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The Game of Teams

Teams are the new unit of currency in business. Harnessing the wisdom and brilliance of teams is not easy. It can be messy, confusing, non linear and complicated. Learn from your peers and thought leaders about what it takes. Listen to their stories, pains, and pride when it works. This show is about the magic of mining work and relations for high performance, satisfaction and fulfilment on teams

Apr 1, 2021

Introduction: Lucy Widdowson is an Executive, Team & Leadership Development Coach. She is also a Director of Performance Edge and a lead Tutor on Team Coaching at Henley Business School. Paul J. Barbour is an Executive, Team & Leadership Development Coach. He is an award winning student on the Henley MSc in Coaching & Behavioural change. Together they have written a book to be launched early in 2021 called Building High Performance Teams. 

Podcast episode Summary: The book, Building High Performance Teams informs much of the conversation across this episode. It speaks to Team Coaching, the role of the Team Coach and importantly the “why” for collaborative teams. Paul & Lucy share their combined passion for their work, their unique framework Creating the Team Edge, developed by Lucy & many vignettes to bring the book and their work to life. 

Points made throughout the Episode: 

  • Lucy and Paul both met at Henley studying for an MSC in Coaching & Behavioural Change
  • For her Thesis Lucy researched the impact of using “Creating the team edge” with teams
  • A passing comment about writing a book together became a reality after much dialogue and contracting 
  • Initially Paul was interested in writing a book about conflict resolution given his background and experience working in Northern Ireland. 
  • Paul & Lucy became a mini team writing the book together but what surprised them was how frequently they brought in the wider system, their respective families and their network to support some of the ideas for the book. 
  • Paul’s girls were instrumental in creating titles for many of the books chapters. 
  • The book was revelatory and confirmed for the authors that connection before content is paramount. 
  • Important always to set time to confront vulnerabilities & concerns upfront even in times of extreme deadlines. 
  • The importance of the books Purpose and how it shaped the strategy and collective objectives 
  • The book is a grounded book that takes in the research and literature on teams and team coaching but it also is extremely practical
  • Some favourite tools do standout for the authors; Personal tools, asking people to go away from their desks to identity something personal and meaningful can be a gateway  for real understanding on teams. A constellation of a swimming pool, an exercise in the book can help a team ask deeper and get more openness and understanding of the team & its dynamics. 
  • The book is a book of two parts. Chapters 1-4 situate readers in the domain of team coaching. Chapters 4-11 describe Creating the Team Edge Framework. 
  • 7 Chapters describe, Purpose, Identity, Values & Behaviours, Awareness, Relatedness, Ways of Working and Transformation
  • Of the 7 characteristics; System Awareness, Identity and Transformation are perhaps the least discussed on teams 
  • The authors were keen to impress that  Team Coaching is not about the use of Tools and techniques and they devote an entire chapter to that theme. It is so much more. In fact the role comprises there states, being, knowing and doing. 
  • In terms of being a Coach or Team Coach needs to consider their quotient of Courage, Connection, Confidence and Continuing development. 
  • Whilst the book outlines the approach that informs the authors framework it is not to be considered a mechanistic process. Paul & Lucy provide a bespoke per team approach that combines some combination of Diagnostic, Co-design of the program, combination of 1:1coaching, Observation, Team Interventions and Evaluation at the end the program. 
  • Contracting and re-contracting is an important feature of Team Coaching & it comprises one of the called out competencies as provided by the International Coaching Federation. 
  • Teams are often too embroiled in task and short term delivery to notice the wider system in which they operate as well as the need to step back and notice their collective mindset. 
  • What does the team believe about collective learning, creativity & innovation, inclusion & diversity and wellbeing? These are some of the questions addressed in the books final chapter. 
  • Team Coaches are vulnerable and apt to make mistakes in complex, adaptive systems. Lucy and Paul both described situations where they felt they made errors in judgement with a team
  • Lucy and Paul are about to commence a new Team Coaching Program at Henley Business School in 2021. The program addresses three themes; The Foundation of Team Coaching, Applying Theory and Practice and becoming an Advanced Team Coach Practitioner. 
  • Essentially this program brings the theory and practice together. 
  • How do we play in the world of today and tomorrow. So much need exists especially in the realm of collaboration. 
  • The book and their program at Henley is for now providing both authors with considerable excitement and joy.