Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Team Coaching

Question - What essential skills do HR specialists say that managers (at all levels) seem to lack?

Answer – The ability to coach teams.

We shouldn’t be surprised when we hear that HR Managers consistently identify poor team coaching skills as a significant weakness in management skills because few if any managers have been trained to address team performance through coaching.

When Peter Senge talked about the 5th discipline he identified team learning as an essential element. It is the idea that true learning involves being able to see beyond personal issues, and where members of a team are able to suspend assumptions and enter into genuine thinking together. Thinking and working together is at the heart of innovation, creativity and success.
Team learning is holism in practice, such that when you bring individuals together as a team they will be more, and will achieve more than when they were acting as mere individuals.

This is however a cautionary tale because the list of negative group dynamics can seem endless -  including group think, arguments and discord (storming), scape goating and enhancing group distinctiveness by exaggerating the differences between the in-group and the outgroup, negative impacts of group conformity (think Prisoner experiments and Abu Ghraib),  distraction-conflict, even competition within teams. Given all that can go wrong, and that work is increasingly happening in teams, it follows that something may need doing to help groups become the effective teams that organisations require today.

The rewards for effective team working are immense. Think back to the last time that you were part of a team that created something truly amazing. Most likely, you created this thing despite all the obstacles, barriers and challenges. At times it might have seemed an impossible task but you achieved it as a group nevertheless and the bonds between you strengthened. You shored each other up, you worked to your strengths and supported those who needed it in recognition of their greater learning needs. In the end you reached that zenith.

It may have taken a lot out of you but you still felt energised. The positive way you felt about yourself and what you could achieve went beyond what happened in the work environment and that feeling accompanied you home and into other social arenas.

Now just imagine if you could extend that feeling, and team working ability to other pieces of work and other challenges that face you at work. That is what team coaching helps you to do.

Team coaching is a collective learning tool that helps people who are part of a group become a reflective and effective team. It helps its members to set goals, successfully achieve them and develop the skills needed to perform well in the role, the team and beyond it.