A FTSE 100 company asked us to work with a team whose productivity had reached a standstill. A difficult situation had come to a head and some people had been disciplined, although the team remained intact. Our job was to design and facilitate a team coaching process that would enable all the team members to work together to construct and agree a way forward. Part of our remit was to open up and air the issues so that each team member could reach an understanding of the part he or she had played in what had gone before, and then – crucially – help each member choose his or her role in the team’s future work.
The work took place in three stages, beginning with preliminary work then a two-day workshop and, some months later, the follow-up.
During the preliminary stage, team members completed a questionnaire (in their own time) designed to help each member to engage with the process and prepare for the workshop.
Members were asked thoughtfully constructed questions about the individual’s own patterns of behaviours in teamwork and asked to consider what sparks them or triggers unhelpful behaviours. Members were each asked to complete and score a simple, confidential personality profile.
The results of the profile remained the property of the individual; only high-level summary findings were shared during the workshop that followed.
Next, the team attended a two-day facilitated workshop offsite. During the two days, team members were supported to work through the main issues and agree a way of working in the future. The process we designed helped the participants to understand the patterns of behaviours that can emerge when stakes are high and the pressure is on. Members were then encouraged to think about how each person would manage his or her self, and ways in which members could support each other during challenging times.
A follow up piece of work took place a few months later to check how the working agreement was playing out. The team looked at what was working well and what might require a tweak. At this stage, important discoveries emerged about individual strengths as well as the resilience that team members were clearly developing as individuals and collectively.
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