Trending topics: the most sought-after coaching content in a most unusual year

For many of us, 2020 began with that familiar new year energy. Carefully laid plans and timetables, all ready to be implemented. Goals to be achieved. A careful list of tasks to be accomplished. And then… well, most of us could write our own unique story about how our worlds have changed since the beginning of the year. Our stories will have many variations, but it’s likely that the year did not go according to plan.

That was certainly the story at MRG. As a global company, we began hearing from many of our longtime partners and friends about the pandemic’s devastating toll long before it reached our offices. But it was quickly apparent that we would need to adapt our plans – and they we needed to find a way, however small, to support our community of coaches around the world.

In March, we huddled (virtually) and came up with a new plan: lean hard into free virtual learning. Help the coaches in our community keep their skills sharp during the likely downtime they are experiencing as organizations pause engagements and business-as-usual goes on hold. Place an emphasis on topics that can be helpful during times of uncertainty and shifting expectations. And make sure that when their calendars start to fill up again, they’re feeling more ready than ever to tackle the new challenges in leadership development.

Between live and on-demand engagement, we welcomed more than 4,000 people to MRG webinars in 2020, and more than 120 in small-group workshops for MRG clients. We fielded dozens and dozens of questions.

So which topics did our coaching community find most compelling in this complicated year? While attendance across all topics exceeded our expectations, these were the top three webinar topics of 2020:

  1. Motivation & Self-Regulation: How Self-Awareness and Observation can Increase our Inner Resilience

Emotional impulses are always difficult to manage – that’s why they’re impulses, after all – but in 2020 many of us found ourselves under increased stress and highly sensitized. In this webinar, David Ringwood and Andrew Rand explored strategies for increasing self-awareness as a way to support more productive, less reactive responses. Based on the responses we received, this content proved useful for coaching… and for coaches themselves. Catch up on the content here.

  1. Motivation & Bias: Strategies for Developing Greater Self-Awareness and Observational Skills

In theory, our brains developed biases in order to help us. These hundreds of tiny mental shortcuts evolved to conserve mental energy. In our complex world, though, the biases can often lead to harmful outcomes, influencing the decisions we make and opinions we form in ways that aren’t always helpful. And when we are under extreme stress (which most of us were in this tumultuous year), our biases go into overdrive. Tricia Naddaff and David Ringwood led a webinar that tackled this thorny topic. While we cannot eliminate our biases, they provided four practical strategies for recognizing them and mitigating their negative impact. Catch up on the content here.

  1. Compassionate Leadership: Coaching Leaders to Turn Empathy into Action

In this complicated year, many of us witnessed remarkable displays of compassion; we also saw, in many instances, the negative impact that a lack of compassion can have, especially at a leadership level. It is hardly surprising, then, that so many of you spent an hour with MRG’s Maria Brown, exploring what it looks like when leaders turn empathy into action. Catch up on the content here.


While we were able to reach thousands with our webinar broadcasts, the impact didn’t stop there – we’ve also had the pleasure of presenting some of these topics privately to associations and clients around the world. Is there a group you belong to that might benefit from this content, too? Is there a client who would find these topics relevant? Please connect with us. With virtual presentations becoming the norm for the time being, it’s more possible than ever for MRG to share our expertise around the world. Please get in touch if you’re interested in partnering with us on a future presentation.


(Are you part of the MRG network? Log into the MRG Knowledge Base once to access  more than twenty Best Practice Reports and webinars along with the full MRG research library.)

Also, if there’s anything we at MRG can do to help support you or advise you as you transition to more online coaching, training, and facilitation in the coming weeks, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re all working through this together (even if we’re apart!).

About the author

Lucy is the Head of Marketing at MRG. She's a passionate people person who talks with her hands even when she's on the phone. She will not rest until everyone on earth has taken their IDI.

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