Using NLP and Coaching to Build Successful Teams (3)

At this point it is helpful to clarify that Team Building exercises consist of a variety of tasks designed to develop team members and their ability to work together effectively.

For the purposes of this article we have chosen to focus our attention on the first and fifth characteristics of successful teams:

  • Successful teams have a common vision, and mission statement, based on team values
  • Successful teams offer each other feedback and acknowledgement

The latter contributing significantly to the fourth characteristic

  • Successful teams communicate effectively with each other

We have selected these particular characteristics of successful teams as we believe, based on our experience of working with teams, that development in these areas has the greatest leverage, the greatest impact in terms of empowering teams and their members.

Using NLP and Coaching to Build Successful Teams (2)

If your current experience of being part of a team is falling short of your expectations, the following self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why

The questions below correlate to the eight characteristics of successful teams listed in an earlier article. ‘Yes’ answers indicate that a team exhibits a particular characteristic while ‘No’ answers suggest an area where a team might focus its team building efforts.

Successful Teams Trouble Shooting Checklist

Does your team have a common vision, or mission statement, based on team values?

Do you and other team members understand why you are participating on the team?

Do you and other team members understand your team’s vision?

Do you feel the team’s vision is important?

Is your team’s vision based on shared values?

Do you and other team members feel sufficiently empowered to accomplish the team’s vision?

Do you and other team members understand where your work fits in the total context of the organization’s vision and values?

Does your team share common goals and take action to move towards these?

Do you feel responsible and accountable for team achievements?

Do you and other team members hold each other accountable for results?

Are rewards and recognition supplied when you and co-workers are successful?

Can you define your team’s importance in relation to the accomplishment of the organization’s goals?

Do you and other team members understand where your work fits in the total context of the organization’s goals?

Does your team demonstrate commitment to excellence?

Do you want to participate on the team?

Are you committed to excellence?

Is your team committed to excellence?

Are you and other team members committed to accomplishing the team vision and goals?

Do you expect your skills to grow and develop on the team?

Are you excited and challenged by the team opportunity?

Does your team communicate effectively with each other?            

Do you and other team members communicate effectively with team leaders?

Are you clear about the priority of your tasks?

Do you and the other members of your team offer each other feedback and acknowledgement?

Do you and other team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other?

Do you and other team members feel there is a sense of genuine appreciation among the team?

Do you and other team members have an established method to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback?

Does your team collaborate / co-operate effectively to solve problems?

Do you and other members of your team work together effectively?

Do you and other members of your team approach goal setting and problem solving jointly?

Do you and other team members cooperate to accomplish the team vision?

Do you and the other members of your team identify and utilize the strengths of team members?

Do you and others team members feel that you have the knowledge, skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed?

If not, do you have access to the help you need?

Do you and other team members feel you have the resources and support needed to accomplish your vision?

Do you and other team members feel that you have the appropriate people participating on the team?

Do you and the other team members have a clear understanding of their role within the team and of others’ expectations?

Do you and other team members understand why your team was created?

Do you and other team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members and team leaders?

Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for your team’s performance and expected outcomes?

Focus your team building efforts, spend time and attention, on areas where you have answered negatively to ensure that you contribute most effectively to your team, and that your team contributes most effectively to the overall success.              

Using NLP and Coaching to Build Successful Teams (1)

Have you ever worked on a team that was dysfunctional, inefficient, or ineffective?

How did your experience contrast with the characteristics of teams of successful teams previously discussed?

“A major reason capable people fail to advance is that they don’t work well with their colleagues.”

– Lee Iacocca

Story: The Sales and Marketing Rugby Analogy Story (for teams, motivation, team-building, departmental cooperation, training, public speaking)

A consultant was asked to give a talk at a sales conference. The CEO asks him to focus on the importance of cooperation and teamwork between the sales and marketing teams, since neither group has a particularly high regard for the other, and the lack of cohesion and goodwill is hampering effectiveness and morale. The marketing staff constantly moan about the sales   people ‘doing their own thing’ and ‘failing to follow central strategy'; and   the sales people say that the marketing people are all ‘idle theorists who   waste their time at exhibitions and agency lunches’ and have ‘never done a   decent day’s work in their lives’.

