Huddles – What to Observe in a Team Meeting

Posted in : Coaching in the Moment on 7 October 2019
Karl O'Connor
OCN Coaching Champions Ltd
Issues covered:

We have previously focused on the importance of having daily Team daily meetings or Huddles. The feedback from working with thousands of managers is that they foster better communications, fewer meetings and lead to team problem-solving.

A follow- on question we get asked is, ‘what does good look like’ and ‘how do you coach the Huddle host/staff member’ to ensure that they are effective? Observation and feedback are the answers. It’s important to remember that observation of performance, just like in sport, is an important tool Managers as Coaches need to use. However, observations without feedback are pointless.

Coaching in the Moment

The Challenge

What does a good Huddle look like? How can you help ensure the team meeting Host engages, facilitates and communicates?

The Solution

Set out the criteria for running a good huddle on a checklist. Share the checklist with those you are upskilling. Observe and give feedback, using your list as an Observation checklist. Feedback: what was good and what could have been even better.

Takeaway Actions

Observe Huddles in action. Design and use an Observation checklist to review and then feedback what worked and could have been better.

To recap, Huddles (or briefings) are daily stand up meetings, lasting anything between 5 to 15 minutes. In order to develop the skills of your team members who host a Huddle, you need to design your own Huddle observation checklist reflecting what ‘good looks like’ for your team and organisation. Alternatively, you could turn some of our Huddle tips shared in a previous Blog into the checklist. For example:

Huddle Observation Checklist:

Agenda: Was there a prepared agenda? Yes/No?

Clarity. Did everyone understand the purpose of the Huddle? What is happening today and clarify who is doing what. Yes/No?

Review and Preview: Were key learnings from yesterday reviewed? Yes/No? Was there a preview of what to focus on today with a clear call to action? Yes/No?

80:20 rule: Did the Host follow the 80:20 rule of asking questions and letting the team do most of the talking? Yes/No?

Present and participate. Were all team members present (physically present, by phone or skype)? Did each team member speak? Yes/No?

Timing. Did the Huddle start and end on time? Yes/No?

Vision and Values: Was there any linkage to the team/organisation Vision or Values? Yes/No?

Standing: Did all the Team stand in a circle around the Host? Yes/No?

Motivate: Was the Huddle engaging with emotional energy? Yes/No? Did the Huddle end on a high, encouraging and motivating all to do their best today? Yes/No?

Any other Observations: Capture any other observations for your upcoming 1:1 coaching session with the Host which could help you review what worked well out and what could have even been better.

Observing your people perform, for example hosting or facilitating a team Huddle, is a key coaching tool available to all managers. Observations help you to know what is going on. Having an Observation checklist of ‘what good looks like’ leads to clarity for the manager and the team. Ensure that you let people know in advance that you will use observations as a coaching tool. They work in sport and they work in business. Give it a go!


The content of this article was provided by Karl O'Connor and Cariona Neary, OCN Coaching Champions.

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This article is correct at 07/10/2019

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Karl O'Connor
OCN Coaching Champions Ltd

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