Category Archives: Virtual Teams

Coaching Virtual Teams

Image result for online meetings

Because of globalization and business projects that often span across the country or across the globe, coaching virtual teams can bring its own set of challenges. Here are some guidelines for effectively coaching a virtual team:

1. Develop a common focus or purpose that aligns with the organizational goals. This includes clarifying tasks, processes and milestones to ensure team and individual accountability.

2. Create a unique identity for the entire team such as a special name for the team, a logo, or a Facebook page that defines the overall team purpose.

3. Establish communication guidelines for the team. Be clear and disciplined about how the team will communicate given the dispersed locations of team members. For instance, holding team meetings at the same day and time each week provide some structure for all team members.

4. Establish frequent individual connections with each of your team members to show your engagement and involvement with them as individuals. This could include using Facetime or Skype to communicate with them.

5. Provide constructive feedback both to individuals and the team through regular virtual coaching sessions. Holding regular virtual team building exercises keeps the team engaged and helps to create a productive and fun environment.

6. Clarify and track individual and team commitments through project management software like Basecamp, Work Zone and Wrike , so everyone on the team can see how their efforts link with the rest of the overall project.

7. Be available after regular business hours for questions or concerns. Different time zones make this critically important.

Remember, coaching virtual teams brings both challenges and opportunities to connect in different ways. Effective coaches understand that frequent communication is critical to the success of the team and its goals.

Learning Dynamics’ popular “Managing Virtual Teams’ webinar expands upon these topics.

Building “Virtual” Teamwork : More than Clear E-mail

Virtual Team – By Robert Day, Learning Dynamics Consultant

What is your attitude about remote teamwork? In your view, is a remote team just a poor substitute for a team located together? Are the tools of instant internet communication just a replacement for face-to-face contact?  Do you see your main challenge in managing distance workers or telecommuters as a matter of keeping them from being unproductive? If you answered “yes” to any and all of those questions, I’ll say first that yours is a common reaction. Many view virtual leadership as a half-empty glass (at best).

We’ve had the tools of remote wireless communication available for almost 30 years, but managers and leaders in all types of organizations are still struggling.  Building effective teams and developing productive management styles with telecommuting, dispersed, mobile, and overseas colleagues requires skill and a plan.

I’d like to suggest that when it comes to managing virtual teams, effectiveness starts by seeing dispersed locations not as obstacles, but as opportunities to build bridges.  Jeff Edinger argues in his Harvard Business Review blog that remote workers are more focused, more committed, and more disciplined than groups that are “co-located” (in the same location).

There is an “if” to that: if the teams have effective leadership.  Effective remote leaders have learned how to develop focus, accountability, and creativity with their colleagues. They know how to motivate them, and how to make best use of all their communication tools.  Most of all, they have learned how to build trust and commitment.

When it comes to managing virtual teams, then, the glass is a lot more than half full.  If you approach your remote management responsibilities with that attitude, you’ve made the best possible start to effectively leading your virtual team.

Many strategies and techniques for leading virtual teams have emerged, largely through trial and error (or success!). Learning Dynamics offers an online module, Managing Virtual Teams, that covers the best of these. Let Learning Dynamics help you maximize the effectiveness of your company’s virtual teams.