How I learned that great teams are the secret to organisational success

19th July by Neil Atkinson

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How I learned that great teams are the secret to organisational

Systemic Team Coaching Diploma Graduate Max Gooding charts her route from Organisational Development to Systemic Team Coaching®

Through my years working on organisational change as a leader and people manager in banking and insurance, I reached the following conclusion: an over-emphasis on developing individual leaders doesn’t help organisations achieve the changes they want – in fact it can actually hinder it.

Leadership development tends to focus on the individual finding their own purpose and leadership style, not how to drive performance through the teams they lead or are part of.  Collaboration – which is vital to effective performance – is viewed only through the lens of intrapersonal behaviours. 

And while organisations have values about teamwork, there’s usually no recognition of these behaviours. “Why would I risk collaborating if I am not going to get rewarded for it?” was a comment I heard often. 

The trouble with teams 

When I moved into Organisational Development, I worked a lot with leaders who wanted to improve teamwork. They’d cite ‘silo’ behaviour, inter-team conflict and ‘us and them’ behaviours.  They’d ask for a workshop to help the team get to know each another better and build trust, perhaps with the annual psychometric. They assumed that the team would perform better if each person found a way to collaborate better. 

"But they had little understanding of the need to create the right conditions for team performance – or that this should be an ongoing focus for leaders and teams alike." 

By the time my business partner and I set up Gooding & Wood, I’d completed a Certificate in Organisational Development, which helped me understand how to operate systemically and with the dynamic, non-linear nature of change.  And I wanted to focus on my passion for teams and group work – which I believe is the real differentiator for successful organisations. 

Taking the learning further 

I was searching for something that would create a space within which I could learn and grow – an experience akin to my OD programme: a cohort of like-minded individuals from a variety of working environments, over an extended study period.  

The AoEC was recommended by a friend and I decided to try the three-day Systemic Team Coaching Certificate as a taster, expecting – with no previous executive coach training – that I’d be out of my depth. But instead I found that my OD and business experience were relevant. In fact, Systemic Team Coaching® joined the dots between helping individuals and leaders improve performance and driving change across an organisation. 

I went on to do further team coaching training through the AoEC’s ICF accredited Systemic Team Coaching Diploma, which included four modules and the chance to learn from my cohort – as well as through regular sessions between modules with my practitioner group. Read more about Max’s experience on the Diploma. 

Growing our business with Systemic Team Coaching®

Team Coaching is now about a third of our work at Gooding & Wood – and we hope to see this grow to half. Clients come with challenges including an inability to work effectively together, some with tough relational issues that cause dysfunction. Others come at the beginning of a significant change to their remit, or when there are culture shifts they want to achieve across their business. They tend to be quick to recognise the value of looking at themselves holistically, as a team in service of all its stakeholders and the wider system within which they operate.  It lifts their heads up to see the bigger picture and engages them in the value of connectivity and collaboration.   

Through the Systemic Team Coaching programme, I’ve increased my ability to have grounded meaningful and sustainable impact within and for the system/organisation for which I’m working. And the AoEC name definitely provides a level of credibility in how we market ourselves and attract new clients. 




Maxine Gooding is co-founder of Gooding & Wood which specialises in organisational dynamics consulting.  

Find out more about the AoEC’s ICF accredited Systemic Team Coaching Diploma and three-day Certificate which doubles as the foundation module for the Diploma. 

Read more about Max’s experience on the Diploma