How Team Coaching Achieves Better Outcomes
Executive coaching has proven to be successful in helping leaders perform at higher levels in work and other environments.
Coaches work with people to keep or amplify their strengths while helping them understand and address their gaps. Oftentimes, this includes the need to help leaders identify derailing behaviors that impede their success. By developing more effective ways of responding to situations or people that trigger negative reactions, leaders become more effective. Coaching helps people learn to moderate their reactions and choose better ways of interacting with their stakeholders. This shift creates more balance in the workplace. Furthermore, stakeholders who know their leader is addressing some bad habits indicate willingness to help their leader improve by giving feedback if they see evidence of the behavior re-emerging. The net result is an increase in effective interactions.
Enterprises that have experienced value in executive coaching intuitively understand how coaching also can bring value to leadership teams and critical project teams.
Teams are comprised of people with varying individual desires, goals and personalities. Members may also come from different functional, geographic or business units, each with their own priorities in meeting overall objectives. Getting people on the same page and working together productively with so many competing variables is not easily achieved. Most leaders are not trained in coalescence methods.
This is the space where coaching can make a vital difference between team success and failure. In today’s work world, team coaching includes facilitating team sessions and administering the same assessments for all team members, including the leader. These may include psychological or behavioral assessments, 360 reviews or stakeholder feedback. Each team member also benefits by working one-on-one with a team coach. The coaching process brings about greater self-awareness within each team member.
Sharing high-level results of types or styles learned from assessments in a focused team session fosters greater understanding and better appreciation among team members of different styles, values or preferences. Admittedly, sharing assessment results in a group setting exposes vulnerabilities among team members, but the payoff is big: It creates trust among the team and allows members to move forward with a better understanding of the interpersonal styles of their co-workers and themselves. With this awareness, team members can look inward before responding to each other’s behavior and actions, especially when operating under stress.
Gaining alignment on desired outcomes, including what success looks like, is critical for all teams and becomes clarified with a skilled coach. Additional benefits of team coaching include agreeing to mutual accountability and understanding that working with constructive conflict can lead to commitment and better outcomes. Through coaching, team members learn to see opportunities as opposed to only seeing problems. This vision allows the team to focus collectively on what’s possible and leads to greater idea generation. In short, coaching contributes to developing better team dynamics and delivering desired results while helping to shape a positive work culture.
Like every other industry dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the coaching profession has learned that executive and team coaching also can be done virtually. This became clear to me when a team coaching engagement I’ve been on since last November team switched from predominately in-person to 100 percent virtual in March. In late April, we held our first virtual team meeting with each person participating remotely. Not only was the desired outcome achieved, but participants also commented on how positive the meeting was, despite the nature of some discussion areas. Virtual participation enabled team members to be vulnerable with one another. When commenting on the meeting’s success, the CEO noted that it also represented significant savings; no travel, hotel, food and other meeting expenses were incurred.
Although working in offices has resumed at many organizations, the next virtual team meeting with this same client is set for September and all individual coaching has remained virtual. Our coaching team and the client organization agree that virtual team and individual coaching is working well while reducing associated travel expenses.
This positive review of virtual team coaching is not isolated. Another team coaching engagement I’m experiencing with a different organization and coaching team is having similar success with virtual team and individual coaching. Yet another adaptation necessitated by COVID-19 that will likely have staying power.
It is my hope that as the world recovers from the pandemic we meet in-person once again, and that we embrace the lessons learned when we needed to adopt new ways of connecting. I have also learned that integrating virtual meetings into executive and team coaching can be equally powerful.
How can executive coaching help your team build greater cohesion and achieve critical objectives? Working virtually or in person, team coaching may be the key to accelerating team performance that takes your organization to the next level.
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Lance and Eric T. Hicks, Ph.D., co-authored the book, Accelerating Leadership, published in June 2019 and now also available as an e-book. More information can be found on the book, Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at the links below: