Monday, February 08, 2016

Six Coaching Questions - Focus

Coaching as an approach may be one of ony a few pause points in the course of a week for an
individual, team or group. Today's blog post includes a few more than six coaching questions you may want to be asking the people you are supporting:

1. What's important to you right now?
2. What does success look like?
3 Who can help you focus on this?
4. What do you need to say NO to order to be successful?
5. What could get in the way of your focus?
6. if you look at the big picture/or 30,000 foot view, what's in focus? What's not?
7. If there was one thing you could add or take away to help with your focus, what would it be?

If you enjoyed this post on coaching questions for focus, you may want to check out these other Six Questions posts including:
Six powerful questions to deepen awareness in groups - read it here.
Six coaching questions to strengthen connection in groups and teams - read it here
Six coaching questions for business building - read it here.
Six coaching questions around priorities and time management - read it here

Have a great start to your week!

With best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: 416-996-8326

Join us for a 2016 program including:
The Learning Lab and Design Studio Coaching Group - join us for six or twelve months at the LLDS - group calls, facilitation lab and dozens of hours of audios, videos and templates to support you in your work! Click here to learn more. Calls are held on Fridays at either 12 noon ET or 8 am ET.  Cost $250 US/month. Join us for a year and get 2 months free!

Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - want to lead more powerful webinars, teleclasses and virtual retreats? Join us for this online train-the-trainer.  Jump in with us in week 2 this Thursday at 12 noon ET.



Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Want more confidence leading webinars, teleclasses? Virtual Train-the-trainer starts Thurs Feb 3 at 12 noon ET

A quick reminder that on Thursday February 4th from 12 -3 pm ET I kick off the 15 hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer (the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive). If you are a professional looking to gain practice, confidence and skills in leading more effective and engaging virtual events such as webinars, teleclasses, virtual retreats, virtual groups/teams and virtual meetings than this is for you.


We meet for five weeks (Feb 4 - March 3rd 2016) on Thursdays  from 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York for an intensive 3 hours online, covering topics such as:
  • What's similar and different in leading virtual events;
  • Core skills for masterful virtual facilitators;
  • Designing powerful virtual programs - core elements of great webinars, teleclasses and virtual group and team coaching;
  • Mitigating against tricky issues in the virtual domain - and what do to when they do happen (and they do!);
  • More than 2 dozen (yes, 24!) facilitation approaches you can use online and in person;
  • Engagement strategies for virtual programming

You'll take part in a pre-program self-assessment to benchmark your skills, and you'll have 3 or more opportunities to lead the group in dialogue and/or activities throughout the program.  You'll also receive 100 page binder full of content, resource lists and approaches you can use in your work. We'll also be holding the calls on different platforms each week so you get to see how they work, what you like and what you want to use in your work.

Cost: $950 US (payable in one or two installments)

Click here to learn more and grab one of the remaining 2 spots!

Best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Join us for other programs including:
The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs) Fridays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET from Feb 5 - March 4 (for coaches who want to add group coching to their mix : 3 spots open
The Learning Lab and Design Studio - All things groups, teams and virtual programming! Join us for for six or twelve months for a combination of group calls, a monthly Facilitation Lab, a rich online resource portal and some 1-1 time monthly with Jenn.  Calls normally held Fridays from 12 - 12:50 pm ET- with some alternative dates and times.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Ethics and Group and Team Coaching: Five initial areas to consider

Several weeks ago I presented to coach trainers at ACTO - the Association for Coach Training
Organizations - on group and team coaching issues. One area that was raised that we were not able to dig into during the presentation was ethics and group and team coaching. I promised to address this in at least one post (and more!) at the blog.

Ethics is the foundation of any profession, and as coaches, being aware of the grey zones we may find ourselves in,  or perceived as in, is important to identify before it happens.

As I sit down to write this post I realize that we could do a whole series of posts on the topic of ethics in group and team coaching. As such, please take today's post as a starting point for discussion of a very large iceberg topic. As in icebergs, this is the tip, of a very large mass! This post is also not meant to provide any advice, but rather pose some areas for you to explore in your own work.

The first thing I want to do is point to the fantastic resources which exist already in the world of the ICF. There is an Ethics committee and a COP dedicated to the exploration of this very important issue.

In the realms of group and team coaching, there may be different ethical concerns, due to the history, relationships and dynamics of groups versus teams, as well as in the role of the coach.

At a very high level considerations five areas coaches should keep in mind include:

  • Role of the coach and his or her ability to hold the grouping as a coach - there can be some significant differences here where a coach is working with a team. What does it mean to hold the focus for the entire team? More often than not  you will want to bring in additional individual coaches to coach the individual team members on a longer term basis, especially if there are agreements in place around transparency.
  • In the realm of the group coach, it can be easier (but not always possible) to avoid some of the grey ethical zones by serving as the group coach, and also providing individual coaching services 
  •  What confidentiality means not only for the coach and group or team, but also amongst the team and group members and keeping things "on the line" on the line, and not being fed out to others in an organization.
  • The role of sponsor and coach and group or team.  Sponsors are often eager to learn more, and potentially be part of, the process of a team or group coaching session. It is critical early on in the start of contracting to clarify roles, responsibilities, reporting and confidentiality.
  • Evaluation - What structures/processes do you put into place to support evaluation and sharing of results. How can you invite the sponsor to a facilitated discussion? How do you maintain confidentiality during evaluation. How do you share results?

As with any ethical issue, it is important to explore the context, players, relationships, history, power etc. Coaches will want to explore these areas carefully not only in the lead up to a coaching engagement but also throughout. This is where the role of a mentor coach or supervisor can really play a key role.

As I wrap up this week's blog post, what is important to consider in your work around ethical issues right now? Who can you reach out to for support and dialogue?

Have a great week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Upcoming programs include:
Learning Lab and Design Studio - Join us on Fridays in the LLDS as we not only learn, but also design and practice group and team coaching skills. We also discuss topics such as this - ethics! Join us for 6 or 12 months, or monthly at the Lab. Download a brochure here, or take a look at upcoming calls here.
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday February 5 at 1:30 pm Eastern (8.75 CCes) with calls held on Fridays from 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET on Feb 5,12, 19, 26 and March 4 (3 spots open)
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour online Train-the-Trainer starts Thursday February 4th from 12 - 3 pm ET on Feb 4, 11, 18, 25 and March 3rd. Geared for those who want to gain skills, theory and practice in virtual facilitation - useful for leading webinars, group and team coaching, and other virtual meetings. (2 spots open)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Join us at the Learning Lab and Design Studio during 2016 starting Friday at 12noon ET

This Friday January 27th at 12 noon ET the doors metaphorically open for a new online resource portal and group program for all things teams and groups called the Learning Lab and Design Studio.
For several years coaching alumni, and facilitators I have worked with have asked for a venue where they could have longer term learning, support and a space to practice and engage in group and team skills.


Is this year that you want to:
  • Have more focus on your business and creating group and team programs - workshops, retreats, online training (like Udemy), group and team training, coaching or facilitation?
  • Connect with a community of fellow practitioners to learn from and share with?
  • Build your toolkit?
  • Sharpen your skills in working with teams and groups?
  • Become more masterful and skilled in program design - perhaps in newer areas like video based training, virtual retreats, webinars, or e-learning?
  • Boost your confidence in your skills through practice and feedback opportunities?
  • Benefit from group and individual coaching?
  • Access a rich online portal of resources (print, audio, video) which you can use in support of your own work?
Download a brochure about the Learning Lab and Design Studio (LLDS) here.
You can join us at the Learning Lab and Design Studio for the year, six months or even a month at a time. Group members at the LLDS will be involved in:
  • a monthly Facilitation Lab  call where we'll be experimenting with different tools you might want to bring into your work,
  • two group calls a month with a blend of Coaching and Teaching - click here to review the schedule;
  •  a monthly laser 1-1 call with me;
  • dozens of hours of audios, videos, templates (which you can use "as is");
  • The opportunity to beta test new products and courses I am developing;
  • Four virtual retreat mornings (4 hours), one a quarter, to support you with your program ideas and design.
Calls are usually scheduled for Fridays from 12 - 1pm ET, with some scheduled earlier on Friday from 8-8:50 am ET. View the schedule of our first six months of calls here.

