Team Coaching

Bristol-Myers Squibb


Established in 1858, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is a global BioPharma company firmly focused on its mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Their annual turnover is in excess of $18 billion dollars and they operate globally across all continents. Their medicines help millions of people in their fight against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and psychiatric disorders. BMS’s BioPharma strategy uniquely combines the reach and resources of a major pharmaceutical company with the entrepreneurial spirit and agility of a successful biotech company. With this strategy, they focus on their customers’ needs, giving maximum priority to accelerating pipeline development, delivering sales growth and continuing to manage costs.

One team in the Sales and Marketing division of BMS in the UK had been the most successful team for two years running. This aside, they were the most challenging team to lead and manage because, regardless of their success, they continued to have conflict situations and did not set a good example. The director of the division wondered how successful they could be if they behaved like a high performing team. Certainly from his perspective, it was very time consuming to be continually sorting out the internal team issues.


Developing teams can be approached from three perspectives: team building for teams who are newly formed, team facilitation to take them to the next stage in their development as a whole team, or team coaching to focus on developing a high performance team with the added bonus of individual attention as and when required.

BMS decided that team coaching would be the best option for this team and it was decided to hold a development day with the team as a whole, followed by one-to-one coaching sessions with each individual. They thought one or possibly two individuals were halting the progress of team development and so needed a safe and reliable approach to address this issue.


Following the development day, the team started to understand that although they were successful, they were also very disruptive to the rest of the division. In some instances, behaviours from individuals changed for the better ahead of the coaching. For some, the individual coaching sessions enabled them to understand how their behaviours were impacting on others and on the team as a whole. Team members began to support each other and appreciate the complementary nature of their strengths. So, at the day conclusion, it was relatively easy for the team to understand what set of behaviours were needed to be able to create harmony.

All except one, this team member did not respond to the coaching sessions and was reluctant to consider behavioural change for the benefit of the whole team. The result was they requested a transfer to another team outside the UK and had additional coaching sessions to assist them with the transition into their new role. This change to the programme from the initial brief, worked for the individual in question and they settled comfortably into their new team.

From the perspective of the Divisional Director, he now had a successful, performing team behaving in a harmonious way, giving him the time to focus his precious time across all teams. Team members have learnt and developed, complaints were avoided and careers have been progressed.