Introduction: Alexander Caillet is renowned for his pioneering approach to team coaching and his state of mind research with organisational Leaders. He is an organisational psychologist, consultant, executive coach and team coach, working internationally. Alexander is CEO of Corentus, a coaching and consulting organisation dedicated to transforming teams. He is also faculty at Georgetown University, He is a frequent international speaker on subjects such as change, Teams, Team Coaching and Leadership. Alexander has co-authored a mini book called Corentus Team Coaching, a fascinating read. Alexander is a dual citizen of France and the US and he lives in Boston with his wife and 3 beautiful daughters.
Podcast episode summary: In this episode Alexander Caillet communicates with enormous clarity & passion his approach to team coaching, the power of this methodology and the gift it can afford teams and organisations especially in answer to our VUCA world. Alexander describes the company’s approach to team interventions, the models he deploys and the role of the team coach. He shares many vignettes to illuminate the power of team coaching and how by way of this work the teams work is sustainable.
Noteworthy points of discussion
- Alexander Caillet saw the power of Group Dynamics in his studies at Columbia University and he wanted to bring this power into his work with teams.
- Team Coaching is the product of integrating a real time approach in group dynamics in a business or organisational setting with the team is doing its work so that they can adapt and get at improved performance
- Teams and groups today are brought into the work using tools to support the building of team charters, defining a purpose, clarifying goals understanding roles etc. but they stumble on communication, trust and respect and although we have tools for these ideas they are seemingly insufficient when the team is back in the workplace.
- The real translation of those tools around communication trust, psychological safety happens in the moment when the team has a breakdown back at work and they can see how to navigate these issues with real time coaching.
- There is almost an implicit assumption at work on teams that “we don’t do that kind of work it is too dangerous” but group dynamics in terms of norms/patterns/outcome are unavoidable and without it we lose opportunity to get a HPTs.
- There is a role with teams for Team Facilitation, Team Building, Team Teaching and Consulting and there is also room for Team Coaching.
- Corentus offers a customised approach that is a combination of all four modalities
- Team Coaching is an engagement over time sometime a year-that allows for team observation and analysis of its processes and patterns to further sustained difference
- Corentus employs a definitive model to support teams engage with their work: The model is described as Sensing/Being/Making moves.
- Being describes the way a Coach shows up-important to be fit for the work as this work is not for the faint of heart-essential to be grounded and to understand triggers – being calm and clear gets noticed and helps the team
- Sensing is about gathering data either quantitatively or qualitatively and then feeding it back to the team in a neutral manner . Corentus uses many tools but important to them is the idea of the relationship between norms/patterns and outcomes or the OPN model – all teams have patterns laid down by norms, assumptions and beliefs that generate definitive outcomes
- Making Moves is about using the data in the various domains of decision making/accountability etc for difference
- Having data and asking powerful questions in the moment when the team is doing its work can often be a real turning point for a team and the real value of Team Coaching
- We walk into systems very quickly and often we become blind or go native to the system we are in. Team Coaching allows us to pause and notice and ask the team to do the same- to notice what is happening, what patterns are emerging and what needs to be changed if anything?
- Important to this work is Leadership Coaching in addition to working with the Leader and team publicly, Corentus will work with the Leader and their impact offline over time.
- We are living in a VUCA world
- Volatility represents the relentless speed & pace of change, Uncertainty meaning things are harder to predict, Complexity making things difficult to analyse and Ambiguity making things harder to interpret.
- VUCA drives a lot of overwhelm.
- Corentus and Alexander sees a real need for teams to focus, for teams to invest time together, to come together to work things out.
- Alexander sees the work of Team Coaches as instrumental and of value in this VUCA world if we can transfer the knowledge and skills we use with teams so that they can sense/be and make moves for themselves.
- Alexander shared a powerful story of work with a with a well-known NGO and how his approach and models supported the Executive Team of this entity ultimately make decision four times faster than they ordinarily were able to do. This ability and skill learnt over time was of enormous value when in reality the NGO was faced with a humanitarian crisis after the Tsunami in 2008.
- Alexander is intent on building Corentus Globally , writing and speaking more, stepping out of delivery and having an impact in terms of increased global collaboration and collective intelligence . I wish him all the success in these endeavours
Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation
- Introduction to Corentus Team Coaching by Alexander Caillet and Amy Yeager