Deborah Mackin

Article Summary:

What is a business team coach responsible for?

What Is The Role Of A Business Team Coach?

It's often difficult for supervisors to make the transition to the role of a business team coach because all the characteristics that made them successful as supervisors are the very characteristics that must change as a team coach. The typical supervisor decides what tasks need to be done each day, assigns them to people, and checks to see that they are being done. In a team environment, all of those tasks are transferred to the team, leaving the coach with a much less defined role.

An effective team coach:

  • Helps the team clarify and maintain focus on its purpose, goals, measurements and boundaries

  • Gives feedback, offers ideas and encouragement to improve skills

  • Shares key information with the team

  • Monitor's team progress and provides reward and recognition

  • Helps eliminate cross-functional barriers and the management of relationships with outsiders

  • Challenges the team to perform at its best by prompting the team to ask what can be done better

  • Guides and serves as a sounding board when the team is confronted with touch decisions

  • Provides gentle reminders to stay within guidelines

  • Addresses all disciplinary issues during the early stages of team development

  • Attends team meetings at least through the Norming Stage of team development

Two tools to help the team coach make the transition are the Team Hand-Off Plan and the RACI Chart. The Team Hand-Off Plan lists the tasks the coach will delegate to the team, the skill levels required and present, the training required and the schedule for transfer. The team coach should be handing off tasks to the team throughout its development. Sometimes that is difficult for coaches as they fear that they will have nothing left to do. However, the coach's role really shifts to one of boundary management, guiding and supporting the team through its development at each stage.

The RACI Chart identifies who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed for each task and decision affecting the team. The Coach helps to clarify each of these roles and makes certain that the team is taking on increasing accountability for tasks as it matures.

Deborah Mackin is founder and president of New Directions Consulting, Inc. and author of teambuilding books, including the 2nd edition of the Team Building Tool Kit (Fall, 2007). As an international consultant and trainer for 20+ years, Deborah is a widely recognized authority on teams, quality service, productivity, and leadership. For more information, visit New Directions Consulting.

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