Most blog readers know me through my writing or work in the area of group coaching. As the author of Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, you know that I am passionate about supporting coaches, trainers, facilitators and other professionals in doing masterful work with groups and teams (virtually or live). I bring almost 30 years experience of working with groups, teams and in program design and evaluation!

You can join us at the LLDS this year (12 months from January 29th 2016) for an introductory rate of $2500 US, six months for $1250 US and monthly for $250 US.

If you register and reserve your spot for the one year program you also get to participate at no additional cost in next week's Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program (Thursdays 12 - 3 pm Eastern - Feb 4 - March 3, 2016 -  a 15 hour virtual train-the-trainer).  This is a time sensitive offer open only on Wednesday January 27, 2016. Click here to take advantage of this special pricing. This will take you to the Group Coaching Essentials website and is the only place to get this special rate. Regularly  the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program is $950 US.

If you don't see this until Thursday January 28th and still want to join us, while you won't get the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program for free, you will save 50% OR save 15% if you register for the year at the LLDS with another colleague (you each will save 15%) on Thursday January 28th ONLY . Click here to lock in your spot.

Questions? Please email me or call me directly at (416)996-8326.

View several Frequently Asked Questions and what's currently available at the LLDS (beyond our calls and which will be added to regularly) at LearningLabandDesignStudio.com.

I hope that you will join us on Friday at the Lab for the kick off to a rich year of learning, practice and community!

Click here to view a short 11 minute video I did recently on what the LLDS is all about.\

See you Friday!

Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com


Monday, January 25, 2016

Learning Styles - What type are your learners?

One of the really fascinating things in any group or team process is the myriad of learning styles which show up. chances are in any group you are working with their will be a range of visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. While some learning style models create even more discrete categories than this, you will see people with different preferences. I go into more detail around learning styles in my book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013). at it's core, the learning style preferences of the different group members are:

Visual:
Prefer and learn throguh things they can see - PowerPoints, Post It notes, Written Materials
Visual learners may also enjoy processing like journalling more than free flowing conversation, as words can anchor their learning process
Media rich approaches such as movies and photo decks (such as Conversation Sparker) are also stimulating to visual learners
Would prefer a webinar with screen sharing over an auditory bridgeline call

Auditory Learners:
Learn by hearing
Virtual channels such as conference calls can be rich for learning
Dialogue and discussion  help to lock things in

Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing and moving
Kinesthtetic learners may appreciate somatic approaches to coaching which incorporates more "body-centered" approaches

As coaches, working wtih our gorup members to learn about their stule prferences helps us shape a program in terms of design, but also should shape the way we ask questions to different group members.

The question "What does that look like?" is going to be more resonant for a visual learner.

The question "What does that sound like?" is going to be more resonant for an auditory learner.

The questions "What does it feel like?" is going to be more resonant for a kinesthetic learner.

For severeal years now I have worked with different illustrators to bring to life some of these concepts and I am pleased to share with you one we did on the different learning styles. I am sure that for someo of you the cartoon will "lock in" the distinctions, even more than the written word can! Enjoy!

We'll be covering the topic of learning styles to a much greater depth in several upcoming programs including:
The Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour online train-the-trainer for those wanting to lead more effective and engaging virtual events - webinars, teleclasses, virtual meetings, etc. Starts Thursday Feb 4th from 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York (online) and runs for 5 weeks to Thur March 3 (3 spots open)

The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar - 8.75 CCEs - Covering best practices around  designing, implementing and marketing group coaching (in person and virtual groups, corporate and public groups). Starts Fridays 1:30-2:45 pm Eastern February 5 (runs 5 weeks to March 4th)

The Learning Lab and Design Studio - A six and twelve month group focused on expanding your toolbox and confidence with all things related to group and team programming! Meets Fridays 12 - 1 pm ET,kicking off this Friday  January 29th. Learn more (including call times)

And now...meet Jo, a new team leader who is trying to figure out how she can support the different learning styles in her team. Jo (and her adventures as a new team leader) will be featured at my Teams365 blog for team leaders this year. I would love your feedback on  how you like this first cartoon. Feel free to comment below.

The Adventures of Jo - Learning Styles, Copyright Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized, 2016.




