The Four Pillars Of Effective Team Leadership Coaching: The L.I.A.M. Framework

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The Four Pillars Of Effective Team Leadership Coaching: The L.I.A.M. Framework

Written by: Jedidiah Alex Koh, Forbes Councils Member

Jedidiah ‘Jedi’ Alex Koh is the Founder of Coaching Changes Lives, Asia’s leading Coaching Firm Specializing in Team Leadership Development.


With an increasingly diverse workforce in businesses today, coupled with the ever-evolving medium of communication, leaders face an even more uphill task of building trust, team culture and performance. Against a backdrop of a leaner workforce, teams and leaders are stretched constantly and this results in stress and reduction in productivity. This causes leaders and organizations to seek help in order to “fix” the productivity issue, but they never quite realize that performance and productivity are symptoms of deeper underlying challenges.

Quick fix culture is a mistake.

The biggest mistake organizations and leaders make today is to seek a quick fix approach to resolving any problems. If people are not performing — replace them. If people are not hungry — change them out. If people are not motivated — use a carrot-and-stick or pain-pleasure approach to move them. When we treat our people as parts of an organizational machine rather than individuals with individual personalities, values, dreams and aspirations, we have negated the life force of an organization.

An organization’s life force is its people.

Organizations should not be viewed as just a collection of individuals but as a partnership of individuals working together to move the machine known as the organization forward. The role of a leader in the future economy will require agility and flexibility, along with the mental and emotional stability to coach and lead the team well. With the increasing need for teams to evolve from project to project, organizations need to partner with internal and external coaches to bring about deeper engagement and collaboration.

Harness the synergy of internal and external coaches.

The synergistic approach of using both internal and external team coaches can bring about exponential learning for teams. Internal team coaches will focus on the core skills for business continuity. As subject matter experts in the daily operations of the business, they will have the keenest insights and understandings.

The internal team coach should be someone who has had experiences across various hierarchies and cross-functional teams to better appreciate the complexity of issues. The role of the external coach is to bring in a neutral and external vantage point while holding space for the team. The external team coach has a crucial role in expanding thinking and evoking awareness for the teams, as well as managing the team dynamics and interpersonal relationships.

One key challenge that leaders face in team coaching is navigating the myriad behavioral models and conversational tools used to develop teams and learning how to use them in the most effective way possible. In those moments of team development and progress, leaders do not have time for trial and error, and they need a process that is more adaptable and responsive to the needs of the team.

The L.I.A.M. Framework

I developed the L.I.A.M. framework as a way for coaches and leaders to adapt and be flexible in their coaching and leadership styles. As a team coaching process, it allows for the leader or coach to understand the cycle of communication patterns and create a space of collaborative and appreciative dialogue.

(L)isten to Understand. Always begin first from a place of listening rather than speaking. Leaders tend to speak based on a heuristic they have about the person or team and often that judgment might not aid in helping teams grow. Listen to learn what the situation is from the lens of the team. Active listening begins first with the leader listening to understand the context of the conversation. The leader listens to what is said and what is not said, the energy, behaviors and the intention of the conversation.

(I)nquire for Awareness. From the place of listening comes the reflective inquiry. Probe into the conversation to bring greater clarity and awareness to the team about the context of the discussion. When inquiring, it isn’t to judge or to fix the team, but to highlight areas where perhaps there has been a lack of awareness of misalignment.

(A)lign from Intention. When clarity and awareness unravel in the team, this is when the alignment process needs to happen. Each individual team member is a stakeholder for various appointments and tasks, and each has their own outcomes, but as a team, it’s no longer just an individual’s objective but a team’s objective. Alignment has to come from a place of intention. The coach has to help the team to align toward the intention of the team’s outcome. And the individual stakeholder in the team will align their expectations and objectives based on that outcome.

(M)ove to Progress. With the context and alignment set in place, the next step is to take the learnings and insights and move to the action stage. However, most teams are so focused on “doing” rather than understanding first, that actions follow alignment. The reason teams end up feeling drained and going in all directions is because the actions taken are not precise and that often has to do with the alignment process. Imagine a water spray — it doesn’t have much power, but if you focus that spray into a jet stream, now that very same water has the properties to cut through thick stones.

Listen to Understand. Inquire for Awareness. Align from Intention. Move to Progress.

The cycle of “listen to understand” always happens first. When in doubt, always seek to understand before being understood. The team coach is first and foremost there to help the team realize the potential within. The team can only go as far as the depth of their synergy. We can have 10 individuals in the team all performing well. But a team’s potential isn’t just one multiplied by 10 — it’s 10 to the power of 10. The exponential effect of synergistic teamwork creates progress and growth.

Organizations can use this effective L.I.A.M. framework to create change and help inspire teams to learn and grow through uncertain times.

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via Forbes – Leadership “”

April 15, 2021 at 05:11AM

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Dr. Sharon Lamm-Hartman