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Values in teams and Staff – using coaching approaches


When you work with colleagues or clients, be that in a corporate setting or on a more personal basis in terms of life coaching you need to fully understand what lies at the core of the desire for change for the individual.

What drives them to make a shift and change what they currently do and how will this impact them to move forward to a more rewarding end outcome.

It is true to say that in corporate settings the work undertaken is often following a path towards a set end result that is determined by management that mirrors company mission statements. These are key areas that filter through the organisation to create a congruent working environment and get buy in from staff to fit in and do a “good job”

The problem with this is that beneath the pre-defined goals will be individuals that feel overlooked in terms of their own values.

When these values are not being met this can create a lack of commitment, and frustration that can have a wider impact on teams and general morale in the office.

How many times have you worked in an office or team and felt overlooked?

Having worked in corporate settings in the past. It was clear to me how the emphasis was on getting results without paying proper attention to what staff wanted in terms of support and feeling acknowledged and individual.

There is a strong element of fear and control within managers to keep staff in line with set tasks, and key performance indicators that look good on paper and also maintain a public face of success.
Within many companies there are unhappy staff, lacking in motivation, not wanting to be there, creating a sense of doom and gloom for others and ultimately being unhappy.

I am wondering how many people start to feel dread on a Sunday afternoon thinking about work on a Monday?

Please do not think I am suggesting that this is true in all companies and I have no doubt that there will be happy staff around the globe that look forward to going to work on a daily basis.
It is where the problem exists that we need to focus on to start to create changes in corporate fields and not shy away from seeing staff as individuals with their own needs and values.

We then need to start to get to know our staff to understand them as these individuals and not just a cog in a bigger wheel.

How can you start to do this?

I have put together some tips and tools.

1.    Have a get to know you session with staff. This can be structured with pre-defined, coaching questions

•    What do you like about your job and enjoy most?
•    What do you consider a good day at work would be like for you?
•    How would you feel at the end of the day?
•    How is that different to now?
•    What is important to you in your job?
•    When this is being met how do you feel?
•    Thinking about support, what do you need?

This is a not a have to list but rather some ideas to get to know who you manage and how to work with them

2.    Follow up

•    Have a set time for check in with your staff – not just as a team but on a one to one basis
•    Make sure that this is stuck to and don't let meetings that don't need to happen get in the way!
•    Don't promise what you cant deliver, this can just add to feelings of frustration and unhappiness

3.    Reward success

•    When people are rewarded they feel good, they do good and they get better with time.
•    Don't just reward for perfection, getting 100% on a test, never being late for work, reward progress

4.    Coach people to improve – don't just tell them what to do

•    Get experienced in coaching
•    Get qualified
•    Go on a course (
•    Learn how to ask powerful and purposeful questions
•    Create an environment for exploration
•    Know what you are doing – don't hide behind simply telling people what to do to make you feel safe

This isn’t a one size fits all approach but if you start to change what you do and how you do it this can create a change that is significant and empowering for others and yourself

Try something new today!

One Response

  1. Coaching releases individual power – facilitation/group coaching

    Building on Paul Kensett’s excellent blog, I would agree with all the points he raises, but also consider how you can adapt coaching skills to a team setting.  In virtually all the organisations we have worked with, public and private, individual team members don’t appreciate the hidden skills and talents their colleagues have. 

    In most cases, you can find ways of:

    • Helping the team appreciate each other
    • Find better ways of doing things – within current resources
    • Understanding each other’s personal impact and adapting behaviours
    • Getting the team to take more personal responsibility
    • Taking the load off you!

    If you take a coaching approach, and help your team to do so too, you will release these.  

    In particular, there are particular skills and techniques which can help you support your team members to make that all-important first step in improving practices and behaviour, by looking in detail at what already works well in the team. 

    Beyond appreciative inquiry, which creates a positive mindset and positive view of the future, positive deviance (finding what works and how this produces above-the-norm performance) is a technique to get these first steps.  PD’s not benchmarking or sharing best practice, it’s practical and works well to relieve pressure in tough times. 

    By all means go on a coaching course –  with the addition of PD skills to create practical learning, you can create the environment for action as well as talking, helping people to act their way into a new way of thinking, and creating ownership of performance rather than buy-in to your ideas.  There is a five-step faclitation process to define and measure the problems to tackle and desired outcomes, a peer-to-peer inquiry and observation exercise to find the detail of what works and how, then a shared learning phase and later evaluation to check it works.  It sounds easy but it isn’t – you have to let go of command and control ideas, asking questions rather than telling.  But the use of data and shared understanding of the problems to tackle create a safe environment and minimise risk whilst opening up innovation and revealing hidden but highly effective practices.

    Richard Pascale’s book, the Power of Positive Deviance (Harvard Business Press 2012) is a great introduction to PD’s use in communities and organisations,  a New York Times best seller.  Woodward Lewis LLP have adapted the approach to the UK market and had significant successes in both organisations and communities, finding unexpected solutions and building trust between team members.  They will be launching a three-level training programme for practitioners in September.  Drop an e-mail to [email protected] to register your interest. 

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