Team coaching shouldn’t be confused with training, mentoring or even consultation. Effective team coaching cannot fit into an away day and those who try (from either side of the divide) are destined to be disappointed.
I’ve covered the what and why of team coaching in previous articles, but now I’d like to expand on some specific milestones that coaches will want to consider when designing a team coaching programme. There may be additional elements to consider depending on the context, but this forms a good starting point for every engagement.
The team must be ready to be coached. For both sides to get the most out of the team coaching relationship you need to ensure that everyone is ready to proceed. See ‘Preparing a team to be coached’ for more about this.
This is your chance to talk with the team leader – and any other key personnel – to understand: the context the team operates in, clarify what you will and won’t do as a coach, start to understand the leader, build rapport and agree on ways of working and define high level objectives. Diligence here is important to iron out any issues that would prove more challenging if they were to arise later on.
The team needs to be open to coaching and willing to go with you. The first step is, as ever, to establish trust. After that it’s important to make sure all members understand your approach and what they can expect from the programme of coaching.
You can’t assume you understand the team straight away, indeed doing so will damage the trust relationship. Use interviews and/or assessments to gather a full picture of how the team operates and what areas need to the most attention. This should be shared openly with the team too.
These steps will get you to the brink of your first session with the team. In my next article I will detail the additional milestones I would suggest once those sessions begin.