A leader is responsible for turning a group of individuals into a team; for making that team stronger and more effective than the sum of its parts. It can be an exhilarating challenge, or a heavy burden. Team coaching is a process that is meant to strengthen and solidify teams around a common purpose. At the same time, it empowers leaders to become effective guides and help to inspire others to dream, learn, do, and become more.
The Current Landscape
Today’s leaders are often not set-up to successfully do everything and be everything to everyone. Here is a scene that plays itself out in organizations all over the world: the leader rushes into a meeting, likely late as her last meeting just wrapped up. She opens her binder, and throws some information, analytics, or thoughts at the group. Then she wonders why, at the end of meeting yet another meeting must be scheduled before things can get started.
With a finite amount of time to devote to each project, meeting, and initiative each day, while maintaining time to reach their own personal and professional goals, leaders need to maximize every encounter and be sure their teams are resilient and operating in a healthy, and effective manner.
How Team Coaching Helps Leaders
With a team coaching approach, in the example above, the leader works one-on-one with a coach before and after pre-scheduled meetings to further develop her focus and explore answering questions like:
- How do I, as a leader, prepare myself for team meetings?
- What do I need to think about as I move into this session/meeting with the team around a common purpose or activity?
- What is going to get in the team’s way of accomplishing this task or objective?
- What is getting in my way?
- What powerful requests am I not making that I should be?
- What am I not articulating clearly enough so everyone understands how we’re coming together to deliver on this common purpose and achieve the desired outcomes?
In addition to the in-situ coaching that takes place with the full team, the coach and leader work together on a regular basis preparing for team meetings and encounters, and then debriefing on what took place. The leader sets the agenda, the meeting is focused on real, day-to-day business issues and is designed to achieve results and move projects forward. Now, with the support of a coach, the leader is taking the time to consciously reflect on what went well, what did not, who or what are emerging as roadblocks to success, and what can she learn from each session to help refine and improve her leadership as well as the team’s dynamics. She is able to become a better guide, a better communicator, and a better businessperson.
Empowerment comes from a leader being very clear on her goals and being prepared and confident in her ability to interact with, and guide the team effectively. Team coaching emphasizes the challenge and reward of leading. By helping leaders examine the responsibilities, accountabilities, and dynamics of each team they are able to see that the “burden” of a team is carried on many backs. The leader is the guide, and she supports, empowers and values the team as well as by being supported, empowered, and valued as a part of the team.