When a group of good employees pulls together as a team, they can exponentially transform the growth of an organisation.
This is significant because growth is increasingly driven by collaborative teamwork, so isolated individual brilliance is no longer enough. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work.
However, successful teamwork doesn’t just ‘happen’ but is a collective skill that often requires the help of team coaching.
By pragmatically improving teamwork, businesses can create the collaborative nexus they need to truly thrive.
Here’s everything you need to know about team coaching for team building and how it helps businesses succeed and evolve.
What Is Team Coaching?
Team coaching equips teams with the skills to create a collaborative environment where teamwork can flourish.
In particular, it empowers them to generate and own the dialogues and processes they need to improve performance, work as a collaborative entity, and achieve common objectives.
Team Coaching Differs From Other Team Interventions
Team coaching is a unique form of intervention within the realm of team development. While it belongs to the broader category of ‘team training’ techniques, it does have its finer nuances, too.
Rather than merely providing guidance or direction, team coaching delves deep into the dynamics of a team, addressing both its strengths and areas for growth.
The objective is not just to impart knowledge or skills but to foster a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and mutual respect among team members.
This holistic approach ensures teams are better equipped to handle challenges, adapt to changes, and perform optimally in their roles.
Group Coaching vs. Team Coaching
At first glance, group coaching and team coaching might seem similar, but they serve different purposes.
Group coaching is a space where individuals come together, but the focus remains on individual growth and personal journeys, albeit shared in a group setting. Participants might have different goals and outcomes in mind.
Team coaching, on the other hand, emphasises the collective unit. The success of the team as a whole, its cohesion, collaboration, and ability to work effectively together, is paramount. It’s not about individual victories but the success of the entire team.
Team Building vs. Team Coaching
Team building and team coaching both aspire to create stronger, more unified teams.
However, their methods and outcomes can differ significantly. Team building often entails activities or exercises designed to foster trust, break down barriers, and improve camaraderie. These are usually short-term, event-driven interventions.
While they can be immensely fun and beneficial, their impact might diminish over time. Team coaching, in contrast, is a more sustained and comprehensive approach. It is not limited to a single event but spans multiple sessions, addressing various aspects of team dynamics. The goal is to facilitate lasting change, ensuring teams consistently function at their best.
Team Facilitation vs. Team Coaching
Team facilitation and team coaching both serve to guide teams towards achieving specific objectives.
Team facilitation is task-oriented, focusing on helping teams navigate dialogues, meetings, or projects to reach a desired outcome efficiently. It’s about process and structure. Team coaching, meanwhile, has a broader scope.
While it does touch upon achieving tasks, its primary focus is on the team itself. By teaching teams to communicate better, to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and to collaborate more effectively, team coaching enables teams to become more autonomous, self-reliant, and capable of managing and facilitating their own outcomes.
Individual Coaching vs. Team Coaching
Individual coaching and team coaching both fall under the umbrella of coaching but cater to different needs.
Individual coaching is tailored to the personal development needs of an individual within a group or organisation. It’s a one-on-one interaction, focusing on individual goals, challenges, and growth areas.
Team coaching, on the other hand, looks at the bigger picture. Instead of individual trajectories, it examines team dynamics, communication patterns, and collective goals. The philosophy behind team coaching is that a team, when functioning harmoniously and collaboratively, can achieve outcomes far beyond what individuals might achieve separately.
Collaborative Teams And Teamwork – The Keys To Business Success
If your organisation has some great people who don’t seem to be contributing much value to organisational growth, they’re probably not working together as a collaborative team.
This gets back to that ‘ineffective individual brilliance’ mentioned earlier.
But – whilst business leaders increasingly recognise the key role teams play in their organisation’s overall success, there’s growing awareness that many teams don’t have the skill sets required for collaborative teamwork.
The 2016 Ridler Report, for example, found that three-quarters of the companies surveyed intended to start using or increase their current use of team coaching within 2 years.
This indicates business leaders do understand that functional collaborative teams don’t just happen on their own and that knowing how to work in a team is an acquired skill that requires training and support, just like any other skill.
When Teams Don’t Work Together
Teams lacking the required support, resources, motivation, and training to perform cohesively are in ‘name’ only. They are a group of individuals pulling in different directions and will struggle to achieve goals, meet deadlines, and deliver quality work.
There may also be individuals within the group who are unwilling to collaborate and lack trust in other team members and management. These issues impact their ability to work effectively as part of a team and negatively affect the organisation’s overall growth and success.
