It’s exciting to see team GB doing so well in the Olympics isn’t it. When you hear the post event interviews a common acknowledgement from most athletes is the part played by their family and friends in helping them get to this point. Not days or months but years of hard work and preparation for this moment. You also realise the value they place on their Coach and how important that person is pushing them to do what’s important and helping them cope with set backs and failure as a vital part of learning how do it well. Of course doing something on your own can be a solitary experience even with a good coach – the performance is all down to you. With teams it’s different or is it?
The dynamic is definitely different as teams work through the critical phases of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. In the workplace an inability to handle these challenging phases can result in the team never actually getting to the event to perform – they sink somewhere en-route. This is because it’s not easy, it’s difficult. You need to know what to expect and then when it arrives, how to handle it in a way that takes you forward not backward. Most good teams have been together for a while. They have gone past the honey moon period and worked through some very difficult issues and differences of opinion – many will have been challenged to the point of walking away. What’s made them successful is that they didn’t and in fact they have developed to a common entity that is now very strong in its self belief and it’s understanding of its vulnerabilities. Such teams will often cite a coach they worked with who helped them understand this journey and cope with its triumphs and disasters along the way – someone who has helped bring to this point of performance.
So it is different in a workplace and with a team but it still relies on a ‘personal best’ attitude from each team member. Not in being the best technical professional they can be – that acknowledgement is already achieved, but by being the best team player and peer coach they can be to help one another through the next event. Coaches help teams and individuals make a big difference in the performance stakes.