Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

My contribution to our team – different coaching tools & elements of a visionary team business

Kirjoitettu 10.04.15
Esseen kirjoittaja: Olli Leikas
Kirjapisteet: 5
Kirja: Effective Coaching, Built to Last
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Myles Downey; James C. Collins & Jerry I. Porras
Kategoriat: 2.2. Tiimityön taidot ja työkalut, 2.4. Tiimiliiderinä ja -valmentajana toimiminen, 4.2. Johjajan / valmentajan taidot ja työkalut, 4.3. Johtamisen ja organisaation kehittämisen työkalut, 5. Valmentaminen

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1 Prologue

2 The coaching skill sets I have & the ones that need training

3 The coaching skill sets I better my team with

4 Twelve “check boxes” of a visionary team business

5 The Tree of a strong team

6 Epilogue


1 Prologue

My beliefs in how successful teams are created are based on three things: 1) individual elevation through learning and inspiring goals 2) leadership that aims to brighten the shared vision through the mentality of a coach and 3) an organization with leading thoughts (value, mission & vision) and desire for trial and error rather than precise planning.

Through my training and the journey of learning at the Tiimiakatemia//Team Academy business school I’m certain that I’m able to reach “the next level” of understanding in team work, learning, leadership etc. For the following paper I’ve gathered some key points of how I can contribute to our team so that it can reach its full potential. I’ve also shed light on those things I still want/need to learn and train to guide our team for visionary moments.

Growing and changing is inevitable for everything and everyone, growing and changing with a team around you is what makes it all special.

 

2 The coaching skill sets I have & the ones that need training

For the following two chapters the skill sets described get the inspiration from Effective Coaching by Mr. Myles Downey. I mentioned in the prologue about the importance of coaching mentality in leadership and I really do believe that a good leader is a good coach also. Why is that? Coaching means in a loose translation “training an individual to train him/herself.” But why is that a key factor in leadership? There is no leading if there is no one to lead, therefore when there’s a team to be led the team is always formed by individuals. The way to bring out the best of a team is to get the people in the team to bring out their best for the team.

Listed below are the skill sets Mr. Downey acknowledges as the one’s needed in comprehensive coaching.

  • Generating understanding/raising awareness
  • Proposing
  • Managing self
  • Structuring
  • Building relationship
  • Understanding organizational context

I agree with Mr. Downey on the skill sets required as a coach. My first move is to compare myself with the list to find out which one’s I believe I’m already able to handle and the one’s I have also used in practice. The sets are characterized by the intention of the set and divided to smaller pieces a.k.a specific skills of the set (see the picture below).

Kuva 1 Downey 2003, Coaching skills

Kuva 1 Downey 2003, Coaching skills

I believe my current knowhow and experience is wide enough to cover at least one specific skill on each set. The most covered I think is the set of Proposing (giving feedback, making suggestions, giving advice, challenging, evoking creativity and innovation, giving instruction). My nature has always had this need to find the “bigger picture” of things and I think I’ve grown quite good at finding it. I’m also aware that I am able to seem convincing around people and I like to have an influence on them. I’m strong at selling thoughts and ideas and I’ve trained myself to talk and to become verbally gifted.

Because of the reasons described above I often find myself giving feedback, advice and instruction as well as making suggestions and challenging people. I believe I’m also able to evoke creativity and innovation. To my knowledge interacting with me has inspired at least some people as much as that good conversation has inspired me. Unfortunately there’s also a down-side to this skill set being so strong. The one which’s intent is to maximize the coach’s performance and minimize the impact on the player (indicating the one being coached), Managing self, is the one I still have probably the most to work on.

Self awareness, boundary awareness, transparency, clarifying intent and entering flow (the specific skills on Managing self) are all no strangers to me. But because of my really strong desire to effect on things I might actually turn the tables around by unintentionally maximizing my impact on the people around me. I’ve received a lot of feedback about that character and I’m constantly working on it. I’ve knowingly been trying to talk less and pack my stories to a tighter frame, so to speak. But I guess I still need to train the self and boundary awareness more to recognize the situations to speak and not to speak. Also I want to train myself in when I talk that the content of it would have first and foremost a clarifying intent only.

All of the skill sets presented by Mr. Downey I think are important to master. But at one of them I want to become more than fluent and that is Generating understanding/raising awareness. The reason I find this at heart is that the specific skills (listening in order to understand, repetition, paraphrasing and summarizing, using silence, asking questions that follow interest, asking questions to clarify, grouping) are designed to transfer all the attention to the player and if there’s nothing else I know, the more you can remove the attention from yourself to the one(s) you’re interacting with, the more effective you become.

 

3 The coaching skill sets I better my team with

I believe that the “personality” of a team is the key factor for steady progress. That personality is the sum of all the personalities the individuals promote. All of it is built on basic elements such as trust, loyalty, interaction/communication, common interests and leading thoughts etc. and they need everyone’s focus every single day. So knowing that the process of personality is never “done” and fully controlled by me, I aim to find something else I could have as my personal mission for the betterment of our team.

