Employee Engagement and Team Coaching

Employee Engagement and Team Coaching: Getting Team Members to Face the Issues

Written by on November 2, 2015

No matter the skill or experience of the coach, change is always created and implemented by the clients. When a team member is reluctant to acknowledge an issue, it impedes the process – and any results individuals, teams, leaders, and organizations hope to achieve. How can teams overcome this obstacle and clear the path for employee engagement in the pursuit of growth, discovery, and success?

Need Help? Who, Me?

The strength of a team is in its diversity – and that’s one of the challenges for a coach as well! While many may be onboard with change and growth, others may think (or verbalize), “I don’t see a problem. Everything’s fine. Let’s just get back to business as usual.”

And this happens most of the time. It is not at all unusual. But, while common, it is a hurtle that needs to be cleared to allow results. How?

Taking the Temperature of the Team

At the beginning of every team engagement, I start with a team diagnostic, which can be an online instrument or a series of questions that I ask each team member. This might include items such as:

  • How well is the team managing its work?
  • How well do you manage relationships within the team?
  • Is the team’s direction clearly defined? Are roles?
  • Are objectives and priorities clear?
  • Do you operate as a team or collection of individuals?
  • Does your team have the flexibility to change?

If there are issues that the team is facing – they have an opportunity to come to the surface here. As we progress in the engagement, I share what individuals have told me with the team and facilitate a discussion.

This could start with a simple statement such as: “This is what you said about yourselves,” prompting discussion on the self-identified concerns. Or I might say, “Someone has identified a few areas in which things aren’t working as well as they could.” Then we start to tease out the issues to help them acknowledge the challenges that the team is facing.

All of this is preparatory to – and absolutely critical for – working with the team to develop an action plan. What are the actions they want to take in order to overcome these issues? They need to identify and explain themselves what is going own. They own the information and data. Then, they need to decide what to do about it. They own the action.

If teams don’t own problems, they won’t do anything about them. The “start-up phase” of the coaching engagement, if you will, is about helping teams recognize issues, take ownership of them – and then take ownership for growing and developing as a whole.