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Managers still need to be convinced of the impact team coaching has on business performance

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Business and academics prove the success of team coaching to boost engagement and productivity, but managers are still disillusioned with the idea.

Research from Henley Business School and the performance development consultancy Lane4 has highlighted how team coaching is being used successfully to improve business performance – but also how much further it has to go.

The survey, Coaching Teams at Work: Embryonic Yet Powerful, reveals that almost half of the organisations surveyed (45%) use both individual and team coaching and there are some glowing endorsements of the impact it has. The top benefit is increased employee engagement at 28%.

Other benefits include improved trust within the team (22%), increased productivity (19%)and more effective and innovative solutions (18%)

But more than half the organisations surveyed do not use team coaching, for four main reasons:

  • Managers haven't had any training in team coaching (32%)
  • Managers don't understand the benefits of team coaching (31%)
  • Managers don't feel confident coaching their teams (25%)
  • Some feel their teams object to being coached (13%)

To address these issues and make the powerful benefits of team coaching in a business context more accessible, Henley Business School and Lane4 have developed, and will deliver, a new programme, Coaching High Performing Teams, from October 2010.  

The partnership will leverage the two organisations' combined academic rigour and experience of coaching teams in a business environment as well as Lane4’s heritage in Olympic sport and expertise in performance psychology.

Austin Swain, director of research and product at Lane4, said: "Team coaching in sport is widespread, accepted and celebrated. In elite sports teams performers expect to hear feedback from coaches, peers and the wider team and cultures that encourage frank exchange around ‘how do we get better’ are commonplace. In business, there is less of an instinct to provide that explicit direct feedback, whether that be appreciative or developmental, and it remains an untapped skill in many executives."

And Patricia Bossons, director of the Henley Centre for Coaching and Facilitation, added: "Managers sometimes perceive coaching to be something done by people outside the business to people inside the business – just as in sports coaching where the coach is not normally a player as well.  In business, however, managers are now required to be player-coaches  – a role many have not received training for – this is something we need to address if the obvious benefits of team coaching are to be more widely felt."