5 Team Building Activities to Build Coaching and Mentoring Skills

Foster professional development with team building coaching and mentoring activities. Here are 5 engaging and interactive ideas to get you started.

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One of the most effective ways to foster a culture of continuous learning and development is by investing in coaching and mentoring skills within your team. Not only do these skills empower individuals to reach their full potential, but they also contribute to a supportive and collaborative work environment where everyone thrives.

In this article, we'll explore five team development activities designed to cultivate coaching and mentoring skills. Whether you're a senior member looking to strengthen your team's coaching culture or trying to encourage other team members to learn from their peers, these activities will inspire collaboration, creativity, and continuous professional and personal growth.

Encourage team members to learn coaching strategies and mentoring skills with the following activities:

1. Role Reversal Exercise

A role reversal activity encourages participants to step into each other's shoes, fostering a more inclusive and understanding workplace culture. It also builds a deeper understanding of team members' challenges and responsibilities, which can add value to mentoring relationships. Here's how it works:

• Assign each participant to assume the role of one of their teammates, either based on current positions or hypothetical roles relevant to the session's focus.
• Introduce a scenario conducive to role-play, such as acting out each other’s job functions, discussing contrasting viewpoints, or making decisions from alternative perspectives.
• Allow participants to engage in the role-play scenario, encouraging them to fully immerse themselves in their assigned roles.
• Following the activity, facilitate a discussion where participants share their experiences and insights gained from the role reversal exercise.

Debrief Questions:

• How did assuming a different role influence your perspective? What insights did you gain?
• Explore the impact of this activity on communication and collaboration within the team. Did it enhance understanding and empathy?
• Drawing from this experience, consider what adjustments or improvements you can make to your leadership approach. How can you apply these insights to mentorship and team coaching moving forward?

2. Group Problem-Solving Activities

Group problem-solving activities, like a Virtual Escape Quest from Confetti, cultivate team coaching and mentoring skills within your virtual team with some engaging fun in the process. To escape in time, players must collaborate, communicate, and strategise effectively, mirroring real-world scenarios where problem-solving skills are essential. Here are some benefits of this virtual team building activity:

• It promotes collaboration and teamwork by requiring participants to leverage each other's strengths and expertise to solve complex puzzles and overcome obstacles.
• This collaboration builds a sense of camaraderie and trust among team members, which are foundational elements of successful coaching and mentoring dynamics.
• Virtual escape rooms provide a safe and supportive environment for teams to practise decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills, and identify improvement areas

Debrief Questions:

• How did the team approach problem-solving and decision-making throughout the activity?
• What strengths did each team member bring to the table, and how did these contribute to the team’s success?
• Reflecting on your team’s communication during the challenge, what strategies were effective, and what could be improved upon?
• Did any particular roles of leadership styles emerge within the team? How did these impact your team’s performance?

3. Shadowing Projects

Pair your employees with specific shadowing projects related to their roles and responsibilities. Shadowing projects give mentees the chance to observe and learn from experienced professionals, and mentors can refine their coaching and leadership abilities by guiding and supporting their mentees through real-world challenges and scenarios.

Shadowing Projects:

• Break down silos and promote cross-generational collaboration and knowledge sharing.
• Offer a safe and supportive environment for mentees to explore new roles, responsibilities, and career paths.
• Contribute to talent development and succession planning efforts by identifying and nurturing emerging leaders and high-potential employees.

Debrief Questions:

• What were the most valuable insights or experiences gained during the shadowing project?
• How did the shadowing experience impact your understanding of different roles or departments within the organisation?
• Reflecting on your interactions with your mentor/mentee, what communication strategies were effective, and what could be improved upon?
• Did the shadowing project reveal any areas for skill development or professional growth? If so, how do you plan to address them?

4. Peer-to-Peer Lunch and Learns   

Peer-to-peer Lunch and Learn activities encourage employees to practise their presentation and coaching skills in a casual and supportive environment. Here's how you can plan these activities with your team:

• Encourage team members with relevant expertise or experience to volunteer as presenters or facilitators for the sessions. These individuals can share their knowledge, insights, and best practices related to coaching and mentoring with their colleagues.
• Collaboratively select topics for the learning sessions that align with the team's coaching and mentoring goals and the professional development needs of team members (i.e. active listening, providing feedback, goal setting, and career development strategies.)
• Facilitate open discussions and Q&A sessions to encourage participants to share their perspectives, ask questions, and provide feedback. Encourage a supportive and collaborative atmosphere where team members feel comfortable sharing their experiences and insights.
• Organise a team lunch and schedule for everyone to order their food at the same time!

Debrief Questions:

• Reflecting on the presenter's expertise, what techniques and takeaways resonated with you the most and why?
• What additional coaching or mentoring topics would you like to explore in future peer-to-peer Lunch & Learns?
• How can you leverage the knowledge and skills shared during the session to enhance your abilities within the team and support your colleagues' professional growth?

5. Book Club Discussions   

Establishing a book club focused on mentoring and team coaching can be a powerful way to foster professional development, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within your organisation. Here's how to get started:

• Choose books that cover topics like mentoring, coaching, leadership skills, team dynamics, and professional development. Here are some examples:
              • "The Coaching Habit" by Michael Bungay Stanier
              • "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink                  
              • "The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships" by Lois J. Zachary
• Determine a regular meeting schedule that works for all participants, whether it's monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly.
• Assign a facilitator for each book club meeting who will lead the discussion and keep the conversation focused and productive. Encourage open dialogue, sharing of insights and experiences, and respectful dialogue among participants.
• After each book club meeting, ask participants to reflect on key takeaways, discuss how they can apply the concepts and strategies from the book to their work, and identify actionable steps for personal and professional growth.

Debrief Questions:

• What insights or lessons did you gain from reading the book, and how do you plan to apply them in your role?
• Reflecting on the book's content, what are some areas for growth or development within our team or organisation?
• What additional resources or support do you need to explore and implement the ideas presented in the book?
• How can we continue to leverage the knowledge and insights gained from the book club to enhance our coaching and mentoring efforts moving forward?

The Takeaway

Whether through role-playing exercises, shadowing projects, or other team building coaching and mentoring activities, there are countless opportunities to inspire, support, and empower each other on the journey toward continuous learning and development.

As you implement these activities within your team, remember that the journey of coaching and mentoring is a two-way street. Encourage open communication, embrace feedback, and celebrate each other's successes along the way.

By planning activities that utilise coaching and mentoring skills, you're building a stronger team and a brighter future for everyone involved.

This article was guest written by Kaylyn Carter.

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