What is Team Coaching and Why Do It?

By Govert van Sandwijk · May 27, 2019 · Posted in: Assessment & Coaching, Group Facilitation, Team Development, Teamwork

 

Team coaching unlocks a group’s potential and enhances collective intelligence. While individual coaching can be deeply effective as a one-on-one experience, the same powerful energy and learning also radically benefits the larger, human systems we work in.

When your company has skilled, capable people, it helps to step back and view them as more than individuals. Not only do your teams deserve a chance to ‘train their teamworking muscles’, but the sense of connection it fosters can be a powerful intrinsic motivator.

Based on my experience, team coaching helps inspired organizations empower their people in at least three ways.

Team Coaching Styles

1. Team coaching targets different muscles

Studies of teams distinguish between two distinct types of work that we do as humans: taskwork, and teamwork. Taskwork is the core technical specs of what we do, and teamwork is how we do it together. In an example cross-functional team, your marketing specialist, designer, and customer service rep will be working different taskwork muscles. But with only average communication and collaborative skills, their team culture will only allow for average results.

Sharing, open communication, and trust can’t be left to chance, and team coaching helps to create a supportive climate where ideas can flourish and take shape. When people feel safe enough to make suggestions or challenge assumptions, we make better, more constructive decisions.

2. It creates collective awareness

Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? Succinctly, it describes a productivity phenomenon we’ve all experienced at some point. Give a person or a team a project, and the work will often “expand”, filling all the time available for its completion.

In group scenarios, we tend to see an initial burst of activity as people get excited about a project, then things slow and drift as momentum is lost. As crunch time draws closer, another frantic spurt of urgency often drives people over the finish line.

Parkinson’s Law is just one example of a collective habit, and one that is hard to shift without group awareness. One person with this knowledge isn’t enough, and raising the issue could just be contentious if a healthy culture of collective awareness isn’t nourished. In team coaching, these issues get brought into the light. People not only learn to deal with issues that already exist, but they develop the skills to deal with new issues that will inevitably pop up. Together.

3. Team members learn to complement each other

A key goal of team coaching is to enable understanding and appreciation of different members’ unique strengths. Whether that’s taskwork strengths or the interactive styles they bring to teamwork, it’s near impossible to learn through one-on-one coaching. Team members become team players with greater knowledge and clarity, and we see synergistic results as well as a shared drive to succeed.

Put into practice, this knowledge has a particularly observable impact on the teams I’ve coached. Teams who understand the value each member adds can not only work more efficiently, but they also support each other in playing to their strengths. It circles back to the connectedness that grows between people, and the collective purpose that helps us not only perform, but perform better each time.

As a coach, team development is incredibly rewarding. Working with people who then use their own insights means I’m often a part of those collective successes in a way, and it’s amazing to witness their growth. As they learn, adapt, and evolve together, I often see brand new ways of thinking and working come to light – which often is just as much of a win as the goal itself.

Ask me about our bespoke team coaching and development programs if:
– You want to proactively stretch and enhance your team’s collective strengths;
– Your team needs or wants to optimize how they complement their skills and capabilities; or
– A shared context and goal are important to your success.

Or, let’s just talk about team coaching on our Time To Grow Global LinkedIn!

Govert is Time To Grow Global’s Managing Partner, specializing in Strategy Facilitation, Leadership development and Organisational performance. Reach him on our Time To Grow Global LinkedIn.

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