In 2021 I completed my accreditation in Team Coaching with the Global Team Coaching Institute (GTCI) led by world class expert in team coaching Peter Hawkins and his team. Through the learning, case studies, and integration into my practice over this last year, I’ve seen just how valuable team coaching can be for leaders, their teams, and the organisation as a whole.
Here are my top 5 takeaways on how to create teams that are more connected, effective, future focussed and rewarded both personally and professionally.
- Great teams have mutual accountability
Think of the best, most effective teams you have ever worked in, and you’ll probably be able to identify the themes of mutual accountability, shared purpose, and partnership.
Instead of favouring individual stars in a team we should be asking, “what can we achieve together, that we can’t achieve on our own?”
“In great teams everyone takes responsibility for their own and everyone else’s performance, learning and well-being” David Clutterbuck.
Sometimes this may mean accepting personal discomfort for the collective benefit of the team, and the organisation as a whole.
Reflection: Have a think about what is the unique contribution you bring to the team?
- The importance of shared purpose
We can get so caught up in the day to day structures of an organisation that we forget to take a step back and think ‘who does our work serve?’
A team should be defined by its purpose, not by its members. The purpose is the guiding compass for direction, and collaboration. Purpose driven organisations and teams are proving far more successful and better at retaining their employees than those focussed on short term profits.
“The purpose of a team is to continuously co-create greater beneficial value, with and for all, their stakeholders,” Peter Hawkins
Reflection: What purpose does your team serve as part of your organisation?
- Leading virtually requires thoughtful unity of communication
We are currently facing a complex situation of managing teams who may be part in the office, part out of the office, and others working entirely from home. The same principles of leadership apply – yet with new tools, flexibility of approach and thoughtful consideration in to HOW you communicate based on where your teams are located.
From personal experience I managed one of my direct reports based in Argentina when I was in the UK. We didn’t meet face to face until 6 months after we started working together. Making her feel part of the team was always a key priority for me, I never cancelled our weekly 1:1’s and made sure she was part of conference calls with the rest of team. It required pre-planning, consideration of time zones, increased trust, structure and regular communication – it can be done.
One of the common issues is keeping everyone fully engaged and fully present in the numerous video meetings.
Try this: Start every meeting with an outcome based check-in eg. “What do we need to have agreed at the end of the meeting?” to help make the meeting focussed and meaningful for all attending.
Encourage everyone to engage in social sharing eg. “Name one thing that has gone well, one thing that has been difficult, and one thing that you need help with.” Encourage a co-coaching approach with team members supporting each other.
- We need to shift from ‘high performing’ to ‘high VALUE creating.’
Through coaching many leaders, and my own corporate experience, I’ve witnessed high performing teams first hand. High performing teams focus on results, clear goals, trust and respect each other and there is alignment of authority and accountability.
However what I’ve also witnessed is high performing teams focussing on their own success, short term goals, improving their own performance sometimes at the cost of other parts of the organisation.
The world needs us to move towards high value creating teams – that deliver for the organisation as a whole.
So what’s the difference between high performing and high value creating ? The characteristics of a high performing team are still present (trust, respect, secure leader, using people’s strengths etc) however, high value creating teams think more systemically, and take an ‘outside in’ approach. There are no heroes. (unless it’s the cadbury’s kind for a team meeting!)
It’s a much more future and externally focussed, bigger picture and customer centric approach which is much needed if organisations want to thrive today.
“A team is value creating when it continually co-creates greater beneficial value with, and for all, their stakeholders, current and future” Peter Hawkins
- The impact of psychological safety on your team
Amy Edmondson’s work on psychological safety (1999 & 2012) is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. Team psychological safety is a shared belief held by members of a team, that they feel safe for interpersonal risk taking. Team members are able to challenge each other productively and hold each other to account in a non threatening way. As a coach I’ve worked with many clients unhappy in their organisation because of the lack of psychological safety. The impact on them personally and professionally can be significant.
Reflection: What are you doing as a leader/team member to encourage psychological safety for all?
In summary, high value creating teams look at outcomes, impact, AND the value the team creates for others now, and into the future. It’s about creating success, collectively for ALL their stakeholders.
Thank you to David Clutterbuck, Peter Hawkins, and Danny Tuckwood for inspiring this blog post. Source GTCI (Global Team Coaching Institute) Gateway to Team Coaching inaugural cohort 2020.