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As with individual clients, the relationship coach will design the alliance with the client in a collaborative fashion. In Relationship Systems Coaching, however, the designed alliance takes on a different complexity because the clients need to be coached to design an alliance with each other first. This is called Designing the Team Alliance (DTA). Since the system is the client, the first step is to get clear about expectations and agreements between players in the system. It is that DTA that the coach then will align within the Coaching agreement.
In creating the DTA, partners (team members or couples) openly discuss what it is that they want for their relationship or culture; how it is that they want it to feel, and what values they want the culture to express. The partners’ attention during this time should not be on how they want OTHER to be, but more on how THEY can commit to being and what is trying to happen for them and their relationship.
This element creates the foundational platform from which all other work will occur. In designing the team alliance, the coach helps the system members begin to find alignment on the purpose and “ground rules” for the coaching. In addition, they are taking the first steps in consciously designing their culture and being responsible for maintaining that culture. Designing the Team Alliance (DTA) is a powerful tool. Research clearly shows that increasing the positivity in a team also increases productivity(Fredrickson & Losada, 2005).
It also suggests that teams that create clear conflict and decision-making protocols do better than teams without those agreements (Guttman, 2008). The DTA provides the structures to help teams and couples get clear about their agreements. In consciously wrestling with these questions the team or pair increases their cohesion and alignment. Once the system has formed its alliance, the coach has an integrated system with which to form the coaching alliance.
These agreements are the behavioural expression of the culture the team wants to create. For this reason, it is also helpful to ask “How would you know you had that?” as we do in the DTA questions. The DTA is not only a tool for the initial session; it can also be used by teams and partnerships for any upcoming event. For example, a company may design around a move, meeting or merger. A DTA is a living agreement that should be reviewed and updated as circumstances change. It is a relationship systems tool to be used on a daily basis in all relationships.
Finally, it is critical that the DTA is posted where it can be seen by the whole team on a regular basis and that it is abided by. A DTA is only effective if it is honoured. The team should be challenged to live by the agreements set out in the DTA.
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He is one of the top 5 in the Agile community to have achieved the dual credential of Professional Coach (PCC) & Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). A software technologist and an SME in Agile Software Development with 20+ years of experience, Jerry is passionate about building hyper-productive teams which help organizations in their quest for Agility and Digital Transformation in today’s VUCA world.WhatsApp Us