Best
Jennifer

 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Upcoming programs include:
Learning Lab and Design Studio - Fridays at 12 noon Eastern (by phone) starting January 29th
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday February 5 at 1:30 pm Eastern (8.75 CCes)\
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour onlineTrain-the-Trainer starts Thursday February 4th at 12 noon Eastern

Monday, January 18, 2016

Webinars, Teleclasses, and Virtual Group Coaching - 5 WOW Factors

Virtual Word Cloud created using Worditout.com
Virtual learning continues to take root whether it's through webinars, teleclasses, virtual group coaching or even on-demand video or e-learning programs. Creating virtual programs that WOW is a key consideration for many coaches. As someone who has offered a bulk of my programming through my business virtually over the last twelve years, my clients and I continue to enjoy the opportunity to learn at times and locations that are convenient, without needing to travel.

So how do we create engaging virtual programming? What are some tips you can consider in the design and implementation of your next webinar, teleclass and/or virtual group coaching? Consider these:

Change the pace regularly - Many of you have heard me talk about the improtance of chainging the pace every 7-10 minutes in face to face programs, in virtual progams, particulaly those that aren't as interactive (i.e. webinars) that time frame gets shortened significantly, even down to 1-3 minutes. Consider what's going to keep people focused, engaged and out of the "Death by Conference Call" Mode

Don't be afraid to engage and experiment with what you would normally do within a face to face environment. A lot of coaches, trainers and facilitators, are hesitant to bring some of their face-to-face approaches (with modification) into the virtual realm. Having facilitated virtually for more than a decade I know that group members are tired of the same "talking head" and lack of interaction. They want something different. Think through how you can adapt some of your favorite face to face activities for the virtual realm. It might involve some pre-work or preparation, breakouts or more time.

Consider the level of engagement you want and then the best approach - Webinars, telsclasses and virtual group coaching can vary along the lines of engagement, content and "who's driving the bus" (the faciltator or the participants). Consider the right vehicle.
  •  Are you wanting to pass on a lot of content and don't want interaction. If so, a webinar might be the best way to go.
  •  Are you wanting  to pass on a lot of content and want interaction - a webinar incorporating breakouts, chats and even video streaming might be the best route
  • Is this a program to support group members towards their goals, self-discovery, planning and action? If so, a group coaching approach which leverages breakouts, large and small group activities will be the best approach
Matching the approach and platform with what you want to create is essential. I'll be covering this my upcoming Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program (see below).

Small is beautiful - In my book, Effective Group Coaching, I write that small is beautiful. Think through how many people you really want to support in a virtual program. What is going to work well for you, and their learning? Are you looking to create an interactive, intimate environment where people can get to know each other, connect and trust each other, OR are you looking to get the word out to a mass audience where it's more about the message not connection.
Again, consider the platform and type of virtual learning process (webinar, teleclass, streaming - live or asynchronous, coaching etc) which will influence your ceilings and range of number of participants.
Being clear with expectations around engagement and numbers is key in promoting your work.

Always have a back-up: It's highly likely that something technical may go wrong within the virtual realm. Contingency planning is key. Always have a back up - this may entail having another platform,  having a support team around you, and thinking through the series of What Ifs! Nothing is more frustrating for participants (and will take away from the WOW) if they are struggling with technology and feeling cut off.



I'll be going much more in-depth into virtual programming tips (design, marketing, and implementation) in the upcoming Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program. In addition to building to your virtual facilitation and design toolkit, you'll also get several opportunities to practice your skills in the virtual domain (and get feedback from others). We'll be meeting online Thursdays from 12- 3 pm Eastern in this 15 hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer on February 4, 11, 18, 25, and March 3rd. We'll be using platforms ranging from bridgelines, to skype, to zoom, join-me, and webinar platforms to give you experience and more confidence on these different platforms. Cost: $950 US. Save 15% when you register with a colleague. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot (5 spots  open).

I'd also invite you to see what I've written about virtual programming over the last decade here at the blog. There's still lots left to cover!

Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Upcoming programs include:
The Learning Lab and Design Studio - starting on Fridays later this month: Are you looking for a content rich, community which will support you in learning and experimenting with design, implementation and marketing of group and team programs. The Learning Lab and Design Studio offers coaches, trainers, facilitators and other professionals a place for learning, connection, and accountability. Participate in two group coaching calls a month, a Facilitation Lab monthlyDownload a brochure here or learn more and reserve your spot.
, plus one individual coaching session. Also benefit from dozens of resources aimed at supporting you to do your best work with groups and teams whether you are leading webinars, retreats, teleclasses, group or team coaching. Join us for the year, six months or monthly.

