Organizational teams work as instruments of success in achieving organizational goals. Teams are created to produce outstanding results that cannot be achieved by individual effort alone. Yet in teams there are challenges brought about by various factors. The quality of team performance can be an issue in reaching those goals. So companies have to take action in building better and more empowered teams.
A team-coaching program is an effective means to optimize productivity and relationship between the members of a team. Coaching sessions in the organization may be conducted basically in two approaches – individual and group setting. Since the article focuses on the corporate setting, team coaching is the most appropriate term to use. As opposed to group coaching, team coaching involves employees belonging to a team who are endorsed by the team leader or a team manager for specific purposes of developing the team members and enhancing performance. The sessions may take the form of workshops, training, or seminar in the workplace.
Various organizational teams can go through coaching and benefit from it. Examples of these teams are the following:
- Executive Teams (composed of senior level officers)
- Sales Team
- Project Teams
- Training Team
- Human Resource
Team Coaching Process
Conducting coaching sessions to teams requires a structured process, just the way it is with one-on-one coaching. The process in just about any type of coaching is similar. Here is a simple procedural method of team coaching:
The discovery process is the initial phase wherein discussions between the coach and the team leader takes place to make sure that the coaching outcomes meet the organizational needs. It involves setting of clear expectations and identifying whether the team is qualified for coaching.
2. Initial Team Needs Assessment
The needs assessment can be in the form of a diagnostic conducted by the coach. The results are used to design coaching strategies and techniques suitable to the needs of the team.
3. Team Coaching and Training
After the needs were identified and coaching process has been laid out, the coach can start conducting the coaching. For a productive learning approach, the session may be a training or workshop.
4. Ongoing Team Coaching
To ensure consistency in team productivity and a more solid relationship within a team, team-coaching sessions may be scheduled on a regular basis.
5. Progress Evaluation
Coaching sessions always end with a monitoring of progress. A final assessment may be done to gauge improvement in a team.
Role and Skills of the Team Coach
The team coach plays a vital role in the effectiveness of team-coaching. This individual is a seasoned coaching expert usually outsourced by the company to facilitate the session.
The key roles of the team coach are:
- Defining the coaching purpose and priorities
- Understanding the team culture and environment
- Determining issues to address and barriers to team performance
- Designing the teach coaching plan
- Enhancing team confidence and motivation
- Developing the systems, skills and knowledge to internalize coaching
What are the necessary skills of a team coach?
- Advanced coaching skills
- Good knowledge on organization team setting
- Business acumen and management expertise
- Strong intuition abilities
- Flexible thinking
- Ability to create team dynamics
Team Coaching versus Individual Coaching
Either of the two coaching approaches can be used by the company to develop its people. However, research and observations from many companies proved that individual or one-on-one coaching is a more effective coaching style than team coaching. It is a challenge for coaching professionals to make team-coaching programs more valuable and feasible. The ultimate advantage of one-on-one coaching is the focused attention on the needs of the individual to address performance gaps and skill deficiencies. On the other hand, team-coaching is more of a shared learning process among team members. It is possible that not all members will be able to get a good grasp of the subject matter due to differences in the learning styles of individuals. A good strategy to overcome this challenge is to enforce every team member’s participation in all the activities and drills during coaching sessions.