Working with a roomful of highly educated, opinionated and impatient executives isn’t everybody’s idea of fun. Doing it well requires experience and skills.
We’ve been excelling at it (and enjoying it) for over twenty years. We specialize in it because coaching teams is one the best ways to rapidly transform performance. It gives everyone on the team a common foundation—shared language, shared collaborative practices, and a new ability to have “real” conversations about what really matters. With team coaching, team members learn how to listen well, learn together, make timely decisions and commit to each other’s performance in new ways.
Working with teams isn’t just individual coaching with more people. It takes expert skill at facilitation, conflict resolution and negotiation for starters. It calls for deep experience managing group power imbalances, recognizing cultural and perceptual differences, and making learning accessible to diverse learning styles. It also involves—lets face it—helping some team members overcome their initial discomfort or even cynicism about having effective team conversations. (When teams have a history of frustrating conversations or disappointing results, cynicism is common.)
Our team coaching clients routinely experience…
- Unexpected and meaningful resolutions to long-buried conflicts
- Real conversations about important business issues that have previously been “undiscussable”
- Dramatically increased trust and transparency
- Clarifying and renegotiating competing commitments that are forcing team members to behave in siloed, counter-productive ways
- Much stronger and more satisfying team relationships
- Learning concrete collaborative skills that improve team members’ ability to give and receive important feedback without getting defensive or aggressive
- Transformed meetings—clearer focus, more timely decisions, and better commitments
- Mutual accountability, where team members know what they can count on each other for
We work with executive teams, extended leadership teams, boards, cross-functional teams and ad-hoc or project teams. Our Team Coaching engagements typically start with an initial team meeting in which the coach meets and observes the team in action.* We then design with the client a team coaching program that reflects the needs, opportunities and timing of the team. Team coaching engagements often begin with a two and a half day offsite meeting co-facilitated by the team coach and team leader, followed by a schedule of regular team meetings that include coaching. We are adamant about always keeping the teams’ own critical business issues and concerns front and center in our coaching engagements.
*We often get asked whether this will give the coach a realistic picture, because the team will be on its best behavior. This is not a problem for two reasons: 1) Even when team members start off on their “best behavior,” their habitual ways of behaving and interacting with one another quickly resurface; and 2) Skilled coaches know what to look for in team interactions, even when people are trying hard to be “different.”