Articles | Course Review

Learning Reflections: Parting thoughts from the virtual certificate in team coaching

03 July 2020
Caroline Sumners

If you missed Part 1 and 2 of Catherine’s blogs, you can catch here: Part 1 – Team Coaching: Team Coaching: A Potential to be unfolded. and Part 2: Virtual Pies and Uncovering Triggers. 

Online working amplifies everything.  That means the good can be amazing but the bad can be even worse.  Knowing this made me hesitant about a virtual training programme and how it’d work in practice.  I needn’t have been.  

The learning experience, whilst different was no less impactful than face to face delivery.  As well as deepening my skills as a team coach, I have lived the experience of receiving learning virtually.  Georgina, Allard and my fellow participants managed this expertly and we’ve had some powerful insights into how to deliver a great virtual team coaching experience as well as connecting with an international network of skilful and creative collaborators for the future.

The eight sessions, spread over six weeks, were rich in experimentation, reflection, and grounded learning.  This started immediately with the invitation to engage with the experience of transitioning from observer to participant and play with flowing attention from self, team and context.   Notwithstanding the virtual nature of the training, it was fascinating to experience how the body followed this cognitive head start.  Although this was an online programme where all communications took place via a screen and only the head & shoulders of participants were visible, gradually, over the eight sessions, I noticed how the heart, the gut, the whole body was drawn in and embodied connections were felt.

So now the training programme has completed and we have our certificates.  Thought they are for a virtual programme, the sense of loss of connection and community is as real as if our training had been face to face. 

However, we leave equipped with real and substantial learnings on many levels:

  • Distinguishing the approach of a team coach from the many other roles and interventions that teams enjoy, from trainer and facilitator through to consultant or advisor
  • Insights into the potential real team coaching can help teams achieve ….‘Its not the team with the best players that wins, but the players with the best team’
  • Coaching starts as soon as the coach meets the team; ensure that meeting happens as early as possible and make the most of opportunities for contracting, team discovery, and coaching, coaching, and active coaching
  • New team skills practised, action experiments tested, competencies explored fun new tools & techniques played with
  • The power of being fully present & aware of ‘self as tool’ as a team coach, how we are individually impacted and feel in the presence of the team
  • The pleasure of sitting in a (virtual) room alive with wonder about what is going on within the many interconnected relationships

These were some personal highlights from a challenging (in the best sense) and innovative professional development programme.  Perhaps the biggest of all was the reminder that our clients need us to be present much more than they need us to be perfect … & equipped with that mantra I am perfectly present and actively practicing in the virtual world that is emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic