Accelerating team effectiveness in a Covid-19 respiration unit

Healthcare Sector

The Covid Respiration Unit of a community-based hospital system in Boston in the United States contacted 6 Team Conditions to support approximately 20 doctors, nurses, and medical staff who had provided support for over 1500 Covid patients in the early days of the pandemic.


The team leader and her deputy were concerned about the sustainability of the team.  The team found the work the most meaningful of their lives yet simultaneously the most traumatic.  Team members bonded deeply with each other through the experience in order to cope and adapt to the challenging context.  The team’s leadership felt that the team had survived the initial wave of Covid patients but that a more sustainable team structure and ways of working needed to be developed for the team to maintain its effectiveness.  The team was open to coaching however the only available window was on Friday mornings from 8:00-8:45am.

Action and results

Two 6 Conditions team coaches engaged the team in a series of eight :45 minute team coaching sessions via Google Meet along with the use of Mural.  The first 5 sessions took place weekly and the final 3 sessions shifted to every two weeks. In between each session the team leader and her deputy engaged in a 30 minute coaching session with the 6 Conditions coaches in order to assess progress of the team and make adjustments.  Following is a snapshot of the team’s Team Diagnostic Survey results which were the focus of the 3rd team coaching session:

Covid19 case study

As noted in the positive Team Diagnostic Survey results, this high performing team had a number of constructive essential conditions in place including a high level of interdependence, a meaningful purpose and a diverse pool of skilled medical professionals.  The growth area was in the enabling conditions centering of the team’s norms and ways of work as well as their relationship with the broader organization. Some highlights and outcomes from the coaching process included:

  • Successfully negotiating with the hospital system to remove bottle-necks and modify policies that were not applicable to a pandemic response environment
  • Development of 2-week sprint cadence for developing short term goals and to modify strategies incrementally
  • Development of clarity around the role of the team leader and how she could best lead and the team
  • Increasing ability to capture lessons learned for knowledge management and sharing in the industry
  • Modification of team coaching techniques and tools in a rapid and emergent learning context. 

Listen to a 6 Conditions podcast episode with the team leader and the 6 Team Conditions coaches to learn more about this case: