All business problems fall into one of three categories: time, team, and money. This was the driving insight of the 21 Silver Bullets I invented as a framework to help communicate the value of business coaching to prospective clients—and, ultimately, to coach them into more effective, profitable businesses. Of these three categories, team is one that often flummoxes the business owner clients you’ll coach—largely because many of them came into their role either by being extremely effective practitioners or hard-charging entrepreneurs. That can make people management feel like a foreign language. Fortunately, as a coach, you can help your clients build better teams.
I encourage my business coaches to introduce their clients to our Team Building System, which is a reliable system for placing team members in the roles best suited to their strengths and building them into a powerfully cohesive and committed team that delivers business results. If your client discloses that there is relational conflict, communication problems, and lack of commitment, this is the solution they desperately need.
Coaching Clients to Build Better Teams
First, have your client and key leaders read Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Lencioni has amazing insights on teamwork from his years as a consultant for Fortune 500 organizations and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a fable as well as a framework for building great teams.
His model says that most dysfunctional teams are, at the core, lacking trust. The absence of trust between team members leads to five dysfunctions:
- Not putting in the extra work;
- Lack of collaboration;
- Not giving each other credit; and, MOST critically,
- Lack of conflict around important ideas.
That last one often surprises business owners, because they assume that conflict is bad. The truth is, healthy teams have healthy conflict; in unhealthy teams, folks acquiesce to the loudest voice for fear of repercussions. This sets off a negative feedback loop: because they miss out on the robust debate and decision-making, they lack commitment to the direction that gets proposed. Lack of commitment leads to lack of accountability. And lack of accountability leads to inattention to results and substandard performance.
In Lencioni’s words: “Look, it’s not finance, not strategy, not technology––it is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.”
The antidote that Lencioni proposes is called the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Framework. It is crucial that you coach your clients through this framework. They must build an amazing team or they’ll never make it––they WILL fail.
Your clients must build an amazing team or they’ll never make it––they WILL fail.
Your clients need a team that trusts. Trust lies at the heart of their success. And just as a lack of trust sets off a negative feedback loop, trust sets off a positive feedback loop that eliminates the dysfunction: trust leads to healthy conflict, however uncomfortable it may be. Healthy conflict leads to the best solutions, which leads to commitment and clarity around those solutions. Therefore, team members are willing to be held accountable. And teams that are committed will focus on results and ultimately WIN.
As a coach, first assess your client’s team. Ask them questions about the levels of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results they’re getting. Then work with them to transform their team into one that is powerful and high-performing.
Our comprehensive business coaching system gives you all the tools, insights, and training you need to do exactly that—get a FREE 30-day trial of our members’ portal to get everything you need to help your clients build better teams.