No More Trust Falls: Team Building with an Executive Coach
These days, there’s more to team building than going to a corporate retreat once a year and “fire walking” across a bed of hot red coals or falling backwards into the arms of a nervous colleague. While games designed to tear down walls might be part of it, team building is the entire process of using various techniques and activities to improve the inter-workings of a group of individuals. It’s about creating a cohesive group that works together collaboratively to meet certain goals or objectives. And it has everything to do with executive coaching.
Executive coaching and team building go hand-in-hand because when you develop a leader, you have the opportunity to develop a team. The team can be as narrow as the direct reports of the leader or can include all employees. The goal with leadership coaching is to not only to develop the leader but to develop the business.
The Mission of the Executive Coach.
When I am hired to work with the top leaders in a business, my mission is to persuade the stakeholders to allow me broad access to other members of the organization. Then and only then can coaching service can have the biggest possible impact.
As part of leadership development, a focus on team building within organizations does the following:
- Builds trust throughout the organization
- Mitigates unproductive conflict
- Encourages communication
- Increases collaboration
Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company morale and boosting the bottom line.
At the end of the day, boosting the bottom line is what matters to stakeholders. What matters to employees is the meaning, purpose and impact they experience as a result of their efforts. By having leaders focus on team building, I can simultaneously help them to grow as leaders AND improve teams.
Strong Team Know How to Communicate.
Strong teams always have these three qualities:
- Great communication
- Highly engaged members
- Strong leadership within the team
When it comes to communication, strong teams have a basis of trust, an ability to engage in constructive conflict, a strong commitment to “the team,” a system of accountability and a collective attention to results. These elements all foster open, collaborative and productive communication that can lead to creative problem solving and positive results.
Strong Teams Are Highly Engaged.
Highly engaged employees go above and beyond the efforts required to perform basic job functions. Strong employee engagement starts on an organization-wide level with a highly intentional and defined culture that is palpable at all levels. This culture, built by the regular occurrence of organic and planned culture-enhancing activities, increases a sense of belonging for employees. We know that the experience of company culture needs to start at the interview process, carry through during the on-boarding process and be consistent throughout employee tenures in order to maximize engagement.
Strong Teams Have Strong Leaders.
Finally, what does strong leadership within a team look like? In different size organizations, strong leadership on a team can present differently. Some teams have strong “captains” – leaders of teams that function as intermediaries between employees and stakeholders or upper management. Sometimes team leaders are in management positions, other times they are regular employees that have strong leadership interests/qualities/abilities. What they provide teams is direction, focus, support, accountability, motivation and a sense that members are being heard.
Other Elements that Improve Teams.
In my many years as an executive coach, I’ve learned the following about teams:
- Teams that learn together are happier (because happiness is tied to learning as well as employee engagement levels) and tend to be more cohesive
- When there is clarity around team and organization mission, vision, values and objectives, teams tend to be more committed to reaching goals
- A team that maximizes the use of individual strengths to accomplish team goals is incredibly effective
- When team members regularly provide feedback, acknowledgment and recognition for the efforts of team members, the sense of meaning and purpose of individual members increases and employee engagement rises
- Teams that display genuine care for other team members are more tightly knit, productive and creative
- When team members encourage the growth of other members as well as display an equitable interest in the opinions of all members, team cohesion grows
- When all members of a team are committed to doing excellent work, the level of buy-in and accountability rises dramatically
The Role of Executive Coaching in Team Building.
Executive coaching plays a huge role in both developing leaders and helping organizations strengthen their teams. We bring the expertise of understanding the tenets of team building and the learning programs to put the principles into practice. We help guide leaders through the process of increasing employee engagement through building company cultures that increase the sense of meaning, purpose and impact experienced by employees. Finally, we help each and every team improve their cohesion by working with them on all of the elements discussed in this article.
Take the Next Step.
Are you a leader ready to take the next step and hire an executive coach? Do you want to increase employee engagement, strengthen teams and create a company culture that captures and retains the highest quality employees? Contact me today at Kimberly@KimberlyPutmanCoaching.com or at (504) 261-1026. Let’s schedule a consultation to discuss how we can work together to reach your goals.