TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Coaching can help struggling work groups

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Team coaching can help struggling work groups

Daily Photo Galleries

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
 

No matter where you work, it's never perfect. Let's face it, the workplace is made up of complex, imperfect humans, working in an environment that is often stressful and relentless. That's a mix that inevitably creates some level of dysfunction.

Most times, we learn to live with these, but there are times when the dysfunctions can be disruptive, counterproductive, or even endanger our careers. Major changes such as the appointment of a new leader or a departmental reorganization can have profound implications on team dynamics. Other times, a work group may be falling short of accomplishing goals, struggling to attain quality results, or just plain not getting along.

These are the kinds of situations that everyone does their best to manage through on their own, perhaps with some support from Human Resources. Other times, the issues are so challenging, or the stakes are so high, that the team requires some kind of outside intervention. Today, the kind of intervention that is commonly deployed is known as team coaching.

Team coaching is one of the evolutions of executive coaching. Coaching a team addresses multiple challenges, mainly because there are multiple people involved. Imagine a group of eight or 10 people, all with different personalities and work experience, various ages and education levels, a mix of cultural and religious backgrounds, and every one of them has their own agenda. On top of that, if you make a major change like assigning a new leader, or challenge a team with a tough project or deadline, it can be overwhelming. And if it's too overwhelming, the change or the challenge will be unsuccessful.

Jane Patterson Abbate, managing partner of Cornerstone Team Development in Gibsonia, has been coaching teams and executives for 12 years. Her approach for getting a team to work well together is helpful for anyone who struggles with group dynamics in the workplace.

Patterson Abbate says the first step is to focus on a common goal. She says this is a step that's commonly overlooked, because it is assumed by the leader that everyone on the team is already aligned with that goal and willing to share accountability — but often, they are not.

“Team members need to recognize and manage the differences in their strengths, roles, power, and priorities,” says Patterson Abbate. “It is these differences that can create either destructive conflict or mind-blowing synergy.” Outside support from a coach who specializes in teams, or perhaps from an internal coach such as someone in Human Resources, is the next step for learning what's working for you and what's getting in your way.

Patterson Abbate uses a mix of coaching, facilitating and training to move the entire team toward its goals. She measures success by analyzing their performance to the actual goals as well as how they are interacting.

“They may feel they're getting along much better, but if their end results aren't any better, that's not the point of coaching,” Patterson Abbate said.

Chris Posti, president of Posti & Associates in Pittsburgh, is author of “The Shortest Distance between You and Your New Job,” available on Amazon.com. Email your questions to her at chris@postiinc.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Tennessee’s Peterman to enroll at Pitt in May
  2. Woman gives birth to baby boy on side of Utah highway
  3. SWAT responds to report of Sheraden fire, threats
  4. Penguins notebook: Pouliot heading west with team
  5. Pens again fail to mount comeback against Nashville
  6. Snow, freezing rain, bitter cold coming to Western Pa.
  7. Go Red again calls attention to heart disease
  8. Zentangles are ‘yoga for the brain’
  9. Photo Gallery: Catholic Schools Week in McCandless
  10. Best way to have a good hair day? Talk to your stylist
  11. Fine weighed in North Carolina river coal ash spill