Team Coaching

team coaching big image

Team coaching is a powerful form of support, to enable a team to become high performing and resilient. This means that the team is able to make a sustainable and impactful contribution.

Team coaching involves the team as an entity in itself. Whilst respecting that the team is made up of individual members, team coaching is to enable the collective entity of the team. lifetimeswork subscribes to key team coaching principles:

  • The essence of team coaching is the same as individual coaching - the focus is on enabling a collective learning in service of a common purpose. This learning is often about releasing capacity, consistency and alignment.
  • A precondition of learning is ownership. Core to team coaching is the idea that the team, the whole team, owns the coaching contract.
  • Team coaching goals are set by the team and for the team; they are not necessarily the same as the boss's goals. This is a prime differentiator between facilitation and coaching.
  • Confidence that there is a common purpose is a necessary condition for team coaching. If there is no confidence in this, the support necessary is likely to be of a different kind than team coaching.
  • Team coaching enables a team no matter where they are in their state. Teams can be high performing, or indeed dsyfunctional. The skill of the coach is around pacing, so that the learning can be used directly and immediately by the team, towards higher performance.

lifetimeswork often uses the Peter Hawkins 5C model of coaching. 

The Standard Team Coaching Process

This starts with contracting with the team and the sponsor, to outline the main organisational commission for the work. lifetimeswork is often working with the senior management team of an organisation which effectively self-commissions the work. Even in this case, direct account is made of key stakeholders which can include the organisation's board, clients, staff and partners. The team is supported in identifying how to hold the stakeholders' truths strongly in the coaching work. Methods include using chairs to represent different stakeholders, or having individual team members 'stand in the shoes' of individual stakeholders during the work.

The contract also outlines which stakeholders may be useful to get input from, and who within the team will own the process of this data collection. The contract also contains measure of success for each individual team member, and the team as a whole. Confidentiality boundaries are agreed on.

The coaching then takes on an enquiry phase, where individual team members and stakeholders give their views on the team. Inputs may include performance measures, 360, and indeed live feedback sessions to the whole team.

The team is then supported in making sense of all of the inputs against the coaching contract's goals, and active coaching is planned accordingly.

We're Not Standard - What Happens??

  • Teams do not always start with a clean commission, or a clear idea of common purpose. This indeed is the key work of the coaching - helping the team uncover their collective, leveragable value.
  • Teams have a specific issue they need addressing, rather than looking at how they are servicing all of their commission. Specific team coaching may happen in the same way, with a much tighter focus.
  • Some members of the team may not be resilient, and therefore cannot enter into what is a robust and challenging process. Instead other forms of coaching, individual and sub-team, can take place.
  • The involvement of stakeholders may be too delicate. There are several situations where lifetimeswork has recommended bringing in stakeholder understanding 'lightly' into the contract without specifically interviews; examples include change of board; organisations going through transformation of senior leaders; where the main commissioner is the government and the work is political.

Team coaching can happen at any stage of a team's development, and no matter whether the team are getting on or not. The only preconditions to team coaching that lifetimeswork holds, is being able to contract with the whole team. This is a very strong indication that the team has a common purpose that they are willing to work on collectively. It is the role of the coach to help the team to make that possibility a reality.