Articles | Team Coaching

6 team coaching trends for 2021

09 September 2021
Caroline Sumners

As Team Coaches we are often asked about what we see in terms of emerging trends in team coaching, especially over the last 18 months when there have been so many changes in how teams work. These changes, although at times negative and challenging, represent amazing opportunities for team coaching. 

As teams started to transition through the liminal space created by the Covid pandemic, their ability to adapt to new ways of working together remotely became their #1 competitive advantage. 

Torres & Rimmer Boston Consulting Group, 2012, in Winning practices of adaptive leadership teams highlighted that “Adaptive teams generate powerful economic and financial gains” for their companies and “consistently outperform their peers during periods of market volatility.”

As practitioners, we have found that teams need to think differently about how they work and that it is so important for everyone to show up fully. But this is sometimes not possible and each team member needs to be sensitive to the individual on any given day.  This is beautifully highlighted in Matt Munson’s article,  ‘The magic your meetings are missing’ The idea (and power) of the check-in and the subsequent ‘how can we support you?’ question,  perfectly represents how we need to think about others, our position in the team and how we are all responsible for the success. 

We wanted to see what others thought about changes to team coaching in the last year and so we asked members of our community the trends that they have seen over the past year and there were some common threads in all of them.

  • Teams need to know how to be teams again
  • Team purpose is more important than ever
  • Virtual team coaching (and virtual teams) are here to stay
  • Teams need help to negotiate this new way of working
  • The best ideas are generated when people think together – not alone
  • The challenges are beyond that which one hero leader can solve. Only through collective wisdom will we find the solutions that the future needs

Observations from our team coaching community

Alex Atherthon observed that he feels that teams, and their organisations, now really value the time they are physically together and want to make the most of it. There is a recognition that pre-Covid teams were often in the same building, or even in the same room, but never fully present.  Teams are also more open to considering their purpose, now they operate so differently. In fact, the question may be raised in advance of any external input. Covid has made individuals reflect upon so many aspects of working life and the role of the coach is to support teams in finding their best possible answers.

Kate Rooney believes that there are exciting times ahead for Team Coaching! “ As teams return to working together as “teams” again in the physical world, I have found that the need for team coaching is on the rise. Isolation has resulted in a workforce trend that has somewhat forgotten what “Team Work” is all about. This is completely understandable given the last years’ events.”  Team coaching has a pivotal role to play in the coming 12 months to create a space that can help reintroduce the individuals within the team to team purpose.
Team coaching has never been more important than it is right now in organisations of all sizes to realign the team values and direction.

Sheela Hobden has been working with Public Health and Primary Care Networks through the pandemic and this is what they are noticing: “ In the midst of a pandemic, in patient-facing roles, or in providing support to others in patient-facing roles, teams have craved a place to be themselves, come together, inject a little fun and grow together.   Compassion and change fatigue posed risks to many, and having the space to approach their challenges in a safe container, in a light-hearted way, has meant they can also normalise and take a little reprieve, without being judged during such serious situations.” 

At the start of the pandemic,  Alana Jossel coached several teams virtually, not out of choice, but due to circumstance.  Alana said ‘My scepticism soon turned to awe as the benefits of virtual team coaching came to the fore.  Equal sized squares placed randomly on the screen levelling the playing field.  Some team members feeling more at ease bringing their voices in using the chatbox.  Visual representation of feelings, using images, word maps and emojis, making the whole more visible not just the loudest or most powerful voice.  Virtual team coaching may very well be here to stay.’

If you would like to know more about the emerging trends in team coaching then why not join our community