At some point in our lives, we have all encountered the feeling of empowerment that comes with being part of a great team.We remember the interpersonal connections and the shared sense of purpose and mission. Group dynamics, when they work, make us feel like a force – a team that could weather any storm and blaze new paths to victory.Most of us, too, have shared in the misery of feeling trapped in a team that just isn’t working.

Teams that are not functioning well are a drag to a company and can leave in their wake a host of dangers to your company’s success. Missed opportunities, dwindling revenues, eroding morale, accelerated turnover – the list goes on.

Teams that are not functioning well are a drag to a company and can leave in their wake a host of dangers to your company’s success. Missed opportunities, dwindling revenues, eroding morale, accelerated turnover – the list goes on.

Conversely, high-performance teams are the fuel that power the most-effective organizations. People are happy, productive, innovative. They taste success and want others – and the company itself – to succeed too.

No leader, no organization, can be truly successful if “the team” isn’t performing.

Recently, the CEO of a startup in Atlantic Canada contacted me and asked if I would come and coach her team.

Her emerging  medical technology company specializing in gait analysis and movement tracking is catching fire – attracting interest from medical professionals, sports teams and the military. To capture such significant business would mean scaling up in a hurry.

Crystal Trevors, the President and CEO of Stepscan, wants to be ready and needs her team to be ready too. One of Vision’s coaches already provides leadership coaching to her, and she has found it to be highly valuable to her in navigating the growth of the company and meeting her goals.

“I really believe the difference between high-performing teams and average ones comes down to communication and alignment. And you really need communication to get alignment.” – Crystal Trevors, President & CEO of Stepscan.

“I really believe the difference between high-performing teams and average ones comes down to communication and alignment,” she says. “And you really need communication to get alignment.

“I personally believe that I have a strong team. I also think our alignment and communication are strong, but I just wanted to make sure that we are doing everything we can do. I think it is important to hear that from the rest of the team, and to identify room for improvement.”

In my first team coaching session with her team of eight, one man spent a good part of the morning gazing at the floor. As the morning wore on, he grew more interested and engaged.

At lunch, I pulled him aside to ask him about it.  He was worried I was there for team-building exercises – that I was going to make him fall blindly backward into the arms of his co-workers as a test of trust.

When he realized that I was there for something different – team coaching – he was relieved. To him, it seemed a genuine commitment to lasting and positive change rather than a one-day diversion. Our team coaching is typically conducted over at least six months – we are still on our journey together.

Traditional team building has its place and can be very effective, but team coaching, delivered consistently over many months, helps businesses build the kind of relationships that drive innovation and success.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, first published in 2002, describes the pitfalls teams face as they try to grow together. Written by Patrick Lencioni, a renowned business management expert, the book explores the causes of team failures, focusing on such issues as lack of trust, fear of conflict, absence of commitment, avoiding accountability and inattention to results. The five dysfunctions are the framework Vision Coaching uses in team coaching to drive change. It is a solid model.

High-performing teams don’t happen by accident, and often leaders of under-performing groups can’t see what’s wrong. An external coach has the advantage of bringing fresh eyes to a situation and is not trapped by traditional patterns of thinking in a company.

High-performing teams don’t happen by accident, and often leaders of under-performing groups can’t see what’s wrong. An external coach has the advantage of bringing fresh eyes to a situation and is not trapped by traditional patterns of thinking in a company.

More and more companies see team coaching as a way not only to bring enduring strength but to engage talent.

Rather than coming in and declaring, “This is what you need to be,” we first do a survey to measure how the team is functioning. We listen and we assess to understand what’s working and what’s not.

We help chart that critical path to high performance. We do it through ongoing assessment, workshops and subsequent accountability coaching – making sure there is follow through.

The answers lie within the team.

In Stepscan’s case, our assessments helped unlock insights for Crystal on the kinds of skills she was missing within the company and needed in order to help move it to the next level – insights that will guide her in recruiting future talent.

And she found the coaching has helped draw her team into a stronger, tighter group better prepared for the challenges ahead and with a keen understanding of the firm’s wider goals and needs. Suddenly, everything took on new importance, not just what was in each employee’s silo.

“The cohesiveness of the team was enhanced just by all of us understanding more of what each of us do and how it contributes to the bottom line,” she says.  “It was a huge takeaway for me when my lead engineer said, ‘I will help you with developing new marketing content – let’s do it!’”

Dave Veale founded Vision Coaching Inc. in 2005 with a mission to empower top talent to lead with effectiveness, navigate change and drive business performance.  The Vision team of coaching professionals are accredited with the International Coaching Federation and include successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, lawyers and human resource leaders. Our pioneering V1 Coaching System, ensures accountability, quality assurance and measurable results for every coaching relationship.