Relational Team Coaching


Erik de Haan & Dorothee Stoffels (editors)
Routledge, 2023
ISBN 1032351969

Relational Team Coaching is a state-of-the-art reference book detailing what makes team coaching effective, with a focus on being able to work at a relational level within the here and now, about what is going on in the present in the team and between the team and the coach.

Team coaching has its roots in executive and sports coaching and in process consultation as part of Organisation Development. It is young within those professions with first articles starting to come out in 2003 and only very slowly increasing research and practitioner literature to this date.

The scope of the book is comprehensive, exploring challenging and topical issues. These issues can be both highly problematic and never fully resolved in teams, and they will have to be revisited both with the client team and in supervision. However, good preparation, openness and courage can make an enormous difference and can make it possible that issues are named and approached for the first time in teams.

Part One presents an introduction to team coaching and to a relational, integrative approach to team coaching, providing access to all relevant background, research and case studies of team coaching in action. Part Two deepens how this relational philosophy looks in practice and what it means for choices and working methodology of the team coach. Part Three, finally, explores how the team coach can step up to face or address the more challenging or professional aspects of practice (e.g., of contracting, diversity and inclusion, and the shadow side of boards).

This book is an essential guide to relational-based effectiveness in team coaching. It will be a key text for all coaching practitioners, including those in training.


“The team coaching profession needs a book like this! It places this emerging profession on a rigorous foundation that draws on diverse relational philosophies, theories and practical psychology, using relevant historical sources. With an integrative approach of theory and practice, the authors take us on an exciting learning journey to explore what relational team coaching is all about. In an exceptional manner, the authors emphasise the value of taking a more dynamic, relational-systemic view on team coaching, walking us through many real-life case examples from their own experience. Instead of prescribing certain tools and techniques as ‘best practice’, the authors invite us to grow our relational courage by gently exploring the complex dynamics of human interaction in the moment, helping teams to progress.By practising what they preach, the authors learned me to be more comfortable with ‘not knowing’. As a team coach myself, they helped me reflect and appreciate more who I am and to be curious in the emerging moment. Ultimately, this handbook significantly helps to further continue my self-discovery in helping teams deal with complex challenges and anxieties.”
– Daniel Aalbersberg, Senior Manager Leadership & Team Development, Accenture.

“It is a very important topic and a timely piece of work – and one that in our Executive Development practice we are seeking to deepen our experience and expertise. Which is to say, I come at this from a practitioner but in no way an expert perspective. I fully support the premise of relational team coaching and I think your introduction and Chapter 1 describe your rationale very clearly. I am particularly struck by the nature of power dynamics in any process & relationship where one party may be perceived to be more ‘expert’ than another, and am drawn to how the nature of relational coaching can bring a different tenor to this work. In some ways, as you articulate later in the book (e.g. in Chapter 4, such as the notion (pg. 62) that “The coach will…encounter resistance to the work.”), this power dynamic is inevitable and mirrors what goes on between team members. It is an interesting paradox for a coach to hold i.e. to bring a presence and skillset that is by definition missing from the team (an expertise), whilst also sitting alongside the team as an ‘equal’ or peer. A theme that felt very figural, to deploy a Gestalt term, through my reading was the challenge you are posing to us as team coaches to raise our game and develop an elevated presence, mindset and awareness to do this work well”
– Senior leader – Head of Development (anonymous)

“I really like this book! The book feels really useful and comprehensive and well-thought-through. I imagine it will quickly become one of the top recommendations for anyone working with team coaching.”
– Naja Felter – Deputy Director Organisation Development & Design Practice, Cabinet Office, UK Civil Service

“What I really enjoyed and connected with in this book was the encouragement to bring one’s whole self into group coaching practice – embracing the resulting uncertainty and unpredictability and engaging with the deeper and more relational outcomes that can emerge. In chapter 3 I enjoyed the offering of a ‘hunch’ as a coaching tool (or hypothesis in chapter 4). In chapter 4 I appreciated the encouragement to actively engage and utilize your own experience in a group as well as their response to your presence and interventions. In chapter 5 I connected strongly with the long term impact of founders on organizational culture – and the importance of taking account of the context in which an organization works. In chapters 3 and 4 I found the grids offering ‘types’ of questions/what to look out for and consider extremely useful – providing guides to shaping responses rather than offering a linear process. Overall the content resonated with – and shone a mirror on practices of eco-psychology, non-heirachical governance and consensual decision making which I have experience in my working and voluntary fields.”
– Hilary Jennings, Independent Consultant and Director, Happy Museum

“I love the super comprehensive collection of material and perspectives that you have captured in this manuscript. This is a topic I am quite passionate about and I felt totally spoilt for choice. I also adore that people can read the chapter(s) that they are most interested in at that time. Brilliantly done!!”
– Talia Nikpalj -Head of Executive Development, Associated British Foods plc

“I have to say I have really enjoyed reading your book. I’ve picked up lots of insights, reminders, and new ideas from it so far to build into my work.”
– Liz Hill-Smith, Associate Director of Organisation Development, Arup UKIMEA

“Working relationally is complex and demanding in its unpredictability; this collection offers a rich and varied framework for coaching professionals to turn to when orthodox methods fall short.”
– Kate Trench – Head of Clinical Training, WPF Therapy

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