The boundaries between team building and business coaching can sometimes be blurred and overlap. Both are concerned with the development of employees, in order for them to be more effective and contribute more to the success of the company.
Every organisation will have goals and objectives, and having workers who are more effective at working towards achieving these goals can provide tremendous benefits; moving the organisation forward to where it wants to be and what it has set out to accomplish.
The biggest difference is that whilst team building and team development is done in a group, so that the team can improve communication and teamworking between each other, business coaching it typically performed on a one-to-one basis.
This is because, rather than problems which exist between the team and the issues that stop them working together effectively, the matters discussed between an individual and a coach are specific to them. They are the personal and unique problems and metaphorical barriers which exist that are preventing that person from reaching their full potential in the workplace.
It is true that, quite often, some of these individual/personal issues will be playing a part in limiting that person’s interactions with other team members. For example, they may have had a big argument with a colleague, or they lack the interpersonal skills to work effectively within a small group. It is this sort of instance which shows how business coaching and team building can sometimes overlap.
A large part of business coaching involves developing trust and a rapport between the coach and the person being coached. This enables them to talk openly and honestly about the barriers and issues which are preventing the individual from being the best worker that they can be. Only by discussing these problems can effective solutions and changes be introduced to help overcome them. Without this openness, the coaching sessions are likely to be fairly silent affairs where neither side gets much out of the encounter.
For this reason team building and business coaching fit well together as the bonds established on the team building programmes between a manager and their workers will be conducive to this open discussion.
Usually, either managers and certain employees will not talk very much during the normal business day, or managers will be viewed by employees as frightening individuals always giving commands who cannot hold a "normal" two-way conversation. By seeing managers doing other activities and maybe even just by wearing non-formal clothes (remember how strange it was when you were at school to see a teacher in everyday clothes?!), they begin to lose the air of mystery and scariness surrounding them.
This can mean that if you are a manager who is thinking about starting a series of business coaching sessions with your employees, and you do not know or feel that comfortable about talking with your employees in an informal coaching environment, then running a team building or team development programme first can be of major benefit.
Getting and keeping workers motivated is one of the most important responsibilities that a manager will have in their role. This is because a motivated workforce will nearly always be more productive, provide a better customer service, suffer from less staff turnover and be less likely to be disgruntled and engage in tactics such as strikes or working-to-rule. They will also be much more willing to go the extra mile in order to overcome potential challenges to the organisation by action such as working overtime or performing tasks which are not in their job description.
These factors alone show how crucial it is for managers to make every effort to have a happy and motivated workforce.
The best working relationships happen when people feel comfortable talking to each other. It will make little difference whether they are colleagues of equal status in the company hierarchy, or a manager and an employee; the statement is still the same. If they are afraid or unwilling to communicate with each other, productivity is likely to be lower than it could be if they collaborated on projects. It could even cause mistakes to be made that not only cost the company money, but are also a danger to health and safety if something was missed which led to an accident occurring.
The idea of spending money on training to get staff members to talk more can be frightening for some managers, who think that if workers are talking then they won’t be doing anything useful. Whilst this may be true if they were engaged in gossip or idle chit chat, there is no denying that workers who communicate well are more productive and make less mistakes, and it is this "communicating well" that necessitates training and development courses.
There may be a need to talk more, there may be a need to talk less and be more succinct, there may be a need to change the message or the way it is delivered... It all depends on the industry, the situation, the different roles of everyone in the group, the company hierarchy and much more. Thorough communication training - especially that which is bespoke, and preceded by research to really get an understanding of the company – is needed to help managers and employees alike achieve the optimum quality and quantity of communication.
As well as providing business coaching to employees in order to determine exactly what their individual needs are from work so that managers can attempt to fulfil them, a tactic that can work well is improving the sense of teamwork, camaraderie and belonging.
By making workers feel part of a collective, it can instil a sense of purpose within them and can also cause different team members to encourage each other which can take some of the burden off a manager and lessen the need for them to constantly motivate staff members.
We have already read how business coaching can be effective in terms of improving employee production in the article entitled "What Can Business Coaching Be Used For?" However it is also frequently used in order to identify and rectify issues between individuals which have caused a breakdown in communication or a distinct lack of teamwork.
This lack of teamwork and communication can result in a company significantly falling short of its potential in terms of the amount of profit or level of customer service it provides for example. A primary objective of business coaching is to help individuals and teams maximise their potential, and as such it is logical that business coaching can therefore assist in this task when the problem has arisen due to a lack of teamworking and co-operation between people or departments.
One of the first stages of effective business coaching sessions is to discuss what is taking place, and identify the reasons behind it. Only by identifying the exact issues and reasons which are causing it can effective strategies be devised and implemented in order to remedy the situation. Without the correct identification, it will be increasingly difficult to tailor specific solutions that will get to the heart of the matter quickly and effectively.
A significant skill of an impressive business coach is therefore the ability to make individuals feel comfortable enough to be completely open and honest about issues, even when it means admitting to their own failings or mistakes. It can be extremely difficult for some people to confess to their mistakes or divulge their shortcomings, and so a coach who is able to encourage this information out of a person will typically find that their results are much better and quicker as they can more effectively identify the issues and facilitate action plans which target these factors precisely.
