What is Team Coaching? What are the benefits for an organization to engage a team coach? What does it take to be a great team coach? Bill Accordino, who heads A.J. O’Connor’s Team and Leadership Development practice, joins Kyle O’Connor to discuss the role that team coaching can play in driving business results.
Bill brings a blend of consulting and corporate leadership experience to his current role. During his corporate career, Bill held senior roles in Banking, Finance and HR where he led key initiatives including major reorganizations, merger integrations, and HR strategy, planning and technology while leading teams of more than 40 HR professionals.
Key Learnings From This Episode
- Bill’s passion is helping people become successful – working with individuals, teams and organizations to help them become more effective and improve the bottom line. Helping a client organization, leader or team become more successful.
- What is team coaching? There are many different types of teams: intact teams; leadership teams; project teams; and groups of individuals coming together not necessarily on a project but to accomplish a very narrowly defined goal.
- Team coaching involves working with a group that comes together on a regular basis. This is typically an intact team that wants to become more effective and the leader in the organization recognizes that he/she cannot do it alone. The leader needs to have the team cohesive, high performing and working well together. The team coaching aspect can take many forms – it is a holistic approach used by the team coach to help the leader help the team become more effective.
- Team building sessions are considered a part of team coaching. During project meetings there might be a coach present to help guide the interactions between the groups or to observe. In team coaching, the coach brings all their tools to help that team become more effective. Often times, a kickoff is a teambuilding session. An assessment tool might be used as part of the team coaching although the tools/approaches themselves do not constitute team coaching. They are used during facilitation or team observation to help the leader apply what is learned to improve team effectiveness. An effective team coaching engagement is characterized by the coach slowly backing away as the team is launched.
- How HR Professionals and aspiring leaders can leverage team coaching. Consider a team coach when you know where you need to go, but you don’t know how to get there. You don’t know how to drive results through your team ‘yet’, but you feel like you have the aptitude and attitude to do it. You’ll identify the team challenges, assess and address, and ultimately define what needs to be done to drive results. The primary goal is eventually for the coach to not be needed. The challenge for a team coach is that the approach is very holistic, exploring many different facets. You should start with:
- Is there strategic clarity?
- If so, how do we get there?
- Is there a strategic plan – with a focus on the strategic, not the tactical?
- If so, assess the organizations and teams and identify if there are any gaps.
This is known as Strategy Mapping.
- Live and breathe the 80/20 rule – focus on 20% of the activities that give you 80% of your results.
- Team coaching best practices. Ensure there is strategic clarity – what has been done to align an organization with the strategy? Make sure there is role clarity within the team – who is responsible for what aspects within the organization? And finally, what is the plan? Are we aligned with the strategy? Do we have the right talent? Do we have the right information technology to support what we need to do? Then, as your starting point, you develop a strategic execution plan. The focus is not ‘moving the deck chairs on a cruise ship’, the focus is on what we need to do differently in very specific, boring, behavioral terms.
- If you are aspiring to become a team coach, you need to look at your own skill set and determine if you have the holistic view of your organization. Do you have the business acumen to look at things from a different perspective? Do you know how to work through people as the coach rather than the leader?
- The greatest team coaching result was within the life insurance division of an insurance company. In assessing their progress, they were asked if they had strategic clarity – they said they did – they did not. They identified that technology could not support the changes to become more effective. They said they could not get the budget approval and did not pursue it. They also did not realign their organization to support desired changes. Talent mapping identified 50% of leaders who were not effective leaders. After addressing the gap, changes were made. After 7 months of an 18 month engagement, customer satisfaction rates improved significantly. It all began to turn around because of the commitment of everyone involved.
Recommended Reading and References from this Episode
- Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes by Robert Kaplan and David Norton
- The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni
- The Work of Leaders: How Vision, Alignment, and Execution Will Change the Way You Lead by Julie Straw and Barry Davis
- Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal and Tantum Collins
- Leadership Development Has Failed. But There’s a Better Model by Sean Gallagher. This article in Chief Learning Officer makes the case for developing teams and includes several great resources that are worth checking out.
- Download AJO’s free Team Coaching - Coaching Guide (below)
To Follow Bill Accordino
Bill Accordino's Comment & Question to HR Studio Podcast Group Members
As you explore team coaching as an option, if you find great resources, please share it with the LinkedIn group. It is important to understand how team coaching is different. This is still in its infancy. The more we can find to help walk the novice and the experts through the holistic approach, the better we will be in helping teams become cohesive and high performing. Thoughts?
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 8:00am
HR Studio Podcast