Team coaching is the next evolution of coaching in the context of learning and development. However, as it is emerging there is very little evidence based research into what good team coaching looks like. Organisations can therefore be confused in their approach to team coaching. So what questions can you ask in order to maximise the investment of time and money? Let's consider this through the stimulus of seven questions you can ask yourself:
Are you thinking about team coaching from a deficit or a growth mind set?
Coaches work from a growth mind set where by everything is an opportunity to learn and a good to great approach rather than let’s fix a ‘problem’ (deficit mindset). This is important as it will affect how the team coaching proposition is received by your workforce and whether it is seen as an opportunity or a punishment!
2. Will this be a stand alone initiative or part of a blended offer?
My view (shared by many of my coaching peers) is that It is best practice to offer one to one coaching to each team member as part of a blended approach along with team coaching. This will help to ensure that positive change is sustained and embedded into the organisation’s culture. Will your team coaching involve training the team to be coaches themselves e.g. with an ILM qualification so that they are empowered in the long term to coach themselves and their colleagues in the team?
3. What will the team coaching offer be?
An obvious question, but necessary to consider your full options. Team coaching could be a one day intervention (not recommended) or a series of interventions designed to respond to the team’s specific development needs. Longer term interventions tend to maximise the impact and lead to more sustained change within the team.
4. Will the team be involved in the design of the team coaching offer?
Having enquiries with each individual team member about their view of the team and their hopes and fears etc before the team coaching design is finalised will help to ensure that everyone’s needs are met and therefore any actions coming out of it are fully committed to.
5. How will you evaluate the effectiveness of team coaching?
Although often asked at the end of the intervention, evaluation is best considered up front. What measures will you use to evaluate the team coaching effectiveness? Examples can include employee engagement, turnover, absenteeism and all sorts of qualitative and quantitative measures. How will you measure your evaluation criteria. It’s good practice to measure these ahead of the team coaching and then afterwards. Think carefully about when you will evaluate i.e. over what time frames – what makes most sense?
6. What does a high performing team look like in our organisation?
What behaviours do you aspire to? How will your employees know if they are part of a high performing team. Once you have established this vision and built out the detail of what this is in practice then the team coaching interventions can be designed around developing these behaviours.
7. When will we use team coaching?
Will you offer team coaching to all of your teams? How will you decide when it is and isn’t appropriate? Is it ever not appropriate? Will you use it for resolving conflict in teams? When a new team is created? When the organisation is going through change and impacting the team? There are so many situations where team coaching can be part of the solution.
There are other key questions to ask, but hopefully I have given you food for thought if you are thinking of incorporating team coaching into your L&D strategy. I love facilitating team coaching. It is an opportunity to work with individuals who are all in a system and therefore it offers the opportunity to create a different level of positive change – at an individual, team and organisational level. Our team coaching approach has been recognised through short listing for the CIPD People Management Awards.