Executive coaching is a strategy aimed at excelling performance to a higher level. When coaching is given to a team of professionals who work together on projects, this can involve team members participating in a series of both individual and group coaching sessions. The coaching is aimed at enhancing effectiveness, harmony, morale and productivity of teams for the greater good of the company. The reality is that when teams of people work together, any number of complications can arise, from heightened competition that cramps collaboration, to sabotaging spirit, to clashing personalities, to conflict avoidance. Team coaching can help groups harmonize office environments and better manage problems, while working together to meet common objectives.
“Team coaching is a plumb opportunity to develop a strong, collaborative workforce,” says Devora Zack, MBA, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Only Connect Consulting, and author of "Managing for People Who Hate Managing." The idea, she says is to build a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. As such, the team approach yields exponentially better results than traditional individual coaching. While it depends on the size and objectives of the company, team coaching often involves senior management, because it's thought that the funding, resources and time invested in higher-ups will trickle down in the form of improved skills and productivity for all employees.
Nail Common Goals
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Through team coaching, a group of executives is trained to identify and hone their individual strengths to better excel at meeting the requirements and goals linked to their job description. They simultaneously improve management skills along with their colleagues to cohesively achieve common goals, says Rebecca "Kiki" Weingarten, M.Sc.Ed, MFA, executive, corporate and career coach, who cofounded New York-based AtypicalCoaching.com.
Through the coaching process, she says executives identify and harness their diverse knowledge, personalities, skills, talents and work styles to achieve group goals set by the top brass. The management training involved could cover communication, emotional intelligence, delegation, handling various temperaments and work styles as well as sorting out workplace conflicts.
Harmonize Different Strokes
It's common for companies to promote an abundance of one behavioral style or to pool like-minded abilities in their corporate culture, which can lead to everyone stumbling over the same roadblocks and challenges, says Brian Miller, president and COO of Hartford, Connecticut-based AdviCoach, a business coaching consultancy.
It's natural or managers to hire people like themselves, but teams with members that are too similar will approach problem-solving the same way and grapple with similar struggles. "In order for teams to be effective and think out of the box," Miller said, "they should incorporate a balance of skills and styles that are different. They can then learn to blend together nicely to accomplish milestones and goals."
Team coaching allows each team member to sharpen his own skills, while learning how best to work within the group to reach common goals.
Miller says that as companies and organizations increasingly shift to flatter organizational structures and promote cross-functional teamwork, friction can inherently develop as new groups are formed and executives with different assets and potentially incompatible styles merge together in new ways. Team coaching, which has been around for about a decade, is particularly effective when companies want to resolve workplace conflicts that may erupt or increase cohesion and productivity as organizational models change.
"Coaching can help identify how individuals from different departments can work effectively on projects, and improve the power of their results and impact," Miller adds.
- Devora Zack, MBA, CEO; Only Connect Consulting; Washington, DC
- Rebecca "Kiki" Weingarten, M.Sc.Ed, MFA; executive, corporate and career coach; cofounder, AtypicalCoaching.com; New York City
- Brian Miller; president and COO; AdviCoach; Hartford, Connecticut
Julie D. Andrews is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in print or on the websites of "Prevention," "Glamour," "Fitness," "Shape," "Cosmopolitan Latina," "Elle" and "New York Magazine."