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EP: 51 – Virtual Teaming with Jennifer Britton

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jennifer britton

Jennifer Britton is a coach, author, award winning program designer and most recently a podcaster. Her podcast remote pathways is co-hosted with Michelle Mullins a coach in the US. Jennifer works with groups, teams and organisations in the areas of Leadership, teamwork and business success. Her own success has been borne out of the many books she has authored on Group and Team Coaching. The focus for this podcast centred on her book Effective Virtual Conversations

Show Notes

Podcast episode summary:  In this episode Jennifer shared her background and her connection with remote working long before the idea of remote working was even popular. She talked about how teams need to connect and how very important this is in the digital space. Jennifer illuminated for us how much of what we experience in the physical space is replicated online and often magnified. There are distinctions working remotely. Context shapes what is needed and how a team might need to adapt. Jennifer is a question mongrel she filled this episode with some tantalising questions about what teams might need to consider if they are to be called a team. The nature of remote is not going away if anything with climate change and invisible immigration it is harder to move around the world and yet our teams are global. Enter Team Coaching Online.


Points made through the episode:

  • Working remotely has been an anchor for Jennifer Britton almost throughout her entire career.
  • Worked in humanitarian realm for the UN where the mode of communication with teams in the field was a long -range radio.
  • A few experiences shaped Jennifer’s view on teams and helped her wonder about the interplay between experience, the needed pause to reflect and retool
  • The Pause today is as important especially in our VUCA world.
  • Most people are pressurised in so many ways. How can we crate micro moments for teams to reflect and redeploy effectively?
  • Her book Effective Virtual Conversations fuses the different modalities available to coaches to effectively support a team; Facilitation, Training, Coaching and Teaching.
  • Reality of our context shapes what we do & what is accessible
  • What does it take for a team to thrive and leverage that knowing with technology?
  • How do you work across boundaries, often disciplines and cultures to bring people together to serve a common cause? Trust and Connection paramount
  • Foundations for all teams still the same. Go back to work of Katzenback or Richard Hackman to surface what all teams require.
  • The remote pathway for teams means a Team Leader needs to more readily move into a role of influence and coaching.
  • In the remote space a team needs to be proactive. They do not enjoy the same luxury moments teams that occupy the same space do-such as water cooler conversations
  • Instil shared practices and shared agreements so people get comfortable with the medium of online coaching
  • Team Culture becomes even more real in an online setting. Who are we? Relationships are key. Remote does not and should not mean disconnected.
  • Create a team identity. Infuse team practices with short bursts of intense dialogue.
  • Jennifer often starts a team intervention with a team diagnostic. The data helps the team identify the pathway they may need to go down.
  • The team looks at its fundamentals and from the data chose what gets focus.
  • Questions surface about the identity of the team, the team culture, shared agreements and shared norms-much as you would in a physical environment.
  • Tricky moments occur and the team coach uses one of its tenets to know that what is needed shows up and the team is resourceful and whole and will resource a resolution
  • As team coaches we are with our own assumptions and beliefs. We need to have a toolbox to deal with the myriad of situations and contexts in which we find our client teams.
  • Keep it simple is one mantra Jennifer opines
  • Another is be visual.
  • Jennifer shared a team story where she was unable to see the team, but they could see her and with the use of one single visual and two questions she was able to help the team have conversations with each other.
  • Trust what shows up. What is happening is what is needed to happen.
  • Lean back into the basics of team effectiveness. Are you a team or a group?
  • Do you have a shared purpose? how are you interdependent? How is your work measured? How are you operating? Should you be a team or a group?
  • The role of a team coach will be oriented in the direction that best serves the entity a team or a group. Her book one to many illuminates and clarifies these questions .
  • Trust is one of the most important areas we want to put focus on to have meaningful dialogue. Without trust we are engaging in surface type conversations. Trust and trust based relations is a very dynamic area.
  • Trust is behavioural so what are the behaviours we want on this team? What are our expectations of each other to honour the individual and their difference but also to honour the needs of the team.
  • What does trust mean to us across the entire team?
  • What part of the culture is getting activated on this team if trust is an issue?
  • Jennifer closed by speaking to her own podcast. Remote Pathways.
  • In our connected always on world where climate change is asking different questions of us in terms of mobility the idea of remote working is gaining increasing currency.


Resources: the following include the resources we alluded to over the course of our conversation


  1. Jennifer Britton: From One to Many
  2. Jennifer Britton: Effective Group Coaching
  3. Jennifer Britton: Effective Virtual Conversations
  4. Katzenbach and Smith: The discipline of teams
  5. Richard Hackman: Leading Teams & Collective Intelligence
  6. Jennifer Britton & Michelle Mullins

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