We all play a part in teams – but do they create more value than the sum of their parts? 

Moving a team forward together builds focus, understanding, empathy, strength, accountability and motivation. The potential impact on performance can be dramatic:

When coaching teams I use an approach which treats the team as a system or entity in itself. It’s different to ‘team-building’ events or facilitating specific work (although I offer this as well, see below). Instead, it’s about integral qualities, process and commitments – looking for common interests and patterns in the way the team works together, developing trust, engagement, clarity of roles and accountability.

And we work with specific reference to context, identifying which resources may be being overlooked, and what can happen differently to create better results.

Just as the most effective ways forward for an individual are those which they form and own themselves, so a team can find its own shared voice and can come up with effective collaborative solutions. My role is to create and provide a dynamic, honest and productive dialogue with the team to catalyse their thinking, decision-taking and commitment to each other.

Facilitation for specific strategic, planning or creative challenges faced by leaders and their teams:

This can take the form of one-off events, or several sessions over a period of time. My role in this kind of work is not as subject expert or consultant: I use facilitation and coaching skills and techniques to support and challenge the people in a team to clarify their thinking and develop their plans, outcomes and accountability.

This can be difficult for leaders and their teams to achieve in ‘business as usual’ conditions. External facilitation creates an environment for people to step back, revisit strategy and planning, and develop new thinking and solutions. My work here is always tailored to meet specific needs. The best way to explain this is perhaps through the examples below. We’d be delighted to discuss your needs in this area.

Example 1: A leading multi-national corporate in the finance sector, working with a small team focused on building a new and strategically important set of services and products.

The purpose of the one-day event was to develop:

  • a concrete strategic framework with actions and milestones;
  • a framework for effective communication in the team;
  • clarity on roles and accountability;
  • some additional skills to continue to maintain a dynamic approach and not revert to the ‘old ways’;
  • trust and commitment within the team.

The day included a range of exercises designed to build awareness of the opportunity for and purpose of the team, the stakeholders involved in success, a ‘charter’ for the team and the individuals’ roles within that. Various systemic, NLP and solutions focus methods were used, including using positional, mapping and timeline work.

Subsequent feedback from the client: “A fantastic job – given that we went into the day with high expectations, we walked away feeling we made real progress and achieved what we set out to do. It was hard work, but you managed to keep us going and did an excellent job in ensuring that we kept to the schedule and the objectives. It’s helped to improve the team’s motivation significantly which should set us up for all the work ahead of us! The day exceeded expectations – was very well structured and pitched at the right level.”

Example 2: A multi-site, multinational corporate client that wanted more collaboration and performance from a team of 15 executives.

This team operates in a virtual way, spread across departments and physical locations and includes a number of different nationalities with each member also involved in other product and organisational teams and having additional managerial responsibilities.

The outcomes sought were:

  • a clearer understanding of the organisation’s strategic imperatives; and awareness of the importance of these to the team;
  • a common understanding of specific team objectives and what has already been achieved in delivering them;
  • more focused engagement from the executives in the team;
  • to identify scope for accelerating delivery on specific elements of the plan;
  • to articulate the support and commitment that both individuals and the team as a whole needed to succeed;
  • to develop clear recommendations for the board.

The intervention with all the team members was in two offsite events, two weeks apart. In addition, preparatory, interim and subsequent sessions were held with the team leader. The days included some short internal presentations and strategic discussions, in addition to the facilitated systemic activities and coaching-led dialogue to address the challenges above.

Subsequent feedback from the client was that the team had found the intervention very useful in helping to identify and make progress with their business challenges, that they had particularly enjoyed the behavioural and relational work, and that the team had gone on to meet its outcome challenges, in some cases ahead of the new, faster, timescale.

"discover the optimum conditions for your team to flourish - better results, trust, engagement, clarity of roles and accountability"

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