The 38 hour ICF ACSTH approved Group and Team Coaching Training program through Impact Coaching Association starts early February (Tuesdays 12 - 3 pm ET) online.

Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - 15 hour train-the-trainer for those wanting to build their virtual toolbox, learn more about best practices in virtual facilitation (for webinars, virtual retreats, teleclasses, telseminars, group and team coaching) and acquire practice and feedback in sharpening their skills. Thursdays 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Five Essential Elements in Your 2016 Facilitation Toolkit

I love the start of a new year and reading all the posts on trends from the last year, and possibilities for the new year. If you have not viewed my 12th annual year end Group and Teams program call where I cover some of the 2015 trends I saw you can view it here on blab or YouTube. Last week's blog post included three priority areas for group and team coaching. You can read that post here.


For today's post I thought I would highlight five essential elements in your 2016 Facilitation Toolkit. one of my missions this year is to expand the work I do with coaches in refining their facilitation skills and confidence. As many of you know, later this month I will be launching the Learning Lab and Design Studio, a multi-month group coaching program created for those of you who want to expand your work in the areas of groups and teams, and expand your coaching business. It includes group coaching support, a Facilitation lab, some 1-1 time with me and more importantly a growing community of other professionals. Cost is $250 US/month and will be of interest for those looking for some ongoing support, ideas and accountability read more about the Learning Lab and Design Studio here, and/or download a flyer here. 

This year, here are five essential items for your faciltiation toolkit:

1. Post it notes - Post it notes continue to be a favorite of mine and have been so for decades now. They are a great tool to elicit participation from all group members, see connections and focus thoughts. Read this 2008 post I did entitled Post It Notes: A Facilitators Ally.

2. Visual Decks - For many years I have been using visual cards and photographs with in person and virtual groups. A wonderful "conversation sparker" across differences, photos help group members create new perspectives, insights and connections. Whether you are using Visual Explorer, the JICT Deck, Points of you - The Coaching Game, or Conversation Sparker (my deck) consider the many ways you can use cards as openers, closers, or as the main focus of the session.  In late November I released the 40 Ways to Use Visual Cards E-Resource, which includes detailed instructions on 40 ways to facilitate activities with cards (from goal setting, to innovation, to strategic planning, to closure) and also five worksheets you can use "as is".

Working with visuals was also my focus of the Design Studio Blab #6 - View it here.

3, A selection of virtual platforms - having at your ready a selection of virtual platforms can make a big difference. Whether you decide to set up bridgelines, Skype, a Zoom platform, Web Ex, Go To Meeting or other platform, feeling confident in using them and translating some of your in person offerings to the virtual domain can make sense for those who don't want to, or don't have the resources, to travel to participate.
In a few weeks I'll be kicking off the first of four Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensives for 2016. This is a fifteen hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer for those who want to expand their virtual skills and confidence facilitating in the virtual realm. WE'll be meeting Thursdays from 12 - 3 pm ET from 2/4 to 3/4. Click here to learn more or reserve your spot (4 spots open)

4. A variety of back-pocket ideas - You never know what's going to be needed when you work with groups and teams. It's always a great idea to take stock of the different activities and resources we have at our disposal. Spend 15 minutes this week doing an inventory of what you have available and/or going through some of the books/resources you which are accumulating dust. What might you bring into an upcoming session?

5. A community of other practioners - Developing your own network of follow faciltators/coaches and trainers is not only good for business when you want to scale your work, it's also really important in terms of ongoing development. Consider how you will invest in your relationships with other practitioners this year, and also expand your skill base.

What other resources would you recommend for a 2016 Facilitation Toolkit. As always, feel free to comment below.

Best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
(416)996-8326
 
Upcoming programs include:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs) starting Thursday January 14th at 1015 am ET (Thurs 1015 - 1130 am ET Jan 14 - Feb 12th)
Learning Lab and Design Studio (6-12 months) - starts Fridays later this month. Download a brochure.
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - Thursdays 12 - 3 pm ET - Feb 4- March 4 (15 hrs) online