How to successfully challenge a team

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How to successfully challenge a team 

When coaching a team, it can be really helpful to learn how to successfully challenge them in a way that is seen as supportive but also gets them to review the way they think, operate, forward plan and work together.

And the key to success is to do all of this without imposing any specific ideas or agenda, and without pushing or pulling the team in any particular direction. Your role as a professional coach can be as a vital catalyst for change and help bring collective awareness to the group, however one or more members may feel threatened or exposed.

So if somebody in the group feels as if they are the victim and start to defend themselves or the way they normally do things, you may become the target of a verbal attack or see real resistance to change. So how can you successfully challenge the team, but also deflect any conflict?

Our four step approach to deflecting conflict in team coaching:

  1. Stay positive – Remember to react positively, especially as this will normally happen in public and can make the situation all the more delicate and complex. Especially as everyone will be watching your reaction and how you are going to cope.
  2. Don’t be sensitive – Deflect the attack by facing up to it, then soften the impact it could have by fully embracing it. Remember, the overall impact of the attack will largely depend on your sensitivity and how quickly you act to minimize the effect it has.
  3. It’s not personal – The person attacking does not normally have any personal hostile intention against you, so it should not be taken personally and any response should not involve reacting with your ego.
  4. Use an inoffensive approach – The most concrete, appropriate and effective solution to deflect conflict, is to immediately verbalize using an inoffensive approach.

Plus… Some suggested phrases you can use:

  • “I understand that what I have just said may have shocked you and please forgive me for this. In your own words, how would you have said it?”
  • “I am sorry what I am suggesting does not work for you, but by going beyond our normal comfort zone, we will be able to achieve different solutions which allow for different or high-performance results. Let us discuss the idea and see if we could make it work.”
  • “I hear that you are questioning my skills and I understand that they are unknown, different or unusual to you in relation to the people you usually work with. But these skills are the reason why your Manager and your company selected me to be your team coach. Please help me understand what is causing you concern so I can adapt my approach.”
  • “I understand that what we are doing is unusual and is generating some negative energy within you and you are not obliged to fully take part in the exercise or stay if it really is causing you distress or you find it too difficult. Please feel free to stay and observe for now, but can we talk about this during the next break, so I can understand how you are feeling.”

The four-step approach and the suggested language will help you successfully challenge a group but also deflect any conflict, however the real skill will be to both challenge and drive change collectively. By respecting their freedom to learn and grow as a group, you can guide them towards more ambitious results, so they can progress towards greater performance and positive outcomes.

Are you new to team coaching?

If you would like to move into this area of coaching and work with managers or their teams, you will need to first do some work on the practical side of things and generate new leads. Then convert them into a sale by talking about how your skills and experience can help achieve the outcomes needed to come together and succeed as a group.

The key to being successful in this area is to quickly build confidence and maybe stand out by highlighting a fresh approach you could bring to team coaching. This can be built on your background or life experiences and the different types of developmental tools you plan to use like our new kit that has 5 creative team coaching ideas.

Ultimately, anybody you approach needs to believe you are the coach that can help them unlock their potential as a leader and the potential of their team.

So here are some ideas to help you generate some new leads:

  • Build your network of managers, leaders and decision-makers so you can find new opportunities
  • Proactively engage in team coaching discussions on social media to build your reputation and influence
  • Get meeting ready so you can talk confidently about your skills, experience and any fresh approach or new coaching tools you plan to use
  • Create a range of case studies to showcase your previous work and achievements

And check out our range of exclusive resources designed to support you with everything you need to run successful team coaching sessions:

  • Ebook : Coaching a team – Run successful team coaching sessions and learn how to deflect conflict with this essential guide to coaching a team.
  • Virtual Game : Coaching team – This virtual card game consists of 52 cards and provides you with a creative way for coaching a Team. It includes 12 Illustrated Goal cards and 40 Question Cards divided into 4 themes.
  • Kit : 5 creative ideas for team coaching – This kit has 5 creative ideas for you to use when you are coaching a team or for any team building activities. All images are professionally drawn and saved in two different formats so you can choose how you would like to use them.
  • Kit – 7 tools for team coaching – Run interactive team coaching sessions with these 11 full color, full size A0 worksheets available in both Word and PDF format, so you can either print them off at home or at your local copy shop.

Please note – Please include a reference and link back to this original blog if you wish to copy or share anything we have written: (cc) – 2022

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