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Yael Sivi & Yosh Beier, Co-Founders at Collaborative Coaching, Leadership and Team Coaches

#049: Why Are There So Many Few High Performing Teams? Collaboration, Conflict & Culture in Team Coaching

Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s show guests and leading organizational coaches–Yosh Beier and Yael Sivi–for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast. Yosh Beier and Yael Sivi are Co-Founders at Collaborative Coaching–a leadership and team coaching firm based in New York City. Yosh Beier is an executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant who coaches leaders and teams to improve alignment and strategic execution while moving past human issues that interfere with individual and organizational success. Yael Sivi is an organization development consultant and executive coach who supports leaders and organizations create collaborative and engaging work environments. She has expertise in emotional intelligence, team collaboration and leadership development for emerging leaders. She also regularly speaks publicly about integrating generational differences and team collaboration.

In this episode of the podcast Yosh and Yael share their respective journeys into coaching and team coaching and also provide an overview of Collaborative Coaching–a firm they co-founded–that focuses on helping organizations create collaborative advantage. Themes explored on the podcast include: why there are so few high performing teams; the role of collaboration, conflict and culture in teams and team coaching; the role of psychological safety, vulnerability and emotional intelligence of teams; force field analysis in needs assessment; structuring team coaching engagements; the role of the team leader in team coaching and more. They also share a number of insightful stories and lessons learned coaching teams from their practice.

This is an episode that all team coaches will surely not want to miss!

Listen Now


Contact Yael & Yosh: http://collaborative-coaching.com


Part 1 – Getting to Know the Team Coaches: Yael Sivi & Yosh Beier

  • Co-Founders at Collaborative Coaching – a leadership and team coaching firm based out of New York City
  • Yosh Beier is an executive coach and organizational effectiveness consultant who coaches leaders and teams to improve alignment and strategic execution while moving past human issues that interfere with individual and organizational success. He is a managing partner at Collaborative Coaching, a leadership and organizational development consultancy based in New York.
  • Yael Sivi is the cofounder of Collaborative Coaching and brings over 15 years of experience as OD consultant and executive coach. She supports leaders and organizations in creating collaborative and engaging work environments. Yael’s areas of expertise include emotional intelligence, team collaboration, and leadership development for emerging leaders. She regularly speaks publicly about integrating generational differences and team collaboration.
  • More about Yael: also a practicing Psychotherapist; 2/3 of time on team and organizational work and 1/3 spent in a private psychotherapy for individuals and couples; Gestalt psychotherapist; sees the personal and professional as two sides of the same coin.
  • More about Yosh: trained as a theoretical physicist; started doing technical consulting and kept bumping into human dynamics as what was determining success or failure; from Berlin; met a number of consultants who were trained in psychotherapist; a licensed therapist in Germany; bringing both the rational and emotional together leads to high performance.
  • Co-Founded Collaborative Coaching – tag line “we make collaboration easier;” conscious authentic interactions between human beings are the most powerful catalyst for growth;” coaching leaders (emerging as well as seasoned) as well as teams; also some culture-based work and culture change
  • Began working with Fortune 1000 firms; ran a lot of focus groups and found that top down culture change efforts didn’t really work; Yosh and Yael found that change really came about when leaders and leadership teams gained greater self-awareness and learned how to collaborate effectively; critical role that “real” leadership teams play on organizational culture and outcomes.
  • Story of working with a leadership team  using a systemic team coaching approach
  • Appreciate the work on collaboration by William Schutz on The Human Element and Jim Tamm on Radical Collaboration.
  • Critical factor that drives organizational change and performance is ability to collaborate–which for most teams especially leadership teams is hard to do.
  • Yael and Yosh’s work has shifted from more corporate Fortune 1000 clients to about 60% non-governmental and non-profit and about 40% corporate. Mission-drive organizations a bit more receptive to engaging the human dimension of organizational life.
  • Story of a bi-cultural team of German and American scientists: culture and collaboration was a challenge for them. The role of emotional maturity and individual and team effectiveness.

