How can teams thrive in an age when so many things seem to be driving them apart? Coach and trainer Yvet Beckers shares her thoughts on how to help people reconnect and overcome the unprecedented challenges we face, from hybrid work to burnout.
Teams and organizations today are facing unprecedented challenges, from hybrid work to rising rates of burnout and alienation. ORSC™-certified coach and trainer Yvet Beckers helps people reconnect and navigate differences with confidence and clarity.
If I had told you five years ago that our entire way of working and living together as a society would change overnight, you probably wouldn’t have believed me. Yet in 2020, that’s exactly what happened. The pandemic took the status quo and tossed it out the window. In my work as a coach and trainer, I witness every day how teams and organizations have been trying to find their new path forward ever since.
Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) offers me the language, skills and tools that I need to help people in that process. It gives people a new understanding of the relationship dynamics within their teams and creates an environment in which they can work through differences and come out stronger together.
Throughout the pandemic, many people have taken comfort in the idea that we’re “all in this together.” The truth is, the pandemic has affected us all in different ways. Some people were able to switch to working from home, while others continued commuting to work every day. Today, many teams have gone hybrid. When you’re working in a team, anytime one person is perceived to have more privileges than someone else, it can become a source of resentment, sooner or later. Especially if people start to feel like they’re being treated unfairly or taken for granted.
The pandemic has also caused deep divisions in our society itself. Different worldviews have clashed, and society has become increasingly polarized. And, of course, we see it in the workplace too. The work floor is always a reflection of what’s going on in the world around it. The same goes for issues like burnout: Is it any surprise that we are seeing a rise in exhaustion at a time when life feels so overwhelming for us all?
ORSC teaches us that the conflicts and challenges we see on the surface are only the tip of the iceberg. To resolve those problems, we have to move deeper and get to their true cause. At first glance, it might look like teams are arguing about who gets to work from home on which days. But down below, the real issue might be that no one feels like they’re being heard. They feel like their opinions or feelings are not being taken seriously. ORSC enables us to look deeper, so the team gains the awareness about the patterns they are in, which allows them to shift them going forward.
So, how do I help teams overcome the differences that seem to be holding them back? It starts with a simple but powerful truth that ORSC teaches: “Everybody is right, but only partially.” When you bring this understanding into a team, it has such a powerful impact. It creates an environment in which all points of view are respected and validated. It lets us all speak without being judged. Then we create a safe environment to start hearing each other and being heard.
One of the reasons why ORSC is such a powerful system for helping teams to function better is that it views teams as a living organism. The team is always more than the sum of its individual members. When people join forces, it creates what we call a “third entity”: this is the collective wisdom of the team that knows more than any one individual within the team can know.
In my work, I use exercises to help team members tap into that collective wisdom. Instead of seeing things only through their own perspective, I invite them to see things from the perspective of the third entity—the position of the relationship. Then, it shifts the focus from ‘who did what to whom’ to ‘what is trying to happen’.
An unexpected positive side effect of the pandemic is that it gives us an opportunity to rethink the way we do things. In ORSC, we use a method called Designed Alliances to help teams consciously create an explicit team contract for everyone to live by. It starts with the key question: “How do we want to work together?” This is a very different question than the one that most teams are used to asking themselves: “What do we want to do?”
Shifting focus away from the “what” and onto the “how” reconnects us with our purpose because it invites us to focus not just on the goal, but the process and the teamwork that will go into achieving that goal. Are we going to work together, or is everyone going to go their own separate way, for example? Designing alliances opens up a discussion about what everyone actually needs from each other. This is vital to the team’s health—especially in a world where teams are increasingly spread out and virtualized.
Yvet Beckers helps organizations to create a safe atmosphere, where people and teams dare to stand out and take their responsibility to leave the beaten tracks. Where they build upon each other and challenge each other to show their best to the world. She is a team coach and executive coach, and a faculty member of CRR Global.Find out more about ORSC™