Coaching Questions in 6 Areas for Highly Effective Teams | By Jennifer Britton

people-black-business-people-pfHighly effective group and team coaches have a robust toolkit. That toolkit usually includes a variety of questions to support their clients in deepening awareness and taking action towards their important goals.

In Team Building We Know That Highly Effective Teams Have at least Six (6) Core Factors:

  1. Shared Purpose or Mission - Highly effective teams understand their WHY - Why they exist, who they serve and where they are going.
  2. Shared Behavioral Norms - How you do things? What is acceptable and unacceptable on the team?
  3. Shared Commitment - Highly effective teams are committed to each other, to the work they undertake, their mission and their stakeholders. What are team members committed to?
  4. Shared Performance Goals - Goals create the frame of the coaching process. With high performing teams they have shared performance goals and are clear on what these are and what it will take to get there. Additional questions in this area point us to how are people measured? How do goals align - across the team, with individuals, with the organization? Overlap?
  5. Shared Team Practices - Teams that work together effectively share common practices such as a Monday morning huddle, a Thursday night out or some other regular event. Shared team practices are very important in creating camaraderie, connection while providing a vehicle for communication.
  6. Clear Roles - An understanding of what’s needed for productivity is key for teams, including understanding how our roles overlap, align and connect.

Against this backdrop, having a variety of coaching questions helps teams not only become more aware of their own processes, but supports them into taking action towards what's really important to them.

Let's Explore Coaching Questions to Create Highly Effective Teams in These 6 Areas:

Area 1 - Shared Purpose or Mission

As coaches we support groups and teams in developing understanding, clarity and insight around why they exist - and what their purpose is.

Coaching Questions we can ask to explore and build awareness around shared purpose or mission include:

  • "Why do we exist?"
  • "Who do we serve?"
  • "What is important to us?"
  • "What's possible?"

This vision work is often tied into work around values as well.

Area 2 - Behavioral Norms

Many teams are quick to name the values they uphold but find it harder to articulate what values look like in action (their shared observable behaviors). Actions speak louder than words, and teams often have a written and unwritten set of norms. I like to ask teams:

  • "If I were to come in with my phone and record you in action around this value, what would we see on the playback"?

A central cornerstone of both team and group coaching processes is to develop Group or Team Agreements about how the grouping will operate. These agreements, sometimes called Ground Rules, Terms of Engagement or Ground Rules create safety and clarity around behavior.

Coaching Questions we can ask teams and groups to help them understand their behavioral norms include:

  • "What are the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors for our team?:
  • "What is taboo for us as a team?"
  • "As we consider our values, what do these look like behaviorally?"

Area 3 - Shared Commitment

Groups and Teams which excel are engaged. They are committed to their work and each other and they have each others' backs. They are passionate and connected to what they are creating.

Coaching Questions we can use to explore shared commitment are:

  • "What does commitment mean to us?"
  • "What are we committed to, no matter what?"
  • "How do we have each others' backs?"
  • "Where could we improve in this area?"

Area 4 - Shared Performance Goals:

The team or group's goals - individually and collectively - are the foundation of the coaching process.

Coaching Questions we can use to explore shared goals include:

  • "What is really important to us - individually? Collectively?"
  • "What do we want to get done, no matter what?"
  • "What are your top 3 goals - this month? Quarter? Year?"
  • "What is really important about completing these?"

Area 5 - Shared Team Practices

Shared team practices such as meetings, a huddle, a lunch together once in a while creates a place for sharing, communication, connection and building shared experiences.

Coaching Questions we can ask team and group members to understand and deepen shared team practices include:

  • "What are your most important connection points during the week?"
  • "How does information get passed on most effectively?"
  • "What gets in the way of you connecting as a team?"
  • "What value do you get from these shared experiences?"

Area 6 - Clear Roles

Teams which excel are clear in their roles. They know how their roles overlap, align and connect.

Coaching Questions we can ask team to deepen understanding around roles include:

  • "What roles are needed in the team to be most effective?"
  • "What roles do we usually fulfil?", "How does that serve us? Hinder us?"
  • "Where do our roles overlap?", "How do our roles align?"
  • "What's the connection between what I do and x?"

In Summary

Teams which excel value the 'pause point' we can create as coaches. Questions are an inherent part of creating the pause and provide an opportunity to prompt new action on the part of the client towards their goals. Finally, questions can deepen awareness around core elements of the issue they are facing.

Now over to you! Here's an activity to consider in service to your work with group and team clients.

  • Create your own list of questions around these six areas.
  • Then next time you work with a team, have them identify where they are in these areas.

For more coaching questions, visit the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog and check out Jennifer's Six Team and Group Coaching Questions series.

Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized, Copyright 2015.

Jennifer Britton headshot

Contributing author: Jennifer Britton MES, CPCC, PCC is well known for her leadership and writing in the areas of group and team coaching. She is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Jenn is passionate about supporting professionals enhance their work with groups and teams. Join her for the ICF CCE approved Group Coaching Essentials or Advanced Group Coaching Practicum.

 

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