Transforming David Kantor’s Four Player model of Team Roles

 The late David Kantor (17 December 1927 – 28 March 2021)  made a very valuable contribution to exploring different roles and communication patterns in teams.  His “Four Player” model, proposed that there are four different roles team members can play in team meetings.  These are: 

  • Mover – a person who proposes or advocates an action or strategy for the team
  • Opposer – the person who opposes what has been proposed 
  • Follower – people who agree and follow what has been proposed
  • Bystander – someone who neither supports nor opposes what has been proposed, but provides information, data, or commentary on the proposition

These are often laid out in the following model: 


 These roles can be further used to explore the dominant or habitual communication patterns in a team.  Using P for a proposition; O, for an opposition, F, for the communicating of support and followership, and B – for a neutral contribution from a bystander. 

Thus, a team meeting where someone put up an idea, which is immediately opposed, followed by a different proposition, which in turn is immediately opposed would be scored as M/O/M/O. 

A meeting where a proposition is put forward and everyone just falls into line agreeing to it, would be M/F/F/F/F. 

A meeting where a Proposition is put forward and several team members provide a commentary and stories and further data, but no one agrees to make it happen would be M/B/B/B/B. 

There are many other patterns and dance between the four types of players.  If people stick to just these four player roles, the best that can be hoped for when a mover makes a proposition is that some followers, say great idea, I am up for that, while some of the bystanders bring other perspectives, data and experience that helps refine and develop the proposition, before they too become followers of the new improved idea.   

The model captures some of the often-adopted roles and interplays in traditional team meetings. However, in the many years I have been working in teams I constantly meet the need of the team to go beyond understanding the roles they are trapped in enacting, to discovering how these can transform in a way for the team to be more co-creative and generative.  This is where team coaches need not only maps to better see the current terrain of the team, but also possible new transformative pathways. That help the team mature their inter-play.   

Moving the dancers on to transform the dance. 

I have written a great deal, about how you develop co-creation and generative dialogue within leadership teams that is a key part of creating a team that is more than the sum of its parts. (See especially Hawkins 2021 and Hawkins 2022),  In relation to the role and patterns that David Kantor so usefully saw and wrote about, I have discovered that what can help the team move on further, is first for all four players to transform how they play their role.   

Mover to Challenge Framer
The first important change is when the person that brings the proposition steps back from being a Mover, trying to promote and persuade people to follow a solution, and instead frames the challenge that they are inviting the team to help them address.  I have frequently written about how, if the team do not own and buy into the challenge, they will not own and buy into the solution.  I think it was Reg Revans who said, “people do not resist change, they resist being changed”.  

Opposer to Inquirer
When the challenge has been framed and people invited to help address it, the next changed required is for the Opposer to become an inquirer, sharing any concerns not through arguing against any potential solution, but asking questions that address their concerns, or invite exploration of potential unintended consequences to different ways of addressing the challenge. 

Bystander to Contributor
To create a change in the culture of an organization or even in a team dynamic, one of the quickest ways is to mobilise the bystanders.  A Team Coach or team member can ask the people who are sitting on the side-lines watching a conflict or a stuck situation, to come out of the audience and get active on the pitch.  This involves also helping them move from being a non-committal commentator on what is happening to someone who build on what is there and develops and shapes it to the next stage of iteration and development. 

Follower to Implementer
I have witnessed many times, teams all agreeing to what is proposed but then wondering a month later why it has not happened.  Sometimes I will point out they have confused agreement with commitment.  Agreement is made with raising your hand or nodding your head and means I think it is a good idea and someone should make it happen. Commitment is embodied and means I will put my energy into making it happen. 

 With these transformed player roles, the dance can look very different.   

  1. CF.  We have a challenge X and I need the team’s help in working out how we will address it.
  2. Can you say more about what you see as the dangers and risks if we do not address X?

I (2). What would success look like if we managed to collectively address that challenge? 

  1. One way I have seen this challenge being addressed elsewhere is….

C (2). What if we experimented with  …… 

C (3).  One way I would build on that is…. 

  1. These are great ideas, if I have heard you right and put all those ideas together it sounds like the first step we need to make happen is…….

Imp.  I am up for leading on making that happen. Are there 2 or 3 others that will work with me on this? 

Imp (2,3,4,)  Yes happy to support you on this.  

  1. CFWhen will you bring this back to the team for us to collectively develop it further?

Imp. Two weeks today if the others of you think this is realistic? 

Thus, by transforming each of the dancers we have created a new dance between them which is more generative and co-creative dance.  But this transformation of the dance does not happen over-night, it takes clear intention, and practice, and mutual help an challenge when we all fall back on old habits and patterns. 

