How To Coach A Team For High Performance

How to Coach a Team for High Performance

7 min read
Zoe Brankin
Zoe Brankin

In today’s workplace, coaching is one of the critical components of managing employees for high performance. With the fast pace of industry changes and the fact that skills have a lifespan of around two to five years, you must help your team learn and grow regularly. 

Reskilling, upskilling, and coaching are essential to keep your employees engaged. Two-thirds of millennials expect team leaders to provide development opportunities, so you risk losing your top talent if you’re not doing this. 

A team coach is usually a team leader. But a team leader isn’t always a team coach. Let’s take a look at why.

What Does a Team Coach Do? 

Like all of the great sports coaches in the movies, coaches in the workplace strive to get the very best out of each team member. They are mentors, guides, and cheerleaders, who build a bond with team members and nurture their strengths.

Coaching in the workplace focuses on equipping employees with the knowledge, tools and opportunities necessary for them to be effective. It focuses on employee needs as well as the organisation’s goals. 

The Importance of a Team Coach

OK, so you already lead your team. Why do you need to coach them too?

It’s all about becoming the most effective leader you can be and building a high-performing team that might enjoy working for you.

This is something that many team leaders are failing to do. According to research from Udemy, around 50% of workers have quit a job because of bad management.

Learning to be a great coach (and a great leader) helps you attract and retain staff. Workplace coaching also helps to ensure your employees gain career or professional development and job satisfaction. 

Coaching employees to perform rather than managing them makes them more committed to their work. It’s also great for team cohesion, productivity, and innovation, leading to a positive workplace culture and a healthy bottom line.

What Are the Benefits of Coaching a Team? 

We have already lightly touched on the benefits of coaching a team throughout this article, but here we are going to outline them in a bit more detail: 

Engage employees 

Coaching is an excellent way to engage your employees, and your organisation will do better when more employees are engaged. By coaching, you will help create a sense of loyalty and trust, meaning employees will feel more connected to the company. 

Lower employee churn

We all know that employee retention is one of the most prominent challenges organisations face globally. If employee retention is your priority, you need to focus on job satisfaction, engagement and loyalty. 

Engaging employees through coaching encourages them to stick around longer as they will see your commitment to their development.

Increases productivity

Engaged employees lower churn and increase productivity as they know their purpose and what goals they need to work toward. 

If you have employees who have stuck around for a while, they become more competent in their roles, and this competency allows room for their skills to be improved. Hanging on to great employees is much less costly than going through the somewhat gruelling hiring process and training new employees. 

Creates stronger relationships

Workplace coaching can help create stronger relationships within teams. This is because coaching allows employees to become more comfortable around their leaders, feeling confident that help is there should they need it. 

It also creates better opportunities for positive communication and feedback.  

Seven Ways to Coach a Team for High Performance

So, how exactly do you transform yourself from a run-of-the-mill leader to a target-smashing coach? 

It’s all about how you interact with your team.

Here are the coaching skills you need to develop to coach a team for high performance.

1. Active listening

Great coaches communicate transparently and demonstrate emotional intelligence.

They understand that both what they say and how they say it makes a huge difference to team mindset and behaviour.

Coaches also know when to shut up and listen. Active listening is a much more effective coaching skill for leaders than delivering yet another motivational speech (despite what you may see in the movies).

In this sense, there’s some overlap with counselling. Coaches – like counsellors – are good at getting their teams to come up with their solutions to problems.

They don’t impose their ideas. They ask questions and guide people towards conclusions they can believe in.

The result? An empowered team, happy to contribute ideas and confidence in their working style.

2. Make time to get to know your team

It may feel like idle office chit-chat, but getting to know who your team are is super important.  

What are their hobbies? Do they have a partner or kids or a pampered pet? What are their long-term life goals?

Take the time to ask questions about their lives and aspirations. Arrange one-to-ones or use a platform like Mo to connect with team members daily.  

When you find out that Jo has a thing for jigsaws, you know that she’ll appreciate a 1000-piece whopper as a reward for her standout work.

When you discover that Dan has dreams of moving into a management role, you can support him in developing good skills for him and the company.

When you know what makes your team tick, you can empathise with them, support them and motivate them much more effectively.

3. Team building 

Putting a team together isn’t an easy task.

However, you can do a few things to meld a disparate team into a single high-performing entity. 

By getting to know your team and understanding their strengths or areas that need development, you can use that knowledge to your advantage.

Shared experiences through team building activities can deepen emotional links and enhance work cooperation. This can be more difficult in remote teams, but there are still ways to do it effectively! 

Opportunities for team building could be attending training sessions or off-site events, having a monthly team social, dinner and drinks on a Friday, or breakfast on payday. 

4. Recognise success

From childhood, everyone loves getting praised for a job well done. This desire for appreciation isn’t something that goes away when we master potty training or enter the workplace.

Employees look to their leader for validation – the recognition that tells them they’re on the right track and that they’re a valued members of the team.

McKinsey’s research shows that feeling valued by their organisation is one of the top priorities for workers. It really does make a job feel more worthwhile.

To build a high-performing team, coaches and leaders have to regularly recognise hard work, the implementation of company values and team success.

If you want an engaging and user-friendly way to recognise your team’s work, check out Mo’s features

5. Define your vision and be clear about your expectations

A survey of workers worldwide found that around 50% didn’t know what their boss expected of them.

That’s a huge proportion of employees who feel insecure and underproductive in their work.

So what can you do as a coach? Again – it all starts with the proper interactions.

You need to communicate your expectations. How do you want projects to progress? What behaviours and working styles do you and don’t you want to see?

You also need to get everyone behind your vision and goals.

When a team is confident that everyone is pulling in the same direction, you will get there much more quickly with a clear view of the destination.   

6. Give feedback in a constructive and sensitive way

Feedback is never easy – particularly for the recipient but often for the person dishing out the pointers.

Coaches need to learn a few feedback skills to ensure feedback lands gently without rubbing anyone up the wrong way.

1.       Do it one-on-one and face-to-face (video call at the absolute minimum for remote teams).

2.       Start with something positive – but keep it relative. Think  “I thought the presentation’s content was spot on …” not “I like your shoes”.

3.       Watch your phrasing – start sentences with me rather than you; it sounds a lot less accusatory.

4.       Get their take on the situation – you only get the complete picture when you understand what a person is thinking and feeling.

5.       Work to find a solution together – you give them the perspective, and they develop the plan of action.

7. Empower your team

So, once you know your employees, their skill sets and where they want their careers to go, it’s time to help them put those skills into practice. 

A great way to do this is by giving each employee individual responsibility for tasks that will help them develop in their key areas, letting them take the reins on a new project or pushing them to take complete control of a sales pitch. 

One of the best ways to learn is by doing, and the more autonomy you can provide, the more you will demonstrate trust and confidence in your team’s abilities

Don’t expect anything to change overnight. Development is a process, and there may be setbacks, but let your employees know you are here to help! Check-in and ask them how they’re doing, and let them know you’re available for any advice or feedback they may need. 

Want to Coach your Team for High Performance? Use Mo!

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