A Coaching Model Created by Arvind Agrawal
(Team Coach, INDIA)
Distinct from individual and group coaching, focus of team coaching is the entire working team. Team coaching is aimed toward helping the team achieve better cohesion and commitment to the team goals, improve quality of interaction, improve ability to surface differences and deal with them, (Hackman & Wageman, 2005).
Organizations function through teams which are set up to accomplish certain objectives. These objectives may be development of new products, managing new product launches, reviewing business performance and working out corrective actions for future, development of strategic direction for the business, reducing cost of manpower, enhancing performance orientation in the organization etc. For each of these objectives, a team is appointed. These teams typically consist of talents drawn from different parts of the organization. They are expected to pool in their resources and work collaboratively to accomplish the desired objectives. In reality however, quite often teams do not function with great deal of productivity.
Quite often, the team meetings are battle grounds for members to settle their individual scores, assert superiority by attacking the other members. Members tend to hijack the meeting toward own agenda and meet personal objectives rather than contributing to accomplishing team goals. Many remain fixated in their own functional groove rather than look at bigger picture and address the issue in hand. There are gaps in sharing by deliberate withholding of information. Instead of meaningful dialogue and conversations, there are tendencies to dominate, attack or withdraw by silence during these team meetings. Instead of collaboration, team members end up having unhealthy competition with each other.
The outcomes of such dysfunctional meetings are far from satisfactory and they do not serve the organization purpose. David Rock (2007) echoes this when he says, “most teams by nature are disjointed, chaotic systems with people pulling in many different directions. These dysfunctionalities erode effectiveness of the team and quite often the teams miss to achieve their goals.
Purpose of team coaching is to help teams realize their capabilities. Team coach does so by helping teams:
- Understand and commit to the goals for which the team has been constituted.
- Recognize and remove the dysfunctionalities that exist in the team.
- Discover and adopt new ways of working free from the dysfunctionalities.
Like in the individual coaching scenario, in the team coaching situation as well, coach is to observe, listen and ask powerful questions which helps the teams in this journey.
This paper outlines the team coaching model which may be very useful for coaching teams.
The Team Coaching Model
The proposed team coaching model ACCED consists of 5 steps as under
- A Aims and objectives of the team
- C Current work culture in the team
- C Culture desired in the team
- E Explore enablers for transiting into ‘ desired culture ‘
- D Develop action plan for institutionalizing the ‘ new way of working in the team ‘
Step 1. A – Aims and objectives of the team
Every team is constituted with certain aim and specific objectives in mind. Purpose of this first step is to help team members discover the ‘team objectives’, develop common understanding and gain acceptance. At this stage, it is equally important to understand the difference between aim and objective although people tend to use these two words quite interchangeably. Example below explains the differences between these two words :
New product development team – this team comprises of talents drawn from R & D, testing, marketing, finance, materials and manufacturing. Assuming one person from each of the functions, this will be a 6 person team.
- Aim for this team – develop new products which ensure continued market leadership of the company.
- Objective –develop a car which gives ‘lowest cost of ownership ‘to its customers in India by June 2014.
- Through this example, it becomes clear that aim of the team broadly defines the purpose while objective is very specific in terms of time, cost and market which is intended to be served as under :
- Time – by June 2014
- Cost – lowest cost of ownership for the customers
- Market – Indian customers
The first step of the team coaching process helps team clearly understand and accept the aims as well as objectives for which the team has been set up.