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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Teamwork and Team-Building


Coaching Superstar Teams

The Mental Game Of Team-Building

Bill Cole, MS, MA

Did you know that you might be a team-building coach but may not know it? If you influence others as a group, you are a team coach. You might be a parent and coach your kids. You might be a manager and coach your subordinates. You might be a PTA leader, board member, social club leader, association leader, or peer group leader. You might direct a neighborhood association. You might merely have influence over a casual group of people.

If you want to have a more intentionally positive influence over a group, then this article is for you.

Let's see how the team-building experts help their teams reach for greatness. The overarching area to focus on in building a great team is communication. Quality communication equals great respect for and from each team member. What you sow, so shall you reap.

Here are ten mental game success strategies that peak-performing coaches use in team coaching:

1. Are You Pushing Or Pulling Your Team?

Do you inspire (pull) your team or do you dictate (push) to your team? People can immediately feel the difference and respond with enthusiasm or lifeless obedience. The best coaches motivate and inspire by treating each team member as special.

2. Do You Raise Your Team's Self-Esteem With Every Interaction?

Your team decides if they want to continue being on your team every day. Each time you end an interaction with your team, they walk away feeling positive or negative about that experience. Decide to make every team contact intentionally uplifting.

3. Do You Orchestrate A Robust Flow Of Information?

Do all members of your team feel they are "in-the-know"? Or do they feel that information is being withheld from them? Is there regular disclosure of appropriate information so people feel part of the team?

4. Do You Regularly Praise Your Team, Or Do You Just Assume They Know You Appreciate Their Efforts?

Do you assume that your team knows how you feel about them? Do you intentionally honor the efforts of each team member, even in casual ways? Even the smallest gesture of appreciation to your team can last a long time, and reap huge benefits.

5. Do You Personally Model The Kind Of Behavior You Wish Your Team To Have?

Team members may be more influenced by your behavior than by your words. How you relate to them as people speaks volumes of how you expect them to relate to you in return.

6. Do You Maintain Consistency In Conveying Information To Your Team?

Does your team learn of your policies through the grapevine? From unofficial sources? From multiple, conflicting sources? High-achieving teams feel secure that the information they receive is from a valid, consistent source.

7. Do You Over-Communicate Or Under-Communicate?

The best team coaches err on the side of having too much communication, not too little. Do you keep your team in the information flow, or do you they have to struggle to learn about what's happening?

8. Do You Seek First To Understand, Or Seek First To Be Understood?

The best coaches are so secure that they seek first to understand their team members, and only then to be understood. This respect fosters a mutuality that results in smoother teamwork. Which style do you model?

9. Do You Create An Environment That Your Team Brags About To Others?

The best teams advertise about their quality naturally and openly. You as coach can create that pride in your team by treating them like family so they feel honored and respected.

10. Do You Seek To Continually Improve As A Coach?

Just because your team does not complain to you, it doesn't mean they are happy. Assess your team regularly to see what impact you are having on them. The best coaches care about every interaction they have with every member of their team.

Your Mental Game Action Plan:

What action will you take this week in becoming better at team coaching? Here are three questions to get you started.

1. What system can you develop to increase awareness about yourself and your team?

2. Who can you partner with to assist you in your team coaching quest?

3. How will you translate what you learn about yourself and the team into immediately useful action?

To learn more about how team building can help your organization reach its potential, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™ at

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005, 2008 All rights reserved.

This article covers only one small part of the mental game. A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control training, mental rehearsal, concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation training, psych-out proofing and media training.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 73-item executive leadership skills assessment tool you can score right on the spot, visit This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your leadership mental game.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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