Team coaching

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A team is defined by its purpose, a strong collective aspect and high mutual standards. By analogy with individual coaching, team coaching involves helping the team identify its own responses to the questions, tests (external constraints) and challenges (necessities accepted freely) it has to face.

In a systemic vision, coaching involves supporting a subject system (in this case the team) in its existence and autonomy so that it can itself understand an object system (improving internal processes, developing collective operational performance and, more generally, the sustainable growth of the team towards greater maturity).

Team coaching represents a particularly operational component of change management and team transformation, with the shared construction and adoption of new operating processes and methods enabling it to achieve what the system requires of it.

Team coaching: for whom ?

Coaching addresses teams in a phase of evolution or transition faced with a progress and performance objective. The purpose of this support is to optimise processes and collective operating methods for sharing information, making decisions and taking action from the perspective of sustainable growth and performance. Team coaching is an especially relevant mode of intervention when implementing learning organisations, supporting executive committees, steering cultural and organisational change, developing the maturity of existing or newly constituted teams (mergers/reorganisations), sharing the objectives of project groups and reinforcing the cohesion of global, multifunctional, multidisciplinary, multicultural teams.

Team coaching: why ?

  Improving collective performance

  Mobilising around a shared vision

  Developing team cohesion and maturity

  Optimising operating methods

  Bringing out new solutions

Practical methods

The coach is the mirror of what happens at the heart of the team. An observer of the process rather than an actor, they walk alongside the team to help it transform an undifferentiated potential future into a probable outcome to be invented and constructed. They enable all the elements and the system itself to communicate in a safe space and time by establishing boundaries, operational rules and communications protocols. They confront the group in operational situations over time, regulate tensions, observe and formalise processes and rewrite them to improve collective operation and increase productivity, performance and maturity.

The working method proposed for team coaching unfolds as follows :

The support provided during team coaching is engineered in a tailored process. The number and length of the sessions are defined based on the issues following an examination of the context and the manager's objectives with the team. The process generally takes place over time (between 12 and 18 months – a shorter period would not be enough to for the changes to become well established, and a longer period would threaten the team's autonomy and the manager's authority).
Team coaching often involves a pair of coaches, if possible a man and a woman, as the combination balances their polarities and offers a broader space for psychological transfer. This approach can also optimise the management of groups and subgroups (facilitation, testing, support), widen the scope of the coaching intervention, energise interactions and increase the capacity for creativity and improvisation in response to the group's complexity.

  Exploratory phase : Contractual arrangements

An interview at which the client (HR department – manager's line manager – decision-maker) and the manager explain to the coach the outlines and expectations of the support expected. Following this interview, a contract is submitted to the parties involved. Above all, the contract specifies the means to be used, framework, working methods, format, duration, the cost of the service, rules and terms rather than objectives, because it is the team itself, during the initial diagnostic sessions, that defines its priorities and objectives and how it expects to achieve them.

  Scoping phase : Diagnostic

This scoping/diagnostic session takes place at the first meeting with the team (operational meeting, seminar or specific workshop). Scoping involves presenting the intervention objectives to the team (manager) and the mechanism to be used (coach) and proposing a framework and working methods: the role and approach of the coach, steps in the process, operating methods, communication rules, the interactions between the tools provided, ethical rules and confidentiality. The diagnostic is produced by the team with the coach's help. It aims to assess the challenges, understand the difficulties to be overcome, evaluate the team's level of maturity and finally approve the coaching approach with the team.

At this stage, depending on the context, the coach will explain their operating model :

  The team facing the coach in a series of individual and collective interviews and dedicated meetings (outside the company and its operational constraints).

  The team with the coach supervising normal working meetings, followed by debriefings and action plans.

  Implementation phase : Coaching actions

The team coaching process involves an alternation between contextual tools for team meetings, individual and/or collective interviews, supervising operational meetings, working seminars at regular intervals, dedicated workshops for subgroups and debriefing sessions. Regular progress assessments encourage team members to express themselves and revise the scope of the operation. They are also a means of preventing premature attempts to seek solutions, raising awareness of problems and resolving any resistance or doubts about the coaching operation.

Depending on how the coaching progresses, the coach may use team-specific tools including, but not limited to, feedback and feedforward, which are essential for the success of a team; synergistic questioning, inviting members of the team to discover the strength of collective action for themselves; systemic resonance, enabling invisible problems in how a team functions to be interpreted based on its behaviour; and confronting the team with the transgression of the established rules, whether they are implicit, explicit or cultural. Similarly, work to share practices, evaluate contributions, optimise interfaces with other teams and benchmark competing teams often opens up stimulating new perspectives or reference systems that can lead to better collective operation and stage-3 maturity.

  Review phase : Closure

This is an important time. It consists of the final evaluation session, conducted with the team and the manager to assess the progress made in relation to the objectives (qualitative and quantitative), which everyone has helped to achieve. Where relevant, this includes validating an action plan to be carried out by the team totally independently to extend the beneficial effects of the coaching in a dynamic of long-term growth.