Team Coaching - What is it and what are the benefits?
Feb 02, 2017
John was a bold leader. He was always described as ambitious, driven by his passion for the business. This high achievement drive meant he was held in esteem by his peers and the board, but his team struggled to keep up. While he could easily generate ideas about this next big thing or that market-transforming move in a matter of minutes, his team felt he lacked appreciation for what those things really meant for their and their teams’ workloads. To compound it, every week there’d be a new big thing. This resulted in a lack of engagement – his team were switching off, running a story in their heads of “here we go again”. The business was going nowhere.
Although John wasn’t aware of the reason for it, he knew he needed help to get his team back on track and performing.
John’s experience is not unique. Research* shows that this is the reality for top UK teams:
47% believe there are important issues to discuss which are hidden due to high inhibition and lack of trust.
30% recognise fundamental divisions exist in the team over their view of the future.
Very often the things which aren’t said in a team and are kept hidden are done so with good intention – what if it breaks the relationships, what if we can’t work as well together afterwards, what if it affects our performance and results, what if I lose my job? Ironically, as well intentioned as this is, it ends up in a downward spiral with worsening relationships, poorer performance and the potential of job losses!
It takes incredible courage to speak up. Especially to speak up 'against' the person who has the ability to fire you. Even speaking up with peers can be tough. And, unrealised by many, it also takes courage for a leader of a team to speak up about what doesn’t seem to be working.
And yet the potential for a team to grow and develop if these conversations happen is immense. When we have safety and can take risks we can share ideas, learn, adapt and helpfully disagree with each other therefore maximizing creativity through inclusion of all perspectives so the team can meet challenges head on.
Team Coaching for John and his team enabled them to have these conversations and appreciate each others’ perspectives and strengths. No business can operate with just ideas or with just implementation. They need both.
A key part of John’s team’s success now is thanks to him having the courage to first of all stand up and say that they needed help from outside the team.
Why would you choose Team Coaching?
If you’re frustrated that other team interventions haven’t made a lasting difference, here’s how Team Coaching differs.
Let’s start with where it sits in the grand scheme of team development.
Team Coaching helps:
- Establish the team’s shared purpose
- Build a new team after M&A or restructure activity
- Improve the team’s effectiveness when together
- Improve the team’s effectiveness when they’re apart
Benefits of Team Coaching
- Team Coaching has a huge advantage over one-to-one coaching.
- One-to-one coaching can take a person so far – even if you’re the leader of the team – none of us can operate or fully develop in isolation from the people around us. You then reach a ceiling or threshold where the only way to achieve further change or improvements is by working as a whole team.
- It’s a long-term, sustainable method of development to enable the team to adapt and innovate for the future, as well as being able to react to challenges in the moment.
- Team Coaching has a significant investment advantage (one-to-one coaching is too expensive to serve everyone) and because you’re being coached together, you grow and evolve together.
- Knowledge and learning stays within the team and is developed by its members, rather than the knowledge being “brought in” by a third party, increasing ownership and engagement. In this way, the team discovers its own rhythm, and team members are invested in each other’s development.
*Source – Andrew Kakabadse, Henley Business School, January 2016.
Permission was granted by the client to use the above example and names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.
Zoe Jepson and Helen Amery of Aligning Teams work in partnership with Awbery to offer Team Coaching as a solution for organisational development. You can follow @AligningTeams on Twitter. If you would like to have a chat about the benefits of Team Coaching or for more information on how Awbery and Aligning Teams can support your organisation please contact us.