Live Online Team Coaching: a simple structure you can use right away

Many of us coaches and leaders were forced to move our work online during the global pandemic – some of us with more experience, some of us with less. I had the good fortune of having started to work online as a team coach and as an educator of coaches and leaders in 2005, when nobody even thought that online training and coaching is possible. So I thought, I’d share an easy structure that is as bulletproof as possible and include all the tech information so that you can replicate this immediately.

Step 1: Contracting

Tools: Calendly or Acuity (Scheduling), Zoom or Microsoft Teams (Communication), Mural, Miro, Padlet or Jamboard (Brainstorming)

Preparation:

  • Open Mural, Miro, Padlet or Jamboard
  • Create a space that looks like a mindmap with the team’s name in the middle
  • Create “branches” or spaces for possible stakeholders (the team’s customers, other department, the team itself etc.)

Contracting meeting

  • Send the sponsors of the contracting your calendly or acuity link to find a suitable time for the meeting.
  • Start the meeting.
  • Introduce yourself (prepare an introduction that makes you and others confident that you can help as a team coach) and invite sponsors to introduce themselves.
  • Ask about the general purpose of the team – what do they have to get right in the next year?
  • Find out if they are actually a team (interdependent, joint purpose, collaboration) – if not, don’t proceed with a team coaching but find a different modality (e.g. group coaching).
  • Invite the sponsors to your Mural, Miro, Padlet, or Jamboard.
  • Ask: who will notice that the team is making the desired progress? Insert those stakeholder groups into the Mural.
  • Ask: what will they be noticing. If you have more than one sponsor in the contracting conversation and they know the tool, you can also invite them for a quiet brainstorming in which they produce the sticky notes.
  • Prioritize: Ask the sponsors to prioritize – what are the 3 most important changes that they would like to see?
  • Ask about the team: are they aware of the necessary changes? What is their view of team coaching: will they appreciate it? In short: are they customers for change or do they need some explanation / incentive? If the team is not aware of a potential problem, don’t be the messenger – it is hard to both create a problem and then offer to solve it. In this case get the sponsors to “create the problem”, to communicate the necessary changes and the risks if the changes are not made.
  • Get permission to interview the team members about the coaching process and create an attractive invitation together with the sponsors.

Step 2: Team Interviews

Tools: Calendly or Acuity (Scheduling), Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard (Note Taking), Zoom or Microsoft Teams (Communication)

Preparation:

  • Create a really attractive invitation for the team coaching: introduce yourself, what could be gained by the team coaching, explain the process.
  • Send the attractive invitation to the team members.
  • Create an empty Mural, Miro, Padlet or for your own note taking.

Individual Interviews:

  • Introduce the process, yourself, the general direction of the team coaching process as envisaged by the sponsors, confirm confidentiality – you are not going to share any information from this call that can be traced back to the team member.
  • Who are you on this team? What is your task? How long have you been a member?
  • On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is that you are coming to work every morning happy and willing to do your best, where are you currently? What is working well, what could be improved?
  • What is your view on the topics that were generated by the sponsors? Scale those
  • Take notes on what could be improved and what is working well by creating sticky notes on a mural.
  • After you have spoken with everyone, sort the mural into topics to be addressed in a team coaching.
  • Create an agenda for a 2-3 hour introductory team coaching meeting (longer is usually no good – you can do two 2 hour meetings on one day, one in the  morning, one in the afternoon, but don’t do a zoom-a-thon of a whole day, not fun, not productive for team coaching).
  • Send the agenda to the team (goal: clarity on the process and goals, feedback from the interviews, generating next steps on the topics mentioned in the interviews).

Step 3: First meeting

Tools: Zoom or Microsoft Teams (Communication), Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard (Presentation), Mentimeter (Polling)

Preparation:

  • Sort the Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard into clusters of topics. Create one “voting” sticky note on which you write the name for the topic.
  • Create a poll in Zoom or Mentimeter for prioritization if your note taking tool does not allow voting.
  • Create an empty mindmap (just like for the contracting session) in Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard.
  • Create a Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard with a scale from 0-10.

Meeting:

  • Create a nice icebreaker (e.g. share your screen with funny pictures of dogs – google: “crazy dogs” and ask people to mark who they feel like using the commenting function of zoom or share a world map and ask people to mark where they are and where they would like to be now).
  • Introduce the agenda and roles.
  • Show your Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard with the clustered topics from the interviews.
  • Ask participants if you got it right or if you put something in the wrong clusters (usually you will have gotten it right, if not, it is easily fixed).
  • Ask participants to prioritize the topics using the voting function of Mural or Miro or by polling in Mentimeter or Zoom if your tool does not have a voting function.
  • Ascertain whether these are topics that can be dealt with in small groups or whether there are topics that need to be discussed by the whole group.
  • Start with the most important topic:
    • Use the same mindmap as for the contracting session.
    • Ask: suppose you make progress on this topic, who will notice?
    • Put the names of these stakeholders on the branches of the mindmap.
    • Create breakout rooms: one breakout room per stakeholders.
    • Invite team members to fill sticky notes on the progress the relevant stakeholders will be noticing.
    • Come back to plenary and have the breakout rooms present to each other and give the opportunity to add.
    • Show the Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard scale and invite team members to the tool. Ask them to scale individually: where are we now if 10 is that what we just described in the breakout rooms is already happening and 0 is that nothing of this is already happening? Ask each participant to create sticky notes with reasons for their assessment: what is already there? What is working well? Have a look at the Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard in plenary: is there anything to add?
    • Invite people into the same breakout rooms and same Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard as before: what would be the next step that each stakeholder group would be noticing? What could the team do to make that happen? Ask each breakout group to come up with their top 3 suggestions and ask them to put those on a Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard (just use an empty space next to the scale).
    • Cluster the suggestions in the plenary and agree what could be the next steps until the next meeting.

Step 4: Follow-On Meetings

Tools: Zoom or Microsoft Teams (Communication), Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard (Presentation), Mentimeter (Polling)

Preparation:

Pull up the Mural, Miro, Padlet, Jamboard for the suggested actions and the overall team coaching topics

Follow-On Meetings:

  • Share the Mural with the suggested actions: what has been going well? What worked? What are stumbling blocks that we can take care of?
  • Share the Mural with the remaining topics and select the topic to be tackled today (either in small groups or in plenary).
  • Work on those topics (same structure as in the first meeting)
  • Have another follow-on meeting if necessary

This is as short as I can make it – if you have any questions, please join our free meetup and exchanges or book our Team Coaching Training to see all of this in action.

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