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Teamwork - Four Types; how do you choose?

Team building, facilitation, development or coaching?

These terms are often used interchangeably. Without understanding their distinct purpose, we ultimately miss out on the opportunity to do the best for the team.

In this article, we will shed light on the differences between each type of team intervention and more importantly what you can expect as outcomes from each. We will also give you a guide on how to evaluate your team's needs to determine their readiness.



Team building is an intervention aimed at building social connections between team members. Usually, team building involves the use of activities that stimulate interactions in a fun way, in a non-work environment.

If we consider Tuckman's stages of team dynamics (development) this type of intervention would align most naturally with the Forming stage.

OUTCOME: This type of intervention is usually designed to bring people together and build the critical foundations of team TRUST.

Team development aligns best with the Storming team stage. This brings focus on team dynamics – how we work together to get results.

It's an opportunity for teams to learn about critical team processes and structures that will help the team consolidate their efforts and focus to deliver team outcomes, including methods to fine-tune ways of work.

OUTCOME: The ultimate purpose of team development is to bring the team to a new level of maturity, and consolidate their collaborative spirit.



Team facilitation is characterised by an enabler that guides the team through a set of well-defined processes that have been designed to generate a specific outcome. E.g., Strategy or product innovation workshops.

During the process, team members share ideas and views regarding the achievement of the desired goal or outcome. In Tuckman's terms, this approach could be used to guide a team through the Norming stage of team dynamics.

OUTCOME: The primary focus for a team facilitator is to provide a space for team members to contribute and through collaborative rich conversation, formulate some sense of alignment, understanding of differing perspectives, and mutual accountability.

Team coaching is a process that surfaces relational dynamics between team members, developing deep interpersonal understanding, fostering mutual respect and compassion.

It best aligns with the Tuckmans' Performing stage as to be most impactful, the team needs to have a certain level of maturity and a sufficient degree of trust. Without it, great care and a longer intervention would be needed to avoid the risk of further disconnect.

OUTCOME: Team coaching is an opportunity for a team to bring their work to a different level where innovative thinking, agility, and creativity are the drivers of performance.


Identifying your Team Needs

  1. The Tuckman Team Stages is a good starting point - here is a free assessment

  2. Be realistic about the team’s stage of maturity – what is the team’s Trust level?

  3. What outcome are you seeking? What is the team’s track record in achieving similar aims?

Our first step when working with teams is to gain an understanding of the team and tailor your team intervention based on your team’s current state. If you would like to have a conversation about your team, contact us for a no-obligation consultation.


Fabio Grassi, Dayna Caceres

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