Introducing team coaching

I have written about Belbin team roles, Six thinking hats, feedback, energizers, Kata coaching, appreciative inquiry and the colours of de change. These are all tools of a team coach. But what is team coaching?

'Team coaching is about taking collective ownership for the professional development of a team and its members and the results that come with it.' -Marijke Lingsma

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This means that as a team coach you need to:

  1. Help shape ownership in the team and of individual team members so they will become critical and active thinkers and doers in improving the teams capabilities and results.
  2. Help develop personal skills, team/interpersonal skills and thinking in individual team members.
  3. Make sure team members become more aware of the effect their behavior has on the team dynamic and individual team members.
  4. Help team members take responsibility for the consequences (both positive and negative) of their own behavior.
  5. Grow the analytical skills of the team so they can spot and improve patterns of behavior that are unhelpful to the team.

When to use team coaching

With team coaching it is important to know what the team and management wants to achieve with coaching. You can get at the purpose of team coaching by going to the gemba, by conducting appreciative interviews, analyzing root causes and making an A3. If this is not done well your team coaching well probably go nowhere and may even make things worse. People may start to fear a hidden agenda, because there is no obvious agenda. Depending on the goals and on the team dynamics you can select the tools most likely to help you. I also find it very helpful to analyze team culture before i start coaching. 

analyze culture by perks language behavior and values

How to use team coaching

As a team coach you need a certain way of looking at a team. There needs to be a certain positivity without being naieve. I personally have these mindsets front and centre when i am in my role as team coach:

  • People can do and learn more than they think. 
  • People tend to mean well, even when results are bad or people end up feeling hurt. This does not excuse bad behavior or give people a free pass, but it does give room for building a better relationship after a serious conversation about past behavior.
  • What a team tells itself matters greatly, even if facts do not always support the narrative.
  • In a team the possibilities are bigger than in a duo or individual.
  • If there is one team member or group who is perceived as the problem, it is best to start looking at interactions. It is seldom just one persons fault when a team is not feeling right. 
  • I need to stay true to my own values, regardless of the values of the team. 
  • I need to put the goal before the means. Tools are just that, a tool. When people ask for a Belbin workshop i will always try to work our the purpose and whether if feel Belbin is the best tool for the job before i say yes.

'Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is sucess.' - Henry Ford

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Some extra tools for coaching teams

I have used these as well as the ones mentioned in the first paragraph to coach teams towards their stated goals.

Team Purpose & Culture #team  #hyperisland  #culture  #remote-friendly 

This is an essential process designed to help teams define their purpose (why they exist) and their culture (how they work together to achieve that purpose). Defining these two things will help any team to be more focused and aligned. With support of tangible examples from other companies, the team members work as individuals and a group to codify the way they work together. The goal is a visual manifestation of both the purpose and culture that can be put up in the team’s work space.

Team Self-Assessment #team  #hyperisland  #remote-friendly 

This is a structured process designed for teams to explore the way they work together. The tight structure supports team members to be open and honest in their assessment. After reflecting as individuals, the team builds a collective map which can serve as the basis for further discussions and actions. The assessment is based around 6 dimensions. Each one encouraging the team to reflect and analyse a different and crucial element of their behaviour.

Trust Battery #leadership  #teamwork  #team  #remote-friendly 

This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team, and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.


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