Great Teams Produce Great Results - FACT
After extensive research by Prof Michael West into the impact of team working on mortality rates in NHS surgery teams, it was clear that good team working saved lives!
In your organisation the results from effective team working may not have such dramatic consequences but you will certainly be expecting sustainable growth in quality, innovation, market share and profitability.
So what are the challenges your team needs to address in order to improve results
- It's well established but needing to step-up to new challenges
- New and needing to pull together to respond to specific targets
- Performing below its capability given the quality of the team members
- Lacking a vision and pupose that inspires and mobilises the team to drive for higher targets
- Unclarity about strategy and clear objectives that contibute to the business growth
- Unable to maintain motivation and retain talented members
- Politics and a silo-mentality that disables effective co-operation
What are the Foundations that Make a Great Team?
- Complimentary skills and styles - research by Belbin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meredith_Belbin showed that just having the cleaverist and brightest individuals produced poor teamwork
- Shared Propose - a real commitment to a common belief
- Focus on Results - the team is clear what it has to achieve
- Mutual Accountability - shared responsibility and trust to deliver on the objectives
- Effective Leadership - understanding when distributed leadership is more efficient than single leadership
Alligning all six of these foundations is not straightforward and is constantly evolving with the changes in business envionment, team members, organisational demands.
Team Coaching to Become a Great Team
Clearly the organisation and the team leader have to select the right team members, understand what the business needs are and who the team is there to serve.
This means that Team Coaching starts by assuming that the requisit knowledge, skill and competence is already in place and needs to be mobilised and harnessed in an effective direction. However, team coaching can also support the team in replaceming members who are not suitable for the role they are in.
Range of Team Coaching interventions
1. Facilitation of business development workshops
This intervention facilitates the setting and managing of business objectives or addresses specific business challenges and new developments. It generally requires the team to focus down without distraction for a day, preferably off-site. The team leader would meet with the coaches to clarify what the objectives and process would be for the day and the coaches would then facilitate that event.
2. Team Development
Team building events help the team pull together and maximise the diversity of thought and style. Linked to the business objectives the team coaches facilitate innovation in solving problems and generating new directions. It will be designed and led to build trust so that difference of opinion can be voiced and conflicts resolved. The team coaches are skilled at managing these scenarios and helping the team to face up to the challenges, have courageous conversations and make the changes that are necessary to deliver the results.
3. Observation and Feedback of business meetings
The function of this intervention is to ensure business and management meetings are effective, inclusive and deliver the outputs from the investment of time. The team coach is there to observe and give feedback on the process of the team meetings, then coach the members on how to create greater efficiency and results.
4. Leadership Coaching
This is 1:1 coaching with the team members and addresses the changes in behaviour and attitude that may be needed to manage and contribute to the teams overall performance. This can require sustained change in behaviour and attitude which requires courage, resolve and discipline. It is especially useful for the designated team leader to understand his/her leadership style and the impact this has on the team.
5. Stakeholder Connection
The team is there to serve its stakeholders so getting this relationship on an effective partnership level is essential to secure maximum results. The team coaches can facilitate meetings that help clarify the expectations of both parties
Systemic Team Coaching
The interventions above work in isolation and will be effective up to a point. However to get accelerated growth across the full five Foundations of a Great Team then an integrated Systemic Team Coaching approach is required over a period of time - usually six months. This will deliver:
- Integrated team functioning that through trust maximises the diversity and difference in personality, style and skills
- A real commitment to a common belief and shared purpose that will inspire the team to greater hights
- Clarity on what it has to achieve - the results it needs to produce for the business and key stakeholders
- Take shared responsibility to deliver on the agreed objectives and is willing to challenge eachother to be accountable to the collective goals
- Develop effective distributed leadership so each team member is willing to stand up and lead in their area of expertise. The designated team leader knows when to step back and forward.
To deliver this level of complexity the systemic team coaches need to work in pairs as a team to be fully attuned to the team and system dynamics over time.
The STC process is divided into three main phases
Phase 1 – Understanding the Exec Team in its context - approximately 1 month.
1. Establish who is in the team, (for the purposes of team coaching), and who are the stakeholders who need to be closely involved with the team’s evolution;
2. In-depth exploration with the team leader and key sponsors to establish the challenges facing the team and the value that systemic team coaching can deliver. Identify which stakeholders need to be included in the inquiry;
3. Conduct a series of in depth interviews with the rest of the team members and selected key stakeholders to understand their view of the team – its challenge, ways of working and performance capability;
4. Team coaches do the analysis of this data and compile their results;
5. Meet with the team leader to discuss the results and the potential consequences;
6. Meet the team to discuss the results and jointly identify how systemic team coaching could deliver impact and value;
7. Finally, meet the team leader (and stakeholders) to agree an outline plan and working contract for the team coaching.
Phase 2 – Partnering with the team to enhance performance - 6 months
The team objectives for the business and the team coaching process are first idenified and confirmed with the coaches, the team and key stakeholders. The coaches will design a rolling programme for the 6 months that addresses the challenges, maximising the opportunities to achieve those objectives and securing enhanced performance for the long term.
