Team Coaching: styles and approaches

Different ways to achieve team success

There are several approaches to team coaching that coaches can use to help teams improve their performance and achieve their goals. Some of the most common approaches include:

Systemic thinking approach

The systems thinking approach considers the team as part of a larger system that includes the environment, culture and processes, and focuses on understanding the relationships and interconnections between the different parts of a system to understand how they interact to produce certain results.

In all this, the coach helps the team to identify the interdependencies and interactions within the work system that can influence team performance. By understanding these dynamics, teams can develop more effective solutions that address the underlying causes of the problem, rather than just the symptoms.

This approach emphasises a holistic view of the team’s challenges and opportunities and is therefore particularly useful in situations where the team is faced with complex problems or challenges that require a broad perspective.

It also encourages team members to work collaboratively to address internal issues.

This approach can be applied for both improved organisational effectiveness, improved innovation and the resolution of social and environmental problems. Here, the key is to identify the underlying system that drives the problem and develop strategies to change it for better results.

The different stages of a Systemic Thinker

The systems thinking approach generally involves four different phases.

For the first, the team engages in a systems analysis phase, in which the different parts of the system and their interconnections are mapped out. This helps build a shared understanding of the system and identify areas for improvement.

Next, the team engages in a feedback and learning phase, in which they collect data and feedback on system performance and use this information to refine their understanding of the system.

In the third phase, redesign, the team develops strategies to modify the system to achieve better results.

Finally, in the implementation phase, the team implements its strategies and monitors the performance of the system to ensure that it produces the desired results.

Overall, by adopting this type of approach and perspective, teams can identify the hidden dynamics that cause problems and develop more effective ad hoc solutions that can address the root causes.

Strength based Approach

strength based approach

The strengths-based approach focuses on identifying and utilising the unique strengths and capabilities of each team member and can therefore be used in a variety of contexts, the most important of which is the business context.

The coach helps the team to recognise and appreciate each other’s strengths and encourages them to collaborate and support each other in using these strengths to achieve shared goals. And the key, therefore, is to be able to identify the team’s strengths and talents and find ways to exploit them in pursuit of the company’s goals.

This approach emphasises a positive and supportive team culture that values diversity and promotes mutual respect and can be applied to a range of challenges, from team building to leadership development, from career coaching to personal growth.

Moreover, it is particularly useful in situations where a team has problems with morale, motivation or commitment. By emphasising and leveraging strengths, teams can improve their performance, satisfaction and overall sense of well-being.

Recognition of strengths: the steps

The strengths-based approach involves several steps:

  1. assessment: the team engages in a strengths assessment phase, in which individual and collective strengths and talents are identified. This helps build self-awareness and create a shared understanding of what the team does best.
  2. goal setting: specific goals and objectives are identified that are based on the team’s strengths
  3. implementation: the team develops strategies and action plans to achieve the goals, building on its strengths and talents
  4. reflection: they reflect and evaluate their progress by celebrating their successes and contributing to a sense of achievement and pride.

Overall, the strengths-based approach can be a powerful tool for coaches to help teams identify and leverage their strengths, talents and positive qualities towards a better and more satisfying future.

Experiential approach

The experiential approach, also called ‘action learning‘ focuses on learning through action and subsequent reflection. With this approach, the coach helps the team identify real-world challenges and opportunities for growth, encouraging them to experiment and take risks in the search for solutions.

The coach then facilitates a reflection process to help the team learn from their experiences. This approach emphasises a dynamic and iterative problem-solving mode that encourages continuous learning and improvement. To do this, the master trainer, or coach, may use tools such as action learning sets or reflective questions.

formazione esperienziale team coaching
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Emotional intelligence approach

emotional intelligence approach graph

The emotional intelligence approach focuses on developing the team’s emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skills. The coach helps team members to understand and manage their own emotions and those of their colleagues, to build stronger relationships and improve team performance.

Like the Strengths Based Approach, this approach emphasises a supportive and empathetic team culture that values emotional intelligence as a key component of effective teamwork.

In this case, the coach can use tools such as emotional intelligence assessments and role-playing exercises to help the team develop their skills.

This approach is particularly useful in situations where a team has to solve communication problems, conflicts or group dynamics.

The coaching approach called Emotional Intelligence can be used in various contexts, including business, education and health. In particular, it can be applied to a range of challenges, from improving communication and group collaboration to enhancing leadership skills and managing change and stress. The key lies in identifying the emotional intelligence skills most relevant to the team’s challenges and goals.

Emotional Intelligence Approach: the phases

The emotional intelligence approach generally involves several phases. First, the team engages in a self-assessment phase, in which they identify their strengths and weaknesses in terms of emotional intelligence. This helps build self-awareness and identify areas for improvement.

Next, the team engages in a learning phase, in which they develop skills and strategies to improve their emotional intelligence. This may include training in mindfulness, active listening, empathic communication and conflict resolution.

In the practice phase, the team applies their skills in real-life situations and receives feedback and coaching to help them hone their skills.

Finally, in the reflection phase, the team reflects on its progress and identifies areas for further development.

All in all, it can be a powerful tool to use in the company. By developing emotional intelligence skills, team members can improve their ability to understand and respond to the emotions of themselves and their colleagues, which leads to more effective teamwork and better results.

Appreciative Inquiry Approach

The Appreciative Inquiry Approach focuses on identifying and enhancing the positive aspects of team performance. The coach helps the team identify their strengths, successes and best practices and encourages them to apply these learnings to future projects.

This approach emphasises a constructive and future-oriented mindset that promotes creativity and innovation. The coach can use tools such as appreciative interviews and storytelling exercises to help the team identify and celebrate their successes.

This approach is particularly useful in situations where a team has problems with morale, motivation or commitment. Instead of focusing on what is not working, the appreciative enquiry approach helps teams identify and build on their strengths and successes.

This positive and future-oriented approach can help revitalise a team and create a sense of optimism and possibility.

team coaching pie chart appreciative inquiry approach

Stages of the Appreciative Inquiry process

The process in which it develops typically involves several stages.

First, the team engages in a discovery phase, in which they explore and share stories of their past successes and most important experiences. This helps create a sense of positivity and connection within the team.

Next, the team engages in a ‘dream’ phase, in which they imagine and articulate a compelling and exciting future. This helps create a shared sense of purpose and direction.

In the third phase – the planning (design) phase -, the team develops concrete plans and actions to realise its vision.

While finally, in the destiny/delivery phase, the team reflects on its progress and celebrates its successes, helping to reinforce a sense of achievement and pride.

Overall, this Team Coaching approach can be a powerful tool, if well utilised by coaches who can help teams harness the creativity, innovation and potential already present. In this way, by focusing on what works and on their own strengths, teams can achieve greater levels of success and satisfaction.

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