A pre-season like no other… or should that be plural?

It’s been ‘pre-season’ time with my hockey squad recently, and I’ve noticed so many similarities with what we’ve been doing as a team at Leading Edge – it’s like I’ve been involved in two pre-seasons! From the uncertainty around whether we’ll get a match, to navigating new rules for a new world, to strengthening our squad with more people ready to support from the bench.

I coach the Ladies 1st Team at Hampstead & Westminster Hockey Club and in recent weeks it’s been brilliant to see our ‘pre-season’ actually turn into a ‘season’.

Like with any other pre-season, it’s been about getting match fit and making sure our heads are in the game so we can all bring our A game when the time comes. But team sport is so much about togetherness and ensuring a strong social bond, and it’s in pre-season where this closeness begins with welcoming new signings and bringing each other along on the same journey.

Working hard to make it happen

We’ve needed to think differently about how to create connection and challenging environments that help us to get game ready – all within new social distancing rules. But we’ve made sure we’ve really got to know our brilliant new signings, kept our ‘Wonder Women Mentality’ going and continued to build a strong sense of togetherness.

This togetherness is what drives us, just as it is with Team Green at Leading Edge. Feeling together (even though sadly we’re not) and creating connections across the team is something we’ve all been working hard at. Regular Team Coach ‘Huddles’, screen-share sessions on virtual collaboration tools, chatting through how we’re getting our practice up (what we’ve been reading and watching to keep our head in the game) and checking in with each other for socially distanced walks or coffees has kept our togetherness going and our connections strong.

In a world with no ‘casual collisions’ outside the training rooms as we move from one activity to the next or split into breakout sessions, we’ve needed to find new ways to create strong team connections across client programmes.

Strength in the team

Many of us have been in (virtual) action over the last few months with clients on their leadership, change and teams development. And for those who haven’t, we’re supporting them to get back into the game ready to perform to our best as client programmes and team journeys get put back into our schedules.

Without doubt, ‘What if…’ planning is more important than ever at Leading Edge. We have the agility to design programmes that match what the landscape looks like for our clients. This means we can keep delivering, whether we’re all in the room supporting clients face to face; whether we need to switch to part face to face, part virtual; or whether regulation changes require all development activities to move to a virtual platform. It’s a constantly changing landscape, so we’re lining up experienced Team Coaches to give us the flexibility we need.

In hockey, it’s amazing to be back on the pitch and seeing all the hard work from pre-season pay off in such good team performances. And at Leading Edge, it’s fantastic that our clients are getting back in action, looking to reset culture, pick up projects again and plan transformations for a different future.

We know things can move quickly – both ‘on’ and ‘off’ – and we’re absolutely ready to go on the whistle.


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Sarah Kelleher

Director, Client Strategy

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