I was inspired by the thoughts “Is the team a resource or a burden?” and “Could it be that the team is not holding You back, but you are holding back the Team?” My mission for our team is that I ensure it is a resource, not a burden. In the chapter “The Tree of a strong team” I’ve created a model of team’s growth and that’ll work as a tool also but in this chapter I keep the analysis on what skill sets help me the most on my mission.

Definitely there’s the fact that I need to find the right balance between the techniques of generating understanding and proposing. Another inspirational moment presented itself during this writing session as I realized how I’m able to find that balance. The key is that I become aware of the shifts of momentum in leadership. I’ve played basketball for many years earlier in my life and in those terms I need to know who has the ball each moment. In a basketball team there is the playmaker whose job is to lead the plays, but the lead of the situation is always the one’s that has the ball. And how this transfers to my team in business and learning? I need to learn to read who has the lead of each situation; if I have the lead, I can use more the proposing techniques and if not, then the techniques to generate understanding.

The following specific skills I also need to learn and train for my mission: 1) how I follow each team member’s interest 2) how we as a team and individuals manage to set meaningful as well inspiring goals and 3) how to create and test hypotheses (in other words: what is our vision and is it relevant for us?). Why? By showing interest towards a team mate I create the feeling of belonging. When we feel like we belong, it is much easier to set meaningful goals, which are important because it’s the only way to make success and enjoy what you do. The reason, why the only way to enjoy what you do and make success is to set inspiring goals, is that if your vision isn’t H.A.R.D (heartfelt, animated, required, difficult) you work merely to live and stay alive. My next step towards following each team member’s interest is to train myself to ask them every week “How’s it going?” I believe that’ll alone do miracles.

 

4 Twelve “check boxes” of a visionary team business

The inspiration behind following is originated from Built to Last by Mr. James C. Collins & Mr. Jerry I. Porras.

  1. A great business does not need a great idea. It needs the desire to do something that benefits someone else who is ready to pay that you do something for him/her.
  2. A visionary team needs a leader that realizes the difference between leadership and management as well the difference of a clock builder and time teller. A leader that consistently trains the team members to train themselves.
  3. The mission is everything, because it tells the team why it exists. It guides the action, which generates the profits, which keeps the business alive.
  4. The mission will rise from and reflects the values. “What we really, really value?” “Does everybody share and feel own these values?” And ain’t that the question of a lifetime?
  5. Learning team. Changing and changes are always present and inevitable. The passion for learning allows you to become an active part of the change and to control it to a certain point.
  6. Think Big, See Big, Go Big! Blast Glocally, whatever it means to you!
  7. Leave no man behind, but do not carry the one’s that can walk. For the team to become visionary everybody must want to put in the work.
  8. A great team appreciates in all cases more of the doing than the brainstorming. The desire is directed rather to “trial and error” than precise planning. The true inspirations come from knowhow & experience, action & practice and interaction & dialog. In other words when you share your thoughts with someone.
  9. Being a part of a team is consuming, difficult and hard. But it also gives. It makes possible a lot of things you can’t do alone. A great team harnesses every aspect of the ride together, it is built from the inside and shaped from the outside.
  10. A visionary business focuses on doing what they do best and doing it all better. The questions of the century are these: this concept works, can it work better? If yes, how? If not, what can we build around the working concept to improve it?
  11. A visionary team knows how to sell, knows how to do marketing. It chooses to see the possibilities rather than the “no’s.”
  12. The story that a great business represents is interesting, inspiring and easy to relate to. The team lives it and works hard to get the story known in public and in their own target group. The story’s supposed to fill and/or create a need in their customers.

 

5 The Tree of a strong team

A tree pushes its way through year after year knowing that without the trunk and the core it cannot exist. It grows branches to stand out of the trunk, because the tree knows that its leaves will make it beautiful and whole. Steady and fast it stands its ground through sun and storm and each day it grows slowly just a little more to one day show it is magnificent.

Kuva 2 Leikas 2015, Team Tree

Kuva 2 Leikas 2015, Team Tree

 

6 Epilogue

When I started to write this paper I really misjudged the time it finally took. But I believe I managed to find the essentials of the two books (Effective Coaching, Built to Last), reflect it from my point of view and pick up the most important bits that can actually affect positively on our team.

I’m sure that with the understanding of different coaching tools I’m able to add much more value to my contribution to the team. As well I do believe that if we aim to build our team’s profile based on the elements of a visionary team business there’s nothing to stop us. My intention is to walk this through with my team and then implement it to our daily basis. The process of team growth is slow, varying and it needs guidance. I want to be a major part of that process and for me it starts by introducing this paper to my team before June 2015.

There’s either action or no action, then interaction and reaction. Now how about that?

 

Olli Leikas

044 5222 673

olli@driimi.fi

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