How coaching has powered teams in times of crisis

Naysan Firoozmand, Head of Global Executive Coaching at Hult Ashridge shares insights into what he's learned working with leaders in a year filled with new challenges and how coaching whole teams has been a powerful approach to come out stronger for many.

I found myself holding back tears during the second week that I wasn’t allowed to hug my children. Hearing their voices and seeing their faces was no consolation for the fact that I was in isolation for two weeks. I never had COVID-19 but traveling back from an affected part of the world had its price and I really struggled with my emotions during that time.

Lockdown and the various restrictions that I’ve lived through with my family for much of 2020 have tested me in so many different ways – not all bad – and I have found myself noticing what I’ve taken for granted, the things that I’ve missed, habits I had gotten into and behaviors that made no sense in a virtual world. Things like checking in with people for no reason just to see if they’re ok because I’m unlikely to walk past them for 12 months! Like making sure that where and when I work (at home) is clearly demarcated from where and when I’m not working so that life can have parallels even if the physical space is shared. And realizing that saying the words ‘how are you’ can take on a whole new meaning when said with purpose.

As a coach I am privileged to meet with managers and leaders from all walks of life who have had their own unique experiences of succeeding, failing, and growing this past year. Some of it intentionally and sometimes without realizing how or why. A consistent theme had been one of shared experiences and shared emotions. The level of understanding and empathy that people have shown each other during the pandemic has been unprecedented. People are really noticing a lot more; perhaps due to staring intently at a computer screen with a sea of faces or because the need for human connection is so strong that we’re learning to reach out through the digital void.

It is for this reason that coaching whole teams have been such a powerful approach for so many. By providing the chance for people to connect, open up, align on goals and purpose has strengthened their resilience and awareness of what might be around the corner. They are therefore better equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow by making time for each other today.

This global crisis has brought out the best and worst in people, without a doubt and those individuals insightful enough to learn from those experiences are the ones who are emerging strongest. Teams that take the time to reflect and grow as a team – acknowledging the strengths and derailers of peers and colleagues – are demonstrating renewed vigor and enthusiasm for the future. They are demonstrating greater interpersonal skills, the ability to get the best out of their teams and colleagues.

With the insights we have gained from working with clients over this past year combined with our 30 years of coaching experience we are able to offer teams a highly impactful, tried, and tested approach to building resilience and setting them up for success. The Leadership Coaching Lab, a Hult Ashridge program, is a methodology specifically designed for this purpose, suitable for any Directors and Managers with a team of up to 12 people.

We know that the leadership skills of teams along with their leaders have been tested like never before and therefore needed to develop their resilience, mindfulness, communication skills, aligning their purpose and goals, and working even more collaboratively in a way that supports and challenges each other in order to succeed and thrive. The Leadership Coaching Lab brings these elements to the fore allowing participants to develop those skills whilst at the same time working through their own current situation to plan for tomorrow.

Naysan Firoozmand is Head of Global Executive Coaching at Hult Ashridge where he works with leaders in a very practical way, using his background in coaching, facilitation, and psychology to allow people he works with to try new techniques and gain personal confidence to do things with greater skill.

Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School 
Ashridge Executive Education