In particular, teams in this unfortunate position invariably lack:
- Communication Skills: If team members struggle to communicate effectively (internally and externally), it results in misunderstandings, conflicts, and delays.
- Collaboration Skills: When individuals don’t cooperate, it impacts team engagement, making sharing ideas and resources towards common goals difficult.
- Leadership, Accountability, and Decision-Making Skills: Without these skills, teams find it hard to do any effective goal-setting, make concrete decisions, or plan properly. This impacts their productivity and leads to delays in getting things done and expensive missed opportunities.
- Problem-Solving and Conflict-Resolution Skills: A team that grapples to resolve problems and conflict within the group experiences constant frustration and setbacks.
- Change management skills: Not being able to keep up with the latest trends and technologies impacts the team’s innovation and creativity, reducing their ability to develop the innovative ideas and solutions needed to keep growth and momentum happening.
How Can Team Coaching Transform Your Business?
Team coaching can teach your team the above skills and unleash the full potential of their collective abilities to help drive organisational growth and success.
In particular, a team coach will work with your team to identify, tailor, develop, and improve key metrics for successful collaborative teamwork. This will greatly improve:
Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful teamwork. This is why team coaching places such a strong emphasis on the value of:
- Open, honest, transparent conversations and discussion,
- Attentive, focused listening, and
- The development of a common framework for communication.
When team members can communicate effectively, it flows onto other team metrics, such as improved problem-solving, better understanding, and fewer misunderstandings. That translates to improved growth and productivity.
When there are common goals, shared purpose, and mutual respect between team members, the team is more likely to be cohesive, unified, and interested in collaborative teamwork. Here, team coaching provides the foundations for effective collaboration by:
- Respecting and encouraging diversity and different perspectives amongst team members,
- Recognising the individual strengths and talents of team members and identifying what each individual can bring to the team as a whole, and
- Directing the team’s individual efforts towards a common goal or group vision.
When collaborative teamwork becomes a standard operating procedure, it increases the team’s collective capabilities with significant improvements in innovation, creativity, productivity, satisfaction, engagement, and inclusion.
Differences of opinion and opposing points of view can create conflict within a team, particularly amongst strong personalities. Left unresolved, this can very quickly derail a team.
This is where an effective team coach focuses on teaching team members effective conflict-resolving skills so they can settle conflicts proactively and constructively.
Reducing the risk of unresolved destructive conflict improves team solidarity, satisfaction, and morale, maintains unity, and creates opportunities to turn disagreements into avenues for improvement.
Leadership doesn’t have to come from one particular individual within a team. Team coaching often helps identify team members who show leadership potential and strives to nurture and develop these individuals.
Developing leadership qualities empowers individuals to step into leadership roles, fostering a sense of shared ownership and accountability. Teams with this quality are much more invested in the outcomes of goals and the organisation’s success.
‘We’ Rather Than ‘Me’ Mindset
For a team to function correctly, the individual ‘me’ must give way to a collective ‘we’. This is a critical aspect of team coaching, where individuals learn to share their unique skills and experiences for the ‘greater team good’, propelling the team forward as a single united entity.
When there is a shared identity and purpose, a collaborative environment, and a coordination of efforts, your team will pull and steer in the same direction to achieve goals and drive results.
Psychological Safety And Trust
In order to function effectively within a team, team members must trust each other and feel safe enough to express their thoughts and opinions without fearing judgment or ridicule.
Team coaching identifies and helps overcome barriers that hamper the development of a trusting, nurturing, inclusive environment, allowing creativity and innovation to flourish.
Some of history’s most profitable and successful ideas have come from individuals who think outside the square.
For instance – who would have thought noisy, horseless carriages and man-made contraptions with wings would ever work, let alone become popular?
Diversity drives innovation. In fact, studies such as a 2016 McKinsey study show that companies with higher than average racial and ethnic diversity in their management teams perform better across a range of metrics.
A team coach identifies and emphasises these differences, teaching the team to capitalise on them and create a richer, more creative environment.
When diversity within a team is embraced and utilised as a resource, whether age, gender, ethnicity, experience, skill sets etc, the team can perform better because it has a more extensive resource pool to draw from.
This is across various metrics – innovation, decision-making, problem-solving, customer satisfaction, and even employee turnover.
Problem-Solving And Decision-Making Processes
Regarding problem-solving and decision-making processes, team coaching can teach teams how to determine what’s important and what isn’t.
This leads to better-informed decisions that align with company goals and objectives.
When a team has established processes by which they can effectively determine what is and isn’t essential, they can work more efficiently and productively, employ better decision-making skills overall, operate with reduced risk, have better communication, and increase employee satisfaction.
