Your Inner Team

Who’s in your inner team? Are you choosing the best team members for your coaching practice?
by Sarah Lane

Inside each of us are many different players – our inner team. It’s a rare individual that is exactly the same in every environment with every type of person. In fact, you could argue that life would be pretty boring if we were. Certainly as a coach it might limit your flexibility as to the ‘type’ of individual you might be best able to work with. Getting to know who’s in your team can be really powerful and offers you greater choice. Throughout your life so far you’ll have met most of your inner team, you just may not have thought about them in this way before. You may have thought about your personality and how you are in different environments with different people, but just not considered those personality traits as something you have any control over, or as a team you can call upon consciously.

A common time when the inner team becomes clear is when we are saying “On one hand, I want to do x, and on the other I want to do y.” It may be that the really social part of you wants to go to that networking event, but the nurturing part wants to head home to family. If you were one dimensional, life would be rather flat. Knowing the characters in your team that you’ve got available, all the different sides of your personality, gives you greater choice and makes your behaviour conscious. For your coaching practice, deciding who on your team to send to that networking event could make the difference between making a new connection or sale – or not. Equally you may have other parts of you, like the inner guru for instance, that could be even better to put at the lead of the team.

If, in a work environment, you were tasked with pulling together the best co-workers to deliver on a project, the first thing you’re going to need to do is know who you’ve got to choose from. Then you’ll want to know more about them, things like their strengths and weaknesses, their motivations and drivers as well as their needs and wants. To get the best mix for the team you’d need to get to know them well. This is exactly the same with our inner team – it’s just we’ve never been sent on a course to learn about managing our own personalities and facets!

Whether you want to grow your coaching practice, make it more targeted to a particular industry, or do more in depth work with clients, it’s a useful to begin consciously choosing who you send into key conversations and meetings. Here’s a fun exercise that can start you down the road of better inner team management.

Who’s on your team?

Have fun with this exercise. Take yourself to an environment where you can allow your mind to wander. It could be the local park, the ocean, in your garden, or a quiet spot at work. Wherever it is, make certain to relax and enjoy the exploration:

  1. Think of sub-personalities that first come to mind and write the down. To help, think of how you show up in different scenarios:
    • At home/work/outside
    • When you are in conflict with yourself or someone else
    • When you’re with certain groups of people – family, boss, team
    • Common emotions you fall into – worry, panic, fussy, caring, charming, etc.
  2. For each one, recall being in that sub-personality. Remember doing what you were doing, what you were saying, what you were feeling at the time. Now ask that part of you the following questions:
    • What three words best describe your personality?
    • What do you look like?
    • How old are you?
    • In what situations do you get called up?
    • What do you need/want?
    • What would be a descriptive nickname for you?

Once you’ve got your sub-personalities on paper, you now have greater knowledge of who’s on your team. Now you can pair them up, choose specific characters for certain situations, or simply enjoy knowing they are there. Whatever you choose to do, you have a greater self awareness and that means more choices.

Sarah Lane  

Executive coach Sarah Lane is the author of ‘Choices: from confusion to clarity’, which aims to support business owners and leaders with supporting their people in creating the careers and lives they want. For more information about Sarah Lane, visit

2 thoughts on “Your Inner Team”

  1. Thanks ed, it’s great to hear your examples within sport and singing. They ring true with the coaching stories I tell in the book ‘Choices’ in the inner team chapter.

  2. What a powerful concept! It’s analogous to an athlete who develops expertise in multiple sports – skiing, hockey and lacrosse (had to make the point that I’m Canadian). By developing this inner team, we can serve others better by being the person who they need the most at a particular time. I remember cultivating different ways of singing when I was in a choir – sacred songs, country songs, classical songs – all call for a different kind of voice, and the same person can cultivate these different voices. It’s all authentic – really your own voice. So, if it can be done with sports and music, it can be done with personality as well.

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