Marilyn Atkinson is the Founder of Erickson Coaching International and originator of the Solution-Focused Coaching methodology. A former Registered Organizational Psychologist, Marilyn is an NLP Master Trainer and specialist in Ericksonian Communications. Since 1980s she has been helping leading global companies and leaders through Solution- Focused and Outcome-Oriented Coaching. Marilyn has authored eight books, including The Art & Science of Coaching trilogy (Inner Dynamics of Coaching, Step-by-Step Coaching & The Flow of Coaching).
The Art of Team Coaching Dialogue
Building real dialogue is a true art. It requires persistent, insightful listening and ‘fire lighting’ support from the team coach.
To strike the match, the team coach needs to hold the context of dialogue and assist team members to suspend their assumptions and ask open questions. Insightful questions allow people with totally different habits, backgrounds, and viewpoints to contribute into the start-up conversation. To add fuel to the fire, the team coach needs to know how to treat the team members as ‘thought leaders’ so that each member relaxes and contributes. To build further, they need to assist the team to think long-term and discover the key steps in the long game that each project may light up.
Interested in becoming a team coach? Discover how to coach teams to effectively work and grow.
For the team spirit fire to really burn, all the participants must regard one another as colleagues. And as soon as possible – in each meeting – the dialogue needs to become playful so that members easily visualize together. As an Erickson team coach, we can start a visionary fire that burns for many years. A strong capacity for dialogue creates successful teams who have fun together, becoming friends on the deepest level. Long-term, the members learn to build strong team support systems as they manage the tasks at hand. This process takes investment in key areas of team coaching skill sets by the whole team so that everyone learns to participate effectively.
The Art of Viable Conflict
Another area that is relevant to the successful building of innovative expert teams, is the ability to assist the teams to handle the back and forth of differing points of view. Handling conversational dynamics is a big deal. It means that the team coach understands various, specific team dynamics that could emerge and create difficulty and learns to work through and around them. These need to be managed well to maintain team spirit.
A team coach becomes strong with a real understanding of how to work with different kinds of language patterns, personality traits, social styles, cultural dynamics, and interest areas. Our task is to bring these together as valuable contributions that contribute to the holistic overview. This often emerges like a rainbow bridge of valuable linked principles and charter agreements between members. With coaching assistance, these start to functionally merge as the overarching integrity of the team.
To work with conflict, the team coach needs to be able to find the positive undercurrents within any conversational push-pull at hand and show how the team can agree to disagree. This means the group can continue to find value and vitality in the project and task at hand, combining dynamically different approaches. A team without conflicts is often not a strong team. There will always be a variety of ‘counter ideas’ when people are encouraged to be independent thinkers. Like all the colors of the rainbow, assisting joint visioning can bring these together usefully.