Team coaching is often confused with “team building.” While team building, often a day or two out of the office, can be wonderful for teams that are tired, or worn, or need a boost of energy, the results can be short-lived. Team coaching is not a one-off event; rather, it is a process. The results of successful coaching are not forgotten as the novelty of a team building exercise wears off or as the team must get “back to work.” Interpersonal and intrapersonal development and the ability to commit to a common purpose are strengthened through the team coaching process.
What does team coaching look like?
What I find truly remarkable is that you can see the respect level rising in a team. You start to see people truly listening to what a colleague is saying versus jumping on them, interrupting, or waiting impatiently for their turn to talk. They are respectful of their fellow team members and give them the room they need. Those who are not speaking are invited in by the leader, a fellow team member or the coach. Respect may be an abstract concept, but it is one that becomes visible and audible in teams that have taken team coaching to heart.
What changes can be seen in the team?
- They achieve a common purpose. The team begins delivering on results sooner; they are on time, on budget, and they set stretch targets and exceed these with greater frequency.
- Conversations are constructive rather than closed down. Team members are energized by conversations and want to engage. They report meetings are more productive – and even fun.
- Conversations are anchored in the future instead of the past. Initially, this may not be true; dialogue may be very much mired in the past, and you begin to see a shift as people look towards, shape and live the shared future.
- The leader becomes a person at the helm, ensuring that the team stays focused on the outcomes while being more aware of how the team is working together. They are not sitting in a place of authority; they become part of the team, while at the same time, helping it understand the context in which they are operating.
- As the team gets stronger, so too do individuals. They begin to develop muscle to take on the next engagement, the next project, the next challenge and succeed.
- As trust forms, intentions are shared versus being hidden. Team members have a better understanding of the place they are coming from, as well as where their colleagues are.
When the team engages in successful coaching, the members become more aware of themselves and how they relate to others. There is respect and a common purpose that is bringing these people together to form a real team and real commitment to the shared outcome. The result is that this team can go anywhere; they can achieve more and become high performers for the organization, for each other, and for themselves.