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Moira Halliday


Director of Training

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Team coaching: How to optimise your teams for the new world of work

As businesses deal with ever more complexity and uncertainty, team literacy and effective collaboration will become essential to business success.

Organisations are increasingly identifying that teams are a means of improving performance, productivity and profit and that in today’s complex world, collective leadership is key to how businesses are best run. But in the new world of work, where organisations will continue to be tested by the unknown, a gap exists in how best to build teams that are truly capable of leading through crises like Covid-19.

Effective or high-performing teams are something of a holy grail in current management thinking, but almost without exception, these so-called elite teams are created by chance rather than by design. How can we offer a supportive framework that addresses this deficit and helps architect teams that can deliver the results they are tasked to do so?

We are still in the foothills of team development with many programmes lacking the proper depth of support that is truly needed.

Introducing team coaching

Team coaching is steadily becoming an established discipline and offers a proven process to improve performance, deliver stronger business outcomes and create the right conditions for leadership teams to release their own and the organisation’s full potential. However, the use of team coaching is still in its infancy when compared to one-to-one executive coaching or other team development options such as team building and away-days.

Its use is probably around where executive coaching was over a decade ago, which is in part due to a lack of available qualified team coaches operating within the profession. In fact, in a webinar coaching industry thought leaders David Clutterbuck and Professor Peter Hawkins say that we need at least another 150,000 team coaches within the next three to five years to just scratch the surface of this shift in business needs. 

How team literate are you?

There is, though, an additional opportunity that needs to be seized here around team literacy. Indeed, anyone who works with teams such as HR professionals, organisational development consultants, facilitators and learning and development specialists should have a higher degree of this capability.

Being team literate is going to become mandatory for anyone working in people management for businesses to thrive. Just as we are already seeing the revolution unfold in leadership as senior executives elect to take a collaborative approach in how they run organisations, the same shift needs to play out when it comes to corporate education and learning and development programme design.

Tackling tomorrow’s challenges

Through the integration of team coaching into modern development initiatives, we can better support sustainable team performance improvement across whole organisations. Embedding some team coaching theory and processes into our ways of learning will be highly advantageous when it comes to cultivating a growth mindset and driving team effectiveness through key behaviours.

Microsoft writes in The Art of Teamwork that ‘to tackle the challenges of tomorrow, it won’t just be about being the fastest and smartest, but unlocking potential in others and leveraging our differences and personalities to succeed amidst the increased complexity and uncertainty of the modern world’. In this vision, we need sounder methods of capitalising on diverse thinking, knowledge sharing and problem solving and team coaching can leverage all of these.

We are still in the foothills of team development with many programmes lacking the proper depth of support that is truly needed. The pandemic has demonstrated this, and the evidence is there with business leaders and executive teams increasingly asking how they can learn fast enough to keep ahead of change.

They are recognising that they cannot take on the large organisational challenges facing them without first addressing their own development needs and this leaves us with the necessity to put more strategic investment into team coaching. 

The benefits of team coaching

Some of the most common reasons for using team coaching include forming new teams, supporting the appointment of new team leaders, addressing issues with performance and clarifying ways of working or a lack of direction. While it can be used to rectify problems, it also offers huge benefits in enabling teams to keep pace with the fast-changing pace around them because they are continually applying their learning to be agile and deliver value for stakeholders.

Coaching in the workplace is all about facilitating learning and results. When applied to teams it can be so crucial in allowing them to work effectively with change and be able to make course-correcting decisions quickly.

It also allows teams to discover and co-create knowledge for themselves and to connect their curiosity with creation and invention. In being team literate, you will be better able to understand and work with team dynamics, resilience and be able to create the conditions where team members can trust one another and operate in a space built upon a foundation of psychological safety.

We are, as Deloitte points out in its 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report, living in the age of the Superteam. But it is our collective responsibility to give these teams the tools and resources with which they can harness their strengths and fulfil the competitive advantage they offer. 

To learn more about the potential of team coaching read AoEC's report 'Is team coaching the answer to your organisation’s biggest challenges?

Author Profile Picture
Moira Halliday

Director of Training

Read more from Moira Halliday

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