Organisations often have no clear ideas of what they want from team coaching, partly because there is no widely accepted definition of its purpose. However, it is important that everyone involved with the team coaching process including the sponsor, the leader, the team itself and the coach, have clarity as to what it is and the benefits it will bring. 
Organisations often have no clear ideas of what they want from team coaching, partly because there is no widely accepted definition of its purpose. However, it is important that everyone involved with the team coaching process including the sponsor, the leader, the team itself and the coach, have clarity as to what it is and the benefits it will bring. This article explores some of the possible benefits. 
 
1. Performance improvement 
I believe that performance improvement is a key aim of team coaching. However, team performance is difficult to evaluate as there are many different definitions as to what it is and how it is measured. It is important to identify the correct performance measures, making them flexible, current and measurable. Organisations are most interested in team coaching bringing about a specific improvement in an aspect of performance, as well as making things happen faster and differently. 
 
Team Coaching can also identify and tackle barriers to performance. These barriers include reward systems based on individual performance, groupthink and dysfunctional behaviours. The team coach can help individuals within the team have more honest conversations with each other to remove and challenge performance barriers. 
2. Processes improvement 
Understanding and improvement of team processes should also be a key aim of team coaching, a team coach should explore assumptions as to what the processes are and how they are applied. This includes helping to shine a light on team functions and identify unquestioned and often unwritten rules and behavioural norms to bring about awareness of whether these rules and norms are a positively or negatively affecting performance. This can lead to a change of norms and rules resulting in improved performance. 
 
3. Team purpose 
Team coaching can also define team purpose and priorities to gain a much deeper level of agreement about priorities for individuals and the team. It can bring greater focus and clarity of shared goals and it can create a better sense of team and a clearer set of team values and behaviours with which to identify. Building the team learning plan in team coaching can help a team define what they need to learn and how this learning will contribute to the team purpose. 
 
4. Better relationships 
Team coaching can create the right environment to help the team become more honest with itself, and for individuals to become more self-aware and authentic. Team coaching can help build team trust and self-belief and encourage supportive habits. It can also create a greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s skills and can help improve communications and relationships and engender collaborative decision making. 
 
To ensure performance is sustained and improved, it is important that relationships between team members are strong and positive. Team members may be able to perform and put up with poor relationships for a short amount of time, however lasting success can only be achieved through a collaborative team culture. 
 
A teams’ behaviour can be to identify and modify the team social system and improve a team by understanding the relationships and communication between the key players of the team which are often hidden beneath the surface of the day to day routines. 
 
Past experience is just as appropriate within a team as it is for individuals. This will help the team get to know each other better, understand the diverse experience within the team and recognise that everyone has their own individual contribution to the team. This means that the team is much better equipped to draw on each other’s experiences and insights. 
 
5. Peer coaching 
I believe that when there are high levels of peer coaching team members can feel more supported and satisfied with their teams and be more effective than when coaching is provided by the leader. Peer coaching can also be a strong predictor of team performance and is, therefore, a relevant aspiration for team coaches. Peer coaching also provides sustained performance, not just short term, and coaching happens more often as peers tend to interact more than with the leader. By coaching itself the team is better equipped to solve future problems. 
 
6. Other benefits 
Team Coaching can also instil in individuals a greater sense of confidence in their abilities to address issues that arise and an increased willingness to take personal responsibility. It can also engender a desire to continually develop and a greater willingness to engage with real issues that affect team development. 
 
Conclusion 
 
With the emergence of specific team coaching training and qualifications, the quality of team coaches is improving with an increased likelihood of teams achieving their objectives of a team coaching programme. I believe we are about to embark on an interesting time for team coaching so watch this space. 
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