There’s still no ‘I’ in TEAM

I recently entertained the in-laws for Sunday lunch. My 83 year old father-in-law was in his element regaling stories from his early career,  “…when he was a young manager.” He started to describe some of the challenges of his teams,  some of the team-building activities and crazy away-days that he had enjoyed….I’d done some of the identical team-building activities some 30 years later!

It made me stop and think.

No matter how much times have moved on in terms of technology, people are still facing the same challenges today, as they were 50 years ago, because people are still people, at the end of the day.

Thankfully, one brilliant step forward is the depth of research that now exists into how teams perform. So, while team building activities still play their part, and we still enjoy parachuting a raw egg from an upstairs window every now and again,  we now understand what makes a team develop and perform to their best.

The benefits and growth of individual coaching are widely known, however systemic team coaching is now emerging as a powerful and practical way to develop the team, proving that ‘the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts…’ Releasing the untapped potential of the wider team will clearly be important when sustaining a competitive edge in the future.

In fact, it is so powerful, that case studies from the Association of Executive Coaches have proven that organisations who invest in systemic team coaching have improved customer satisfaction levels up to 82%, improved productivity up to 28%, consumer engagement scores up to 50% and financial results up to 40%. (July, 2015).

Who wouldn’t want that?

So what is Systemic Team Coaching?

Peter Hawkins has written a fantastic book on systemic team coaching (Leadership Team Coaching, 2014), in which he challenges us to think broader about the word ‘team’. No longer can it be assumed that the team is simply the line manager and their direct reports. Instead, the team could be multiple teams part of a wider system. A system that includes customers, shareholders, stakeholders,  third party organisations, colleagues, peers… etc…

He articulates a simple model that a team coach would facilitate, which he calls the ‘Five Disciplines of High Performing Teams’ – to benefit individuals and teams as well as the organisation as a whole.

The Five Disciplines of High Performing Teams

1.     Commission – making sure you are really clear what your stakeholders require of you.

How often do you ask yourself this question?

2.     Clarify – knowing what the collective goals are of the team, and the roles you all play to meet the stakeholders requirements.

Do you know the answer to this?

3.     Co-create – agreeing how you work together? How do you have effective and creative meetings?

Have you collectively agreed how you need to work as a team?

4.     Connect – adding value as a team, or as a team representative when you engage with stakeholders.

How much does your team add value externally?  

5.     Core Learning – learning and growing together.

How much do you focus your effort on growing individuals rather than the whole team?

So Why Bother With Systemic Team Coaching?

While most organisations currently focus on co-creating the culture within one team,  it is the multi-dimensional approach of all five disciplines where the greatest benefit is achieved.  Rather than benefiting one person or one team, systemic team coaching benefits a larger group of people – the positive effect and growth is significantly greater..…like a sprinkler system on a football pitch, rather than a watering can on a piece of grass…if you catch my drift!

The team becomes stronger as a collective and are more able to meet the demands of the growing number of challenges from internal and external stakeholders. Not forgetting the important earlier point about improved customer satisfaction levels, productivity, consumer engagement and financial results.

So what are you waiting for?

If you are leader of a team, and don’t want to just parachute an egg out of the upstairs window,  and need support with facilitating your team to a better place,  please contact for more information.


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