By combining collaborative workshops and personal coaching, leaders can address hidden team dysfunctions and unlock agency potential.
Most leaders have felt frustrated by a hardworking team of talented people that aren’t quite working together as well as they could.
Perhaps it’s the senior members of a specific department. It could be the anointed few that you’re hoping will step-up and free you from the day-to-day grind. Or maybe you’re thinking about you and your Board.
Whether a group is newly formed or decades old, there’s a world of complexity in the dynamics between people – from woolly goals and unclear roles, to clashing personalities or a lack of process.
How could you help them achieve their collective potential? Would an additional hire unlock progress? Perhaps some training? Or is one person acting as a blocker? So maybe you should crack the whip a little? Failing that, paintball or a piss-up might help. Or perhaps not.
Beware the comfort zone
To refine your options, it’s worth considering what’s in play and what’s at stake – not least how well-meaning habits can stifle momentum and create additional risk.
Of course, habits aren’t inherently good or bad, but most of us are prone to spending too much time in our comfort zone. And as long as we do our jobs well, we’re usually left alone to get on with it.
But over time, as individual habits are left unchallenged within teams, the cracks begin to show – from unspoken inefficiencies, through to more damaging, often subconscious attitudes, like ‘not invented here’ or ‘looking after number one’.
These issues are magnified in times of change. From a renewed vision or a revenue dip, to an acquisition or even just a new starter, as the context shifts, the pressure rises. That’s when disconnects are amplified, nervous people become less flexible and disharmony becomes a ticking time bomb.
Clearly, proactivity counts, so how can you get ahead of these risks?
Co-creating collective growth
One powerful option is Team Coaching. This combines individual coaching with highly collaborative group workshops.
Coaching removes blockers and unlocks potential. Unlike training or mentoring, it’s based on guided reflection and self-realisation, so every breakthrough builds confidence and self-efficacy that can be applied again and again.
Similarly, carefully designed, interactive workshops unlock lateral thinking, greater energy, and new collaborative dynamics.
And when these disciplines are combined, you achieve the compound effect of co-creation and collective growth.
A programme of Team Coaching typically works in three stages:
- We begin with a carefully facilitated goal-setting workshop that sets a shared agenda for change.
- With clarity on where they’re collectively headed, each team member then has a short burst of individual coaching to unpack their personal journey towards those shared goals.
- Finally the team reconvenes for an alignment workshop to refine their shared goals and agree how to advance together.
The entire process creates a new collective awareness – and awareness enables progress.
The power of the collective
Team Coaching works by defining – and then enabling – a tangible shift from ‘where am I going’ to ‘where are we going’.
During the individual coaching sessions, everyone unpacks their role in achieving the shared goals. Not just how they do their bit, but also how they can support each other.
Informed by the greater good, comfort zones are gently challenged and better solutions uncovered. For example, do you need to be in every pitch meeting? Where might your skills be better deployed? How might that enable others to step up?
Your coach creates a safe space where everyone is keen to explore. And while he or she is completely impartial, their vantage point on the whole jigsaw helps each participant to recognise how the pieces fit together.
To enable that bigger picture thinking, a key principle of Team Coaching is that nothing stays secret. What’s said one-to-one to your coach is deemed to have been said to the whole group. This sensitive building of collective perspective creates a truly open conversation, which in turn unlocks further progress.
Ultimately, everyone can see the team’s blockers and blindspots. This enables everyone to co-create a better solution. Hierarchies are flattened, obstacles are revealed and trust is built.
Unlocking high performance
The combination of individual and collective clarity is what makes Team Coaching transformational. A shared group intention is more potent than the sum of the participants’ individual wills. And by promoting perspective, self-solving and higher collective accountability, the process creates lasting value.
Exploring the individual and the interpersonal, as well as your company and its culture, the team co-creates a tailored blueprint that they can’t wait to act on. They also become a bonded and willing cohort of advocates for the impact that they’ve experienced.
So from the top down, whether or not your teams are already happy, innovative, and thriving, what additional potential could Team Coaching unlock?
Image: Pacal Swier