One useful description of team coaching is “an individual and team development process that uses an integrated combination of interventions to improve collaborative leadership skills, and team performance.”
Essentially, team coaching works with the team as a system as opposed to a collection of individuals, and is an ongoing process to sustain change over time as opposed to a one-off team development event or a facilitation process tackling a specific issue. The one day team workshop is still a very popular approach to team development but very often doesn’t overcome the difficulty of sustaining actions and behaviours agreed by the team at the workshop. This requires an ongoing level of reflection, commitment and time from the team that is lost in the day to day haste to get stuff done.
Team coaching helps people to understand and to practice working more effectively and efficiently together. There are some team coaching interventions that primarily focus on working relationships: the way people act with their teammates, and the way they communicate with one another – these are important drivers of effective team performance. However, there are others that stress the need to start with clarifying context such as the primary purpose of the team, its goals and objectives, and the role of the people in the team, leading on to helping the team improve performance and the processes by which performance is achieved, through reflection and dialogue.