Golden rules for coaching teams.
December 19, 2011 Leave a comment
A team is simply a collection of individuals, right? So, coaching a team is just like coaching individuals, right?
I remember right before I had my third child a friend told me my world was about to change exponentially because of the dynamics of three versus two children interacting. I did not truly understand what my friend meant at the time, but it did not take me long to figure out that adding just one more person to the ‘team’ changed the whole game.
When coaching teams in the workplace, consider the following a few ‘golden rules’.
1. First, pay attention to the energy. It is where you should head. Pay attention to your team and team members — watch when energy rises. High energy can be a key indicator of who should do what on your team. People like to work on things for which they feel passionate, but make sure that the body language shows similar energy. Many are good at saying ‘yeah, yeah’ when they really mean ‘whatever you say, let’s just move on’. True energy is expressed verbally and non-verbally.
2. Be purposeful to ensure that all are heard. There are so many good ideas in the minds of very quiet people! As a coach or facilitator, if you are not purposefully asking for everyone’s opinion, you won’t get to the best decisions. Diversity of thought must be actively pursued. Sometimes you must actively address the dis-engaged part of your group.
3. Allow individual thinking prior to group thinking time for maximum impact. Everyone’s brain works differently and at different speeds. Be sure to build-in ‘quiet’ time for individual thinking before going to a group brainstorm. Brainstorming activities are fabulous for getting to innovative ideas, but only if everyone has a chance to contribute. Offer 3-minutes of personal reflection and idea-generation before brainstorming as a group. You’ll be amazed at the level of quality that comes from everyone.
4. Clear rules of engagement make it possible to hold each other accountable. When you start working with a team or a group, decide the ‘rules of engagement’ or expectations of all team members. If the team agrees upfront that prompt start times is a critical success factor, it is much easier for fellow team members to hold each other accountable when lateness occurs.
5. Watch for ‘energy circuits’ that exclude others, either intentionally or unintentionally. A few dominant team members that agree often or think similarly can get the whole team railroaded into a less than optimal game plan! This can sometimes feel like the team is moving, but if you pay attention, only a few members are moving. As a coach, pay attention to where agreement is coming from — if only a part of the team is actively participating and agreeing, see #2.