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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
The aim of team coaching is to bring a group of disparate, maybe combative, individuals together to form a synergised, cooperative and productive team.
The team coaching opportunity can arise from a small business or corporate client who has benefited from working with you as in individual. They will ask you to help make their teams operate more cohesively and productively.
Or a family member you have been helping with life coaching issues may decide that they would like you to work with the rest of the family as a team. The desired outcome here may be to have better relationships and communication.
It can sometimes be challenging for both the team building coach and the members of the team to go through the process of transforming from a group of disparate and even warring individuals into a harmonious efficient and productive unit.
I love Dr Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 model of the progression of building an effective team – Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. It's well worth reading how this model works on Wikipedia.
Coaching teams can also be very active and involve fun team building games and exercises. How people play games is often a reflection of how they will operate within a team and there is a lot to be learned from this.
It can alert individuals and the coach to their behaviours in stress situations and can also reveal valuable problem solving strategies.
Some life coaching schools offer add-on courses that specifically focus on working with teams. I would recommend you invest in one of these before you attempt working with a team or even so you can pass the skills needed on to an executive coaching client.
Members of the the team may need to be individually coached on the interpretation of the result any profile they take, such as DISC or Myers Brigg so they understand how it affects them.
Or it may be recommended that a particular team member could benefit from some individual coaching rather than in the group situation.
You might consider a certain amount of personal coaching to a team member may be provided and allowed for as part of the coaching package you are offering, or quoted and charged for separately.
Getting to know something about each of the members of the team you have been asked to coach, I believe, is essential and will stop you making initial judgements that could be wrong.
One way to do this is to include in your team coaching package or proposal a personality profile component.
This is not about judging or making any member of the team wrong, rather to have them understand and appreciate how they and the other members of the team best behave and operate so they can work together more harmoniously and take advantages of their differences.
There are literally hundreds of such profiles to choose from - DISC, Myers Briggs, Kolbe etc., and you may already have a favourite. If not, hunt around to find one out that is easy to interpret and understand and gives useful results. Becoming a certified affiliate of a profiling system can be an extra income stream.
The profile results will enable you to help businesses and other organisations create teams with the right people in the right roles for optimum effectiveness. I think it's important to get every member of the team to take the profile, including the team leader.
In personal coaching, a carefully chosen profile can also help members of a family understand each other better and be less judgemental of themselves and each other. My favourites were Kolbe and DISC because I got huge value from them myself in my relationships, both business and personal.
So often in a company team situation, management decides on the goal and the team is expected to fall into line to achieve it. And so often this doesn't work out well. This because it is an "imposed" goal.
Even if just one member of the team is not committed to the imposed goal and can't see any personal benefit, it can sabotage the success of the goal.
The way to make these imposed team goals work is to coach each member of the team through the process of "owning" the goal. That is, they must see a personal benefit for themselves in achieving it as well as for the whole team.
It's recognising and acknowledging this benefit that will be their motivation to work on the goal with enthusiasm rather than boredom and resignation.
You’ll also find more information on setting and facilitating group goals in my book Be Your Own Goals Coach which is a great goal setting template for coaches working with any sort of group from a business partnership to managing a sales team.
I hope these tips for a team building coaching have been of value both to you and your coaching business and even as something to use when working with clients who may want guidance in creating their own best team.