Team Coaching – Friend or Foe?
A couple of weeks ago I posted a poll on LinkedIn to gain insight into the following question:
If your leader was to provide professional coaching to your team, do you see this as:
• An opportunity to learn
• We’re in trouble
The results may or may not surprise you: 88% of participants indicated that they saw professional coaching as an opportunity to learn and only 12% saw coaching as “we’re in trouble.”
That’s heartening news, yet I saw opposing answers to this question in the comments section of the poll. The conversations that ensued are of deep interest to me.
Interesting conversation #1: Coaching is a reprimand
As leaders, we might think our team would view coaching as a reprimand.
Here’s the thing, though—people leaders must ask themselves why their teams would consider the offer of professional coaching as a threat as opposed to support. If that sounds like your team, ask yourself:
• Do I have two-way open communication with my team?
• Am I providing enough constructive and timely feedback?
• Does my team trust me?
Interesting conversation #2: High performers don’t need coaching
As leaders, we might assume that high preforming teams don’t need coaching. But what if your highest performer still hasn’t reached their full potential?
I know one thing for certain—everyone needs coaching. Even your highest performers may need help understanding, for example, the root of a team challenge so they can best create a plan to resolve the issue and move on with clarity and confidence. Once supported, these team members gain new awareness and coping skills that they then bring to their own teams. These new strategies become new ways of working, taking performance to the next level.
Coaching is key
At a pivotal point in my corporate career, I struggled as a leader. I was offered the opportunity to work with a professional coach and it felt like a life raft coming just in time. Through these coaching conversations, I learned more effective strategies for communicating, how to better engage others and build trust, and what truly effective feedback looked like. From that point on, I knew what to do when I became stuck or felt alone in my leadership journey, and it changed my work and life for the better.
I know the thought of starting down the path of team and leadership coaching might seem daunting, but ask yourself—what is the alternative? Whether coaching, leading or being led—due to the lofty pressures and responsibilities we all face, high performers are the most likely to need a coach to reach their full potential. If you are not offering them coaching opportunities, you’re leaving talent on the table (and that’s when we’re in trouble).