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  • Writer's pictureLenora Thomas

VictoryLab: Changing Culture Changing Lives

If you are a coach in any capacity, one of your responsibilities is to keep your finger on the pulse of your team. But what is the best way to do this? You can ask your team how everything is going but this may lead to a response of “I’m good.” Alternately, you might get an earful—neither of which gives you results.

Many organizations use employee surveys, usually built in house; however, those have varying levels of effectiveness. I know from my past experience that surveys don't usually provide enough actionable information to change workplace culture, or support your employees when they need it most.

David Johnson, Founder of Victory Lab, brought together a team of researchers, teachers, counselors and clinicians to translate proven research into a simple, anonymous and effective mobile program. Victory Lab quantifies team and corporate culture in real time, alongside individual wellness, and provides in-the-moment mental health support, all the while maintaining the anonymity of the users. It operates on the premise that coaches and managers can influence others to elevate their performance.

Using research and data-driven question sets, VictoryLab provides team members with the ability to share their thoughts on team cohesion, performance, leadership and conflict. Moreover, it provides team members with access to a therapist with whom they can chat anonymously when they need support. This can include crisis counseling.

The data that is gathered from the team is then analyzed and reported anonymously to the team’s leadership. Teams also receive guidance to help tailor policies and programs, such as coaching or training.

Myles Ethier, President of VictoryLab, offered the example of a professional hockey team. Team chemistry can be affected by the players themselves, the time of year, and the stress associated with wins and losses. From a data collection standpoint, you would start by gathering your baseline at the start of the year and touching base throughout the year to monitor the ebbs and flows. Then you can monitor the impact of trade deadlines, coaching or strategy changes or missing on an important game. In doing so, you could catch any major changes or put additional supports in place before things blow up and get in the way of performance. Perhaps the Oilers should have tried this a few years ago?

VictoryLab is based on David’s own experience as a coach. He had been coaching volleyball for a number of years and thought things were going well until he had to coach his own kids and gained insight into some of the issues affecting performance. This led to David researching how he could improve his own approach. As he continued his work, he felt that the mobile aspect would be especially helpful with mental health support.

David and Myles are both born and bred Albertans which is how VictoryLab landed in Alberta. To learn more, check out their website:

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