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Value your team coach

Long before the frenzy of the Cricket World Cup hit our shores, the captain of New Zealand’s cricket team, the Black Caps, was asked what coach Mike Hesson’s strengths were.

McCullum answered, “He’s not that interested in short-term results. He wants to build something that lasts forever.”

For Hesson, losing the World Cup final will hurt but if he’s focussed on the long game, he’ll know that the Black Caps will only come back stronger from the experience.

The role of the team coach in organisations is no different but how does a coach move the team from “Point A” to “Point B”?

  • By being an observer and holding the mirror to what is really going on
  • By helping team members name the ‘weather’ in the team
  • By highlighting the benefits of diversity (and differences) and challenging Groupthink
  • By listening and naming any rising undercurrents, i.e. ‘the elephant in the room
  • By reinforcing team responsibility
  • By increasing positivity (‘reinforcement’) and decreasing toxicity (blame , defensiveness, stonewalling, contempt)

A team can have a team charter and values, and appropriate ground rules and procedures ,but if it is not using these effectively then team sessions will not be something to look forward to and may even be avoided.  If a team is in a downward spiral, a  team coach can halt the descent and help in other ways too.

Team coaches can make a big impact so it is important that they are role models in their own behaviour.  It is a different role from a one-to-one coach since the team coach is very much cued into the vibe in the room.

Experience counts for a lot and good team coaches are worth their weight in gold.  Just ask the Black Caps.


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