Peter Hawkins April 2023 

  1. Hawkins, P. (2021).  Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership.  4th edition.  London: Kogan Page
  2. Hawkins, P. (ed) (2022).  Leadership Team Coaching in Practice: Case Studies on Creating Highly Effective Teams.  3rd edition.  London: Kogan Page
  3. Kantor, D. (2012) Reading the Room: Group Dynamics for Coaches and Leaders.  San Francisco, USA: Jossey-Bass  

Adrian Lim

Adrian is an experienced Executive Coach, Systemic Team Coach and Supervisor, based in Singapore.

Adrian has over 20 years of marketing and product management experience in the consumer electronics, telecommunications and IT solutions industries. He co-authored the book ‘Into the WILD – Creating a Coaching Culture at the Workplace’ in 2021.

Fluent in both Mandarin and English, Adrian has built, led and managed physical and virtual teams across the globe. He has also accumulated in-depth appreciation of global mindfulness, cultural diversity and international business practices in Asia and around the world.

Adrian is an ICF credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC), accredited and certified in Meta Team, GENOS Emotional Intelligence, Everything DiSC, Emergenetics, Design Thinking and LEGO® Serious Play.


Paul S H Lim

Paul has worked with Renewal Associates for over ten years, first as a client organisation and since then as an Associate. He is an experienced Leadership Development Practitioner, Executive Coach, Systemic Team Coach, Coach Supervisor and Change Consultant, based in Singapore.

His last corporate role was heading the leadership development centre in the Singapore public service and before that he was Regional Director / Managing Director with established consulting firms, working across Asia-Pacific. His clients value his depth and breadth of experience and his sensitivity to the cultural context of Asia, where he operates. He is fluent in English and Chinese, as well as dialects such as Cantonese and Hokkien. He is also conversational in Bahasa Melayu.

Paul is an accredited coach and is certified in the use of a variety of assessment and profiling instruments such as: Hogan Leadership Series, MBTI, Conflict Dynamics, NLP, Bates Executive Presence and Leadership Team Performance, MBSR, Action Learning.


Pamela Maguire

Pamela Maguire is an Executive Team coach and Supervisor. She uses a systemic eclectic approach to coaching supervision with individuals and with teams allowing the issue and solution to emerge through tapping into a range of models, theories, techniques, and processes choosing the most pertinent for the person, team, or issue.

In supervision, Pamela focuses on the needs of the team and the organization and takes into consideration the individual, the team, the organization’s stakeholders as well as the team coaches and their clients. She sees the function of the supervisor as Qualitative by helping the coach focus on what she/he is not seeing, not hearing, or not allowing themselves to feel or not saying; Developmental in that she helps the coach to develop her/his internal supervisor and reflective practitioner and resourcing by providing a supportive space for the coach to process what they have absorbed from the client and the clients’ system. She brings a blend of business acumen and human understanding and space of unconditional regard for her supervisees.


Hellen Hettinga

Hellen has been associated with Renewal Associates since 2020, building on a partner relationship with Peter since 2015. An ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), certified supervisor of coaches, mentors and consultants and facilitator in change leadership.

Hellen partners with individuals, teams and organisations navigating complex challenges in uncertain environments. Her intention is to enable conversations that matter and to create conditions for learning collectively for people and planet to thrive.

With an international corporate background and leadership experience in various sectors and countries, she works mostly with multinational organisations. She encourages embodied learning – connecting head, heart and body, ‘being rather than thinking the change’. Inviting stakeholders in the room, including the non-human ones, she challenges clients to show up as whole persons. Holding a deep curiosity and sensitivity for diversity, she believes in the power of community. Her style is described as warm with a strong, calm presence. She is known for her capacity to work with ethical dilemmas.


Professor Peter Hawkins

Peter Hawkins, Chairman of Renewal Associates, co-founder of the Global Team Coaching Institute, Emeritus Professor of Leadership at Henley Business School, and Senior Visiting Fellow, at Civil Service College (Singapore), is a leading consultant, coach, writer, and researcher in organizational strategy, leadership, culture change, team and board development, and coaching. He has worked with many leading organizations all over the world including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, and America coaching Executive Teams and Boards and facilitating major change and organizational transformation projects. He has coached over 100 boards and senior executive teams, enabling them to develop their purpose, vision, values, collective leadership, and strategy for the future, in a wide range of international, large, and small commercial companies, government departments, NHS Trusts, professional services organizations, and charities.

Peter is an international thought leader in Systemic Coaching, Executive Teams, and Board Development, President of both the Association of Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision (; and the Academy of Executive Coaching ( and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Windsor Leadership Trust. He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences on learning organization, leadership, and executive coaching and teaches and leads masterclasses in over 50 different countries around the world.


Steliana van de Rijt-Economu

Steliana van de Rijt-Economu(ICF PCC. ACTC certified) is an executive team coach with over 20 years of experience helping people and teams unlock their leadership potential.

Her professional background encompasses HR, organizational development, and leadership coaching and training for executives (E/VP, GM level) at Fortune 500 companies such as Shell, Vodafone, and Nike. With an academic foundation in Finance and Project Management, coupled with extensive practical experience in organizational and behavioral change and leader development, she excels in tackling complex challenges and seizing multifaceted opportunities within global matrix organizations.