Part 2 – Approach to Team Coaching & Stories Coaching Teams

  • Approach to Team Coaching
    • Rational and structural aspects + a irrational and emotional aspects: both are critical; poorly defined roles are a major source of conflict in organizations
    • Systemic in approach – always do a needs assessment (qualitative interviews & quantitative surveys and assessments); Peter Block Flawless Consulting; can’t always rely on the perspective of the individuals who bring you for the engagement. Looking for how functional or dysfunctional the team is; how stuck are they?; mirroring back the data that was collective; help the team to get into what is holding them back from engaging; often coach the team leader in advance of providing the needs assessment findings; will hold 3-5 one to two day offsite sessions with the team with a few months in between each; some coaching in-between sessions; really help the teams get some homework and accountability around actions (most teams are poor at this); also some one-to-one coaching of team members as needed.
    • Force Field Analysis – what is driving the team to change and what is restraining/preventing the change; ask questions like: “What is the climate of this team?” “What is working well, where are you strong?” “Where are  you struggling, what is not working?” “If this team was working really well in 6 to 12 months, what would that look like?”
    • Role of mirroring the system back to the system itself using the needs assessment findings. Important for the team leader not to be surprised by the needs assessment findings.
    • Google’s research on high performing teams: the role of psychological safety
    • Doing 360 feedback with individual members of the team: also informs team coaching and helps the team supporting each individual team member in their respective development
    • Metaphor of an accordion: come together every quarter and then move apart and then come together again; helping the team with vulnerability; sometimes mediated conversations between two team members in between or during the quarterly sessions; e.g. helping head of marketing and head of sales communicate better through mediation
    • Role of self-awareness with linkages to organizational outcomes and performance
    • Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing phases
    • Role of conflict as an entry point into the heart of where breakthrough’s reside that can lead to high team performance: Mark Gerzon’s work on Leading Through Conflict – most teams are too hot or too cold with conflict.
  • Why Are There So Few High Performing Teams?
    • All organizations want high performing teams and collective intelligence yet high performing teams are not that common.
    • What holds teams back?
    • Short answer: there is an inner work that teams have to do that is often not happening.  The outer work is important (project management, structure, roles, goals, metrics, etc…). The inner work is often harder to move.  It’s more personal, emotional.  It gets at trust and the relationships we are co-creating.
    • Marriage analogy: Why do we have some much research on effective marriage and yet 50% of marriages are ending in divorce? Work by John Gottman on highly effective marriages.  the 5:1 ration (having 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction); the 4 horseman of the apocalypse (defensiveness, undermining, contempt, stonewalling) that undermines effectiveness.  Knowing data is important but you have to commit and be in it and practicing.
    • Role of decision making in teams – most people think they are better than average drivers.  Daniel Khaneman’s work on decision making. How our biases and irrational aspects impact our decision making.
  • Story Coaching a Team: Success and Failure
    • Story of a trump that changed to a disaster when a new team leader came on.
    • A team that had a central role in revenue generation for the organization.
    • Two-day offsite, 360 and interviews to address conflict in the team.  Was too cool and Yosh and Yael had to heat it up.  They ended up mediating conversations in pairs during the retreat given the latent conflict there.  While one was mediating the other was keeping the group engaged.
    • Team leader came to realize the need for coaching and all 6 members of the team also decided to go for one-to-one coaching.
    • They engaged the team over a number of sessions: helped then deal with roles and decision making while also doing some one-to-one work; built trust and move beyond just their functional team to see the leadership team as their 1st team (Lencioni).  They learned to disagreed but still commit.
    • The became a real team.
    • 3 team members eventually left along with the team leader who got promoted and 3 new members came on in addition to a new team leader. They needed to recycle back into Tuckman’s 4 stage however the new team leader wasn’t interested in doing ongoing team coaching work.
    • Illustrates the importance of having an organizational culture of teaming so that when team members move on there is more ability to plug and play on a number of teams more easily.
    • Lesson: the people who don’t buy into this work tend to be the ones who need it the most. Importance of buy-in with the new team leader.  An opportunity to  have more of the team involved in decision-making about the team and individual coaching moving forward than just the leader. He saw this just as an additional expense.  He was willing to spend lots of money on sales training because it seemed more directly linked to performance.
    • Over the past 5 years they have moved to working with more mission driven organizations: they are more receptive to investing than in the Fortune 1000 where there is more pushback around cost/$.
    • T7 leadership model: one dimension looks at the fit between the team leader and the team; also looks at the organizational context. Gets at why systemic team coaching is important.  Have to look at a team in relationship to its systemic context. Need to look at the Gestalt.
    • Increasing complexity and interdependence seems to be creating more ripeness in the field for systemic team coaching.

Part 3 – Parting Advice, Recommended Resources & Contacting Yosh & Yael

  • Recommended Resources:
  • Parting Advice:
    • Oracle of Delphi: Know Thyself, Know Thyself, Know Thyself.  Need to have a coach and/or a therapist to have a confidential thought partner to help mirror back what they are seeing in order to help push you to grow. Investing in yourself as a in instrument. Having an awareness practice so important.
    • Advice: Get trained as a mediator.  So many wonderful skills from a mediation training: framing, deepening, exploring issues deeper, positions vs. interests, choreography of conflict, etc…Conflict management a critical competency for team coaches.
  • Getting in touch with Yosh and Yael: http://collaborative-coaching.com
  • Closing Thoughts: Yael – authentic interactions beget extraordinary results.  It requires takes work but it really can pay off. Yosh – conscious self-aware collaborators think better, relate better and are better collective decision makers and problem-solvers.  Its not cheap. Anything worth having doesn’t come without a cost or commitment.

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