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March 26, 2024

Leadership Team Alignment vs Team Coaching

Categories:  Teaming
Leadership Team Alignment vs Team Coaching - 03-26-2024

"Leadership team alignment is critical to the health of an organization and the ability to get on track when starting up, during a challenging time, or after a period of dysfunction. We would argue that teamwork is the ULTIMATE competitive advantage.” – James Jackman

Did you know that a lack of alignment at the top can break trust throughout your organization? When the senior team isn't aligned because they are working in silos, working at cross purposes, or not seeing how their various functions and departments impact each other, it leaves employees to fend for themselves.

Organizational success depends on an aligned leadership team; alignment provides the strategic direction, coordination, and unity necessary to achieve sustainable growth and excellence. You can’t expect employees to perform their best when they don’t understand how their work contributes to company goals. Companies that promote collaborative working are five times as likely to be high-performing. Don’t get left behind because of chaos at the top!

What is Leadership Team Alignment vs Team Coaching?

Leadership team alignment and team coaching are strategies aimed at enhancing the performance and effectiveness of a group of individuals working together toward a common goal. While they share some similarities, they serve different purposes and involve distinct approaches.

While leadership team alignment concentrates on aligning the top leadership toward common organizational objectives, team coaching focuses on improving the performance and dynamics of a specific team within the organization (which could be the leadership team). Both approaches are essential for organizational success, as they address different levels and aspects of collaboration and effectiveness within the company.

Leadership Team Alignment

Leadership team alignment focuses on ensuring that the top leadership of an organization or a specific department is on the same page regarding the organization's vision, goals, priorities, and strategies. The primary goal is to foster cohesion, collaboration, and unity among leaders, ensuring they all work toward the same overarching objectives.Senior executives and leaders are brought together by a leadership team alignment consultant to align their understanding, perspectives, and actions toward achieving common objectives. Strategic planning sessions, goal-setting meetings, and discussions aimed at clarifying roles, responsibilities, and expectations among the leadership team members are common tools for achieving leadership team alignment.

Consequences of a Misaligned Leadership Team

When a leadership team is misaligned, it can have significant consequences for the organization as a whole. One immediate consequence is a lack of clarity and direction, as conflicting priorities and divergent perspectives among leaders can lead to confusion regarding the organization's goals and strategies. This ambiguity can trickle down throughout the organization, causing uncertainty among employees and hindering their ability to focus on key priorities. Without a unified vision and direction from leadership, employees may feel disengaged, demotivated, and unsure of how their work contributes to the organization's broader objectives.

Misalignment among leaders can also result in inefficiencies and missed opportunities. When leaders are not on the same page, decision-making processes can become sluggish, as disagreements and debates prolong the process of reaching a consensus. This delay can impede the organization's ability to respond swiftly to changes in the market or capitalize on emerging opportunities, putting it at a competitive disadvantage. Moreover, misaligned leaders may inadvertently send mixed messages to employees, leading to inconsistency in policies, procedures, and expectations, which can further disrupt operations and erode trust in leadership.

Another consequence of a misaligned leadership team is increased conflict and dysfunction within the organization. When leaders are not aligned, it can create factions or power struggles within the leadership team, with different individuals or groups vying for influence and control. This internal discord can spill over into other parts of the organization, exacerbating interpersonal conflicts, undermining teamwork, and creating a toxic work environment. As a result, employee morale and satisfaction may suffer, leading to higher turnover rates and difficulties in attracting and retaining top talent.

Addressing misalignment within the leadership team requires open communication, collaboration, and a commitment to shared goals and values. This approach ensures leaders work together effectively to steer the organization toward success.

Team Coaching

    The purpose of team coaching is to improve the performance and effectiveness of a specific team within an organization, typically an “intact” team - a team that exclusively works together for a shared purpose or task, usually in a broader organizational context. Team Coaching takes an even deeper approach to Team Alignment, requiring a desire for greater personal and professional learning about one’s leadership and teaming behaviors and the specific dynamics within a team that can be harnessed and enhanced. Team Coaching requires a strong commitment from each team member towards the team as a whole and each of the team members. The coaching is focused on the power, purpose, and potential of that team, what the team as a whole wants to learn about itself and each member, and how to better align the team members towards the team’s shared purpose. The primary goal of team coaching is to build a high-performing team that can achieve its goals efficiently, adapt to changes, and continuously improve its performance over time. According to a study by Stanford University, teams that happily collaborate are typically more productive and are less likely to look elsewhere for employment.

    The team coach works with the team as a whole to enhance collaboration, communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and overall team dynamics. Typically, the coach facilitates discussions, provides feedback, and guides team members through exercises and interventions to address challenges and maximize their collective potential.

      Consequences of a Misaligned Team

      When a workplace team is not aligned, several consequences can arise, impacting both the team's performance and the organization as a whole. One significant consequence is a lack of clarity and direction, as team members may have different understandings of goals, priorities, and expectations. This ambiguity can lead to confusion, inefficiency, and duplicated efforts, as individuals may work toward conflicting objectives or fail to coordinate their actions effectively.

      Additionally, a lack of alignment can erode trust and collaboration within the team, as members may feel disconnected or unsupported by their colleagues. This breakdown in teamwork can hinder communication, erode morale, and contribute to interpersonal conflicts, further impeding productivity and hindering innovation.

      Moreover, when a team is not aligned, it becomes more challenging to adapt to changes or overcome obstacles, as there is no unified approach or shared sense of purpose to guide decision-making and problem-solving. Ultimately, the consequences of a workplace team that is not aligned can include decreased productivity, increased turnover, and compromised organizational performance, highlighting the importance of fostering alignment among team members to drive success and effectiveness.

      The Heffelfinger Company Can Help!

      Improve cross-enterprise collaboration and make smarter decisions with less stress by improving leadership team alignment. Our experienced coaches specialize in facilitating and coaching open communication, building trust, and aligning leadership teams and other teams within the organization to enhance collaboration, decision-making, and overall performance. With our guidance, your leadership team can overcome challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and lead your organization to greater success in today's dynamic business environment. Ask us how!


      Lori & James

        Lori Heffelfinger &  James Jackman


      Adrienne Sanders. What is the secret to a happy collaboration? 3/25/2014. Accessed 3/15/2024.

      Georgina Woudstra: Mastering the Art of Team Coaching. Published 2021 Team Coaching Press

      Christine Thornton: Group and Team Coaching - the Secret life of Groups. 2nd Edition 2016 Routledge

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