The following is indicative of the steps that occur once the initial contract of engagement has been agreed. This approach can be adapted to best meet organisations’ requirements.
One – Discovery Phase
- Firstly, listen to the teams line manager and other interested stakeholders to understand their “story” about the dynamics, cohesiveness and performance of the team
- Hold confidential individual meetings with each of the members, to understand their “story”, past and current triumphs, past and current challenges and anything that is pertinent to the workings of the team.
Two – Collate Findings
- Collate the findings into one central document, which forms the basis of the on-going team coaching engagement. This is then shared with each of the members, although the specific views are non-attributable.
Three – Agree on contract between team coach and the team
- At the first of the day long team coaching events, the key areas for discussion and agreement will be agreed
- The headlines of development to work with based on the feedback compiled by the team coach. These headlines will be agreed by the team as a whole, facilitated by the team coach.
- How the relationship between the team coach and the team members will work. Respective responsibilities towards each other and the team coach will be agreed, together with specific guidelines on handling sensitive disclosures and overly challenging or unhelpful communication. In fact all the elements of the psychological contract, are explicitly agreed. This work forms an important part of the team coaching.
Four – Commence the team coaching
- Typically the team coaching session will consist of a an average of between of 3 – 6 team coaching days, over an equivalent number of months or every two months, whichever is deemed the most suitable. During this time, the team facilitated by the team coach will explore all the headline areas brought up within the discovery phase.
Five – Plenary session
- The team coaching relationship will end with the final session, the plenary. This affords an opportunity for all members of the engagement to reflect on progress made, celebrate success and decide on any agreed continued team development goals for the future.
Real learning takes place between sessions
This is the real benefit of team coaching. Whilst the individual days will raise awareness with the individual members and team as a whole, the learning will really continue between the sessions, when they have plenty of opportunities to try out new approaches, adapt their behaviour and build on the individual and group strengths. The follow up sessions start with a review and sharing of team progress.
Optional individual coaching
The team coaching may be supplemented by individual coaching to allow 1 to 1 exploration of core issues and challenges concerning the individual and how they impact on the team as a whole.
As a team coach we adhere to the following assumptions to optimise the use of best practise within professional non-directive coaching
- The team is a living, evolving, entity striving for great performance, not a problem to be fixed.
- Each person within the team has an equal contribution to make
- The team members and the team coach are freely engaging in the coaching assignment and have a peer to peer relationship throughout it’s duration.
- The team coach views each member of the team as an individual with lots of potential and personal strengths
- The team coach’s role is to support the team; through a range of focussed conversations and other activities, to draw solutions to existing challenges and learn how to build on existing strengths.
In working with teams we draw from and utilise a number of different approaches:-
- Appreciative enquiry – looking at what is working, what is good and effective about the team as it is, rather than viewing the team as a problem to be fixed.
- Non-directive Coaching – Supporting the team in drawing their own learning and conclusions. If they come up with the solution, they will be more accountable in implementing it, rather than if the coach “proffers a solution”. The team coaches skill is in setting the ground rules, holding the team to the agenda, asking incisive questions, listening, summarising and paraphrasing, all the skills of a professional non-directive coach, in other words!
- Feedback – Gaining feedback, as well as giving feedback forms a key part of the team coach’s approach. The rules around giving immediate feedback will be agreed at the outset at the first team coaching meeting
- Group Facilitation – Successful group facilitation is, of course, a key ingredient in any team coaching intervention. The team coach must be able to handle complex team dynamics, challenging conversations and support the team in working through the agenda as productively as possible.
- Learning styles – Gaining insight into the different learning styles operating within the group will be important in designing any team development activities
- Team Building Activities – These activities will be built into each of the days, to enhance learning and build bonds.