Group Coaching & Leadership

What lies behind the power of group coaching? Whether you are managing a team in your business, or you are part of a team in a company and even when you think about your friend group, a good team cohesion is essential in our lives. Ann Skidmore has been coaching teams throughout her career and in this article, she’s sharing her thoughts on coaching groups. Enjoy!

 ‘Deep conversations with the right people are priceless’

Working in teams is a daily practice in organisations.  Well-functioning teams can return big benefits to morale, strategic thinking, creativity and the bottom line.

Our first experience of teamwork is often through sports.  A group of talented people are put together and expected to collaborate to beat another team.  In reality, what happens is the team has to rally around the ‘stars’ to help them to win for the team.

Teamworking in organisations is different.

Most of us have not been trained in what that means, let alone how to get the best out of our teams. Team members are not meant to be stars, standing out alone, but working together collaborating and contributing to the greater success of the whole organisation.  Just like in a sports team, business teams need coaching and mentoring to raise the bar, enhance their performance and create high performances for the whole organisation.

This means from the most senior team, the Executive Board, downwards, all line managers/leaders need to enhance and develop their coaching and mentoring skills.  Most leaders/managers have not had the specific training for this and that’s why organisations increasingly are seeking facilitated development and coaching programmes to deliver these skills for their senior managers/leaders.

In addition, right now, leaders are facing the challenge of leading and managing their teams more frequently in a virtual, online environment.

Some of the biggest challenges of virtual teams include:

  • Trust – we are either building it or diminishing it – it is never static
  • Misunderstandings from poor communication
  • Variations in perception as to how people sense ownership and commitment to tasks and responsibilities
  • Empathy and personal connection due to physical distancing between team members

Leaders need to be able to confidently address each of these issues as part of the ongoing process that leads to higher productivity for the whole business.  Coaching and mentoring skills, plus tools and techniques enable all employees to raise their awareness and generate more responsibility for taking action.

The ‘Group or Team Coaching’ helps bring a closer understanding of what Group/Team coaching is, their similarities and differences. Virtual teams and their leaders are hiring coaches to help them to manage the physical distancing they are currently experiencing.

If you aren’t already coaching or leading teams, why not join us and find out more about whether you would like to get involved in this exciting area.

Just recently with many of my business clients, I have found they want to understand how best to lead their teams right now. 

‘At a time of crisis and uncertainty, good leadership really matters’ Chartered Management Institute 2020

They are finding the constantly changing world that they operate in frustrating, challenging, tiring and at times, physically and emotionally draining. Recently, when one of my clients was explaining how exhausting everything was for them and how they couldn’t find even a few minutes ‘just for myself’, I asked a question:

‘What’s good about this situation for you, right now?’

Needless to say, they looked at me astonished!  The point is, sometimes our clients (and we ourselves do too) can get lost in their experiences and stories of what is going on for them.  As coaches and human beings, we need to find a way to interrupt the pattern of the story, otherwise, the story gets repeated over and over again.

Once my client got over their astonishment, they identified 5 aspects of what was good about this situation and what they were learning about themselves, their team and also about their business and how resilient it was at managing the current crisis.

More than that, they realised that they were growing as a leader by managing their entire team remotely.  No one had trained them for this role, they were learning ‘on the job’ and doing ok at it too, they thought. Then I asked:

‘What achievements are you proud of that you have gained as a result of going through these challenging times?’

They smiled and realised that there were indeed some achievements that could only have been achieved by going through tough times.  They didn’t know what they were capable of until now.

We were on a roll now!  I asked them:

‘As a leader, what will you look back on when you reflect on 2020.  What did you learn this year that you couldn’t have learnt in any other year so far?’

Giving them the time, space and the silence to think out loud were the most important things I could do for them and with them.

Being a coach is a privilege, our clients share their innermost thoughts and feelings, and trust us to listen.  We do our best to understand and help them to be able to take action towards their goals.

We too are demonstrating leadership, listening well, being compassionate, having a vision for a better future, building trust between us and our clients.

Being a leader is a role, showing leadership is a behaviour.

Executive Master Coach incl Professional Coach ICF LVL 2