Project Management

Leading High Impact Teams: The Coach Approach to Peak Performance

Author: Cynder Niemela & Rachael Lewis

ISBN: 0-9710888-0-2

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In today's work world, a leader capable of galvanizing a team to produce superlative results is invaluable. This book shows new team leaders the way to avoid costly trial-and-error mistakes. It inspires seasoned team leaders to leverage the "Coach Approach" to make their team experiences lighter, more synergistic and infinitely more productive. Full of practical, step-by-step activities, real life stories and anecdotes to quickly apply, you'll learn what it takes to lead or coach a team to high impact. Here's a rundown of what you will find in this book:


Part 1: Who's Who: Coach, Captain, and Crew


Chapter 1: The Role of the Coach. This chapter outlines the role that a team coach plays as the team embarks on a new project. This chapter guides the reader in developing the skills of a masterful coach. It discusses why workers have to become more collaborative and engaged; then it shows why it is incumbent upon leaders and coaches to develop the requisite attitudes, skills and behaviors, and to stand up as models of excellence for others to follow.

Chapter 2: The Team Leader as Captain. In this chapter, leaders discover ways to assess the development of their teams. They learn how to create shared leadership and the strategies they can employ to become a masterful captain. They also learn to understand the critical distinctions between managing and leading, control and power.

Chapter 3: Charting Your Course: The Crew as a High Impact Team. Readers learn the top ten practices of high impact teams. They get vital tools that enable them to assess their team's performance, talents, and underdeveloped skills. Step by step instructions are given for administering, scoring, and game planning using the High Impact Team Assessment.


Part 2: Preparing for a High Impact Journey


Chapter 4: Clarifying the Phases of Team Development. This chapter helps leaders, coaches, and team members understand the predictable phases that teams go through. Setting Sail, Weathering Storms, Effective Sailing and Arriving at the Destination are typical phases. Without this knowledge, teams can get stuck and never reach the level of high impact. With the knowledge of the Top 10 HIT Practices, the Phases of Team Development and Strategies for developing a high impact team, teams can now intentionally plan their success.

Chapter 5: Stocking the Boat: Preparing to Set Sail. This chapter provides explicit guidelines for creating powerful team contracts and working agreements. New or experienced team leaders can use the activities for creating a shared purpose and vision, the foundation of a high impact team.


Part 3: Sailing the Course


Chapter 6: Setting Sail. When the boat leaves the dock (and the team begins its work) you must understand what's really going on so that you can guide the ship easily from the outset. Readers learn how to set performance targets, roles and responsibilities, run meetings that focus team energy, and the critical skills of inquiry to guide their ship swiftly from port.

Chapter 7: Weathering Storms. Every voyage includes squalls and storms. A team's voyage from formation to reaching the destination is no exception. Here teams learn how to recognize conflict and resolve it, supporting the team in emerging stronger and on course. Three Cs are the focus of this chapter: managing conflict, integrating change, and adjusting the course.

Chapter 8: Effective Sailing. Telltale signs of a team that can effectively sail together are discussed. These include meeting milestones while collaboration and synergy are high, encouraging the behaviors that affirm effective sailing, and illuminates potential discord. Infusing creativity, opportunities for celebration and renewal are critical during this phase.

Chapter 9: Arriving at the Destination. High impact teams use the activities in this chapter to complete their work and to learn from their experiences thus tipping the scales in favor of producing these same high impact results again and again. Afterword. This is the final challenge to the reader to use what they've learned, to enjoy their journey, and to understand that they can be highly effective despite the obstacles that appear along the way.


References and Appendix material enables readers to take their learning to the next level of mastery using Internet research, books, and validated assessment tools.


"A behaviorist is someone who pulls habits out of rats."

- Anonymous