Monday, January 20, 2014

The Value of a Team Coach

As many of you know, my latest book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group
Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) expands the focus to include team coaching in addition to group coaching. The book explores the similarities as well as differences between these two related fields.

Today's post is an excerpt from the book - pages 146 and pages 147 - which discusses the Value of a Team Coach. This section, like most of the book, was shaped by the more than dozen interviews I held with team coaching practitioners and experts like Phil Sandahl of Team Coaching International, Drs. Jacqueline Peters and Catherine Carr, and Sharon Miller to name a few.

Here are six things a team coach provides for teams ("The Value of a Team Coach") which is expanded upon in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching:

1. Space for the team to pause and reflect
2. Prioritizing the need for focus
3. A non-judgemental sounding board/space for dialogue
4. Ability to mirror back to the team what is going on
5. Strong focus on the outcome
6. Accountability focus
(Copyright Britton, 2013, pp. 146-147, All Rights Reserved) 

Here is what I write in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching:

"The Value of a Team Coach
In today’s era of cost-cutting, the conversation around the value add of team coaching  is critical. What do team coaches bring to the table that the team cannot do for themselves?

In today’s busy world of doing more with less, with little space to pause and reflect, the team coaching process can provide teams with:

Space for the team to pause and reflect : In today’s busy environment it is very easy to let reflection moments become swept away by immediate issues. A team coach sometimes provides the only reason why teams will stop - “We know that they are coming in” or “we know that we have scheduled it”.

Prioritizing the need for focus - By bringing in team coaches (whether internal or external), there is now pressure to make this a priority. It is not an issue that can slide as easily as if the leader or team members were tasked with this.

A non-judgemental sounding board/space for dialogue - Coaches provide the non-judgemental sounding board and space. It may be the only safe place for team members to “air their dirty laundry”. The confidential nature of the conversation can help to surface the “elephants that are below the surface”. One team I worked with indicated that they had failed to surface the elephant for two years because they did not feel safe in divulging it, nor have a confidential forum to raise it in. Once the issue was surfaced it enabled the team to make a significant change in terms of the types of difficult issues they were communicating and addressing.

Ability to mirror back to the team what is going on - Coaching provides an opportunity for the team to see itself in the mirror. What do they notice about how communication happens, or persistent patterns that play out day after day. Mirroring provides an opportunity to really “see” what is happening in the team it’s processes and relationships.

Strong focus on the outcome - Team coaching holds the space for the team to create a deep focus on the issues that are important for the team, as well as identify key outcome measures. What is important to us? What will the outcome be? What will success look like?

Accountability focus - One of the greatest benefits I hear from team coaching clients is that it holds the entire team responsible for taking the action, and making the changes they have committed to over time, through sustained conversation and check-ins.  If the team has operated in a culture of creating action plans but not following through, having an external accountability partner like a coach, can have a big impact."
(Copyright 2013, Britton, pp. 146-147, All Rights Reserved)

What do you see or hear from your teams about the value you as a team coach are providing them?

For several case studies around what team coaching looks like and the impact it is having, I would invite you to download a digital chapter "Team Coaching In Action" which accompanies my latest book here

I would also invite you to check out the other resources - interviews with featured coaches and other links - at the From One to Many: Best Practices website

Please feel free to share your insights and comments below.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized | GroupCoachingEssentials 
(416)996-TEAM (8326)
Check out daily quotes, questions and ideas at the Teams365blog - for teams and team leaders 

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