What is Team Coaching and How Does it Work?
The primary purpose of team coaching is to support teams to be more effective as they work together over time on a shared goal or purpose. Effective teams hear and respond to each other and their ideas and concerns well. They do not avoid conflict but instead navigate it head-on clearly and respectfully. Each individual team member stays tapped into his or her strengths, perspectives, and skill sets, speaking up regularly rather than the group devolving into groupthink or simply rubberstamping the team leader’s perspective. There is room for making mistakes and creativity.
So How Does Team Coaching Work?
There are three essential elements to team coaching:
- Planning: The planning stage mostly happens between the team leader (or HR professional responsible for the team) and the team coach. This phase is where the coach learns what has been going on with the team and what brings them to coaching. They hear more about the specific goal(s) for the coaching, including improving collaboration, fostering greater innovation, or strategic planning. The coaching goal should be directly connected to the team’s mission and the organization’s overall purpose.
- Assessment: The purpose of the assessment stage is for the coach to “take the group’s temperature” on how they are currently functioning as they start the coaching process. Depending on the situation and the goals for the coaching, this might include individual personality assessments of team members, an assessment of the team as a whole, and/or the coach meeting individually with each team member to hear their perspectives about the team and its work. The assessment phase includes a “debrief” session where the coach shares their findings with the team in light of its coaching goal.
- Coaching Conversations: From there, the coach meets with the team on a regular basis (typically monthly for 6-12 months) to begin working toward the goal. Coaching sessions tend to focus more on the process (how the team is together) somewhat more than content (what the team does together) but there is frequently a blend, with the conversation flowing back and forth between process and content. There is typically “fieldwork” between sessions where one or more team members try out a different way of being or doing things than their “autopilot” nature would normally call for.
In sum, team coaching, like individual executive coaching, is a dance between deepening learning (especially self-awareness) and forwarding action into new and more creative ways of doing things. The process is iterative and organic, with good team coaches being able to let the team grow and explore while staying focused on a goal that is meaningful to them.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our Team Coaching services and how they can help your team be more effective in living into its mission.