A couple of weeks ago, I completed the last module of the training series Organization & Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC). In this post, I would like to share some of my learnings and experiences with team coaching.
ORSC is about coaching a system, the so-called ‘third entity’. A system stands for the relationship,
a team or the organization. Where individual coaching is about coaching the individual, ORSC is about coaching the system. Rather than focusing on the individuals, team coaches work with the relationship between them.
This sounds simple, but really requires a different mindset. As individual coaches, we are used to focus our attention on the person, whereas in systems coaching the challenge is to have a soft focus on the individual and a strong focus on the relationship between them.
I have been coaching a team that experienced energy drains in their collaboration. It was difficult for them to have a constructive dialogue and to really listen to each other. People were locked in positions. They didn’t feel save in the team. They all knew there was a ‘pink elephant’ in the room. Everyone could feel it, sense it and smell it. But nobody named it.
With ORSC we use powerful tools to invite people to speak out loud. All different views are welcome,
also, or even especially, the unpopular ones. Minority positions are valued, because they bring new and not yet heard wisdom to the group.
Systems coaching is about the courage to speak out in a safe environment. It is also about experiencing the energy that comes with different ways of communicating. People feel how undermining some forms of toxic behavior are. This can really be an eye opener.
When people become aware of the impact of their way of communicating, they are at choice: who do we want to be as a team? Mostly they choose a positive approach.
This work is not always easy. We meet teams when they are struggling or when there is a lot of negativity and gossip. There may be fights too. However, most of the time people experience relief when they speak out and feel heard and seen. They realize that they don’t have to agree to work together in a productive way. And here is the most rewarding piece of team coaching.
Teams build their relationship and people report positive changes after the team sessions. They talk about issues they did not dare to talk about before. They share more. They start to support colleagues who are overloaded. Everything becomes a little ‘lighter’. Job satisfaction and team performance increase.
For me team coaching is about planting seeds to contribute to a better work environment.
Moniek Janssen is owner of Modus coaching & talentdevelopment. This blog is a collaboration between iScreen and modusjanssen.nl, our Associate Partner.