Before we can define the top five ways coaching builds a team we have to answer, what is coaching?
Coaching is defined as a thought provoking and creative process that inspires people to maximize their personal and professional potential. The coach or manager's goal is to discover, clarify, and align with what the employee wants to achieve, encourage the employee's self-discovery, draw out employee-generated solutions and strategies, and hold the employee responsible and accountable.
I'm sure you're thinking, sure that's easy to do when I'm not faced with impending deadlines, a partially trained staff, and a boss that won't stop asking for an update on the latest quarterly projections. More pressing problems are other departments are not working with you and you just found out that your deadline has been moved up two days and you'll be pulling an all-nighter.
But imagine this, you're in your office listening to your team interact with each other and it CLICKS!
They are doing it. They are working through the day-to-day tasks without hesitation. They are adhering not only to your expectations but the expectations of your boss and Company, harmoniously. What happened?! You managed with a coaching attitude. What does it take to get here? Easy. Reframing your role as their leader. You're no longer their "boss" you're their coach.
You manage with a coaching attitude. - You're no longer their "boss" you're their coach.
To be really successful in creating a coaching culture you must make time to meet with your direct team members one-on-one at a frequency you and your direct report chooses. AND you must meet regularly as a team. This could be 15-minute check in after you gain confidence in orchestrating meetings.
Before getting started on your new approach to managing, you should consider what it looks like to have a great team. All strong teams are goal-oriented, supportive, are diverse, organized, cooperative, disagree in a healthy way, communicate openly, and know how to have fun. These are things to focus on when developing your team for greatness.
Top Five Ways Coaching Builds a Team:
1 - Create clear goals. Teams thrive on goals - something to shoot toward. Think of sports teams and how successful teams win championships. They have strong coaches who help them see the goal and shoot for it. Start with a 30-day goal. Remember goals need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). Begin with something small that all members of the team can contribute toward. You should create action items with each individual to reach the overall goal, that way each person has buy in.
2 - Create a culture of trust. The quickest way to earn trust is by doing what you say you are going to do, openly communicate, and be a vulnerable. Teams that trust on another know they can speak up without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. To create such a culture, be the first to admit that you don't have the answer. Be the leader whos' team holds them accountable. And be a leader that shares feedback from other leaders in the Company without taking all the credit. If you trust in your team, they will trust in you.
3 - Foster an environment of curiosity. Coaching is a practice of asking questions. Endless, powerful, intention-filled questions. That is what a good manager does with their team. Promote asking questions by asking many questions yourself. But be sure to be genuinely curious with your questions. If a member of the team asks you how to do something, STOP and ask what do you suggest we do here? That one action does so much toward building team confidence!
4 - Set boundaries. Setting tight boundaries is probably the toughest way to build a strong team. The easiest way to start is by going small. Set the expectation that your entire team will leave the office for the day at a certain time. Set the expectation that it is okay for a team member to say no - but make sure there is a follow up. Set the expectation that it is okay to work through lunch but only once a week. You can go another step further and ask individuals about their boundaries and tailor it to their needs.
4 - Support healthy disagreement. Healthy conflict or disagreement is gold to teams. When teams work through conflict together they feel closer to the people around them. They tend to gain better understanding of the view of their peers and begin to see the problem/solution through their eyes. It is proven to build relationships as conflict directly relates to having a strong culture of trust. To incorporate a safe space for healthy disagreement, start by really listening to your team. If you see something that needs to be debated, open the floor, but explain the rules. Each team member will remain respectful, no interrupting, and be mindful of what the other person is really trying to say.
Coaching your team to greatness can take time, so be patient. Remember, listen to what your team is saying and what they are not saying. You will want to incorporate one-on-ones, frequently. Ask for feedback from your team. And lastly, find an "equal" or colleague to talk to as a sounding board. Don't bring drama back to your team!
Take that BOSS hat off and put on the coaching whistle. You are only as good as your team and your team only as good as you.
If you want to learn more about the coaching process and how to implement a coaching culture, you can do so by clicking below. - GOOD LUCK!