Well-supported teams receive the information, training and rewards they need to keep chugging along.
Here are four prescriptions for coaching your team:
1. Don’t skimp on guidance. Employees are remarkably adept at developing self-correcting strategies, not to mention workarounds for obstacles. They’ll be much more effective, though, if you’re in there asking what they need and providing skilled coaching.
2. Get help if coaching isn’t in your skill set. You need to model the attitude you want your team to adopt, but an expert coach can jump in to help you if the processes for running large-scale projects aren’t clear or you see conflict within or between your teams.
3. Timing is important. At what point you offer coaching matters. The beginning is a good time to explain purpose and processes. Use natural break points—such as thirds or halfway through—to help everybody take stock, make adjustments and solve problems. Debrief at the end of the launch, and run a postmortem later, especially if things go wrong.
4. Watch for coaching aptitude among your team members. Any one of them may have the main coaching talent in your group. Draw on it, develop it and reinforce it. Resist the impulse to feel threatened and squelch it.
— Adapted from Senior Teams, Ruth Wageman, Debra A. Nunes, James A. Burruss, J. Richard Hackman, Harvard Business School Press.
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