How coaching people in groups creates solutions focus

February 1, 2016 By Ro Gorell

Coping with change as an essential differentiator

Optimising talent in turbulent economic times and coping with change is not just the norm but an essential differentiator for smart organisations that focus on radical solutions. There has been much research on employee engagement. None of it provides happy reading and depending on which source you refer to the percentage of neutral or disaffected employees settles around the 47% mark. In other words, at any one time you can expect about half of your employees not to be actively engaged in their work. This means less discretionary effort and potentially less than stellar performance levels.

Against this backdrop of disaffected or uninterested employees, ponder this question – who receives coaching in your organisation? Is it those earmarked as top talent? Or perhaps, those identified as underperformers? Or maybe, senior executives who need an external sounding board? It is likely that your organisation has a strategy on how and where coaching is used. Does your organisation even know what coaching is?  Consider this – what if coaching were readily available for anyone in the organisation? What if you could use coaching as part of your talent strategy to develop and grow everyone to increase performance and release discretionary effort? What if you used coaching as the means to catalyse change? All of these things are possible when you start to leverage group coaching and think laterally about what that might mean.

Coaching people in groups is different from just coaching people in teams

There is much wider scope of influence to effect system wide improvement when you coach a group of people rather than focusing on teams. So what’s the difference between group and team coaching? Essentially, the difference is about affinities – do the individuals have a natural working relationship that is earmarked by a shared goal? If so, that’s team coaching. If on the other hand, they are a collection of diverse individuals with a shared goal of personal development that’s a group. Coaching people in groups provides opportunities to cross fertilise learning and create relationships and affinities that wouldn’t happen naturally in the course of doing their job. Groups can be disparate and unconnected – the connections grow from the experiences within the coaching environment. When group coaching goes viral the impact is felt across the business and creates possibility for improvement and change.

Most talent strategies focus on individual development

Individual development works on the hypothesis that individual performance creates business performance. Whilst it would be foolish to completely dismiss this hypothesis, let’s consider for a moment what constitutes an organisation. In essence it is a collection of individuals working together to achieve an outcome. If that’s so, managing talent individual by individual sub optimises the relationships that are created by the very nature of organisations. We all live in systems and the working environment is simply another system – is it reasonable therefore to expect that one individual’s performance and talents are enough? When people are coached together in groups it counters some of the systems constraints that can occur at the same time as developing an organisation that is able to learn.

Leadership is about enabling others to achieve greatness too

If leadership is about enabling others to achieve great things then group coaching is a means by which leaders can leverage the collective talents of people within an organisation. Having trained many managers in the skills of leading through coaching it is apparent that individuals can achieve great things when coached rather than managed.

Coaching people in groups is a great way of socialising ‘solutions thinking’ and developing interpersonal and collaborative skills that are the fabric of high performing business.

One thought on “How coaching people in groups creates solutions focus”

  1. Hi Ro,
    Good point – I appreciate the systemic nature of change and it’s a great idea to put people together into a group to help them understand the systems in the company.

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