Training and consultancy often entail an 'expert' intervening and imparting expertise and knowledge to deliver a prescribed solution.
By contrast, team coaching encourages and empowers team members to:
Almost 9 out of 10 companies surveyed by EY agreed that the problems confronting them are now so complex that teams are essential to provide effective solutions (EY, 2013).
Team coaching is not just a means of improving team performance, but a method for attaining sustained growth and improvement for the team. Peter Hawkins, author of 'Leadership Team Coaching’, refers to a 'continuum of coaching'.
It creates a collective focus: an iterative, reflective process of continued learning whereby teams are able to review and improve their own performance and processes in order to achieve their goals.
Team coaching might include:
Individual performance is dependent on team climate and environment, and high individual performance is not always commensurate with high team performance. Often, positive changes to individual behaviour are lost long-term if the environment is not supportive, or indeed, high performers leave the organisation altogether.
Whilst 1:1 coaching focuses on the individual, team coaching aligns individual priorities with team priorities, making the link between individual and team more conscious. It focuses on the system of which individuals are part, and situates learning within a team context in order to deliver performance improvements.
Team coaching is a holistic method that drives lasting change. It acknowledges that teams are dynamic systems with their own values, standards, touch points and complex rules of behaviour that are likely to be unknown to outsiders – in short, that they are more than a collection of individuals.
In this video from our Belbin webinar series, Chris Jackson describes how he uses Belbin Team Roles in team coaching as part of the BA (Hons) Team Entrepreneurship at Bishop Grosseteste University.
Whilst consultants often come in from outside to diagnose problems and offer advice, the team coach is comfortable with not being 'the expert in the room'.
A good team coach:
A successful team coach can change the team’s focus from solutions to learning.
Traditionally, pedagogical education teaches children in a prescriptive way. Andragogy facilitates learning for adults, who are self-directed learners. Team coaching is a form of heutagogy – the management of learning for self-managed learners.
According to Tammy Turner (founder of the Centre for Coaching Development and Supervision), team coaches require a high level of cognitive and socio-emotional maturity. They must be able to meet the team and its members at their individual and collective levels.
A programme leader and team coach explains how he uses Belbin with his students to promote learning, and discusses the importance of applying the Belbin theory in practice.
Image © Chris Jackson. Reproduced with kind permission.
Our personalised behavioural reports focus on the nine key clusters of behaviour (Team Roles) needed for team success. They help people to better understand their strengths, cultivate hidden talents and work more effectively together.
To build and cultivate great teams, team members need to understand, recognise and maximise the behavioural strengths of others, whilst managing and containing the associated weaknesses.
The Belbin Individual report analyses an individual’s contributions in terms of the nine Belbin Team Roles, offering advice and guidance on how they might work best, announce their preferences to others and cultivate latent talents.
Team coaching and Belbin theory have real synergy, because both begin with the team: the team’s objectives, needs and performance.
Many psychometric or 'personality' tests begin with the individual as the 'building block' of the team and focus inwardly on personality traits which may or may not have a bearing on the way the team operates.
By contrast, Belbin measures behaviour which can be observed by others in the team. As such, Belbin theory celebrates individual difference within the context of the team as a complex organism, recognising the importance of the team’s rich history, priorities, objectives, rules of engagement, culture and values.
Dr Meredith Belbin’s research set out to answer the question: "Why do some teams succeed where others fail?" The focus from the outset was not on the individual per se, but on discovering the characteristics needed for effective team performance.
– Hawkins and Smith, 2006
The Belbin reports are an essential tool for team coaching, since they offer a new kind of ‘intelligence’ for the team to disseminate. They:
This page of the Belbin Team report gives the team an at-a-glance view of the strengths present within the team, promoting discussion around the balance of contributions. The team can devise strategies to address any gaps or overlaps which might cause conflict or hinder team performance.
More about the Belbin Team report.
This page of the Belbin Team report allows the team to understand the bearing of their collective Team Role strengths on team culture as a whole. For example, a team with a predominant Monitor Evaluator culture is likely to make well-considered decisions, but might be slow to act. By contrast, a Resource Investigator-dominated team might be fast-paced and able to seize new opportunities, but may lack the Completer Finisher element needed to ensure that the finer details are taken into account.
The Belbin reports provide a ‘snapshot’ of the Team Role behaviours present in the team at a given time.
As the team evolves with team coaching practice, the Belbin process can be repeated to map developments in the team’s culture and function, and to reflect on current and future needs.
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