Book review: Coaching the Team at Work

Book review: Coaching the Team at Work

Coaching the Team at Work

We recently read David Clutterbuck’s Coaching the Team at Work in the EMCC UK Book Club. Our Book Club reviewers have sent this review of the book.

Coaching the Team at Work has the aim of supporting excellent team coaching within workplaces, either by a team leader or by an external/internal coach, delivering a detailed analysis and runbook for coaching in teams. The book is very thorough, starting with an overview of what coaching is, with a focus on coaching individuals first to set the scene. This is followed by an analysis of what is known about teams, what team coaching is/is not, and how it differs from other types of intervention, before delving into the details of the PERILL model.

Through extensive research and lived experience, David Clutterbuck shares insights, models and questions that are of practical significance for coaches who wish to work with teams. I appreciated the real-life examples of the research Clutterbuck has done in recent years with various companies – it give the book a ‘realness’ when reading. The book is both a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide and an interesting learning journey for would-be team coaches. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and felt inspired to use Clutterbuck’s ideas in my coaching.

In the chapter on relationships, there is great detail on psychological safety and on the definition of trust both within a team and between teams which I am already incorporating into my professional work. The chapter, ‘The Learning Team’, details how to develop learning within the team environment, and I fully intend to apply this knowledge in the coming months.

The book flows well with a clear narrative running through the content. It is full of detail, and its academic rigour is demonstrated in the references at the end of each chapter. It is academic in style rather than conversational, and I can see it becoming my go-to reference as I develop my teams in the future.

Coaching the Team at Work is a great read for coaches or leaders who are keen to coach, although it might put some leaders off if they are not qualified coaches, as Clutterbuck emphasises that team coaching is challenging and requires a high level of skill. The book made me go back to basics and reflect again on the core principles of coaching.