PROBLEM: How to get egos to raise their bar - together.
ME TO WE
Team coaching happens at two levels; holding up a mirror for individuals, and clarifying the drivers that bind them together.
While there will be personal objectives and incentives, a team must share common goals.
Communications must be consistent. The day you're bored saying it again is probably the first time that some actually hear you.
Ensure all roles are clear. Whatever the qualifications, roles in a team can rotate - even just getting the coffee. The smallest social acts that can have the greatest impact in building trust and connection.
Adopt common decision processes. Put real choices on the table, decide, get them off as quickly as possible - and make them stick.
Agree mutual accountability through transparency, especially what counts as achieving and not achieving. Apply consequences equally.
The biggest barrier to team performance is the risk of individual loss.
Coaching-for-Many brings the biggest gain front-and-centre: collective growth, development and achievements of a higher order.
Change You, Change Me
A Lenovo VP/GM inherited a region with eight countries. He knew some of its leaders well, while some were almost unknown to him - and to each other.
One Country Manager had over 20 years of experience in the corporation, another had just been hired from a competitor.
The VP/GM had benefited from coaching and development at a few career-defining points, and wanted to invest something similar into his team.
That’s hard when the market isn’t buoyant, you’re reaching the end of a quarter, and the pressure of new targets can already be felt over the horizon.
“Our industry conditions are getting tougher all the time. I'd like to give my managers extra tools to lead, encourage, correct, drive and help our people to grow.”
Taking time out when under pressure calls for courage and trust.
His goal was to combine three components: the experience of receiving coaching; an explanation of how it’s done; and practice - through role play - to add it to their management style.
At the heart of the program was doing, not being told. Short explanation in the main room, long interaction in small teams. Trial and fail; risk and review; stretch and practice.
Thank heavens, the VP/GM was willing to show-not-tell, so that personal boundaries were dropped and personal curtains pulled back.
And equally fortunate, the participants recognised that their leader and his HR Director were putting reputation, time and money on the table. So all the team went out of their way to give and get.
The program was short - two days - with a couple of frameworks for the wider group, then giving and receiving feedback within small teams. Their shared goal became bringing the best out of each other.
They practiced conversations that were immediately due or had been avoided for a long time. With colleagues holding up a mirror to one another, old habits were brought into focus and new approaches explored.
Indeed, at the end of the workshop, the two-decade trooper said to his colleagues:
“I have been told things about my presence and my interactions that I have never heard before. It wasn’t easy, but as it came from people I respect, that's something meaningful to work with and, I hope, will make a real difference.
“I’ll practice those new skills with you, my team back in the office - and my family at home. That's where truth really gets tested.”