Building and managing teams can present many advantages and yield extraordinary results for the organization and its stakeholders. But, just because a group of people is labeled "team" does not make it one. Intentional investment in the team is the only real short cut to high performance and a team coach will make sure your investment is maximized to your team’s fullest advantage. Solid team coaching provides a team the ability to see itself in action, identify patterns, attitudes and behaviors that make the team successful, and those that detract from high performance. And, it’s done in the course of real meetings, so you can make progress on your initiative while your team makes progress on its performance.
What is the difference between Team Building and Team Development?
Team coaches focus on team development rather than team building. There is a meaningful difference. In team development, the team is doing actual work with the coach present. The coach intervenes appropriately to help the team build awareness about how it functions, offers tools and methods to help improve performance, and helps the team own accountability to achieve sustainable results. In team building the team works with a trainer to provide experiences for the team to share to build comradery, team spirit and trust.
Would My Team Benefit From a Team Coach?
How would your team describe its effectiveness? How would you like to describe it? Team coaching is the answer for your team if you are collectively ready to be your own "dream team." You know--the kind of team against which you will judge all other team experiences in your career. Those teams don’t just happen on their own--they must be developed.
A team coach is specially skilled in the complexity of the "system" the team creates. From a neutral, authentic, and intuitive position, the coach offers observations, tools, methods and practices which directly address ineffective aspects of the team's performance. Input may be offered to the whole team, a subset of the team, or an individual for consideration, always aimed at helping the team improve. Learning opportunities abound during a team coaching session but accountability for change rests with the team. This combination has the best chance for sustainable results when the coach is not present.
What is the Team Coaching Process?
Since a team is essentially individuals functioning together, we start by helping the team members understand themselves as leaders and contributors to the team. All team members experience learning from The Leadership Circle Profile©. Though this work is done privately, it ultimately fast tracks the whole team’s success.
Then, we’ll get to know what the team wants to achieve and chart a path to achieve it. The path includes the basics like goals, roles, purpose, talent, accountability and trust, and it also includes the forces and dynamics that influence the team either consciously or unconsciously. The first team event is usually two days and is a launch towards your dream team.
It is followed by periodic time with the coach, usually in half-day boosters doing real work, which helps keep the team on track. Additionally, if the inevitable obstacle creates an unplanned team development opportunity, your coach will be there to help you take full advantage of it.
At the beginning of a team coaching engagement, it is important for the coach to get to know the members to begin to build trust with each of them. Through individual meetings, the coach and team member explore the current condition of the team and any hopes for the team. This phase also includes one-to-one coaching with the team's leader, as well as context setting and clarification of and agreement with the terms of engagement.
The coach will design the first team coaching interaction to encompass real work the team needs to accomplish, blended with sharing findings and results from observations and interviews. The team will simultaneously accomplish a necessary task while learning in real-time how to become more effective. The first team coaching meeting is an extended session lasting up to 1-2 days.
Ongoing team coaching will take on a rhythmic nature and is focused on helping the team deepen its learning, practice new skills and build the team's toolkit for the future. The team learns to be accountable for its performance, and builds on previous improvements toward sustainable results for both the team and the organization. Ideally, coaching happens during a regular team meeting, which is lengthened to support the team's development. Meetings last from two-four hours once every six-eight weeks.