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SGSI 2024: Coaching High-Performance Teams & Individuals

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Monday, Sept. 9 – Friday, Sept. 13, 9 AM - 6 PM

How can you take any group of reasonable people and turn them into a high-performing team? That’s the central question we answer in this boot-camp style experiential class. The purpose of the Coaching High-Performance Teams & Individuals course is to change the way you think about team problems, opportunities, and yourself. Through challenging team exercises, coaching sessions, and lots of hands-on experiences, this course is definitely NOT a spectator sport. However, in one week, participants leave this course with team analysis and coaching tools that will empower you to impact the world in profound ways.

This course is designed in an immersive boot-camp style format with short lectures and LOTS of experiential activities.  Days are filled with team challenge exercises (not physically but mentally challenging), coaching sessions and reflection activities.


  • Evelyn Williams, distinguished teaching professor, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business; former director, Stanford Center for Leadership, Development, & Research and lecturer at the Graduate School of Business.

Audience & Capacity

Open to all graduate students in any discipline* and postdoctoral scholars (if space allows). Space is limited to 48.

*MSx Class of 2025 and first-year MBA students are ineligible to participate due to mandatory program requirements.


We will pursue several learning goals during the week we are together. As a result of the course, we expect that you will:

  • Develop fluency in coaching tools and techniques so that you can leverage your own inherent coaching strengths and help unlock the productive capacity of others.
  • Develop insights and skills that make you a more productive team leader and team member.
  • Understand the elements important in creating an innovative, feedback-rich culture, and be able to foster such an environment wherever you go.
  • Learn how to identify cues, routines, and rewards that normalize behavior and interventions to change those habits.
  • Gain more intentionality in the choices you make within team and organizational settings and be in a better position to evaluate potential outcomes.
  • Apply behavioral analysis and feedback to aid others in their quest for better self-awareness and self-management—and in the process, improve your own emotional intelligence skills as well.

Beyond these formal objectives, we hope this course gives you a better sense of the difference between intentionality and perception of behavior, how much your behavior signals who you are to the outside world, and ultimately, how much positive, productive impact you can have on the folks and organizations around you.


After completing your degree at Stanford, we expect that you will leave with a wealth of knowledge and academic skills. And we have high expectations that you will be leaders in whatever your next life chapter holds for you. So while you are here with us in Palo Alto, we want you to learn how to be leaders with expansive, well-informed minds, AND also learn how to influence outcomes, motivate others, and build/maintain relationships. We want you to hone your intellectual abilities as well as gain the interpersonal skills that will help you make an impact on the world in profoundly positive ways. The Coaching High-Performance Teams & Individuals course launches you on that adventure of leadership and interpersonal growth so that you can get the most out of your time here at Stanford.

A vital stage of leadership is understanding the behaviors that great teams demonstrate and the ability to assess them in action. From defining your purpose, designing productive roles and responsibilities, building effective processes, creating a supportive context, and creating a feedback-rich environment—high-performing teams maximize their effectiveness on multiple dimensions. In this boot camp-style course, we actively build your coaching abilities by expanding your inquiry, observation, and behavioral analysis skills. We increase your awareness of productive team behaviors—and give you hands-on opportunities to design interventions and behavioral experiments to move teams in a positive direction. And, of course, you’ll practice giving and receiving high IMPACT feedback to help you design, act, reflect, and experiment as we move through this highly experiential journey. 

Undoubtedly you will be a part of many study teams and work groups in your time with us here at Stanford, and this course creates a fertile launchpad of discovery and skill-building to set you up for success in those many endeavors. And while we cover a lot of ground in our daily sessions, we also have a lot of fun together. You will work closely with others throughout the week and ultimately build solid friendships with a wonderful network of graduate students and postdocs from across campus!

Additional Course Expectations

There will be a team presentation given at the end of the week and extra hours outside of class to prepare with your team. The material we cover is NOT cognitively difficult but it does take time outside of class to complete your data collection. Students can expect at least 1-2 hours outside of class each night to prepare for the following day. Full attendance is expected.

SUNet ID required to log in; all SGSI correspondence sent to your Stanford email account.

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