The power of a team coach
As I was just completing a final team coaching session with a cherished team, I asked how they would keep these kinds of conversations alive for themselves in the future without the presence of a coach.
They quickly reflected on the session and what it brought them.
An external facilitator provides structure
First, they recognised that they were able to relax into a conversation and all fully participate while I held the agenda and timing for them.
Someone pointing them to places they don’t normally think about
Next, they considered an exercise I had set up so they could talk about the past and what worked or didn’t work before (during lockdown and even before it). This allowed the longer-term members of the team to inform their newer colleagues about how difficult things used to be a few years ago. With just a nudge from me, they identified lessons-learned and what they wanted to move forward with.
They all thought this conversation was very useful.
Deep appreciation and positivity
Then they had a chance to fully appreciate every individual in the team and provide one recommendation for where to look next to be even better – things such as, “speak up in meetings, we want to hear your voice more”, “you are amazing at doing so many things, but you might be taking on too much”, and “once you stepped into owning your leadership position, everyone’s trust in you shot up, keep going!” They wouldn’t normally -on their own- initiate these useful and heartfelt interactions.
It isn’t only about problems
So, at the end of the session when I asked about how they would keep these conversations alive, they realised that they could not replicate the benefits of having an external facilitator. Indeed, they want me to continue providing this value for them.
Even though they feel they are in a great place in this team, and they don’t experience any interpersonal problems right now, they saw the benefit of today’s rich conversations. The outcomes from this session will help them become an even stronger team and more conscious and intentional about how they move forward.
Team coaching isn’t only about solving problems. It can be, of course, but even strong teams can take a leap forward when they have someone who invites and supports great conversations, who has an eye on positivity, who can challenge when needed and who has a good hunch about what will be useful for them to investigate now.
Strong teams are a ‘work in progress’ and objective guidance and facilitation can enhance thinking and support better outcomes.Dear Zoom, we need to talkThe Hybrid Working Environment Dilemma