It is important that a team knows that team coaching is not something that is done to them; it is something that is done with them. This process is not about dwelling on the past; it’s not about forcing people to fit into some idea of what a “team” should be; it’s not about a one or two day “Rah! Rah!” event. Team coaching is about enabling a team to do its collective best work while at the same time empowering individuals to do theirs.
Step #1 – Leader Relationship Building
Team coaching always begins with the leader. The coach and team leader (think: senior executive, department manager, project manager, etc.) must first work together to build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. That rapport is an elemental component of the team coaching process and it leads to discussions around the goals and objectives the leader has established for herself and for her team.
This conversation must start on the ground floor:
1. Does the leader even have a team? If there is no common purpose, then you have a group. If there is a common purpose, you have the beginnings of a team.
2. What is this common purpose? It is the work that will connect the team members. It is the work around which they will interact to meet the goals and objectives they trying to achieve.
Step #2 – One-On-One Interviews
The coach then moves to a one-on-one interview process with each of the team members, asking questions like:
- How do you, as a team, recognize each other’s individual strengths?
- What strengths do you need from one another to achieve your common purpose?
- What is the desired outcome? How do you know when you have been successful or unsuccessful?
- How do you collaborate today? What tools and techniques do you use?
- How do you hold yourself accountable for the results?
- How do you then hold each other accountable for the results?
These initial steps of the team coaching process bring the team to a place where they can look at mutual accountability. At the end of the day, the team has work it needs to accomplish. At the same time, it needs to be in a place where members can hold each other and themselves accountable for their team relationships while doing the work. There is no separation of work and human dynamics and interactions. They are inextricably woven together, and coaching addresses how to achieve results through stronger, healthier teams.