Why a Virtual Team needs a Coach?

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  • February 08, 2014

We have all seen that in sports the Team coach can make a huge difference.

Do you remember Vicente del Bosque – the Spanish national soccer coach who brought the Spanish “All Star Team“ to both European and World cup? You might also remember Otto Rehhagel (called Rehacles after Heracles) who led the Greek “No Star Team” to the European champion title.

If all players are at the same place and even passing a football or a basketball to each other – the Coach can certainly unite them, strengthen the ties and lead then to phenomenal success.

The question is what difference can a Virtual Team Coach make?

Let’s first clarify what a Virtual Team and a Virtual Team Coach actually are.

A Virtual Team is a Team of individuals located in different places – cities, countries or even continents but who share a common goal. The Virtual Team may be a Business Team – for example a large international Project Team or a Department spread across several countries. It could be a group of scientists doing Research in a specific area – collaborating and building on each other ideas. It can also be a Team in the Education sphere. We have more and more Universities offering various Distance learning – using open on-line courses to bring together thousands of students into a Virtual Team. Very often the Team members are spread across continents, time zones and cultures.

  • Do you have a Virtual Team in your Organization?
  • How do you feel in this virtual society?
  • How closely connected do you feel to your virtual co-players and Team Purpose?

Virtual Team

Let us now clarify – What is a Virtual Team Coach and why a Coach vs. Trainer or Consultant?

The Virtual Team Coach supports the Team Manager to become a successful Leader and effective “Conductor” of his/her “Virtual Orchestra”. Whilst the Consultant and Trainer mainly give ready-made answers and methods, the Coach makes sure that the Manager discovers his/her own solutions – best tailored to the reality of their Team. Via various Coaching tools and asking empowering questions, the Coach helps the Manager to discover how best to lead his/ her Team.

What are the focused areas targeted by the Virtual Coach?

  • Goal Setting – bring a healthy mix of interdependent Individual Goals (enabling everyone to “shine”) and leading smoothly a realization of Team purpose and Goal.
  • Communication – ensure everyone has the chance and is actually contributing to the Team communication through discussions, forums and knowledge management. The Coach helps the Manager to build structured & robust Communication plans catering for formal and informal aspects of communication.
  • Spotlight on Personality – since the distance in a virtual team limits informal “face to face” communication, the Leader needs to consciously promote personality i.e. spend valuable time in any rare Team face to face meetings to let people share their personal lives, hobbies etc alongside their professional strengths
  • Success – set an aspiration to reach phenomenal Team goals and provide equally breathtaking prizes & rewards. The Manager and the Coach jointly work through all the above areas in order to ensure what best fits their Team’s reality and specific challenges.

How does the Coach operate?

We all know that the Devil is in the detail.

  • The Coach makes the Manager aware of sensitivities, problematic areas and key success factors related to his specific Team.
  • He/She guides them through the unique context of Personalities and Team Purpose  – setting the goals and establishing the Comms.
  • The Coach helps to resolve conflicts and to bring the Team back on track. Those remedies cannot be anticipated in advance but can only implemented jointly by the Manager and the Coach.
  • Being aware of common patterns occurring in Virtual Teams – an experienced Virtual Coach can spot pitfalls well in advance and help to avoid them while raising the bar to aid Top Performance.

In short the Virtual Team Coach

  • Enables the Manager to be an effective Leader and Conductor of his/her own “virtual Orchestra”
  • Ensures that each Team member – being a unique “Virtuose”- performs his or her own “Personal Best”.

All this happens behind the scenes – ensuring the Manager earns the full trust and respect of the Team.

The Virtual Coach is essentially a Virtual Culture Architect ensuring the Manager’s and Team’s Satisfaction, Top Performance and Outstanding Business results.

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