For example, suppose your product development team can logically and methodically assess the various risks and benefits of particular product features. In that case, they can quickly decide which ones to include in a new product.
It’s very common for an organisation to face challenges when trying to adopt a coaching mindset. Team coaching can help balance personal ambitions and career goals with team and organisational goals, fostering an environment where collaborative teamwork thrives.
It’s also important to note that maintaining an environment where team collaboration thrives is ongoing.
New team members can disrupt the harmony if not adequately onboarded, and individuals with previously identified ‘anti-team’ tendencies may lapse back into bad habits. Avoiding or reducing these issues requires ongoing commitment and reinforcement of the underlying principles of collaboration.
Identifying and working with non-team players helps businesses avoid negative business outcomes, such as reduced productivity, increased costs, damaged relationships, lost opportunities, and negative corporate reputation, to create a more cohesive and productive work environment.
The Process of Team Coaching
Team coaching involves several key stages:
A team coach will evaluate your team dynamics, strengths, and weaknesses and identify potential areas for improvement. Various assessment tools are useful for this process. One of the most popular is the DISC psychometric tool.
DISC Psychometric Tool
DISC is an acronym for 4 essential personality traits: dominance, influence, steady, and compliance. It’s a valuable tool for facilitating dialogue because it provides constructive insights into human behaviours.
When used in a team setting, it allows a team coach to develop a personality profile of each team member.
This information can then be used to help the team understand, accept, and work with the different personality types within their ranks. This facilitates better communication and, thus, more effective team collaboration.
The team coach will work with the team to set goals and clear objectives for team development that align with the organisation’s strategic goals.
A team coach doesn’t just assist in carving out these goals but ensures that these are intricately aligned with the overarching strategic objectives of the organisation. This alignment is vital as it enables teams to move in a direction that complements the organisational vision, ensuring a harmonious pursuit of collective aspirations.
The goal-setting phase is not about setting abstract targets but about creating a coherent blueprint that incorporates both developmental and organisational aspirations, laying the foundation for a journey toward holistic enhancement and strategic alignment.
The team will formulate and implement tailored strategies to address issues identified in the assessment phase – communication gaps, conflicts, and other barriers to effective collaboration and collaborative teamwork.
Once the foundation of clear, aligned goals is laid, the team delves into formulating and executing strategies tailored to overcome the specific challenges identified during the assessment phase.
Creating bespoke strategies is crucial in addressing intricate issues such as communication lapses, internal conflicts, and other hurdles that obstruct effective collaboration and unity within the team.
Team coaching will help the team:
- Identify issues that are impeding the effectiveness of the current process,
- Determine how the organisation needs the process to work moving forward,
- Identify what role each team member plays in facilitating this and what has to change about how they currently work/behave to make it happen. Perhaps they aren’t sharing information or resources. Maybe they are being passive-aggressive in their communication or not working together to solve problems or produce the required data.
- Set the necessary goals to make it happen, and
- Equip them with the necessary tools to make those changes and meet the goals.
The Positive Impact Of Team Coaching On Business Success
Good team coaching can have a transformative effect on business success.
Enhanced Team Performance
A well-coached team operates cohesively, leading to improved productivity and overall performance. When each member understands their role and the roles of their colleagues, they work synergistically to achieve common goals.
Cultivating Innovation and Creativity
Team coaching harnesses the diversity of thought within a team, sparking innovation and creative problem-solving. The synthesis of different viewpoints leads to fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.
Building Employee Engagement and Retention
Team coaching fosters a sense of belonging and involvement among team members. Engaged employees are more committed to their work, leading to reduced turnover rates and a more stable work environment.
Adapting to Change and Fostering Resilience
In an ever-changing business landscape, adaptability is crucial. Team coaching equips teams with the tools to swiftly adapt, cultivating resilience in facing challenges and uncertainties.
Team coaching is a transformative process that seeks to optimise the collaborative capabilities of a business team. It’s not just about individual growth but centres on fostering collective development and improved team dynamics.
Through team coaching, organisations are better equipped to tackle challenges, adapt to changes, and realise their strategic objectives.
By honing team communication, resolving internal conflicts, and strengthening collaboration, businesses can significantly enhance their productivity and success rates. In essence, team coaching is an investment in an organisation’s human capital, propelling teams to work seamlessly together and driving business success.
Inner Leader understands the dynamics of high-performing teams.
Our team development sessions and services will foster stronger collaboration, communication and interpersonal relations, build psychological safety, improve feedback skills, and enhance resilience.