Team Trust Constellations exercise is another very useful tool for coaching agile teams which can be applied during workshops. In order to understand this approach, it is important to discuss what is Systemic Constellations [John Whittingt: Systemic Coaching and Constellations].
Systemic Constellations is a coaching technique used in personal, team or organization levels to identify a system as a set of elements in relationship to each other. This technique enables one to see a situation or problem from different perspectives, working with the elements, understanding dependency and revealing influential factors. As a result, participants will get a map which may help them to better understand the сonsidered system.
Applying Constellations in coaching provides great opportunities to discover new solutions, overcome different obstacles and clarify how to reach personal, team and organization goals. Furthermore, many of coaches and trainers were attracted to the underlying concepts. They were looking for ways to adapt this technique into their work with different teams and organizations. One can find and read specific books for deeper understanding all aspects of the Systemic Constellations [John Whittingt: Systemic Coaching and Constellations].
In my workshop I’ve made an effort to provide the Systemic Constellations using specific shapes and flip-charts. Further in this article, I will tell you about results.
You would be able to create you first Constellations using different figures (for example, Legos), objects (coffee caps 🙂 and etc. Each element should represent the sense of direction or the ‘face’.
I decided to use hexagon shapes to build my Systemic Constellations. There were several reasons. Firstly, each hexagon has six sides which is very easy to connect to each other. Secondly, the whole picture of hexagons is very similar to a beehive, a complex adaptive system (like our team). And finally, I like it 🙂
Since I was going to create an exercise for my trust workshop I decided to prepare additional hexagons:
- 8 hexagons which are based on Team Trust Canvas and describe the most frequently occurring factors that positively influence Trust in teams.
- 1 hexagon with “Coherence” which describes team ability to find directions.
- Several red hexagons with “Blockers” which can help model problems and obstacles.
- Several blank hexagons in order to give one the ability to find extra trust factors for participants.
In addition, I added sticky arrow notes with different colors which could help us to model directions.
I decided to use the Systemic Constellations as a final exercise for my workshop. For one whole day (or two days) we discussed different aspects and factors which can help us to improve team trust climate, avoid and overcome obstacles and recover relationships. Now participants should try to summarize all new knowledge, their own mind and “power of universe” 🙂
What they did:
- Each team got a clear flip-chart which represented the team space.
- Then they received a set of hexagons and arrows in order to prepare a system map.
- I instructed teams. Their main goal was to find out how trust elements will adjust with each other and form a Team Trust Map. They should make an effort to discuss and find a solution as a team. Optionally, they could draw a team boundary or other extra elements and shapes which can help them to build a map.
- Working with a clear flip-chart they choose the first hexagon which could represent their most important factor. Then they find an appropriate place for the starting point for their trust conversation. The next step, they choose an arrow and find a direction which demonstrates a connection or influence to their next factors. If it was necessary they might mark an arrow in order to clarify the links.
- Choose another hexagon and do the same thing.
- If the team feels that they will meet an obstacle at this point they might put a “Blockers”.
As a result, teams will create a visual Trust Map. They can use it as a blueprint in order to organize and provide some changes. Another point, the Map leads to deeper understanding of team trust, which opens new opportunities and gives fresh energy to the whole team.
In conclusion, the most important result generated a profound and productive dialog within each team. Just try it!