Why Team CoachingWhat's the difference between individual and team coaches?
Business and executive coaches are professionals who know how to get to the root of the problem with individuals.Trainers are people who address groups and give them skills. But if your entire project is off track, you don’t need someone to give a class and you don’t need someone just to fix one or two executives. You need a coach who is trained in how humans interact with one another. A team coach gets to the root of the group dynamics and key interactions that are causing friction.
As a team coach, I look at human interactions as well as the internal processes being used. I have extensive training in a variety of project management and planning strategies and structures, so I have you covered if planning or organization is an issue. But the real magic comes in transforming the culture of a team and creating effective team communications. Beyond that, I help your team establish the habits and attitudes that will ensure long-term effectiveness on the team.
Examples of Team Distinctions
Following are examples of distinctions that you won’t find with executive coaches, because they are relevant to group situations, not to individuals. I’ve got more where these came from. 😉
The Worm Theorem
In every team, there is a worm. The worm is the person who just doesn’t belong in the team. You probably know who this is in your team. Not everyone agrees with you about this worm. They think the worm is someone else. Maybe they think it’s you. Maybe they think it’s themselves. In any case, a fair amount of time in your team is devoted to gossip about the worm or worms. When there is a strong consensus about who the worm is and how bad they are, the worm will be removed from the team, either by quitting or being fired. Immediately upon the disappearance of the worm, another person on the team will emerge as the worm.
The Ice Cream Paradigm of Listening
Sometimes you’ll hear people who have done too much new agey stuff talk about how you “listen” them. It’s very woo-woo until one day you are really busy and your young child comes up to bug you for attention. You really need to concentrate, say, for another half an hour, so you say to the child, “Just let me focus here for half an hour and I’ll get you an ice cream.” At the moment you say this, you are not thinking about ice cream. You are thinking about making the child go away, and it works! The room becomes quiet for precisely half an hour. Then the child returns, excited, saying “Ice cream!!!” You barely remember the promise, but the child “listened” to you as someone who would deliver the promise. In the same way, in an organization, when someone says they will deliver a part of a project, your listening of them will determine their behavior — and yours. The child who knows you are just brushing them off won’t come back after half an hour, and you won’t remind someone of a deadline if you expected them to fail in the first place.
If you are calling me in, it’s because you don’t have time to replace people on the team and you can’t afford to have this project fail. In my two-day onsite, I’ll get to the root of the problem. You won’t get some fluffy advice, but an immediate shift in attitude of the team, as well as specific steps that need to be taken over 1-3 months to get the team on track.
People are funny, aren’t they? When we can laugh at our flaws and the odd behavior we display around other people, we can overcome obstacles. When we can admit to our own humanity, we have more fun and get through the hard parts faster. A team needs to enjoy its time together, because, honestly, life is just to short to work any other way.
My goal is to infuse teams with the magic that makes teams work. In other words, within 4-12 weeks, you won’t need me to coach your team anymore. I do follow up with management on a weekly basis for several more months, but the key to your success is your success, not my having an ongoing retainer. Your team will be left with the skills to stay on track.