Leadership Team Coaching
An integrated, ‘systems’ approach
Challenges – the intangible factors
For ambitious teams that wish to continue to improve results, the difference between performance & potential is frequently due to the impact of intangible factors. These factors do not appear in the project or business plan. They might include … the quality of the way team members interact with external stakeholders … levels of commitment & engagement … how well efforts are aligned … behaviour & mind-set.
This applies to Boards & Departmental teams alike.
Traditional solutions tend to lie on a spectrum between ‘hard’ factors (eg reorganisation & re-visiting targets) to exploring ‘softer’ issues (eg team dynamics). We believe that the most productive course is an integrated approach that tackles both ends simultaneously.
Performance does not happen in a vacuum. It results from the ways people interact with others such as clients, customers, suppliers & other departments. It is also impacted by the way the way they adapt to changing circumstances. So we look at how the team operates within a ‘system’, exploring the forces, pressures and the actions needed to address them.
We address the team apart as well as the team together.
How does this help?
Greater engagement, less resistance
Not only does this approach address directly the sources of performance, it does so with reduced resistance.
Leaders & members who understand that performance comes as much from the way they interact with others as from their personal qualities tend to be more ready to engage. While equally profound, it is also less threatening as it shifts focus away from sensitive areas such as blame & personality towards collective responsibilities and actions. It can pave the way & set a context for exploring underlying themes.
Why we are where we are
The systems approach starts from the position that the team is where it is right now for a reason. The question is what (often small, catalytic) changes are needed in the way people interact – internally & externally – to adapt to changed circumstances, to grow & improve.
Non-judgemental (coaching) principles
Effective coaching – provided from within the team or by external consultants – is highly correlated with effective team performance(1).
Our approach is underpinned by coaching principles. Not only does it ensure that ownership remains with the leader & their team, it is more likely to be successful when discussing underlying issues such as mind-set & leadership.
In practice, one or more of our coach-consultants works alongside the leader & with his or her team. With the right boundaries of confidentiality in place, this group – or individual consultant – can help raise the bar of transparency and leverage their observations. Rich, considered feedback delivered in a timely manner helps the team evolve & react even more swiftly.
Compelling research(2) confirms that an integrated approach is significantly more likely to achieve long-term results.
Strategic support, run along systemic lines and engaged purely for the time of transition…
- …accelerates performance improvement & helps avoid unnecessary costs & distractions.
- …offers reassurance about success by taking account of the full range of factors, from market pressures to mindset.
- …fosters sustained results by embedding ways of working that have long lasting impact.
- …is cost contained because it lasts only as long as the transition. It means that the team itself retains control.
This approach addresses a complex skein of interrelated factors. It requires coaching skills and considerable experience combined with deep understanding of commerce, organisations, behaviour & business process.
Integrated and systems-focused Leadership Team Coaching is a robust approach. The key to success is the active involvement of the right stakeholders at the right times throughout.
(1) From research by Hackman & Wageman 2002.
(2) McKinsey research; Keller & Price 2011.