Elite Coaching works with boards and teams of executives and senior managers. We know from our experience that teams are most effective when their objectives are clear, pursued vigorously and reviewed regularly. We know that individual members of the team give of their best when their role in the team is clear and they understand and feel confident about their personal objectives. We know that, in order to reach their true potential, teams need to surface and work through their professional rivalries, the internal politics, so called “personality clashes” and damaging factions.
Elite Coaching will often preface a team development programme with a diagnosis exercise to create a platform of understanding about working styles and how the team perceives its own effectiveness, before working through practical ways to achieve excellence.
Team coaching is an effective way to get teams working together effectively and in a way that underpins the achievement of team rather than the individual. It creates a context where healthy and constructive challenge can exist without damaging or breaking relationships.
Take a look at some of the case studies below, to get a flavour of the sort of work we undertake with top teams, in order to help them become as effective as they can be.
A specialist team in a national regulator
The RPM team in a national health regulator have allowed themselves to drift and be driven by events rather than setting the agenda over the past year. The team leader worries that things have gone too far, and they are no longer capable of changing. In our first meeting it is clear that individuals or groups of two and three work on their own, to the detriment of the whole and they really don’t know or trust one another. Between the first and second meetings we undertake a team diagnostic (I use the ASTON OD “Team Performance Indicator”, which highlights areas for development in leadership, the clarity of team roles and objectives efficiencies and team coherence) and I use the diagnosis to inform work on team cohesion and objective setting, and develop an action plan which is reviewed in subsequent meetings. After three meeting in six months, the whole is starting to see the work bearing fruit
The senior team for a high street retailer
LFI is the divisional board of a high street retailer. The current performance of the division is good but their managing director is retiring and their market is going to start changing rapidly. They are up for the change but soon realise that they have relied heavily on their MD and have worked politely and respectfully, but without any real understanding of each other’s motivations and drivers for a number of years. We undertake the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) exercise and use it to understand how each member of the team prefers to work, and to develop the team as a whole. Enthusiasm remains high, despite the exploration of areas of team dynamic they have never considered, and they feel coherent as a team and ready to welcome the new MD and move on to a new chapter in the business.
The top team for a customer relationship management business
SRCL is the UK arm of a large American customer relationship management business. They’d had a good couple of years, but the nature of the top team was changing with two departures and three new members. They had also identified a degree of circling around each other without ever being candid or straightforward, and they felt that it was wasting a lot of time and energy. I agreed to work with them on a two-day event, with a series of shorter follow-up meetings. We spent the first day getting to know each other and our styles of working a bit better, using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a catalyst for getting the conversations going on a range of different topics: how we like meetings to be run, our approach to deadlines, how much we take each other into account in decision making, whether we are detail or big picture people, with the intention of building up a better picture of each other and thereby building trust and confidence. On the second day we used our increased trust and knowledge to address some thorny business issues and develop an action plan. Subsequent meetings re-visited the trust issues, reviewed the plan, and we also moved on to carry out Step II of the MBTI, which gives a more detailed and more nuanced account of personality preferences. We are still meeting every quarter or so.
The senior team for a community health provider for a London teaching hospital
The senior team of this community health provider, a division of one of the large London teaching hospitals, had really been through the organisational change wringer when I first met them. A fairly brutal cost cutting exercise had required them to close two of their community clinics and reduce the offer to service users at a time when demand was growing in the area they served. The senior team had undertaken the changes, which had included a significant number of redundancies, without much support from the trust and had to come to their own decisions about the numbers to be cut from each professional group. In my first meeting with them they were weary, still a little shocked, and were very sorry to have lost some of their trust in each other. I met the team on five occasions over the period of a year; the first two sessions were really spent ensuring that all the members of the team had an opportunity to listen to and acknowledge each other’s version of events. Slowly, trust returned, and they have started to plan for the future, and with the relief of staving off a further round of closures they now find themselves able to relax in each other’s company and get the most out of each other’s talents. It has taken some time, but they now feel much better equipped should they have to make further changes to the service.
The fundraising function of this national charity has recently been expanded in a concerted push to generate more income to fulfil the charity’s five-year plan. Fundraising have very little time to put their own business plan together, so we meet regularly for a morning or an afternoon over a two-month period and work in a practical way from the start, using a series of exercises to develop their action plan, to ensure that all the roles and the demarcation between roles in the team are clear, and to make sure that all have an opportunity to work with each other in order to develop trust and rapport. This is not easy work; they are trying to get to know each other, develop clarity about their roles, and prepare a stretching and achievable action plan acceptable to the organisation, all at the same time.
A London Clinical Commissioning Group Service Development Team
This team was led by two job sharing managers, who were concerned that their contrasting styles and expectations were preventing the team from fulfilling its potential. An open and candid initial meeting confirmed that the team of six were very supportive of the job share, and saw the contrasting styles generally as positive. There were other concerns about the effectiveness of the team, so we undertook the Aston OD team diagnostic exercise, which identified a number of areas of work, including a lack of clarity in some of the job roles, and a deficit in the areas of innovation and responsiveness, so over a number of half day sessions we addressed these specific areas, which improved markedly over a six-month period, endorsed by a successful re-running of the team diagnostic.