Team Coaching: Is The Team Ready?
Updated: Aug 9
Talent Development Expert, Qatar Foundation, Founder of CoachME, Exec/Systemic Team Coach, ICF MCC, EMCC MP & ESIA, Certified Agile Coach.
This article will enable you to understand the reason for checking to see if teams are ready to be coached. This important process, conducted in the initial stages, can save time, energy and money for team coaches and for the businesses they’re working with.
I have worked externally across global sectors, with experience including agile coaching, 360-degree psychometric profiling and creating coaching cultures with an award-winning formula. I presently work internally as a systemic executive and team coach as a service provider, while also developing coaching capacity with leaders and people managers.
In complex organizations, it is paramount to ensure that resources are used to their optimum, where a courageous desire for team coaching is present, where need exists and where the team, team leader and (where relevant) executive sponsor are all ready to practice what is being learned.
What happens if team coaching readiness is not considered? If teams are not fully aware of what systemic team coaching is — a focus on positive transformation through listening to the voices of the whole system — and if they are unwilling to change or if they do not listen to 360-degree feedback to understand various perspectives, then resources are wasted, impact is not created and the value that team coaching provides could have been used more effectively with another team.
Some important questions I always ask when clarifying and contracting for team coaching are:
• Why team coaching?
• Why now?
• Why this team?
• What do you know about team coaching?
The commitment from the team in terms of time is big, and so a team coach needs to ensure that they are fully aware of this, in terms of buy-in. They should understand the session time and the work that takes place — the practice that is needed to improve relationships — plus any processes, products or services between sessions.
There are times when a team is actually working as a group but they do not share the same compelling purpose. This alone needs unpacking, at least in the initial sessions, so a desired synergetic vision can be created.
What’s Keeping You Awake At Night?
Initial data can be gathered to ascertain pressure points, blockages and disruptors for the team by talking with the team leader and each member of the team individually. This is also a way to ensure that they fully understand what a “real” systemic team coaching project is — this is not just team building, for example. On the other end of the spectrum, asking the team about the ways they celebrate iterations, or massive results, is also extremely revealing.
Right, Right, Right…
In the sentiment of Jim Collins, by having the right people in the right place at the right time, doing the right things, the right way, we succeed. By tapping into the skills, knowledge and behavioral competencies of the whole team, including the way they are with each other and their stakeholders, this data can illuminate gaps, as well as team strengths, supporting a data-driven roadmap for a team-coaching project. Where possible, check-ins on team-level objectives, performance data and the views of internal and external stakeholders through, for example, team-level profiling tools ensure the project’s results are clear and measurable from the get-go. These should be co-created in partnership with the whole team.
One-On-One Coaching For Teams
I always coach the team leader (and sometimes others) one-on-one as part of a team-coaching project. Why? There are many reasons for this. One reason is that one desired result of team coaching is for the team members to be able to coach themselves down the line. During the process or journey toward that, the team leader benefits greatly from coaching on who they are as a team leader, ways they can be even more effective and who or what they can draw upon to take the team to the next level. This approach also enables the team leader to fully understand and experience coaching, and, as a by-product, they often develop coaching competencies and useful tools they can tap into with their people. It is always interesting to hear the way the team leader feels that they encourage their team as a whole.
Other considerations in terms of team readiness that I tap into are what I am experiencing somatically, in my body, as the initial conversations take place. By using self-as-instrument, it is possible to become aware of what is being experienced in the team system. This can then be shared with the team to see what comes up for them. There can also be parallels between what the team is experiencing and what the organization and even external stakeholders, such as clients, suppliers or regulators, are experiencing.
This is a short article for hugely important considerations. Have I walked away from teams following the initial phases of clarifying their needs, including systemic needs, and their readiness and willingness to partner in team coaching? Yes.
Can team coaches ever have all the data required from the various stakeholders? Maybe not; however, for greater impact, the more data that is gathered when clarifying the desired results and the expectations of the project, the wider the range of perspectives that are listened to, the more effective the project will be.
Are you brave enough to listen to your intuition to ensure your work is with the “right” team?
This article was originally published at : https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/06/24/team-coaching-is-the-team-ready/?sh=59f19a0119df