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EP: 50 – A Conversation with Janet M. Harvey, MCC

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Janet M Harvey, MCC is a visionary, writer, speaker and coach. She is an  early adopter of a coach centred approach in the workplace. Janet works with global organisations and teams of Leaders to establish a generative, resilient and high performing culture. Janet Harvey brings her executive and entrepreneurial experience as CEO of InviteChange, Leaders in sustainable excellence through a signature generative coaching and learning process, The Generative Wholeness Way. As an ICF Master Certified Coach, Certified Mentor Coach, Accredited Coach Supervisor and ICF Global past president customers and audiences around the globe speak of Janet as a bold curious, provocative and compassionate Leader.

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary:  In this episode Janet illuminates the potency of Team Coaching for teams. She shares her wisdom in creating the groundwork for teams to deepen the learning with each other before they dive into action. Often teams and organisations get seduced by the task of things  & the reactive nature of daily requests but forget to focus on the day to day experience of teaming, understanding the work they have been authored to do and take responsibility for and of being together. Team agreements are an essential component of a team’s success.  By missing this vital consideration teams often fall into politics and drama and get stuck. In addition ,Janet discusses the role of a team coach, the role of a sponsor with their team and the work it takes to help teams become self-sustaining.  Every sentence Janet speaks is loaded with juicy questions and thought-provoking ideas. As a Leader or Coach, I dare you not to listen.


*Exclusively for listeners of the show, you can download a sample chapter of Janet’s new book, Invite Change – just click here*


Points made through the episode:

  • Coaching and Team Coaching is not a “job” for Janet but an opportunity to live her bliss everyday
  • In her early career working with a large financial institution Charles Schwab Janet first experienced what it meant to team across a whole organisation
  • She impresses that we often lose sight of the brilliance of our team colleagues -we must see our team members as more than the moment we are in and ask instead how is the climate that has been created contributing to the inability for a team member to show up?
  • Creating the climate for people to shine is the Leaders job.
  • Important to figure out what is in the “collective field” of a team, perhaps keeping its team members from full authorship
  • Team members are rarely asked or get to declare how they wish to contribute and what their value is to the team’s endeavour.
  • There are several important steps in a team engagement. In fact a number of steps that in Janet’s words comprise the anatomy of a team engagement.
  • Consider the Sponsor relationship – as a coach ask what the meaningful work is that the team is here to accomplish?
  • Dialogue with the Sponsor about their role, what they have granted authority to the team. Understand what they are examining is the evidence that the team is performing. Consider too how the team is being resourced and supported.
  • Then there is the important same engagement with each member of the team to understand their understanding of their remit. How do the team members negotiate for their work with the sponsor and the system for what they need?
  • Important for coach to not over work but to allow the team to reveal itself to itself
  • Janet employs a process at InviteChange when working with teams that she calls Team Sovereignty -It ask 4 seemingly simple questions
  1. What brought you here?
  2. What is the team expected to deliver?
  3. What agreements are necessary for you to accept responsibility?
  4. How would you like to approach delivering the expectation while honouring the agreements made between us?
  • Janet explored an experience I had with a team around the first question and suggested as a coach I had missed the opportunity to coach a team member. I could have asked in the vignette shared:
  1. What makes being on this team important to you?
  2. What is it you want your team members to know about you that is satisfying to you about your contribution?
  3. What are you really frustrated about in terms of what you know you can bring to this team, why you are here that if the team knew would bring you satisfaction ?
  • Janet encourages us as Leaders and Coaches to find compassion for the behaviour we are witnessing. How we have been together and the conversations we have missed is revealed in how a person shows up.
  • Team members often enter a team in full protection mode. It is palpable when you enter a team or group of people. Anxiety is high. Important for us as team coaches not to solidify this protection and amp anxiety by the creation of “ground rules” but rather we need to work to create team agreements.
  • We can unwittingly fall into Parent-Child dynamics when what is required are courageous conversations about how we will work together to accomplish what is often complex, challenging and consequential work.
  • Janet employs metaphors a lot on teams to help distance the often emotional tension that can exist with this work.
  • Team agreements when worked through in a reasonable fashion, conscious of the body of work a team has to do can build confidence between team members for the times when things get tricky.
  • Every member of the team is account-able for the team agreements.
  • The work of a coach is to monitor the collective field of interactions on a team when you are present.
  • Leaders need to be clear. Have they been clear about the level of authority they have granted the team? Of their role? Of the boundary between?
  • Leaders can often fall foul of the Request/Promise distinction and collapse the beauty of a request with the idea of delegation. Often information is missing.
  • We have to vigilant of the assumptions we are making on teams
  • Important to ask if the sponsor has skin in the game and similarly does the team have skin in the game for this work?
  • Clarity is important -what are the organisational outcomes expected of this team, what are the conditions of satisfaction by which this team will be measured, how has the team been authored to complete its mission, how has the team been set up? What is the productivity and positivity you are evidencing on the team? Where are the team agreements?
  • Janet reminds us that too often organisational life is about revering, competence, analytics and objectives by being great stewards of resources all of which requires astute acumen but what we forget is our consciousness and humanness in our endeavour.
  • We forget to ask how we are experiencing the system of which we are a part and we fall prey to politics and drama.
  • To conclude Janet shares her own experience of team with her team at Invite Change and how she radically altered the nature of questions she asks team members to get at their commitment.




Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation

  2. Professional Coaching Principles and Practice edited by Susan English, Janet Sabatine & Philippe Brownell.
  3. The fearless organisation by Amy Edmondson
  4. Generative Team Coaching, InviteChange

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