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).
Coaching Team Thinking and Team Innovation
In many companies, innovation is an elusive quality that is either present or not – rather than available as a process that can be trained and managed. Effective Solution-Focused team coaching and facilitation changes all that. With effective team coaching, we build the elixir of ‘team spirit.’ We can demonstrate how to design team environments that consistently generate innovation.
Effective team coaching needs to be very topical and functional to an organization’s core aims yet seed innovative thinking as well. Erickson’s High Performance Team Coaching course is designed to facilitate innovative vision because it so strongly creates a context of team trust. Well-trained team coaches know how to unleash team spirit and strong team coaches know that their job is to develop that.
What can a team coach do to build innovation? This requires a very specific kind of professional team coach training because the coach needs to know how to truly assist various team members to become contributory. They need to be able to support positive processing and flexible rapid thinking. They also need to know how to work with the different personal styles of all the team players so that everyone gets engaged.
Interested in becoming a team coach? Discover how to coach teams to effectively work and grow.
In other words, an effective team coach assists to develop the team vision function as a key part of every single meeting. The right brain (visionary function) is by far the mastery function in the brain. By stimulating right brain processes among all members, we create a ‘joint visioning’ ability supported by collaborative dialogue. In this way, the Team Coach also creates synergy and assists the development of holistic overview, a necessary ingredient for innovation.
The team coach also supports and builds positive team experiences, step-by-step, where we engage and support collaboration and trust, but also ‘out of the box’ engagement and humor. High performance team coaching is about assisting people to build a joint positive thinking structure for sharing key ideas no matter what their framework has been before so that they stay willing to share their individual expertise, discoveries, and best practices with other team members. When we all put our best into the collaborative practice, team thinking becomes genius thinking.
People generally share their knowledge as soon as team trust is built. The experience of joint vision, purpose, and values is essential. To develop vision, the team coach needs to provoke both curiosity about potentials and alignment towards results. When you engage in Erickson's High Performance Team Coaching course, you develop alignment and skill with the following how to’s:
- First of all, we need to enjoy the team as a team. We need to celebrate the team’s presence. We need to experience the team values and verbally appreciate them. We need to focus on the contributions of members and align with the team purpose. Sometimes we need to create informal team events to bring people together so that they really get to know each other in a variety of contexts.
- Second, we need to do is build team performance itself. We do this through specific emphasis on effective team coaching processes as a skill set that the team itself is learning for themselves. Eventually, all members can be coach for the team, and this assists to engage multi-level alignment.
- Third, we show them the power of team vision and how to invoke it. Joint visioning assists joint general purpose. This awareness allows each member to contribute into a common dialogue around mission, purpose, and critical projects. It builds an effective unitary structure and alignment, engaging all with integrative team thinking processes. This now becomes a key part of the emerging creativity; the genius of this specific team dynamic.
- Fourth, we continually invite members into team dialogue and provide skills to support each team member with their own connection into the process. Every single member of the team, no matter what they have said to themselves about the products and services of the company, learns they can join forces together in dialogue towards the specific, creative potential they are working towards. They build this potential together.