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Team Coaching: Are We Aiming High Enough?

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Unique Place

This is about embracing two closely related points:

  1. Each team member brings a unique perspective to the table by virtue of their unique life journey
  2. All team members have an equal right to be part of the team—everyone has a right to have their voice heard and acknowledged

Secrets, marginalized team members and non-talked about ex-colleagues are common examples of not allowing everyone their unique place. Attempts to shut down people or forget difficult events can often lead to unresolved dynamics associated with these reappearing with greater force later.

“What you exclude, you attract” – John Whittington, systemic facilitator

Shared Purpose

No matter how dedicated and skilled team members might be, they still need a shared purpose to coalesce around. A team without a shared purpose is like a ship without a rudder. And, that shared purpose needs to be wholeheartedly embraced by everyone in the team.

Lack of clarity around why the team has come together can generate systemic confusion and conflict. Personal agendas may begin to masquerade as “shared purpose,” and this is almost certainly a path to dysfunctionality.

Balance of Exchange

Passionate, dedicated and curious individuals that have come together around a common purpose must still be mindful that there is balance in giving and taking within the team. For example, a tendency to give too much can often underlie employee burnout in organizational teams.

Balance of exchange is reinforced by Play and Calling in the model. You are far less likely to give too much if you deeply connect with your work and engage in it with playful curiosity rather than rigid striving.

Final Thoughts

This model for enabling high functioning teams involves interconnected attributes that work together and reinforce each other. They are attributes that must be simultaneously embodied by all members of the team for maximum effect. Ignoring any one of the attributes can affect both the health of the team and those within it.

The model takes courage to embody because it involves counter-cultural shifts in our approach to work. Some may view it as slightly idealistic or asking for too much. I would challenge that view and suggest that we need to aim higher if we are really serious about making the best of each other and our unique gifts as human beings.

This article was originally published on the ICF Blog. [link: https://coachfederation.org/blog/index.php/8394/ ]

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