Example of Our Work: Team Coaching
Thunderbird Leadership Consulting was contacted by the new president of a local college, in hopes that team coaching could help her set the group’s direction on a clear and effective path. In Thunderbird’s work with teams, we have noticed, without exception, the value in communicating one’s expectations formally and with intention. While this may seem like a “no-brainer”, it is disappointing to note that it is rarely done as a matter of leadership practice. Gallup research has clearly identified -”Do I know what is expected of me at work?”- as THE number one question in the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement survey.
With the president and executive team present in the first session, we asked the president to share her expectations with the team. Then the team members shared their expectations of the president. Finally, all members of the team shared their expectations of each other. As coaches, we managed the discussion, clarified where needed and encouraged depth in the dialogue. As one leader stated, “I’ve never had the opportunity to share my expectation with my CEO, and it was a liberating and valuable experience.”
In the next meeting, team purpose, team roles and individual roles were identified and discussed. Without a common understanding of the team’s purpose, team members could easily create silos with the thought that their department’s work is not connected to, or is more important than, the others. The team role discussion was necessary to differentiate individual roles from the collective team’s role. Examples of team roles are to provide direction, establish priorities and challenge the process. We guided the team to reach consensus on their roles and have a deep understanding of the behaviors that were required in order to meet organizational outcomes. Finally we guided the discussion of individual roles on the team, such as analyst, peacemaker, antagonist, historian. We concluded this phase by asking if there were roles that were necessary, but not assumed by anyone on the team.
Although the phases of the team’s discussion were complete, we remained available for sessions with the team to clarify, help analyze and coach them to continue their development within the community college setting.