Being a lover of rugby, the consultant decides to use the analogy of  a rugby team’s forwards and backs working together to achieve the best team performance:

“……So, just as in the game of rugby, the forwards, like the marketing department, do the initial work to create the platform and to make   the opportunities, and then pass the ball out to the backs, the sales   department, who then use their skills and energy to score the tries. The   forwards and the backs, just like marketing and sales, are each good at what   they do: and they work together so that the team wins…” said the consultant, finishing his talk.

The audience seemed to respond positively, and the conference broke   for lunch. At the bar the consultant asked one of the top sales-people what   he’d thought of the analogy – had it given him food for thought?

“Yes, I see what you mean,” said the salesman, “It   does make sense. The sales people – the backs, yes? – the backs need the   marketing department – the forwards, yes? – to make the opportunities for us,   so that we, the backs, can go and score the tries – to win the business. We work   together as a team – each playing our own part – working as a team.”

The consultant beamed and nodded enthusiastically, only to be utterly dashed when the salesman added as an afterthought,

“I still think our forwards are a bunch of wankers…”

Excerpt taken from

The above example clearly illustrates that it can be difficult to get people to co-operate, work in harmony, and synchronize their efforts, but it is possible!

It is important to realize however, whatever your role within your organization, that team building is not a single event. To the contrary it can be a lengthy process and one that requires an ongoing commitment from leadership, management and all team members.

Be prepared! Expect the team building process to last longer than a single event

The Benefits of Building a Successful Team



Why is being a team player / team work important?

Why is it important to develop teams?

Effective teams are motivated, more productive and able to contribute more to the overall success of the organization

Empowered team members will “own” and be responsible for their work processes. Individual team members are self-aware (particularly of their strength and weaknesses). They are able to successfully manage their state, and are willing to take responsibility for their results

 Makes team members’ overall experience of the workplace more enjoyable

What is Team Building?

People in every workplace talk about ‘my team’, ‘working as a team’ and ‘building the team’, and yet few of us understand how to actively create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. The aim of this article is to provide you with some key team building tools and strategies that will enable you to be a more valuable team builder.

When utilized the team building tools and strategies presented in this workshop will enable you contribute positively to your teams AND to become a more effective team builder, should that be part of your job description.

Please note any characteristics you might notice relating to successful teamwork while watching the video.

Soccer  on the Seas: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The video is  based on a true story about a 1986 soccer team that lived on a little island   in the south of Thailand called Koh Panyee. The film features local children  who tell the story of the original team members.Koh Panyee is a floating village in the middle of the sea that doesn’t have an inch of soil. The boys loved to watch football but had no playing field to practice. Did they let that stop them? No. Inspired by the World Cup, they built their own field out of scrap lumber and didn’t let the exposed nails limit their play. Playing on a fast, small surface, the boys learned to play, and play well. The team established a soccer tradition that continues today for this small village. The Koh Panyee team is one of the most successful in the Thai league.

How did this team work well together?

Having watched the video, which aspect of your ability to work in a team are you keen to develop?

Successful teams and their members:

  • Have a common vision, or mission statement, based on team values.

One of the boys in the video has an idea (in this instance at least he was the leader); that he and his friends should start their own football team. He communicated the vision and the rest of his friends followed him thus forming a team. All of the boys shared and understood the vision; they knew what they were working together for. Their vision was based on one of their highest values, on what was important to them, their love of soccer.

  • Share common goals and take action to move towards these.

Once they had decided to start a football team the boys set their sights on a common goal; to be World Champions. To say that they took action to move towards their goal is truly an understatement.

  • Demonstrate commitment to excellence.

Successful teams are committed to excellence and this commitment is held throughout the team and at every level. Their goal is to achieve at the highest level in everything they do. The boys in the video are committed to excellence from the outset as demonstrated by the fact that they met after school to construct their floating pitch.

  • Communicate effectively with each other

The boys in the video are talking to each other all of the time, when they are constructing their ‘pitch’ and when they are both practicing and playing soccer. It is evident that they are helping one another out and encouraging one another.

  • Offer each other acknowledgement and feedback

All through the “game,” successful teams appreciate one another and show it in a variety of ways. In the video the boys show it to one another, encouraging one another and telling each other how they can make changes so the same mistakes aren’t made again.

