Coaching for Team Collaboration – Part 5

Coaching for Team Collaboration – Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of five posts to describe how managers can coach people to practice genuine collaboration in the workplace.  These posts represent excerpts from the Association for Talent Development’s new book, Focus On Them, scheduled for publication in December 2018 by ATD Press. Winsor Jenkins is a contributing author of the book.

In my first three posts, we introduced a roadmap described as a Team Mini-Charter for Developing a Culture of Collaboration – focusing on three key components that make up Collaboration’s Operating Platform:  Theory Y Assumptions, Collaboration’s Operating Principles, and Collaboration’s Competencies.  In the fourth post, we explored how Collaboration’s Operating Platform provides psychological safety for team players and why coaching is beneficial for developing team norms.

In this final post, we look at the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) to team effectiveness, how Collaboration’s Operating Platform supports the team’s ongoing commitment to develop team EQ, and how coaching supports your efforts to develop the team’s self-awareness or EQ.





It goes without saying that managers who don’t succeed typically lack self-awareness (EQ).  Author Daniel Goleman and his associates made this proposition highly visible over the past twenty years by showing the significance of EQ to developing managers.  Many believe the same can be said for teams that don’t succeed.

High performing leaders under Goleman’s model are people who have the capacity for recognizing their own feelings and those of others, motivate themselves, practice reflection as needed and understand and work on their strengths and weaknesses.  Their end-game is to work on reducing blind spots that show up and interfere with their performance.

Hopefully, by now you recognize that developing team EQ is really a derivative of doing several things right.  Some of this has all been described earlier in the four posts leading up to this post.  For example, you know the importance of your team’s charter for creating the environment or conditions needed to support team EQ.  This includes, knowing how positive underlying assumptions support the application of collaboration’s Operating Principles and Competencies, eventually becoming habits for producing team norms and practicing genuine collaborative teamwork.

So, your coaching here really calls for your personal commitment to continue to build your self-awareness and the team’s self-awareness as you collaborate to achieve results.  This commitment never goes away.  This includes targeting selected competencies from the inventory introduced in my earlier post – Part 3.  By focusing on developing individuals’ self-awareness, you will have a better chance of encouraging people to take personal responsibility (and accountability) for their actions.  While it’s true that you will need to work on team stuff like managing the team’s charter, that by itself will not produce shared responsibility and accountability.

Another coaching option is to use personality assessments such as Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  The MBTI identifies people’s preferences for taking in information, organizing work, communicating and making decisions. I have used MBTI for many years as both an internal and external coach.  It’s been a great resource for building both individual and team self-awareness.  For example, I’ve used MBTI to describe and analyze a team, to help determine the root cause of a problem, to heighten team awareness, and to help sort through issues dealing with change management, communication and even leadership.  It’s been especially useful to help people on teams understand how to deal with conflict when it comes to decision making styles.  This is a critical area any team needs to master to be effective.

The methodology introduced in this series of posts positions coaching as critical to managing all the components introduced in the team’s Mini-Charter.  As team manager and coach, developing a culture of collaboration is your highest priority.  Without this in place, your efforts to produce meaningful results will likely fall flat.  This is the primary reason why collaboration fails to work in teams (and organizations)!

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Winsor Jenkins is a contributing author to the ATD book called Focus on Them.

This book explores ATD’s new management framework – the ACCEL model. Based on their research, ATD has identified five skills in the ACCEL model that all front-line managers need to master: Accountability, Communication, Collaboration, Engagement, and Listening (and Assessing). Each skill is addressed in a chapter written by a leader in management and talent development.