Professional coaches all over the world will be familiar with the concept of coaching competencies. They underpin most coach training programmes and provide a framework for the assessment of coaches undergoing professional accreditation. During my own development as a coach, the ICF Core Competencies served as a compass, offering me guidance and direction towards coach mastery. I reviewed recordings of my coach sessions against this competency framework, observing my strengths and the skills that I needed to practice. I worked with various mentor coaches to support me in noticing my blind spots and to keep me at my learning edge. Competencies brought coaching to life for me, inspired me to really get the skills in my bones.
When I started coaching in 1993, I and others saw it as a process of supporting individual clients to maximise their potential. Then, a decade later, a client asked me whether I could coach his team and so, with some trepidation, my journey as a team coach began! Eager to learn, I searched for ideas and resources, finding plenty of books and articles on high performing teams, but a dearth on team coaching. So, I decided to put the coaching competencies to the test in my first ever team coaching session.
I entered the room where the team was meeting, with butterflies in my stomach and with ‘what the hell have you got yourself into now’ running in my head. I sat down, centred myself, summoned my presence and asked, “what is the most meaningful conversation you need to have as a team today?”. And so, we began. The feedback at the end of the two hours was that it was the most connected and significant conversation they had ever had as a team. I was elated and energised, and I knew that I wanted to do more.
After the initial high, the next few years were bumpy, some sessions flew, and others floundered. The core competencies were great, but there were not enough; I needed an upgraded compass for coaching teams. I believed in the power of coaching and, despite the temptation to slip into team mentoring, consulting, team building, or facilitation, I knew in my heart that real team coaching would stem from the core philosophy of coaching! I asked myself, “if I assume that the team has the answers and the team is creative, resourceful and whole, then what skills do I need to truly be a team coach?”
I found others shared a desire to master the art of team coaching and, together, we developed a set of team coaching competencies offering a framework to guide team coaching practice. Along with philosophy and stance and meta-skills, these now form the core of the principles of our TCS Team Coaching Wheel and team coaching training.
To read more about the 12 Team Coaching Competencies, and why are they fundamental to Team Coaching download our whitepaper now.