Here are some of the basic or philosophical pre-suppositions that govern the way Thomas Sewerin is working with leadership and with team development and change. They are all outlined in detail in the book, Teams, Leadership and Coaching.

Leadership is an environment. Leadership is less about character traits of individual leaders than the qualities of communication in and between organisational entities, where key actors, teams and systems collaborate to address and accomplish planned joint efforts.

A leading or a management team, when it performs at its best, is a “Room with a view” in the same sense as Morgan Forster named his novel, a group where there is very little “muddle” and instead a high quality conversation bringing the real issues on the table.

Teams are stories. Like leadership, groups and teams are not physical phenomena but facts that reside mainly in the minds and in the telling. Teams are socially created and continuously recreated through language and dialogue. By talking and constructing new mental images of teams, they change.

The notion of a team is preferably not uniformity but diversity. The best team is probably that which can embrace, contain and constructively use the most possible differences and diversity.

Coaching is mainly about designing and leading developmental and learning processes. Coaching is emotionally holding a system – be it an individual, a group or a whole organisation – when it unfolds from an unwanted stance to a desired place to be.

Developing these things – leading, teamwork and coaching – is an art, not a technique, so the notion of “tools for development”, and the idea that the coach brings around a “toolkit” ought to be replaced by the notion of toys. A coach helps construct a playground for learning and development. Play in the basic sense of a free, creative, unconditional activity through which circumstances sometimes transform.

If leadership and teams are mainly social constructions created and recreated by conversation and dialogue, the process of coaching must mean to encourage and hold a high quality conversation – making sure that the right people talk about the right things at the right time and place. Right in this sense: appropriate, relevant.