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It’s 4 AM and I’m wide awake and jet-lagged in San Francisco

I have been asked as team coach to write blog for our new fantastic Team Academy site. And what is a better time to write a blog post in this nice and hectic life than at 4 AM in the morning; wide awake and jetlagged in San Francisco! I arrived two days ago and will be part of the Learning Journey as a coach for our second year students.

So, it is 4 AM in the morning and I am wide awake… Welcome to my jetlag.

I started as a team coach in August 2015 at Team Academy – first only for one of the first year teams and later on as well for one of the second year teams.

As a team coach I am responsible for the group process of a team (which on an average consists of 10 students) on learning, working and operating together as a team; all this is called team dynamics.

I have worked in corporate sales and management for ten years. Before that I had my own company. I started out by working in the recruitment industry for five years. All these years to my name does indeed make me ‘experienced’, which is exactly what I would like to write about.

I have been a trainer and coach for the last years and even got my Master Coach certificate recently, of which I am very proud!

So, experienced, right?

I would describe my task as guiding the teams in finding their own balance, qualities and strengths in what they do. The group exists of different people, with different personalities and skills. All put together, this enhances their learning in the team.

When I joined the second year students they were reading the following book together: Building Better Teams by Harvard Business Review. One of the very interesting discussions in the team was on the chapter “Building emotional intelligence of groups”.

In short, how to build an emotional intelligent groups, is by focusing on EQ as well as on IQ. “A group’s emotional intelligence is not simply the sum of its members. Instead it comes from norms that support awareness and regulations of emotions within and outside of the team. These norms build trust, identity and group efficacy. Members feel that they work better together than individually.” (p. 75)

Now, coming to the core of the group identity, I must tell you that this always strikes me. Do you know that moment of flow? That sometimes things simply fall into place? It is so fantastic to see when this happens. And yes, that is not easy, and yes this flow might not happen from the beginning, but over the years you see this happening more and more. Oiled teams working together and lifting each other up. It is a joy to see this flow being created in a team.

Part of EI (emotional intelligence) is being yourself. Being able to be yourself. Trust that what you see and feel is okay to feel and last but not least, part of the tools to work with as a coach.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the students came up to me, asking me why I always seemed so in a hurry and push topics forward. And this openness struck me. First of all, the student came to me to ask me for my motives, which I would not have dreamed of doing when I was a student. Second of all, he was right! As old habits die hard: I was working in my management mode, where according to my opinion things need to be done. So I was confronted with my own impatience!! (Thanks again for this!)

This has only been one of the many discussions I had over the last months. So the best part of being a team coach is the part where the team of students and I are learning from each other! Yes, I have more experience in work and life. But from the mirroring the students do on a daily base, I can learn valuable lessons every day!

Marjolein Bakker


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