Area of Behavioral
Focus: Team Dynamics
“Well-placed support from an executive coach can unlock the
full potential of leaders while enabling the teams they lead to
more fully and rapidly achieve the intended benefits of
learning opportunities, which emerge during times of change
in order to get immediate results and build leadership
capability for the long term.”
—Mark Mula
Vice President, Leader Capability & Learning
Pfizer, Inc.
eam dynamics are the eighth component in the Contextual
Coaching model, and we define dynamics as motion or a driv-
ing force, an equilibrium of systems, or under the action of
forces from outside the system. Obviously, the study of team dynam-
ics is the study of how teams influence the environment in which they
Talent Systems
Talent Solutions
exist and how teams are influenced by their environments, thus es-
tablishing an equilibrium in their environments as shaped by the
forces inside and outside the system. In the case of organizations,
teams are mightily influenced by the organizational culture and, on
rare occasions, return the favor. Although all teams have dynamics,
some teams are more dynamic than others. Any executive will tell you
that teams should be in motion and driving forward.
We have argued within this book that coaching involves situat-
ing an individual within the context of his or her work—aligning
what individuals do best with what organizations need most. The
context of the work involves many factors embedded in the seven
prior components of the Contextual Coaching model we have al-
ready discussed. We understand a team to be a group of people
who find themselves united by a common cause, a goal, or an ob-
jective, which may be short term or long term in nature, official or
unofficial, naturally forming or synthetic.
A team under this definition can be a generic, unofficial group
in the sense that voters may see themselves as being on a presiden-
tial candidate’s “team” even though there is no official affiliation be-
tween them and the candidate and even though they never have any
direct contact whatsoever with the campaign. All the people who
support that candidate are part of the “team, which, by definition,
is naturally forming. That is, nobody forced them to come together.
Churches are naturally forming groups. Bridge clubs are naturally
forming groups. Political parties are naturally forming groups.
By contrast, groups that come together involuntarily are artifi-
cially formed groups. Juries are artificially formed groups placed
together to take on a public service that is mandatory for all
citizens—but not something people naturally gather together to do.
Most of these jurors would rather spend their time another way
with better earning potential. But they are commanded to form a
team that needs to make crucial decisions in a consensus format.
The team may be artificially formed, but its decisions have huge
implications for the individuals on trial.
People who choose to work for or otherwise join an organiza-
tion are assembling voluntarily. Yet, once part of the organizational
population, they might not choose to join a work group or team
that they find themselves compelled to join by their boss or some-

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