  • Collaborate / co-operate effectively to solve problems

The boys worked closely together to overcome a number of obstacles: firstly, they overcame the fact that there was insufficient space for them to practice or play in Koh Paynee by constructing a floating pitch and, secondly, they removed their football boots during the match when they became wet, finding that they played better in bare feet.

  • Identify and utilize the strengths of team members.

Every team member has strengths and weaknesses. One member’s strengths will cover another’s weakness. This is teamwork, enabling all of the bases to be covered. In soccer, some players are suited to play in defense, while others play in mid field or attack. Successful teams are those that enable members to operate out of their strengths, rather than their weaknesses, on a regular and consistent basis.

  • Individual team members have a clear understanding of their role within the team and of others’ expectations.

The boys in the video had clearly defined roles; playing in either defense, mid field or in attack. Every team works best when the members of the team have clearly defined roles. Some do one thing, others do another. One isn’t better or more important than the other, just different. When teams operate out of their strengths and their roles, they win.

 A team that has a shared vision based on team values, shared goals, that is committed to excellence, communicates effectively, collaborates, acknowledges and gives feedback, operates out of its combined strength and has clearly defined roles = an effective team = a successful team

‘None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.’

Mother Theresa

The secret to getting things done lies not only in great leadership, but in how well the rest of the people, 99% of the team, follows the leadership. Good teams are filled with people who are committed to following and getting the job done.

The ability to work successfully together as a team, despite, or perhaps because of individual differences, can come down to preparation through education and training.

Teambuilding: How to Build Successful Teams


i. Workshop Outline

The workshop is designed to equip participants with basic tools for successful team building. It will address the following topics:

  • The features of successful teams;
  • The benefits of building successful teams;
  • Characteristics of Successful Teams
  • Tools and strategies for effective team building, including elicitation of team values;
  • How to write a mission statement based on team values;
  • Goals, Actions and Accountability;
  • Tools and strategies for effective communication;
  • Tools and strategies for delivering effective feedback;
  • Tools and strategies for offering acknowledgement;
  • Guidelines for leaders;
  • Contributing to your teams on a daily basis.

ii. Timetable of Sessions

This workshop is one day in duration, separated into five topics.

Duration Title
45 mins 1. What is team building?
15 mins 2. The benefits of building successful teams
3 hours 3. How to Build Successful Teams
1.5 hours 4. Effective Communication; Feedback and acknowledgement
1 hour 5. Guidelines for Leaders
30 mins 6. Contributing to your teams on a daily basis

iii. Format

This workshop is designed by Pam Rigden, the drafter having over ten years’ experience in the presentation, facilitation and design of workshops, seminars and learning programs. The workshop and proposed ongoing learning initiatives are based on principles outlined in:

  • Principles, tools and strategies of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The drafter has certifications in both NLP and Master Practitioner of NLP and
  • Susi Strang’s ‘NLP Trainer’s Training Certification’ which focuses on heightening learning through interactive methodology.

Overall, this workshop follows the ‘4-mat system’ of:

(i)          defining the principle (what);

(ii)         how it is important to participants (why);

(iii)        clear and demonstrated tools and  strategies (how); and

(iv)        participants’ interaction and questioning (what if).

This workshop is highly interactive and contains relatively few PowerPoint (instances where PowerPoint is used are noted throughout these notes).

Careful consideration was given to the amount of handouts that will be distributed to participants, given environmental considerations. Key concepts and tools are outlined in handouts, for ease of reference for participants both during the workshop and for their ongoing development.

iv. References



Training & Training Publications:

NLP Trainer’s Training Certification

– Manual, Susi Strang and Associates, 2003

NLP Master Practitioner Certification Training

– Manual, Susi Strang and Associates, 2003




Business Balls

Modern Jedi

Leadership Tools


Divide or Conquer: How Great Teams Turn Strength into Conflict

Diana McLain Smith

2008, Portfolio

Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life

Laura Whitworth et al

2007, Davies Black Publishing

v. Key

The trainer’s notes contain a detailed outline of the content and format of this workshop. The workshop consists of examples/stories, handouts, activities and tools/strategies designed to fulfill individual learning needs of the participants.






NB The Trainer’s Notes for this 1 Day Team Building Workshop will be available for sale in September.