The qualities of a high performing team

  When discussing coaching for team development on our training courses, I will often begin by asking my participants to recall a time when they can remember feeling part of a high performing team, and then to make a list of the qualities that team had. No two lists are ever the same but the following qualities appear time and time again and can thus be considered core. As an aside, it is interesting to note that during this exercise the majority of people draw on experiences outside of work. It seems that there is a long way to go

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An introduction to coaching in teams

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this post, you’re part of one or more teams in your place of work. You might be in something called a Sales Team or an Admin Team. You might even be in a Senior Management Team. Your team might be temporary or permanent; based in one place or scattered across many sites. You might be the leader of one and a member of others. Work is complex and few tasks can be completed by one person working in isolation. The nature of work compels us to operate as teams to get things done. Why

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More thoughts on coaching sessions

As I said in an earlier post there is a clear beginning, middle and end to a coaching session. Before you and your coachee can sit down and have a coaching conversation in the way I’ve described in these posts, there are certain things that you’ll need to agree. It will be important to think through the degree of formality you want for coaching in your organisation and that extends to thinking in advance about how long sessions might last and how often you’ll meet. It is wise to think through the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved

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The power of the coaching follow up

If you’re reading this as a coaching manager rather than an independent coach, you have an advantage. It is much easier for you to follow up and keep in contact with your coachees. This has real advantages when it comes to coaching on say, unhelpful habits because change of this type responds better to a regular series of short sessions than it does to weighty, single sessions. This is obviously easier to achieve when you’re working alongside people day by day. Let’s pick up with Elaine and Curtis. You’ll remember that Elaine was going to meet with Johnston Technologies and

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Using coaching to examine unhelpful habits

  Prominent amongst any list of internal interference will be the notion of unhelpful habits. We all of us have habits of thought and behaviour; they can be thought of our tendency to respond to things in a certain way. When we describe other people as domineering or shy we are simply indicating that this is the way in which that person habitually responds. Much of this is subtle stuff indeed and it would be true to say that there are more habits than those that have names. In fact naming habits can sometimes be unhelpful as names come with

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Consider using role play in a coaching session

A point of clarification. I do not mean the use of traditional role playing as experienced (usually painfully) by delegates on sales training courses or similar. I am not about to suggest that you and your coachee develop a script and set up video cameras. By role playing I mean the idea of experimenting and trying ides ‘on for size’ and there are two main ways in which this is helpful in a coaching session. Firstly we can offer our coaches the idea of ‘practice without penalty’. If, for example, they have come up with a way forward that involves

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Handling emotion in a coaching session

You can never legislate for what might happen once we sit people down and start exploring coaching questions. It’s quite possible that difficulties outside work may surface and that things get a little emotional. This is perfectly normal and can be taken as a sign that your coaching – and your own coaching style – is proving effective. It’s unlikely that your coaches would disclose unsettling information if they didn’t trust in your ability to help them handle it. It’s important though to make sure that you’re both comfortable in moving forward if coaching goes from simple task related issues,

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Devoting time to goal setting within a coaching conversation

There is a famous story…. In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale’s graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%. Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 — and found that the 3% with written goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined! I don’t imagine there’s a book or a training course on coaching that doesn’t emphasise the importance of goal setting. Indeed I’ve written about it here and examined the place of goals within an overall set

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Holding an initial coaching meeting

  Having defined roles and responsibilities and found an appropriate setting it’s time to get together with your coachee for an introductory meeting. If you’re coaching the same people whom you manage, this meeting will be about introducing the concept of coaching, explaining why you’re using it now and setting out what you hope it will achieve. If you’re coaching people with whom you don’t normally work, this meeting is about establishing a working relationship. Let’s consider both these scenarios in turn as there are common elements to both. Here we meet Simon, Head of Sales for an office supplies

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Getting the setting right for a coaching session

Alongside the other matters we’ve examined in previous posts, we need also to think about the physical location for a coaching session. On our coaching skills programmes we encourage our participants to do their coaching practice outside wherever possible and weather permitting. This is not just to give people a good time (although coaching is undoubtedly more successful when it’s enjoyable) but to recognise that successful coaching requires people to feel at ease and free from distractions. Remember that one of our main intentions is to use coaching to promote high quality thinking so we need an environment that can

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Defining roles and responsibilities in a coaching session

This may seem at first glance to be something of a daft heading. Roles and responsibilities in coaching are obvious and implied in everything I’ve ever posted: we coach, they learn. Simple. But is anything ever quite so straightforward in organizational life? Coaching never happens in a vacuum. If you’re coaching your own team member it may seem that only the two of you are involved, but that’s probably a mistaken assumption. I’m guessing your boss will be very interested in the outcome of any coaching sessions as they too will undoubtedly benefit from improved results and they’ll also be

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How to structure and run a coaching session

In my next few posts I want to concentrate on the practicalities of scheduling and running coaching sessions or conducting coaching conversations. We need to consider what needs to happen before, during and after coaching to give us the best chance of achieving a successful outcome. These considerations range from the seemingly simple (though often frustratingly difficult) matter of booking an appropriate meeting room, to more complex and subtle concerns like handling emotion. Before we do that though, I want to examine in a little more detail what precisely is meant by a coaching session. The term covers many different

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