The "process roles" in team meetings

Giuseppe Ando
I
3
min read
The "process roles" in team meetings

If in executive coaching the one-to-one relationship between the coach and the coachee facilitates the reading of roles, in team coaching it is not uncommon for misunderstandings and misunderstandings to arise. Team members often expect the coach to manage their processes and give the coach the role of leader.

In a certain sense, it could be said that the team abdicates in favor of an external element to which all methodological and, sometimes, even content decisions are left. To the extent that such an attitude can reveal an established trend, it can be assumed that if a team delegates the responsibility for redesigning its processes to the team leader, it can do the same with all other responsibilities that belong to it. 

There is a "passivity" risk of the team, which makes meetings sterile and unproductive. It is precisely during the meetings that the coach can help the team, implementing new and more effective behavioral interactions that remain constant even after the team coaching path. If team behavior and interfacing evolve within meetings, this evolution affects all aspects of the team's existence. Part of team coaching can, therefore, consist of gradually helping team members to collectively own the process and content management within their meetings. 

The strategy is the classic one of coaching, that is, it consists in allowing teams to manage their own processes rather than having them hired by the coach or the leader. During all phases of team coaching, teams must: that is, it consists in allowing teams to manage their own processes rather than having them hired by the coach or the leader. During all phases of team coaching, teams must: that is, it consists in allowing teams to manage their own processes rather than having them hired by the coach or the leader. During all phases of team coaching, teams must:

  1. Knowing how to manage their time;
  2. Self-moderate and self-facilitate;
  3. Knowing how to define one's goals;
  4. Knowing how to evaluate one's own results;
  5. Make their own decisions;
  6. Manage your resources.

Once the dynamics of the meeting have consolidated and the team is sufficiently autonomous, the coach can carve out some support roles, to be reassigned, later, to the same team. For example, a coach can help the team manage their time by marking the elapsed and remaining minutes at the end of the meeting at fixed intervals. This role is usually indicated by the English term " pacer ". Pacing information allows team members to keep track of their time and stay focused on their goals. 

At the end of the meeting, it is useful for the coach to solicit feedback on the usefulness of  pacing and ask team members if they intend to take responsibility for managing their own time in future meetings. This simple way of introducing  "process roles" can be implemented in any team. Once a certain role is managed by one of the team members, the team coach can limit himself to critical support, to make the same role more and more consistent with the needs of the team. It is very important that a role is not permanently assigned to the same person, but that, in turn, everyone covers all the roles. 

This role rotation will help each team member, and the system as a whole, develop a collective responsibility to make all meetings productive. Beyond the "decision synthesis" function, left to the team leader, some of the key roles that a team coach can establish during meetings are the following:

  • The moderator or facilitator  helps the team to manage the correct circularity of the contributions and is focused on the interface processes between the team members.
  • The pacer , illustrated in the example above, is all about the efficient management of time and pace by the team. 
  • The  decision driver  focuses on managing the team's decisions. This role consists of keeping the team constantly focused on making decisions and reporting them in a report or other document for appropriate follow-up.
  • The  meeting coach , who is not the team coach, at the end of the meeting offers each of the individual team members ideas for individual reflection on how to improve their contribution in future meetings. It is essential that the role of "meeting coach" be delegated to each of the team members in turn.

The first time team members find themselves in a "process role" they may feel distressed. In addition, they may feel on the sidelines of the meeting, because they are totally absorbed by the task assigned to them. This difficulty gradually disappears as learning progresses.

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