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Team Builders Develop Business Teams by Consistent MBTI Coaching

Updated on January 25, 2015
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Deidre has a Masters in applied linguistics and translation for her 20 years overseas. She's worked as a certified provider of the MBTI®.

Business Team at Work


There is nothing more important in your organizational development than getting business teams right. One tool useful for helping teams get it right is the MBTI®, or the Myers-Briggs personality Type Inventory.

Business goals for the high performance teams of today are made in the context of new technology. The manager of twenty years ago, walking around with a clip board in hand and spoon-feeding employees instructions, cannot work in a world of data whooshing at the speed of light. Such speeds of information flow require people to function moment by moment and to make midcourse corrections in split seconds.

Business organizations in the early 1990s began to turn “departments” into “teams,” but few understood what a “business team” should look like. The self-directed group where no one was in charge did not transition a department into a real team, especially since accountability was a bad word and measured outcomes were not always important.

A Team with Constant Coaching

U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle
U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle | Source

Sports teams "have it"

Sports teams are very different from business teams. In American football, the team is trained and constantly measured.

  • They have a clear goal line—measured in yards, feet and inches.
  • Feedback is constant, with video replays, statistical analyses of plays that work and when in the game they work best.
  • Clear evaluation is a constant part throughout the sports season.
  • Successes and failures of both individual players and the team are broadcast in the news.

An NFL team has an effective coaching staff that formulates and manages the team with clear goals. The team has valued players who are trained in new skills, are taught new plays and winning strategies and are constantly coached. This professional level of the game coaches their highly paid talent with the most professional and able coaches the sports business can obtain.

Business teams do not "have it"

Business teams lack the good dynamics of sports teams. The typical business team is a group of people who have excellent resumes and were recruited and hired to report to a particular unit's business manager.

The team member who is the leader is a working part of the team, often the team's most effective producer. He or she may have little or no training in how to lead or direct a team, and usually little time to even meet with members, let alone teach them.

Time spent with a team member tends to be seen as a waste of good work time--unless it is to consider firing the team member. Then voluminous amounts of time are spent on remedial action and documentation.

Otherwise, evaluation of the business team tends to come just once a year, unless some other higher priority opportunity bumps it off the schedule. Manager and employees alike hate the process and find it unproductive, anyway. After all, such an evaluation process rarely results in a more highly functioning team.

How business teams too can "have it"

Business teams have to be formulated and managed in much the same way as a sports team, with clear goals and valued team members who receive new skills, learn new plays and winning strategies ... and are constantly coached.

You may have tried ineffective coaching before, but it did not work. Should this be the case, rather than give up on the team-coaching concept, fire your coach instead—like any effective sports team would do.

Business teams need two basic things in order to manage a highly functioning team:

  1. Coaching to train and teach the team
  2. Tools to measure team behavior

1. Coaches to train the team

Business teams—in order to be successful—must have professional coaches. Failure to provide professional coaching for the business team is just as ridiculous as it would be for an NFL team not to have an effective coaching staff, so do it right and call in the professionals.

Who: Usually, this would not be your work team leader, who has neither the time nor specific knowledge for effective professional coaching. The professionals to call in to provide the coaching are most often those external to the organization who come in and team up with your business organization's internal professionals already there in your human resources, training and/or development departments. Teams must have internal and external coaches to be effective in building team effectiveness.

When: The time to put in the call for the professional coaches is not when the team begins to have serious problems, as is the habit of business organizations. Do not wait until projects are failing and your great team members have hit a 'dysfunctionality high' as a team. This would be like a sports coach not being called in until mid-season, after a run of losing games, and finds the team has three quarterbacks throwing, one pass receiver, a couple linemen to block and a runner with a leg injury.

Team "personality" shows ways to work together better

2. Tools to assess the team

A video camera captures a sports team in action and provides feedback to the team. Business teams also need feedback. There is nothing as effective as the MBTI®—the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory—in providing feedback of the same value as what video provides to sports teams.

I use the MBTI® as the tool to turn team members into team players by helping them to gain clarity on what team position they could take that would most contribute to the team's effectiveness. Along with other assessments, research, analysis and team meeting facilitation, the MBTI® must be included as a constant way, internal to the organization, to look at team behavior and team personality.

MBTI®-facilitated sessions done by a skilled professional coach can help identify which position your team members play. For example, would this team member contribute best by managing the vision and outcome, or the detail and operation? A player on a team in an ill-fitting position can be as disastrous as a center who snaps the ball to the quarterback and is suddenly inspired to run down the field to catch the pass.

Work Types
Work Types
A guide for changing business behavior.

First, each team member takes the MBTI (available in several languages). Then individual profiles from all team members are combined to create the 16-page Team Report.

The Team Report shows your individual team member where his or her weaknesses are likely to be and how to manage them. Click here to read a sample report. You will also receive a 22-page Team Facilitator Report as a guide for the discussion leader and/or team coach to help you prepare a workshop with the professional coach(es).

This chart lists some of the types of information the MBTI® can provide.

MBTI Information for Teams

Team Member Profile
Team Report
Other Reports
Individual Strengths
Team Strengths
Communication Style
Potential Blind Spots
Team Potential Blind Spots
Stress Management
Contributions to the Team
Team Diversity & Similarities
Decision-Making Style
Suggested Action Steps
Suggested Action Steps

MBTI sessions facilitated by a skilled professional coach

Will you be looking for a local professional with MBTI coaching skills for your team?

See results

Business teams must develop into a well functioning group where each member is like a football star in his or her own right. Each team member who is functioning at his or her full potential and working for the team is driven to the shared goal or outcome, executing his or her job with excellence, like a player who executes his plays flawlessly.

Team members must know how to work together to score. They must be able to be agile and recover from disaster. This cannot happen without consistent coaching and assessments.

© 2011 Deidre Shelden


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