Systemic Team Coaching

“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results’ ( Ifeanyi Onuoha).

A good Team Coach can be the catalyst for a team to reach and maintain high levels of performance.

Contents –

  1. What is Team Coaching ?
  2. Individual vs Team Coaching
  3. Spectrum of Team development
  4. How does Team Coaching deliver results ?
  5. Why should you invest in Team Coaching ? What are its real benefits ?

What is Team Coaching?

Introduction –

Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them” – Timothy Gallwey

Organizations are made up of individuals and these individuals are constituted into teams to achieve desired goals. Often, conflicts arise amongst teams and / or individuals that might hinder achieving the desired goals. Organisations often provide coaching support to select high potential individuals. This is proven to improve their performance, effectiveness as well as retention. However, coaching the team instead of just a few individuals comes with a lot of benefits. Team Coaching fosters collective efficiency and a collaborative mindset among the team members.

Team Coaching is growing rapidly due to the requirement for teams to perform well consistently and over a long period of time. High performance requires teams to be aligned towards goals, remain innovative and adapt quickly to internal and external changes. Team Coaching helps the team work towards sustainable results and ongoing development.

What do you mean by Team Coaching?

Skilled employees are often put in a single team to elevate the performance of a company. However, that often backfires owing to conflicts among team members. Each team member tries to establish their competence in an individualistic manner. While the need of the hour is to promote a collaborative effort. This is where Team Coaching can be effective.

Team Coaching is an approach that promotes collaborative effort to heighten the performance of the team as a whole. This eventually leads to an increase in overall productivity. Team Coaching brings in a greater interaction among team members. Irrespective of their attitude and behaviour, they learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses to the best of the team’s efficiency. Team members become team players.

When these seasoned team players come together after receiving Team Coaching, they work towards attaining a collective goal. Here, a leader plays a pivotal role. A leader needs to cater to the individual needs of the team members while driving them towards working for a common cause.

Team Coaching improves the working environment, developing the bond between teammates. Furthermore, Team Coaching in a workplace helps in boosting morale, promoting stability, and scales up the productivity graph for the organization’s good. Team Coaching fosters collective awareness within the teammates, no matter how different they are from each other.

Team Coaching definition –

  • Team Coaching can be defined as “a partnership and collaboration between the Team Coach, team leaders and team members. The Team Coach partners with the team and works towards a single purpose where he/she creates better psychological safety and ensures inclusion, respect and collaboration between every member in the group. Here, the team is considered as one entity functioning for a common goal”.
  • A Team Coach promotes the entire team to function as a whole towards a specific aim by empowering the members with vision, resources and intra-team relationships. Team Coaches stimulate teams to fulfil team goals. This is a highly effective approach to foster the elevated performance of the team as a whole for the organisation

Individual vs Team Coaching

Individual coaching does improve leadership effectiveness and helps individual managers and leaders grow, leading to better individual performance and job satisfaction. Until recently, coaching was considered primarily a one-on-one practice. But no matter how effective employees are on their own, they can only contribute to the real power of the collective if their managers provide them with coaching as a group.

In Team Coaching, you can address large groups of people at once. The Team Coach can help employees find their strengths and motivate them to play a role in your business’s success. Since the approach is group oriented, you can expect productivity, collaboration, and empathy to increase in employees while lowering the occurrences of conflict.

In Team Coaching, a Coach’s role is to support the team as an organic unit, providing guidance, setting routines and practices, and creating constant opportunities for group learning.

To complement the benefits of Team Coaching, individual coaching is essential. Individual coaching helps improve leadership effectiveness and with professional team and individual leadership coaching, the leader and his/her team flourishes and grows together.

The spectrum of Team development

Ongoing team development is required for teams to perform well consistently and over a long period of time. There are several modalities under the umbrella of team development starting from team building, training to team consulting, mentoring, facilitation and finally, Team Coaching. The modalities other than coaching tend to be directive in nature and hence distinct from coaching.

In an engagement, there may be a continuum between facilitation and coaching. Facilitation is often used to enhance communication and achieve clarity while coaching tends to go deeper into analysis of team dynamics and how this might affect team performance. Also, Team Coaching tends to extend over a longer period spanning many months compared to other modalities that get over in days. In Team Coaching, the ownership remains with the team with a focus on achieving specific goals through a partnership between the Team and the Coach.

How does Team Coaching deliver results ?

Aim of Team Coaching

Team Coaching is the partnership between team members and the leader with regards to how they manage the work together, how they complement each other, and how they interact with each other. It’s about working in unison, managing conflicts, and working towards a common goal. The primary motive of Team Coaching is a particular goal customised for a team.

In Team Coaching, the entire team is coached together keeping in mind the common purpose of the team. Team Coaching fosters a coaching mindset and establishes and maintains agreements between team members, team leaders and stakeholders. The Team Coach highlights the elementary differences between Team Coaching and other team development modalities. It profoundly cultivates trust and promotes team purpose as a single entity.

