COVID 19: Team Mastery goes virtual

Experiential learning – working together and reflecting on the process – is at the heart of Team Mastery, an innovative international programme which for decades has taken participants on journeys through Europe, China and South America to learn together how to become entrepreneurial team coaches.

In the UK, Akatemia CIC has been running Team Mastery for academics, consultants and entrepreneurs since 2012, and in that time modules have been hosted in Finland, Spain and Switzerland as well as in universities with team entrepreneurship degree and postgraduate programmes in London, Newcastle, Bristol, Lincoln and Birmingham.

But in 2020 the 8th cohort of Team Mastery faced its biggest challenge so far – how to transform a hands-on collaborative learning experience into a coherent virtual offering for 11 people from three continents.  Could it be done?

Embracing the spirit of learning by doing, programme director Dr Elinor Vettraino and Akatemia CIC founder Alison Fletcher grappled with the challenges of technology, time zones (think USA, New Zealand and UK) and inter-generational working (Baby-Boomers, Millennials, Generations X and Z) to take Team Mastery into the virtual world.

And while it’s much too early to celebrate the success, early indications from the first two meetings are that the spirit of Team Mastery can exist in virtual space just as it can when participants meet up in person.

How to listen, managing eye contact, being present and attentive, showing emotion, trusting and being trustworthy were just some of the ground rules the team explored in a rich dialogue which wasn’t always comfortable but was authentic and thoughtful.

As the basis for a virtual journey into the unknown, for the programme leaders just as much as for the participants, it was a substantial foundation.  The sails are unfurled and the anchor has been raised.  Now for the open sea….

The programme continues with a busy schedule of virtual contact sessions, coaching practice and reflection and will conclude in 2021 with learning journeys to institutions offering Team Academy degrees.