Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

Free mini-series (4/5): How to establish yourself as a new “boss” of your old team

Welcome to the Part Four of this mini-series looking at five common coaching themes from 2011. Each post will look at a single area that arises in coaching discussions, explore possible root causes and provides a sample of questions that you might consider asking in order to help move that person (coachee) forward.


It is also a real opportunity for you to share your thoughts and “killer questions” for the benefit of all !


Although these posts may prove helpful to all those involved in coaching they are primarily designed to support managers get the best from their team.


The themes I’ll be covering in this week’s free mini-series are:


1. Managing performers who are inconsistent with their performance

2. Managing time and prioritising effectively

3. Influencing a boss effectively

4. Managing and leading a team of people who were my peers

5. Perfectionism vs excellence


4. Managing and leading a team of people who were my peers

Scenario: Your coachee was a team member of the team they are now leading.

Outcomes: This new team leader is finding it a challenge to assert themselves. They struggle to have difficult conversations with former peers. There is a “jokey” response when they need to “pull rank”, with team members assuming the new team leader isn’t serious.

Root causes (amongst others) worth exploring: Ability to establish appropriate boundaries; comfort with “professional distance” vs not wanting to upset people; confidence that they are any more qualified than other team members to be the “boss”; explore any clashes with any unsuccessful candidates who may still be on the team.


Sample questions it may be helpful to ask as the coach:


  • What steps have you taken so far to establish your authority in the team?
  • What obstacles do you perceive exist in establishing your authority? How do you know?
  • What would your leadership of this team be like, as a great experience, for you? For the team?
  • How would you rate your confidence in challenging former peers?
  • What are the root causes of your assessment?
  • If an outside management mentor had observed your tenure of team leadership to date, what advice do you think they would have given you?
  • How will you balance having difficult conversations when required, with maintaining important friendships?


Challenge to you: What other questions might it be worth considering?



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