How is your team currently performing? If your team is performing well, does it guarantee the team will perform well in the future, especially in uncertain times?
Team coaching intrinsically seeks to develop the future capacity and capability of the team. Team coaching asks questions such as:
What skills and knowledge does the team need for the future?
What does the team need to do more of in the future?
To see how team coaching future-proofs your team's performance, we need to explore how your team learns together. Who has responsibility for which learning roles? How responsible do the team feel for each other’s learning? How, when, and where does learning take place? How is it recorded, and how is it disseminated?
For learning to take place, some aspects of your team dynamic need to be in balance. Without that balance, it is likely that learning, something that is key to your future performance, will be insufficient for the uncertain times that lie ahead.
The elements that need to be in balance include:
Over attention to task and an under-attention to learning will have a medium to long-term negative impact on your team's performance. Failure to adequately address learning and relationships will, over time, diminish your team’s ability to complete tasks. Task completion in the here-and-now can have such a significant pull on time and resources that it can overwhelm everything else. Resisting this pull to over-emphasise tasks is one of the major challenges that leaders face.
Team coaching future-proofs your team performance by focusing attention on achieving the right balance of task, learning, and relationship by asking probing questions and equipping the team to self-coach.
David Clutterbuck (2020) shows how tasks, learning, and relationships are “inseparable” in high performing teams:
Tasks - Makes clear what the learning and relationship needs are
Learning - Provides skills to improve the tasks and relationships
Relationships - Makes learning easier and enhances the ability to achieve tasks
Meanwhile, Stephen Covey states:
“To maintain the P/PC Balance, the balance between the golden egg (production) and the health and welfare of the goose (production capability) is often a difficult judgment call. But I suggest it is the very essence of effectiveness.”
In other words, if we focus on the golden egg too much and neglect the goose, we will soon have nothing to produce our golden eggs. Focusing on tasks too much and ignoring learning will see you lose the ability to perform. Here are some questions to offer some insight into how working with a team coach and how team coaching future-proofs your team's performance.
How do you carve out space for your team to reflect?
What does the frequency, timing and duration of this space reveal about how important reflection is to you and your team?
Where do you carve out the space for your team to socialise?
How meaningful and purposeful is your team socialising?
What is the balance of task, learning and relationships in this team?
How much does conflict sap energy from this team?
How much time is given to sharing knowledge in this team?
How does this team learn together?
Who is responsible for which learning roles in this team?
How are learning objectives set in this team?
How well does this team work together?
How much enjoyment and engagement comes from the team interacting and working together?
In what ways does this team take care of one another?
How does this team manage conflict?
To future-proof your team's performance, it is essential to have the right balance of completing tasks, developing learning and strengthening relationships. When these are out of balance, especially when task completion is allowed to dominate, your team’s future performance is at risk.
Team coaching provides support and challenge to optimise your learning potential and working relationships so that you can develop both capacity and capability for the future.
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If your team would benefit from team coaching to improve future capacity and capability in the areas described above, contact our expert team of coaches to find out more.
Written by leadership coach Ian White.
Clutterbuck (2020) “Coaching the Team at Work” Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London
“Leadership Team Coaching in Practice” Hawkins, P (2018)
“Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership” Hawkins (2017)
“Systemic Team Coaching” (2018) John Leary-joyce and Hilary Lines
“The 7 Habits of Highyly effective people” (2004) Stephen R Covey