Team Coach Life: Nick Levett

an artistic image of people sat on the floor surrounded by postit notes and laptops

As a Team Coach with Leading Edge Performance, I get to support some brilliant clients. I’m currently facilitating a High Performance Mindset programme for four Regional Operations Managers (ROMs) at Mecca Bingo – with the company’s People Director and Operations Director also involved in the journey.

When I spent time with this group during our discovery session, I noticed healthy competition among these individuals. I knew straightaway that this would make a strong design foundation for their development journey and I could even picture a trophy up for grabs!


A black and white image of a competition trophy

The Leading Edge Performance approach – and my natural style, too – is to get people talking and moving, to get them ‘doing’ rather than sitting and listening. With this in mind, a fun and engaging day set up with interactive tasks was on the cards for this group, and I was keen to see them engage and keep the pace and energy high.

Boosting creativity through competition

I wanted to leverage the natural competitiveness among this group and link it to creativity, so I designed a full-on day with five challenges interspersed, each followed by a ‘Moment of Joy’ where they could showcase their story-telling and presentation skills, themed around planned outcomes, with specific development tasks weaved in.

Building rhythm into a development workshop helps participants to engage and focus on positive learning. For example, following a heavy session in which the ROMs developed their team vision and mission statement while considering current and desired ways of working, I used one of the five challenges. This quick switch of focus helped to re-energise the group after some deep thinking.

In this example, I challenged them to take a selfie with 10 objects, each one smaller than the one before. As you can imagine, they needed to start big… or have nowhere to go – and there were some disqualifications! Doing something fun like this helps people to access other parts of their brain and engage creativity, forcing them to think differently.

Building creativity is a key outcome for this programme. It links to the behavioural and cultural change these leaders are experiencing as they shift management style and are encouraged to drive the business forward in the 14 Mecca Bingo sites they’re each responsible for.

Evolving as a high-performing team

A running theme throughout the day was understanding preferences and strengths, both as individuals and as a team, and finding ways to leverage these strengths for high performance.

One activity on this theme involved four Mr Men books. [I’m sorry for what I’m about to describe. I honestly don’t have anything against Mr Men books…]

I came across this task working in elite sport and knew it would go down well with this group. I cut out the pages of four Mr Men books, mixed them all up, and challenged the group to put them back together in 15 minutes. A time-pressured group task like this brings to life the dynamics of being part of a team and give valuable insights. Who led? Who was happy to be led and contributed well? Did everyone agree? Did they have a strategy?

The Team Coach community at Leading Edge Performance always look to add value to clients by sharing insights from high-performance environments – and one exercise I brought in from the world of athletics is the ‘out and back’ session. When doing a running training session, you might run out for 13 minutes but challenge yourself to get back in 12.

I framed this exercise in a similar way, challenging the group to work harder on the way back. The floods in Oxford didn’t help one bit, but the ROMs embraced the task and pushed themselves on a 1-2-1 ‘coaching your peer’ walk!

Standout moments 

Reflecting on the day, a standout moment for me was seeing such a positive switch of pace as the group worked through their team vision and mission. What had started off feeling very hard going and slow (a bit like wading through heavy mud) changed when they caught the feeling of I think we’ve got this now. Progress accelerated as they got out of the mud and freed themselves up to roll down the hill, picking up pace. I think they left about 85% of the way there towards having a far clearer view of their route forwards, with some fine-tuning to go.

These moments are what it’s all about for Team Coaches dedicated to helping people become the very best they can be within their organisation or team. I can’t wait to catch up on their progress soon and see how they’re finding life in the driving seat. I wonder if the trophy will make an appearance….

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