Team Coaching

Team Coaching

Teams are composed of individuals whose diverse roles, abilities, perceptions and behaviors all exist in relationship to one another. This relationship is the system of the team. The system is an entity with its own behavior and temperament, its own vision and blind spots, its own culture, spoken and unspoken. Team systems are all around us. They are boards of directors, they are management teams, they are theatre companies, they are families. They are any group that acts together from a shared vision and purpose. How well that shared purpose is met depends on the effectiveness of the team. Effectiveness is enhanced when a team understands how it relates to itself. The more a teams understands its behavior and thinking in areas such as communication, leadership, alignment around goals and strategies, and its approach to diverse views, the more positive and productive the team will be.

Let’s look at President Obama’s election campaign. This vehicle created a team from one of the largest resources in the country—the American electorate. The Obama campaign organized masses of people into local nested teams that had access to online and in-person communication so they could create alignment around vision, goals and strategies for the campaign and the Presidency. Diversity was highly valued, both in views and electoral strategies, as was a sense of positivity—“YES, we can!” The result? One of the largest and most highly effective teams in history accomplished their goal of electing Barack Obama as President of the United States. High marks for productivity!

While each team member inherently knows what the rules are about getting things done on their team, they may not be able to see the bigger picture of the system. Individuals working in a Springfield, IL office for Obama might have been too focused on the task at hand to sense the magnitude of the larger team. Perhaps the election night live feed of Obama speaking before 240,000 people in Millenium Park revealed a sense of the greater whole.

MESA Coaching gives the team system—the entity that is the relationship of the team as a whole rather than its individual parts—the opportunity to reveal itself. Integral to this process is training the team in the skill of deep democracy, which invites all voices to the system to be heard, especially those that are usually silent or marginalized. The more deeply the team listens to itself, it realizes that those voices speak to some aspect of the system that has been ignored. That realization could be a starting place for improving team communication. If there is conflict on a team, it is also a great place for introducing methods of constructive interaction.

Teams are never static; they are always moving toward a new mode of interaction which falls somewhere within four quadrants.


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