Team coaching has a positive impact on both individuals and organisations. A team coach will boost team performance, build team capability, improve team capacity and ensure that the whole team feels inspired and empowered to deliver their very best for customers and stakeholders. So why aren’t leaders making more use of team coaches? Here are some of the reasons I’ve become aware of, together with my take on why we need to challenge them.
We don’t need a team coach because …
1.It’s not worth the cost.
Some people assume team coaching is solely about building good relationships; it’s therefore understandable that they don’t always equate team coaching with cost savings or increased income.
A team coach’s key focus will be to improve team performance by improving team processes, decision-making, communications or one of several other factors leading to improved customer or stakeholder satisfaction. If the team is working at a level less than they are capable of, then fixing this can save or generate £££.
2. We are too busy.
There is a heap of evidence to show that ‘fast thinking’ often leads to poor decision-making.
A team coach will help the team to slow down, if only for a couple of hours (!) and get them to reflect on what they’re doing well as well as what might be hindering great performance.
3. We all get on really well.
Whilst the ability to know self and communicate effectively with other team members is essential to good team functioning, some teams can slip into complacency. They can lose sight of the impact they have on customers or stakeholders or on other teams within the organisation. They can also become reluctant to have challenging conversations within the team.
A team coach will help the team spot potential blind spots and focus them on the essential elements of good team functioning including the need to align team outputs and values with customer or stakeholder expectations.
A team coach will help the team to understand how a healthy level of positive conflict can spark innovation and continuous improvement.
4. We’re waiting for new people to join the team.
This reason is often linked to the perception that team coaching is only about building good relationships.
A team coach will ensure the team develops a consistent way of working based around a set of sound principles designed to ensure high performance and add maximum value. Such a team will be able to constantly adapt and so can bring in new people without any negative impact.
5. It doesn’t feel safe (stated or implied).
We all experience a level of performance anxiety. Some leaders are openly wary of bringing in a team coach, possibly because they feel that they’ll be judged on the performance of their team.
A team coach will be highly skilled in team dynamics and will take time with the team and the leader to ensure a safe environment. In the best teams leadership ebbs and flows between team members and the whole team is responsible for achieving goals by working collaboratively. A team coach will help the team to recognise this.
Sources of inspiration: Peter Hawkins, David Clutterbuck, Daniel Kahneman.
Sue Frost is a systemic team coach, facilitator and leadership development specialist who has worked with hundreds of leaders and teams from top executives to front line teams and businesses. She works in all sectors and across the UK
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Helping people grow as leaders. Helping leaders build successful teams.