She received the Global Women International Network award for her contribution to feminine leadership through her book: Mothers as Leaders


Jonathan Sibley

Jonathan is an experienced coach who has been supporting organizational leaders since 2004. With his extensive background in systemic team coaching, he has been a valuable member of Renewal Associates’ coaching faculty since 2001. While based in New York City, Jonathan has gained international exposure, having lived in various countries and worked fluently in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and English. Holding an MBA from INSEAD in France, he possesses a strong academic foundation.

Jonathan’s expertise lies in applying a systemic lens to help teams navigate the complexities of organizational and team dynamics, enhancing individual and collective performance. His focus includes assisting clients in evaluating their performance against stakeholder expectations, improving relationships, managing conflicts (both intercultural and within the same culture), and addressing blind spots and obstacles, including emotional management.

Certified as a coaching supervisor and having completed the Advanced Diploma in Systemic Team Coaching, Jonathan also holds certifications in various assessment tools and methodologies. His coaching experience spans diverse industries, including finance, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive, luxury, and non-profit sectors. Presently, he leads a coaching initiative within a US government agency, overseeing 48 coaches and 24 teams.

As a board member of Coaching for Justice, Jonathan actively promotes the integration of a social justice lens in coaching engagements. Additionally, he continues to cultivate his linguistic skills and enjoys traveling whenever possible.


Dr. Hilary Lines

Dr. Hilary Lines, Executive and Team Coach, Supervisor, Touchpoint Leaders, coaches leadership teams in the UK and internationally, and has particular experience in helping senior teams lead transformational change and integrate cultures post-merger. She has co-authored Touchpoint Leadership: Creating collaborative energy across Teams and organizations (Kogan Page, 2013), which describes her work and philosophy of leadership as a relationship.

Hilary has been Lead Faculty in the design and delivery of the Systemic Team Coaching® Diploma for the past 11 years. Hilary was Global Head of Partner & Leadership Development at PwC Consulting and coached the VP and Board of IBM’s EMEA Business Consulting Business before establishing her own Leadership Consulting and Coaching business. Her doctoral research examined the organizational factors that create bridges and blocks to the integration and development of R&D scientists in industry. She is a Master Practitioner Coach with AoEC and ICF PCC accredited coach.


Dr. Catherine Carr

Dr Catherine Carr is a Professional Certified Coach, Master Corporate Executive Coach, Supervisor, Certified Master Team Coach, and Registered Clinical Counsellor with Carr Kline & Associates. She has a doctorate in executive coaching and leadership development and a Masters degree in counselling psychology. In 2012 Catherine won the Goulding Award for the most outstanding professional doctorate for her work on team coaching. She is the co-author of 50 Tips for Terrific Teams! and High Performance Team Coaching, several peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and magazine articles on team coaching.

Catherine trains and supervises coaches in Systemic Team Coaching. She is the Head of the Practitioner Program for the Global Team Coaching Institute and the North American lead for the international group, Resilience at Work. Catherine has expertise in public sector coaching, health, pharmaceutical, finance, IT, and environmental organizations. She is grateful to do work that supports people to be well, live well and to meaningfully contribute around them and to our world.


Professor Peter Hawkins

Peter is one of the Global top 100 coaches and the international thought leader in systemic coaching, executive teams, and board development. He is an Emeritus Professor of Leadership at Henley Business School, Honorary President of the Association of Executive Coaching and Chairman of Renewal Associates and joint founder and Dean of the Global Team Coaching Institute.

He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences on learning organization, leadership, and executive coaching and teaches and leads masterclasses in Systemic Team Coaching in over 50 different countries.

He is the author of many best-selling books and papers in the fields of leadership, board and team coaching, systemic coaching, supervision, and organizational transformation (including Leadership Team Coaching, 2021 (4th ed); Leadership Team Coaching in Practice, 2022 (3rd ed); Systemic Coaching (2020, with Eve Turner); Supervision in the Helping Professions (2020, with Aisling McMahon) and Integrative Psychotherapy (2020, with Judy Ryde); Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consultancy: Supervision, Skills and Development (2013, with Nick Smith); Creating a Coaching Culture, 2012; and The Wise Fool’s Guide to Leadership, O Books, 2005. 

Peter was joint founder, in 1986, of Bath Consultancy Group and its chairman until the company was sold in 2010 and has chaired three other company boards as well as being a trustee director of several charities. 

Peter Hawkins has consulted to a wide range of governments, and leading commercial, financial and professional organizations including Fortune 100 and FtSE 100 international companies  

He now supervises and mentors many coaching and consultancy businesses internationally as well as running international trainings and masterclasses. 

He lives on the edge of Bath, UK with 37 acres which he shares, with many animals and trees as well as his children and grandchildren and leaders who come on courses and retreats.