching role will need to have a solid foundation comprised of core competencies in order to bring value to their team/group coaching role.  These competencies (Lowman, 2002, p. 776) should include being able to manage group identity (ethnic, gender, racial) in an organization environment.  They must acknowledge and make assessments on group boundaries as well as inter-groups that often exist.  The group coach must be proficient in creating self-directed teams.  The group coach must also be competent in the assessment and development of teams, as well as the assessment of dysfunctional and functional group/team behavior.  We now look at the expansion of the group-coaching role to that of an organizational consulting role.

The Role and Strategies of Organizational Consulting

Leaders on all levels and in all organizations today are facing complex challenges in order to maintain a competitive edge, profitability, and operational efficiencies.  Consulting psychologist play a key role for developing and implementing strategies to help organizational leader redevelop and change the way they operative in todays competitive environment.  Organizational consulting is an engagement of assessments, conversations, and actions that help the organization as a whole, while working with the individual and with groups to achieve the desired outcome.  The organizational consultant ultimately helps individuals and groups become self-directed in their ongoing learning and development while affecting the leadership to effectively inspire and motivate beyond the operational objectives (Bennett & Bush, 2009).

A consulting psychologist in an organizational consulting role will need to have a solid foundation comprised of core competencies in order to bring value to their organizational consulting role.  These competencies (Lowman, 2002, p. 776) should include but are not limited to being able to diagnosis the organizations and provide systematic assessment on the various sub-structures down to the individuals of the organization.  Their ability to incorporate change management practices and theories are imperative to be effective with organizational level interventions.  The consultant must lead in the assessment of management practices and the organizational values that have been pre-established.  They must make sound identification of the totality of performance measures throughout the organization.  The development and execution of project planning and workflow activities are necessary.  Lastly and certainly not least, the consulting psychologist must be proficient in the evaluation of the organizational culture as well as the climate while collecting a plethora of data.  The consultant must be willing and able to incorporate satisfaction surveys so that they are able to hold themselves accountable to these core competencies.  Now we look briefly, at how an organizational consultant transitions from an individual coaching role into an organizational consulting role.

Moving From Individual Coaching to Organizational Consulting

A consulting psychologist must have the ability to transition and adapt to different strategies to effectively move from an individual coaching role to a wholistic organizational consulting role.  The consultant must clearly understand the culture and climate of the organization while being focused on what the ultimate objectives are and what she or he was contracted to help create, repair, or remove from within the organization.  The consulting psychologist must seek to become a subject matter expert in each of the key areas above and transition and rise in each subsequent level through education and experience to apply the expertise required in individual coaching to group coaching and ultimately into organizational consulting.  The most effective and proven transitions are those that have been learned through the experience (success and failures) of the transitioning coaching and consulting stages.  The best way to predict (Bennett & Bush, 2009) the outcome of an organization is to create it.  Consulting psychologist must lead the profession together for coaching and consulting, seeking to leverage the best from both individual human systems and organizational systems.


Bennett, J., & Bush, M. (2009).  Coaching in organizations.  OD Practitioner, 41(1), 2-7

Graham, S. W. & Robinson, D.A.G. (2002).  Leadership development in organizational development.  In The California School of Organizational Studies Handbook of Organizational Consulting Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory, Skills, and Techniques (pp. 370-395).  Jossey-Bass

Lowman, R. L. (2002).  The California school of organizational studies handbook of organizational consulting psychology: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory, Skills, and Techniques.  Jossey-Bass.

Maddocks, J. (2009).  Creating an emotionally intelligent organization.  Coaching Psychologist, 5(1), 27-32.

Persson, S. (2007).  Coaching as a tool for learning: an interplay between the individual and the organizational level.  Studies In The Education Of Adults, 39(2), 197-216.

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