The final design of the programme will be driven by the Phase 1 Inquiry but is likely to involve the full range of interventions:
1. Facilitating objective-setting meetings to set targets and agree commitments to achieve them;
2. Facilitating team development sessions to maximise diversity and create support/challenge to deliver the objectives;
3. Observation, feedback and challenge of regular business meetings;
4. One to one coaching sessions with the Neil and individual members. MBTI (or other) profiling included if required (not quoted for);
5. Key stakeholder meetings with the team to enhance the relationships.
Phase 3 – Review and embedding learning for sustained change
This phase seeks to measure the return on investment and confirm the core learning of the team so that the team can continue to grow, change and flourish. It involves:
1. Evaluation interviews with primary stakeholders to gain feedback on changes and progress;
2. Analysis of the data and compiling results and comparison with initial feedback – this should give an indication of the return on investment;
3. Feedback to the team leader on outcome of review data;
4. A one day meeting with team to review and evaluate progress against objectives and agree ways in which the learning can be embedded for the long term;
5. Discussion and planning on way forward and further potential team coaching interventions.
AoEC Team Coaches
AoEC systemic team coaches are at the forefront of the evolution of this approach to organisational development. We co-lead the only Masters in Systemic Team Coach training programme in the Europe.
We combine expertise in
- Master practitioner executive coaching – to get the rigor and depth of personal learning
- Sharp and incisive facilitation of team meetings – to activate the best decision-making process
- Challenging and inclusive team development skills – to build effective and collaborative relationships
- Leadership development – to support individual and collective leadership that will give clarity in direction and flexibility in implementation
- Organisational consulting – to ensure the wider system is always included in the teams focus and actions
- Business Management – to ensure that our work is grounded in an understanding of how businesses work.
We work in co-leading pairs in order to bring different perspectives, skills and experience. The dynamics of the team coaches can model, mirror and influence the team with great benefit and profound impact.
Founder and President, AoEC
As entrepreneurial leader of a number of businesses, John understands the importance of teamwork and the value of receiving individual and team coaching. Over the last 15 years he has become widely recognised as a senior transformational coach, combining a 20-year career as an in-depth Gestalt group facilitator/trainer with business experience, extensive team building and organisational consulting.
He has an MA in Executive Coaching; author of Fertile Void, Gestalt Coaching at Work; an accredited coach with APECS; qualified supervisor and a frequent conference presenter with appearances on TV and radio. John is past President of the EMCC UK (European Mentoring and Coaching Council). Outside work his passion is Tango which reflects many elements of teamwork in STC.
Dr Hilary LInes
Executive and Team Coach, Touchpoint Leaders
Hilary coaches leadership teams in the UK and internationally, and has particular experience of helping senior teams lead transformational change and integrate cultures post-merger. She is passionate about coaching leaders to optimise the value of relationships in complex systems through working creatively with a difference. She has co-authored, Touchpoint Leadership: Creating collaborative energy across teams and organisations’, which describes her work and philosophy in this area.
Hilary was Global Head of Partner and Leadership Development at PwC Consulting and coach to the VP and Board of IBM’s EMEA Business Consulting Business before becoming an independent executive. Her doctoral research examined the organisational factors that create bridges and blocks to the integration and development of R&D scientists in industry. She is a Master Practitioner Coach with AoEC.
Latest from the Blog
This was the question a fellow dinner party guest asked me one evening. "More and more people call themselves leaders nowadays and they are not" he said emphatically. "Only the people at the top - those who have the responsibility to lead the organisation - should be called leaders".
One exercise I have found very powerful and productive in dealing with this is what I call ‘Burying the Dead Dogs’. It involves acknowledging the Dead Dogs (Elephants in the Room, Dirt under the Carpet etc.) and then talking through the issues involved and finding a way forward.
It’s not surprising then that teams stick with the status quo - these traits are very difficult to change on your own. Usually a crisis precipitates a change but we can get help to reverse these patterns and become a high performing team.
Leadership Team Coaching in Practice
Introduction and first chapter of Peter Hawkin's new book
Great Leaders know when to be great followers
Author, The Book of Leadership
As an AoEC coach you're going to be whip-smart and super-wise, and as such you'll know the answer to this question...