Five Coaching Tips to Bring Out the Best in Any Team
Coaching is a passion of mine, and for most of my adult life, I have had the pleasure of leading a team, both in the office and on the field. I have worked with people of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds-from 8-year-old youth athletes trying to reach the highest level of their sport to those ready to retire from a long successful career. Regardless of whether its leading our Site, University and Hospital team at Greenphire to achieve new goals, or leading my athletic team to win in the Pop Warner Football National Championship, I believe that regardless of who you are leading, team success boils down to a few key fundamentals. The specific strategies may change from one industry to the next, but building successful teams is still about humans interacting with other humans. The following five tips are ones that may help you build the best team possible, and achieve success in your mission:
Tip 1: Define your team and individual goals from the very beginning.
This doesn’t just apply to our internal team at Greenphire, but this is vital to establish with new clients as well. At the start of every year for our team, or the start of a new relationship with a client, it is crucial to brief each team member on new goals as well as how you and the organization will define success. For our site clients, we encourage them to take the time for questions and feedback as they begin to determine how they will best leverage our technology. Within our team, idea sharing also helps to foster an open dialog allowing all team members to feel included, valued, and crucial to the overall mission.
Similarly, at the beginning of every sports season, I take the opportunity to discuss team goals and ask for the buy-in of every player. We explain the need for each individual contributor to focus on their own skill sets to help the team achieve the stated goals. This concept applies to any team you build or manage regardless of the intension of the team. I often think about an iceberg sitting in the middle of the ocean. Only about 20% of the iceberg is visible above the water. The real mass is beneath the water that no one can see. With our clients, letting them know the benefits of our solution is just the tip of the iceberg, helping to empower them and their own teams regarding how to best utilize the technology is the ‘unseen’ engine that powers their own success.
Tip 2: Preparation is the key to success!
When you set a goal and timeline in which to achieve that goal, leaders must prepare a course for success. The best way I have seen this done is by understanding the environment in which you operate. Knowledge is power when it comes to your approach in the market or your opponent on the field. Just showing up is not a productive strategy and it will never provide you with the consistency needed to obtain goals or win year over year. Leaders must prepare down to each small detail and then make certain each member of your team understands their role. This is where understanding the key strengths of your team helps the leader shape the approach and create the game plan for the challenges ahead. In the football environment, we study film to prepare for each opponent, watching every movement looking for ways to gain an advantage. We map out every play they run to ensure we check to the correct alignment and create the player match up in our favor. After the film breakdown is complete, we develop the initial game plan and walk through each nuance to ensure all players understand their responsibilities.
I have made a deliberate effort to incorporate this approach during the start of every year and even down to the start of every individual 1:1 coaching session or practice. Having a plan is good, knowing how to adjust that plan in real time is even better. I see this not just internally being successful, but with our clients as well. Everyone in the clinical trial world knows that when you are creating a study, you must account for the realities that will change and affect the plan. After all, you are working with participants who are human and are ever-changing. Working with our clients to understand how our technologies can help them to pivot, instead of hindering them in the process, is key. Team success always hinders upon continuous adjustments and fine tuning the approach.
Tip 3: Focus on Individual growth with your individual contributors.
A fundamental need of human beings is to grow and progress. It is often widely discussed that the attainment of the goal itself is not the rewarding part but the journey and the growth that one feels that creates a sense of happiness. Ray Dalio famously says that pain plus reflection equals progress. The important piece is personal connection with your team members. What motivates them? How do they define success for themselves? How do they prefer to be managed and held accountable for important deliverables? These questions just begin to touch the surface of knowing your team contributors, they set the stage for ways for a leader to create a growth plan.
Once you have established open dialog with your team members, the leader gains the trust needed to coach the individual. Notice I mentioned coaching and not training. Leaders should look at these two subjects differently when it relates to individual growth plans. Training tends to be specific to competencies, skills, knowledge, and the mechanics of a process. All important pieces to growth but respectfully different from coaching. When a leader coaches a person, the focus shifts to an approach, mindset, communication opportunities and strategy. Treating them differently will enhance the experience for both the team member and the leader.
Tip 4: Having team synergy that is rooted in support, respect, and collaboration is vital.
Regardless of if you are leading a sales team, an athletic team, or a clinical trial, aligning all individuals with the mission and goals will set the stage for consistent success. When leaders foster a synergistic theme within a team it opens the possibility for new learning outcomes, greater work efficiency, and new perspectives. Team synergy also helps to bind the team and marry their individual goals to team achievement. Great leaders embrace cooperation and understand that when all individual members feel a part of the inner circle, they will work hard for one another. They will step in and assist a teammate for the benefit of the group.
An example I have seen in my own work with Greenphire is our close collaboration with our team member, Joe Gough. While each member of our team has their own unique skill set, Joe comes from a completely different background. With many years working in actual sites, Joe has firsthand experience as our client, working with our solutions. We have a synergistic team environment that allows us to have Joe be a completely different and unique part of our team, which also blends in with the rest of the teams existing skill sets. Synergy is not about having each team member be the same, but rather find ways to accentuate how our differences strengthen the team as a whole.
Tip 5: Discuss accountability within a team setting.
Accountability is the common thread through all four of the mentioned themes within this blog. When we clearly define our goals, detail our preparation, focus on individual growth, and promote cooperation the accountability often takes care of itself. The team culture naturally creates a need or want for people to contribute and add value. It is good practice to schedule 1:1 time to discuss the progress they have made to date. The cadence must work for your business and your team and can vary from daily, weekly, or even monthly. The key takeaway should be the importance of these check-in periods to assess, provide feedback, and develop a pathway for course correction as needed. Accountability is an ongoing engagement meant to serve both leader and contributor.
Whether you are leading a team to victory on the field, or working with your colleagues to help develop new and life-saving treatments in a clinical trial, the principles for successful coaching stand across all settings. We, at Greenphire, want to team up with you to make sure you can spend the time focusing on your larger goals, and not be bogged down by administrative burdens. Learn more about joining our team, and how ClinCard can help, today!
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