Testimonial from GL

For some time I have been working on creating a new company to commercialize solar energy technology developed at the Australian National University.  I had visited the Professor involved on two occasions while I was in Australia, but was not achieving much in terms of moving forward with the project given my many other responsibilities and activities.

The primary reason I sought Mr Gaetani’s coaching was to being more focus to the solar energy project. A second, unrelated goal, that I worked with Massimo on was to lose weight and adopt a healthier eating regime.   I found the coaching sessions extremely helpful.

For one thing, they forced me to stop, evaluate where I was, and make a short term and long term plan. They helped me to be more conscious of time passing, and to maintain a sense of urgency for my next actions. Mr Gaetani’s experience in senior roles in business also clearly helped, with suggestions and insights he could offer.

Mr Gaetani is an extremely confident, positive, and energetic person, his energy is extremely motivating especially when I was feeling negative about the project, after having suffered a setback.  Simply having someone with a senior level of experience interested in my progress, and with the time to discuss the challenges I was facing, in a confidential setting, was extremely supportive for me.   In the first six months of coaching, I pulled together the first presentations explaining the technology, worked with the Professor in Australia to perform competitive analysis against the current “industry darling” highly funded startup  competitor, and presented this information to VCs in the UK and the US. I have pulled in the services of a Stanford MBA graduate who is now working with me on a business plan. While of course I always want things to be moving faster, I am quite pleased with my progress as this is a part time activity, and this is vastly more rapid progress than before I started the coaching.   For the other goals, I have lost 6kg in weight, given up coffee, and now eat at home regularly instead of always eating out. That is a very pleasing accomplishment.

GL, high tech consultant and entepreneur – Cambridge

Posted under Testimonials

This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 16 January 2009

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Is your team performing at its top?

Is your company using teams as part of the development or sales organization?  Are your teams operating at their top performance level?  A group of people working together are not necessarily a team, particularly when they all do the same, or very similar, job in parallel with each other.  Often people introduce themselves as members of a team: but what is a team?  The book “The Wisdom of Teams” from Jon R. Ketzenbach and Douglas K Smith (Harvard Business School Press) defines a team as small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.

If we think about a football team each member has a precise role that operates in various positions on the pitch (complementary skills), have a common aim (scoring in order to win) and are mutually accountable (the team wins or looses, not the individual).  In the working environment a well performing team delivers results that are well beyond the sum of each individual.  Members of a team tend also to be more motivated, effective and focussed.

A new formed team can sometime fail to take off, particularly in the current economic climate, when the morale in many companies can be below average.   In some cases small groups of people are taken from various companies being downsized, they are put together and asked to operate as a team (for development, design, marketing, sales) from one day to the other.  In other cases a team becomes dysfunctional, due to politics, personal conflicts or friction among members: this can waste precious energy and resources causing long lasting damages for the companies where it operates.

Team coaching can offer a helping hand to ensure the prompt and effective start for a new team or the smooth continuity for a dysfunctional one.  The coach’s role is to manage and control the process and stay as much as possible out of the content, regardless of the kind of team being coached.  Fundamental steps to a successful team coaching is to concentrate and work on the team as an organism per se, avoiding details such as what should be done by each member of the team.  The output of a successful team coaching session will have to establish, to an adequate level of details, the following key factors:

  • A common purpose or mission for the team
  • A common performance goal
  • A commonly agreed working approach
  • A commonly agreed mutual accountability

In those cases when a team is run by a leader the approach to team coaching can take two fundamental directions:

  • The leader is coached together with the team as an integral part of it and for the duration of the coaching he/she has equal rights in the development of the above key outcomes.
  • Team and leader are coached separately: the latter can provide input to the team coach before hand, while following an executive coaching program to help him/her focussing on his/her key goals.

The team coach is usually an individual external to the organization although some larger companies are recruiting their own coaches or training internal personnel to be a coach.

Team coaching uses the same basic techniques and methodologies to other coaching practices while being distinct in two ways:

  • It works on the team as a whole: in some cases each individual or at least the ones causing difficulties might require one to one coaching in addition to the team activity.
  • It operates in 1-3 sessions lasting half day to a day instead of a larger number of shorter sessions.

Coaching can substantially improve the team’s and individual’s performance, having a track record of absolute minimum return on investment of 200%.  Can your company afford to keep its teams operating under their top performance?

Posted under Articles

This post was written by massimo on 15 January 2009

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