Aside from just general lack of communication or team working that falls a bit short of its potential, there is also a fairly common problem of two or more individuals within the organisation who actively dislike each other and refuse to even talk, or possibly even be in the same room as each other. When they are involved in similar roles/departments/projects it can be extremely damaging for the company, as not only will the two individuals be failing to achieve anywhere near as much as they could if they were co-operating fully and working together in harmony, but their argument will nearly always have an effect upon other staff members who either actively take sides in the dispute or feel so awkward that they do not engage fully with either individual for fear of saying the wrong thing or being caught up in the spat.
The paragraph above demonstrates how not only can an issue such as this result in lower productivity from the two individuals involved (or teams perhaps as the same can be applied on a team level also), but also threatens to cause serious divisions between staff members which can have severe consequences for the company depending on just how divisive the rift becomes. By commencing the business coaching process as soon as possible, the easier it will be for arguments and conflicts to be resolved and get everyone working together and pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the company and the successful achievement of its objectives.
Workers come in a tremendous variety of sizes, shapes and ages, and also can have vastly different personalities and attributes. Not only can this make things difficult when it comes to working as a team or trying to organise team building events for them (some will love them, some are likely to hate them), but they will often need to be managed in different ways, and subsequently will have different needs and differing factors which motivate them to maximise their performance and dedication to the cause of the business.
For some employees, job security and stability is one of their most important desires at work. They are comfortable and enjoy their current role and wish that nothing will ever change. Although they can sometimes frustrate managers with their unwillingness to take on new challenges or adapt to any changes that take place, they are also some of the best workers, especially in terms of their loyalty to the company and lack of disruption or demands.
However, there will be many employees for whom this scenario would be abhorrent and the lack of opportunity for advancement would be a cause for them to seek alternative employment elsewhere.
Whilst it is a bit of a stereotype and certainly by no means always the case, it will usually be younger workers who will be less likely to want to get into a position where there is little chance of advancement, usually because they are determined to move up the career ladder and take on extra responsibility and receive more money. Older workers are more likely to have already done this and acquired enough wealth to enjoy their leisure time away from the workplace, so have little desire to take on extra work to obtain even more financial reward.
One of the most important skills a manager can acquire is the ability to determine what motivates each of their individual employees in order to get the best out of them all. Every manager will have a different way of working, but utilising business coaching to discuss their specific needs and issues at work can be an important component in this process.
The vast majority of team building events out there involve a simple day out such as go-karting or bowling where people are likely to stay in their friendship groups, not mix with people they do not know well and certainly not develop skills which benefit the organisation.
Our team building programmes have a clear commercial theme which provides far greater benefits for the company than a simple activity day out. Whilst they are still fun and get people to talk and communicate with each other, the commercial theme also allows them to collaborate in achieving business tasks.
Although these business tasks may be fictional, the same level of communication can be used by those involved when back in the workplace to solve real business issues. So not only do our team building and development programmes increase communication amongst a group of employees, but they also result in real commercial benefits for the organisation. This is particularly the case when combined with our other training provisions such as bespoke management training or essential selling skills.
Our business coaching provisions range from a series of one-to-one sessions for executives and managers, through to business coaching courses and qualifications for those who want to coach others, either within their workplace or externally. Whether you require a short meeting, a series of Skype coaching sessions, or an accredited coaching qualification such as an ILM Level 7 Coaching Certificate, at the BCF Group we can assist you with your requirements. We can also provide advice and guidance if you are unsure where to start your coaching journey.
If you would like more information regarding our team building, team development and business coaching provisions please call us on 0844 800 3295 or contact us online with a brief overview of your requirements by clicking on the button below.
The BCF Group have evolved from the Business Coaching Foundation, which was established in 2001. We have leadership development and business coaching at our core. Having representation from global learning leads, executive coaches and talent development specialists, we deliver accredited people development programs.Find Out More
Please see below for some related courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:
The ILM Level 7 Qualifications for Senior Level Coaches and Mentors are designed for senior leaders/managers (or those working in a training and development role) who are regularly coaching or mentoring at a senior level.
It is for those executive coaches who wish to accredit, validate or enhance their skills with an internationally-recognised executive coaching qualification.
Based on our extensive work and experience with leaders, both in the private and public sectors, this ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring programme has been designed to develop the capability of leaders to positively impact the performance of individuals and teams.
This programme has been created to sharpen a leader's skills - enabling them to balance control, commitment and empowerment through productive conversations with individuals and teams.
This two-day accredited management training programme brings together the key leadership skills you need to be an effective manager so you can return to the workplace, deliver tangible results and help your teams reach their full potential.
It covers problem-solving, decision making, workplace communication and leading, and motivating teams effectively, among much more.
This course has been designed for those who are new to management or who are about to take up a management position.
Run over a single day, the course covers a wide range of topics to give new and inexperienced managers a good understanding of the foundations needed to begin their journey as a manager.
It includes modules on communication, managing your team, managing yourself, delegating, setting objectives, planning and personal development.
Please use the form below to get in touch. Alternatively, please call us on 0844 800 3295.