We are often asked if a manager can coach a team. This can be related to the concern that individual coaching can take some time.
Whilst we believe that individual coaching does not have to be as time consuming as managers think, using the time a team is together is useful.
Well team coaching is a relatively new field and lacks some consistency but that's not to say that the process can't be used. We tend to align coaching with good consultative management rather than aiming for a 'group think' that is to be achieved through coaching.
Let's consider a scenario.
A manager or leader is considering a restructure to an existing schedule of work. This has come about as a result of a number of individuals in the team complaining that they are restricted in times they can access each other and how the current structure does not fit with their preferred working patterns.
The leader decides to open a discussion with the team.
Now some traditional mangers will have taken it on themselves to have either justified the current situation to the individuals or analysed the situation and prepared a new way of working that they are going to suggest to the team.
Some leaders will aim to ask the group what they think but attempt to ultimately persuade others to their way of thinking.
Now coaching (as we have discussed in previous blogs), is not about telling or selling ideas. In fact selling ideas is also not a component of true consultative management. True consultation comes about as a result of establishing views, gathering approaches and finally deciding based on those views and approaches. This is significantly different to deciding in advance or encouraging others to your point of view. I fact, once a leader starts to persuade another, they have stopped consulting. (There is of course times and places for all styles).
So if we are aiming to consult, then coaching is our main tool in the box.
The simple process of coaching questions to a team rather than an individual, allows open dialogue and flow of ideas.
What are we trying to achieve with the schedule?
What would an ideal outcome?
How big an impact does this have?
What doesn't work