In 1883, Joe started life as a sickly child. Born in Germany, his father became a prize-winning gymnast, and his mother worked as a naturopath. But Joe suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. As a child he obsessed about the “perfect body,” and decided to do something about it. By age 14, his physique was so good he was posing for anatomical charts.
“I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier,” said Joseph Pilates.
What did he do?
Bringing the Entire Body into Alignment
Joe’s system of exercises requires “intense concentration and centers on a strong abdomen, deep stretching, and focused breathing.” The goal is to bring the entire body into proper alignment so that it can operate at peak capacity.
According to WebMD, there are at least three benefits from Pilates exercises.
1. Body Awareness
“The biggest benefit in my eyes would be personal awareness … how you sit or how you stand or how you move and being able to relate those habits to the aches and pains and injuries you have or have had in the past,” Siri Galliano says.
2. A Stronger Core
As you develop body awareness, stand straighter and gain flexibility, “Pilates will shift your shape,” says Galliano. “But just attending a group mat class may or may not change your body.”
3. Body Control
“Unless you are taught how to move and discover with your teacher what is blocking you … you will never achieve body symmetry,” Galliano says. “When you start getting control of your body, it gives you a great degree of satisfaction.”
What about Team Alignment?
Now I’m no advocate for Pilates. All who know me can attest that I’ve never posed for anatomical charts. But the same principles that Pilates used to perfect his physique apply to the alignment of self-managed teams.
When teams align, they support one another and improve their alignment to begin operating at peak efficiency. And it all starts with creating space to breathe, connect, laugh, to think and learn.
See how easily the three benefits of Pilates translate to the language of self-managed teams:
1. Body Awareness becomes mindfulness, hope, and compassion
When you create space for personal and team awareness about how you show up, you can relate those habits to the conflicts, frustration, and wounds.
2. A Stronger Core happens by changing unproductive behavior
As your team develops personal awareness, develops new habits like asking open-ended questions and active listening then you shift into a self-managed team. Just attending one team-based coaching session may or may not align your team.
3. Body Control
“Unless you learn how to align and discover with your coach what is blocking you … you will never achieve alignment,” Laswell says. “When you start getting control of yourself – your thinking and actions – it allows you to gain influence with those around you.”
The Rewards of Self-Managed Teams
Self-managed teams reap the rewards of new behaviors and skills; aligned teams experience:
- Less unnecessary stress and conflict
- Improved communication
- Increased engagement
- Greater productivity
The Work of Self-Managed Teams
Self-managed teams create space to do the hard work of developing into a top performing group. Team-based coaching provides the time, place, and coaching support to work at:
- Building trust
- Engaging in effective communication
- Committing to decisions
- Embracing responsibility for the work & to the team
- Focusing on results
As a coach, I create space for a team to reflect on interpersonal relationships, team culture and work practices and individual leadership styles with the goal of supporting the organization’s strategy. As a result, the team becomes more productive supporting the company’s strategy.
Create space for Team-Based Coaching
Over time, Pilates came to believe “that the ‘modern’ lifestyle, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health.” It’s no different with your team.
Forty years after his death, his system of exercise remains more than a fad. Team-based coaching uses the same principles to engage your team in a process of change to expand personal influence. Increased productivity. Team results. Yes, more fun to work with, too.
I know you won’t settle for a team that’s a sickly child. How do you plan to support the development of their more perfect physique?