The flexibility you have as COO to assemble teams who work on projects virtually has exploded in recent years. It has even accelerated dramatically due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and a greater percentage of the workforce logging on to Zoom and other technology platforms for much of their workdays.
Modern COOs are recognizing that time otherwise required for travel (not all team members are necessarily located in the same real-world office) and meeting preparation can be focused directly on coaching activities. It’s a double-edged sword, though, in that virtual teams, lacking personal connections can either:
- Benefit from spontaneity.
- Suffer from lack of goal alignment.
SAGE COOs Can Overcome the Challenges of Virtual Meetings
Size of team: Beyond 6 participants, it is often difficult to moderate an unwieldy, larger group.
Avoid Multitasking by participants working remotely, as it alters the perception of a group coaching session compared with typical “conference calls.”
Geography: Various time zones mean one person’s mid-day is early morning for some and quitting time for others.
Equipment and Technology: Ensuring consistency and strength of Internet signal availability, desktop computers versus smartphone views of screen shares that affect peoples’ ability to absorb information are critical for effective team coaching.
What Matters Most in Team Coaching
“Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you." - John Robert Wooden, known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” was a head coach for the UCLA Bruins, 10-time winner of the NCAA National Championship. He elucidated his Pyramid of Success philosophy in books and countless speeches.
Personalizing sessions bring participants into the discussion. They are less apt to think of online coaching as a job requirement and more likely to gain actionable insights into their own behaviors. When connecting on Zoom, effective COOs don’t dive right into the material. Instead, they touch base, on a personal level, learning about employees’ off-work hobbies and family lives. In group sessions, others will recognize commonalities with their co-workers, transforming the experience of being coached to one that is happily shared with peers.
In order to set guard rails on training sessions, ask people what will cause this coaching to truly be a valuable use of their time. People will answer naturally because their input is being requested, and they only stand to gain by sharing with their coach what they hope to learn and accomplish.
There’s nothing worse for an online meeting than for participants to feel as though they can’t escape. In the real world, people stop, occasionally, to stretch their legs, check emails, return quick phone calls, etc. Just because you’ve convened a group online doesn’t mean that their bodily rhythm needs don’t need a break in the action.
Likewise, within the format of an online meeting, don’t be the long-winded talking head. The best COOs use:
- Whiteboards to illustrate points and take the camera view off themselves.
- Digital polls to include everyone’s responses and check the group’s interest level.
- Break out chat rooms to more deeply explore particular topics, etc.
- Silence, constructively, as part of normal human discussion. If people are drifting from the conversation, these pauses can bring them back.
Trust Well Network has developed our Core Motivation Analysis as a simple to use system that helps COOs analyze countless team members. The tool enables you to use assessment results for assembling teams. As you place people in the most appropriate roles for effective teamwork, your coaching can fill in the blanks and strengthen the effort.