Whether it’s a college project with classmates or a client presentation with colleagues, teamwork, indeed, makes the dream work.
All of us have different strengths. Some people are talented public speakers, while others have a creative eye. Some have a knack for writing, whereas others are naturals at graphic design.
And while we’re all multitalented, it’s challenging to do some things independently. We can go further by combining forces with people with skills that complement ours.
That’s where teamwork comes into action. However, sometimes, it’s difficult for everyone on a team to agree. That’s because working well in a group takes practice, effort, and focus.
And teamwork isn’t limited to the workplace or an educational institution. It integrates well with coaching. In a coaching relationship — even if one-on-one — there’s no hierarchy. The coach and client (or group of clients) work together to set goals and action items, determine potential roadblocks, and chart a course. With a solid sense of teamwork in these relationships, everyone’s a leader.
Here’s everything coaches need to know about how to become a great team player in their practice and encourage these skills among their clients.
4 qualities of a team player
So what does it mean to be a team player? Sports analogies provide a solid visual. We imagine everyone on the field or court contributing different skills in pursuit of a win. That’s how any type of team functions, and the following components make this work possible:
- Collaboration: Teams must foster a collaborative environment for everyone to share their unique talent and quality work. Instead of piling work on one person, teams should divide tasks, letting members focus on ones that mesh well with their strengths. Similarly, coaching relationships should feel collaborative, with consistent feedback loops and collaboration during goal-setting.
- Accountability: Since everyone on a team has a different role, each person must take responsibility for doing theirs well and knowing if they’re straying off course. Accountability builds trusting teams where members can rely on others to complete assignments. The same holds true for coaching relationships. The coach must develop innovative ideas to help a client tick off action items, and the client needs to be willing and motivated to implement the plan.
- Commitment: Team members must commit to a common goal, believe in it, and try to reach it. This is particularly inherent to coaching relationships because clients generally seek services when they’re ready to make a change in their personal or professional lives. Once in the program, the client must participate in sessions and complete homework. And coaches should commit to giving feedback and helping clients around hindrances.
- Attitude: A negative outlook can drag down group morale, so members should focus on the team’s success and a positive outcome. Good team players lift one another up (everyone has a tough day occasionally) and understand that setbacks are normal. In coaching relationships, even when dealing with challenging subjects, coaches and clients can refocus the narrative on a better future and efforts to get there.
How to be a team player
Being a team player takes work. And participation is central to taking on this charge, but creating a successful team requires skill. Here’s how every contributor can do their part:
- Define skill sets: An effective team identifies what people do well. Members should know their strengths and proactively offer to tackle tasks they can ace. There’s no need for anyone on the team to try to be “a hero,” offering to help with activities they’re unprepared to do. People should instead practice self-awareness and be honest about their strengths.
- Set finite team goals: Teams must determine SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals so everyone is on the same page about the overall objective. This helps each team member check their progress and complete their assigned action items well and on time.
- Transmit confidence: Good team members possess a can-do attitude not because they’re eager to participate but because they believe in their abilities. They approach group work with confidence. And the beauty of working in a team is that each person gets to shine at activities they’re proficient at, feeding into their self-esteem and ensuring peak performance. This confidence should translate into a sense of reliability and responsibility.
- Communicate clearly: Effective team players should constantly share information and surface concerns as they arise. If an individual lacks tools or hits a roadblock, they must inform the team so there are no surprises later and the team doesn’t miss any deadlines. Team members should also practice good communication skills when taking on assignments and say “no” if they have too much on their plates. Overtasked team members can lead to problems in the workflow because people can’t reasonably complete tasks on time.
- Stay focused but flexible: Each team member should emphasize completing the assigned tasks, but not to the extent that they can’t pivot if objectives change. For example, if a team member needs a helping hand, another member who has work under control can help. Or, if action items shift, everyone should be willing to adapt to the new plan, even if that means taking a new approach to individual work.
- Solve problems: Teamwork focuses on reaching a shared goal, so problem-solving is essential in any team environment. Contributors must try to overcome obstacles in their tasks and help the group brainstorm solutions when it hits a setback or a question about how to move forward.
Make your coaching relationships more agile with Practice
Well-oiled teams organize and streamline work wherever they can. And like sports teams, office departments, and class groups, coaches and their clients can maintain meaningful relationships, working together to generate positive results.
As a coach, you may have a lot of clients, and managing each coach–client team can be challenging. So leverage the right business tools –– such as payment plans and customer relationship management software –– to smoothly run the administrative aspects of your business and communicate more efficiently with clients.
Practice’s Client Management Software, designed with coaches and small businesses in mind, allows you to maintain secure communication with clients, store data, and take payments and bookings –– all in one place. Using a tool like this generates trust and confidence among clients and helps you save time and focus on teaming up with mentees to effectuate change.
Also, head to The Practice Blog and read our wealth of resources on coaching and coaches. Learn about emotional intelligence in the workplace, the importance of active listening, how to help clients boost performance, and more. Try Practice today.