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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
The aim of team coaching is to bring a group of individuals together to form a synergised, cooperative and productive team. It is a great skill to develop and also leverage your coaching time.
Team Building coaching opportunities can arise from one on one coaching in both business and personal coaching.
A small business, community or corporate client who has benefited from working with you one on one may ask you to help make the teams of their various departments operate more cohesively.
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.
Team coaching is not without its challenges for the members of the team (and the coach) as they go through the process of turning a group of maybe disconnected and competitive individuals finding it hard to relate and work together, into a harmonious 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.
Team Building Games
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 behaviours in stress situations and can also reveal valuable problem solving strategies.
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 about where they best fit in the team 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 it is 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 for the team building coach.
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.
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 can be an "imposed" goal rather than one each member of the team relates to as their own..
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 best team building tip I know make these imposed team goals work is to coach each member of the team through the process of "owning" the goal. That is, they to identify and acknowledge what their personal benefit will be in achieving.
It's recognising and acknowledging this benefit that will be their motivation to work with the team on the goal with enthusiasm rather than possibly apathy, boredom and resignation.
You’ll find lots more information on setting and facilitating team and group goals in my book Be Your Own Goals Coach. You'll find it is a great goal setting template for coaches working with any individual or team.
I hope this information about life coaching and team building has been of value to use when working with teams yourself or clients who may want guidance in creating their own best team.
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.