5 ways to coach a team

September 17, 2021

Manager coaching his team

Individuals and teams are realising the value of a coaching. But there are many different kinds of coach and it’s worth considering what might work best in your team. Here are five effective options to consider:


1. Team leader as coach

In this case the leader starts to act as a coach instead of a “boss”. There are many benefits to asking questions of the team — especially in the long term. It creates greater sense of responsibility within the team, the manager is likely to unlock more ideas to solve problems and the general level of awareness of problems faced by the team will improve.

Prediction: Developing the coaching skills of managers will be a growing area of focus. As part of this there will be a greater emphasis on concepts like the servant-leader. Good managers will need to demonstrate knowledge of how and when to apply different styles of leadership.

2. Peer coaching

Peer coaching is a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices. They share ideas, build new skills; share ideas, teach one another, conduct classroom research or solve problems in the workplace.‍

Not all coaching needs to be through the manager. If teammates start coaching each other it opens up a range of more interesting development conversations.

Prediction: Leaders be attracted by the potentially high return on investment from peer coaching. Peer coaching also builds trust in the team which correlates with high performance.

3. Self coaching teams, e.g. holocracy

‘Holacracy’ is a system of governance where members of a team or business form autonomous yet symbiotic teams to accomplish tasks and goals. Instead of the leader having power the teams have more power and autonomy. Companies such as Zappos, Medium, AirBnB and The Lending Club have been recognised for implementing Holocracy.

Prediction: In the next five years relatively few organisations will adopt full Holocracy. For full Holocracy to work there needs to be an alignment of interests of investors, leadership and teams that remains quite rare. However some of the underlying principles of Holocracy will be adopted much more broadly as organisations seek to empower teams.

4. External coach

Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and Atul Gewande all espouse the benefits of coach from outside the business. The external viewpoint that they provide can help individuals and teams unlock challenges and make faster progress. Two areas dominate external coaching at the moment: senior executive teams and agile teams.‍

Prediction: We expect that the market for team coaching will grow and we’ll see more and more teams from different functions given access to a coach to improve performance. Teams will look at the success of agile coaches and adapt that model. However, the form in which coaching is used will be disrupted. Short, punchy, remote sessions aided by technology will become much more common.

5. Digital coach

There are already a number of individual coaching apps on the market. Saberr is leading the way in developing the first digital team coach. Our research shows that technology can play a role in encouraging teams into the right behaviour patterns.

Prediction: We will see an increase in the use of technology to change team behaviour and coach teams. Some of the specific advantages that technology will have is:

  1. ‍adoption at scale,
  2. offering options to nudge teams into new patterns of behaviour when human coaches don’t have the time or cannot be there.

Digital coaching will not replace but augment other coaching solutions above.‍

If you're interested in finding out more about Saberr's digital coaching platform you check it out here. Instead of 'coaching' in the traditional sense, it helps managers and team adopt the habits and routines that lead to sustain performance improvements. We leverage behavioural science to nudge teams toward learning and applying new techniques in the flow of their day to day work. If you’d like to know more please get in touch with Saberr to request a demo.

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