With Team Coaching, the team players learn to improve their listening skills – listening to other members in a team is of utmost importance to work for a common purpose. Further, a reputed and experienced Team Coach ensures that Team Coaching evokes awareness and establishes ethical working practices. The coach ensures that team members identify team goals and take the necessary steps to achieve these goals.

Building Blocks For Team Coaching

Effective Team Coaching is grounded on 7 basic rules – Goals, Roles, Rules, Building trust, Managing conflicts, Open communication and Celebration. These are the foundation for a successful Team Coaching process. Such core blocks help create a space for all team members where they interpret and comprehend these foundation bricks of Team Coaching. Team Coaching process lets team members understand these essential aspects and learn how to work towards a common goal.

According to HBR (Coaching your Team as a collective makes it stronger, Feb 2023), there are three approaches to Team Coaching that are effective for fostering accelerated learning and successful outcomes ( extracted from the above HBR article)

a) Problem-based coaching.

There’s a natural instinct among team leaders to step in and take over as problems and challenges arise. But in a team-coaching environment, leaders treat problems and challenges as opportunities for real-world learning and growth that all team members can — and have to — take advantage of.

b) Coach, don’t tell.

A second and related leadership technique is based on the Socratic-method of teaching: Team leaders use questions, not answers, to invite and shape how team members understand situations and solve problems. It takes restraint and practice to learn how to formulate questions that prompt insights and shift thinking, but when leaders have mastered this skill, it can become a powerful management technique.
In employing this approach, it can be useful for leaders to develop a list of questions to ask. For instance: “What have you tried thus far?” “What’s working? What’s not?” “Is there a different way we could frame the problem?” “Do you have all the data?” “What assumptions are you bringing to the problem?” “Who does this well? What would she do?”
When team members respond to these questions, leaders often gain immediate and important insights into how well their teams understand the work, and where additional support may be required.

c) Treat both successes and failures as opportunities to learn.

This approach transforms the work dynamic. When team members understand that successes and failures are both considered opportunities to learn in a no-blame environment, they become more willing to test the boundaries of what’s possible, to challenge assumptions, and to admit when things have gone wrong. This makes it easier to learn and pivot from mistakes, which in turn enables faster and cheaper failures, and bigger breakthroughs.
For this approach to work for teams, all members need to be given the chance to contribute, because some are likely to notice details and patterns of behavior that others are blind to. It can take time to expose those details and patterns, because they can be buried several levels down in the ingrained thinking and behavior of an organization. So another key to this message is to encourage everybody to repeatedly ask the question “Why?”
Teams today are having to learn how to deliver results in shorter cycles with fewer resources. They need leaders who can help them learn collectively from their successes and failures, optimize their performance, and adapt quickly to changing demands. Leaders who adopt the above approaches to Team Coaching are well positioned to achieve this, and in so doing can successfully differentiate their businesses by drawing on the remarkable power of the collective

Why should you invest in Team Coaching ? What are its real benefits?

With effective Team Coaching, an organization can derive many benefits

  • Strengthening collaboration: With Team Coaching, an environment of support and collaborative work is built by the team leader who understands the problems and finds feasible solutions. When the team knows that their team leader is open to suggestions and makes room for mistakes as well, they get the strength to think creatively and constructively.
  • Promoting appreciation: Through Team Coaching, the team members acknowledge the plus points of their peers and this boosts confidence within the team. In a set-up where individuals work separately, it becomes very difficult to recognize and appreciate these positive qualities. When the constructive qualities of a member improves and every member focuses on strengthening their strong points, they perform better. The connection among them grows strong and gets better with productive results.
  • Raising collective awareness:As is often seen in a working environment, when a team starts a new project, the energy level of the members is at its highest. Everyone is too excited to start a new plan and this goes on for a few days until everything extremely slows down. However, with Team Coaching, the spirit is always high. The team players take the ownership and responsibility of a project and assist one another to ensure smooth release. This leads to more awareness among members who work together and develop the talent of dealing with sudden challenges that crop up as the deadline nears.
  • Employees feel valued:When a leader values his employee and when employees feel that they are important to the organization, they perform better. Team Coaching promotes this sense of being valued and  makes them stay loyal to the company
  • Better team performance:With Team Coaching from a certified Team Coach, the performance surely improves. To complement the benefits of Team Coaching, leadership coaching is essential. Leadership coaching helps improve leadership effectiveness and with professional team and leadership coaching, the leader and his/her team flourishes and grows together.
  • Effective communication:Team Coaching promotes transparent and honest communication between leader and team mates as well as among the team players. The team members feel comfortable speaking their minds and ideas to their peers and leader.
  • Identify weaknesses:There can be natural conflicts within a team where peers might not recognise the weaknesses of each other. Team Coaching will enable them to accept the weaknesses and work towards helping one another. It’s about complimenting each other’s skills and not promoting rivalry.

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others

Jack Welch