All Great Teams Practice Off The Field or Stage – is yours in top condition?

Business Team in a Round

Leadership teams are often confronted with changing membership, circumstances, and challenges that do not fit existing leadership patterns and practices. Coaching can assist the team in recognizing existing patterns, assessing their appropriateness for the new situation, and generating methods and relationships to move forward. As an outside agent, the coach can ask questions and encourage consideration of issues that are presently unheard or overlooked. Accountability for change can be developed jointly by the team and the coach.

What a team coaching engagement looks like:

  • A preliminary meeting, at no obligation, to identify the issues and see if we want to work together.
  • Interviews with team members to further define issues.
  • Coach reports findings to the whole team.
  • Depending on requirements, meet weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
  • Include check-back meetings to sustain change.

Alternative coaching solutions for a group may include:

  • Leadership retreats for one or more days.
  • Coach participation in regular leadership meetings held in the course of work. (The coach’s job is to listen for the unasked questions that might make major shifts in thinking or progress.).
  • Intergroup conflict facilitation involving senior executives from two or more organizations.

If you are interested in learning how your team can benefit from coaching, please read my Getting Started with Team/Group Coaching guide.

Coming Home to Change, Part 3

Boats in Thailand Ocean 600x399

The final part of a 3-part series.  Read earlier posts of Part 1 and Part 2.

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

It is harder still to slowly grow into unknowing.
Having ventured forth before
You know there is a world waiting for you,
Waiting for you to see what only you can see,
Waiting for the conversation only you can have,
Waiting, with growing displeasure,
to teach you what only it can teach-
This time.

This time will not be the same as before
And so the going is hard.

We must go out again
Lest our homes become our tombs.
We must go out again
To be embraced
Upon returning home.

In spite of our reluctance to leave familiar surroundings, we know the future must be encountered in order to thrive. Every one of us who changes must, at some point, do the changing ourselves! Everyone of us who learns has to do the learning ourselves even if the rest of the world already knows the same things.

This voyage will not be the same as before. That is why change, especially when we choose it, is a liberating, exciting trip.

The strange thing is, that if we go out, “home” emerges again. What we come home to after each journey is our changed self, conscious of the goodness of the past as well as things we left behind and the opportunity to celebrate our new surroundings.


Is there a “tomb” you need to leave?
Is it time to come home and celebrate after a long voyage?

Coming Home to Change, Part 2

Kid Boy Leaving Home 600x650

Part 2 of a 3-part series.  Read the first part here.

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

It’s hard to leave home
Even though you have done it a hundred times.
To step into the world is to step onto a road
That is not the same one you strode in before.
Everything and nothing has changed
And all the security of the last voyage
Comes undone with the uncertainty
Of the coming encounter.

It’s hard to leave home
Even though you have done it a hundred times.
The warmth and familiarity of your own hearth
Girds you from the rough fingers of the world
And the security of the front door makes it your castle.

We face a real dilemma when wanting to change! We know we must. We have changed before. We are most comfortable with things we already know.  And this time it will be different. The world has changed since we last left home! So, in spite of our years of experience, we are uncertain.

What do we do in this bind between being pulled forward and pulled back? One good approach comes from Appreciative Inquiry. In this well establish framework, we look for what we have learned and what we would like to take with us into the future. We examine our deep strengths that will be with us regardless of what we encounter. And we dream of what is possible. The dream is crucial and it must be compelling enough to draw our reluctant selves out the door and into the street.

I call my own practice “Walking Across the Street”. At the beginning of a year-long sabbatical, I realized I was becoming lonely in the absence of friends, work and familiar surroundings. One day I noticed a man talking with workers across the narrow street from our house. There had been a storm. So, with my heart in my throat, I walked across the street and asked, “How did your roof do in the storm?”

Just by that act of stepping into the unknown, I got out of my own way. Within minutes, I was introduced to a variety of people who became central to my sabbatical experience.

What security in your castle draws you back inside?
What are the “streets” you need to cross on your way to the future?
Who must you meet to create the new community of your work?

Stay tuned for next week, when we discuss Part 3 of this poem!

Coming Home to Change

Moving Into House 600x400

Following is an excerpt from Sam’s poem entitled “Homecoming” (Copyright 2007):

Tutankhamen wrapped in ancient cloth
Waits patiently inside his pyramid tomb
Thinking he will remain unchanged until his
Journey is complete.
But we know better-
After so many years of staying home
We know he will turn to dust
when he encounters the real world.

Many people say they want to change, but the fact is, truly transformational change is hard. Even our brains resist change, opting instead for homeostasis. Medically speaking, when tissue and organs are transplanted, the immune system must be blocked from rejecting the new tissue.

Then there’s the stance against someone else’s idea about change for us! I remember one moment in particular – A manager said to me, “If all this is such a good idea, why hasn’t someone thought of it before?” Change we want is hard enough; change imposed is even harder. At a recent conference (Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare 2013), researcher and professor, Richard M. Ryan, Ph.D. spoke about Self Determination Theory. He explained that people who work for controlling bosses feel worse about themselves and when people feel worse about themselves (consciously or not) their performance, persistence and creativity go down. It’s much like an immune reaction.

Leaders and coaches who help build real motivation, real commitment, real supportive relationships and  real visions that take into account self-motivation factors help generate good results. The research is done. Let’s not debate about controlling bosses or organizations anymore.

Next week, we’ll look at the rest of this poem – and the inside of change.