Teamcoaching vs Teambuilding

Is it just me, or has ‘teamcoaching’ taken over as a buzzword, when really what we mean is ‘teambuilding’ or vice versa?  We get asked to deliver a lot of teamcoaching and teambuilding assignments. It’s an area of work where I derive great satisfaction.

Why?  Because the results are typically immediate:

Teamcoaching: a team working at a table

Group of Business People in a Teamcoaching Meeting

  • Improved colleague understanding and appreciation of each other
  • Willingness to work through issues and problems
  • Pride in mutual success

The independent coach can facilitate discussion, bring new perspectives and shine a light in dark corners.

I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the difference between teambuilding events and teamcoaching.

So, what do I think is the difference?  I’d love to hear your viewpoint too.

Article by: Helen Caton Hughes

Team Building – it’s a great start

First of all, if you want to get people working together, co-delivering a project, improving collaboration, team-building seems like a brilliant start.

Some of our clients go further, adding teambuilding to existing projects, with

  • Fun competitions
  • Milestone celebrations
  • Individual and team awards

That way, the skills get used for real projects.

Similarly, you can turn teambuilding into charity support –

  • Fundraising
  • Redecorating a community building
  • Re-laying a National Trust path

It’s another reason why our clients have gained value from taking part.

You never forget those peak moments:

  • A couple, one in a wheelchair, told hillside volunteers how much they liked using the path because the slope was shallow enough for the wheelchair to manage. They got to see the same Lake District views and have the same sense of achievement as everyone else.  That feedback had a powerful impact.
  • Or the mixed team of shop floor workers and managers who redecorated a craft room for older people. The paint shop team took great delight in showing their bosses how to wield a paintbrush. The creative environment shaped a space to have fun and let off steam.

So how is team coaching different? 

In contrast, teamcoaching is about thinking and discussion time.  Team building activities are just that – active – being spontaneous and revealing who you are, as a team, through actions.

The team coach holds up a mirror so the team can see themselves.  It builds leadership skills in the ‘thinking cluster’ of the Schroder high-performance model: flexible thinking, creativity and exploration. Teamcoaching builds learning cultures; engaging the skills of the whole team.  When you coach the team you build leadership: because it’s the other side of the same coin.

Teamcoaching: support your team to reflect; to –

  • Craft a vision of how to be even more successful in the future
  • See how their shared values mean they bond better
  • Overcome the relationship challenges that typically arise

Most importantly, people feel better. A team leader on a recent assignment said that the experience was ‘cathartic’, and how much better he felt about his leadership.  As a result, others noticed immediate improvements in the team atmosphere, which led to some quick wins.

Because these two types of intervention are different, consider whether team building or team coaching is what you need.

When you need to develop team relationships, or there’s toxic behaviour, teamcoaching provides a reflective environment.  Teambuilding, on the other hand, helps people get into action, but it’s more of a quick fix, for the reason that people forget this kind of learning just as quickly.

Finally, if you want some training in team coaching, I run an ICF-accredited teamcoaching programme for experienced trainers and coaches – next UK dates November 14th and 15th in central England, close to airport, train and motorway links. Get in touch for details: info@thefortongroup.com

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