Hey Buddy! Want to Coach a Team?


May 27, 2011

a coach working with a teamOne of the most frequently asked questions the CoachNet team gets is "how do I effectively coach a team, and not just individuals?"  Coaching a team works on the same process as one-on-one coaching:  1) take a snapshot of where you're starting, 2) frame out where you're headed, then 3) plan whatever steps you can take to shorten the distance between those two points.  

Two key ideas raise your chances for effective team coaching.  First, the process for choosing your next steps is not based on a unanimous decision.  (It's easy to decide unanimously if you're the only one in the conversation!)  In a team environment, unanimous decisions are tough.  You need to coach toward a different standard.  Focus your efforts on lining the team your coaching up around the most demanding  action plan that no one on the team will work against.    Whatever commitment the team arrives at is fine, as long as no one on the team will try to stop the team's progress and there isn't a higher level of commitment that no one on the team would oppose.

The second difference builds on team's natural tendencies.  Early in a coaching conversation, team members tend to respond to a coach's questions by speaking directly to the coach.   Peer-to-peer interaction is pretty limited.  A key strategy for effective team coaching is to re-direct the conversation to be between team members and not back and forth with the coach.    Teams have to talk to each other in order to be effective.  Coaches that can facilitate that conversation are going to be more effective.

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