Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Essential Coaching Questions - Fall and Q 4

Several years ago I ran a series here at the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog entitled "Six Coaching
12 Coaching Questions for Fall/Q4
Questions" where I did a series of posts on potential coaching questions you might incorporate into the coaching conversation when working with:

You can read those posts here.

 As I wrote in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching "Questions form the backbone to the coaching conversation).

Tomorrow, Thursday September 20th, I'm hosting the first of three separate fall business planning virtual retreats. Fall officially arrives on Friday/Saturday, and it's a great opportunity to pause, and take stock of where you are at.

Given the popularity of the past questions series, I thought that it would be useful to share with you a series of questions you can incorporate into your own work with clients, or  your own business, as you step into fall.

Here are some of the questions I have been asking my clients this week:
As you reflect back on the last quarter/summer:

1.  What has worked? What hasn't?
2. What's been your greatest success?
3. What's been your greatest learning?
4. How is your work/business different today, than it was on June 20th?
5. What habits have helped you? hindered you?
6. What relationships have been critical for success?

As you look ahead to the fall (or spring if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) or Q4:
1. What are your top 3-5 priorities?
2. What will "wild success" look like at the end of the year around these priorities?
3. What do you need to say "no to" in order to focus?
4. What resources and partnerships will help you with these priorties?
5. What strengths can you lean into?
6. What blindspots do you want to avoid?
7.  What milestones do you want to plan (and schedule) to check in around your progress?

I hope that these are useful questions for you, and your clients. They can be useful journaling questions, peer partner questions, or incorporated into any quarterly check-in meetings you facilitate.

Coaching Business Builder - Virtual Biz Planning RetreatI'm hosting three separate fall virtual business planning retreats in the next few weeks and am looking forward to them. They are at 3 separate times to try and catch a variety of time zones. We'll be using my latest book - The Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner as a foundation - but if you don't have a copy yet, and it won't arrive in time, I'll set you up with the pages you need.

Cost for this 4 hour virtual program $97 US.

We meet the first 10 - 15 minutes of every hour online and then you'll have activities to undertake for
the rest of each hour.

During the program you'll take stock of your past quarters successes, do some planning for the quarter ahead, set some marketing goals and GET THINGS DONE - take some action on one of your projects.

I'm offering three separate time zones -  you can register for the one that's most convenient:
Thursday September 20 - 1 - 5 pm ET
Saturday September 22 - 10 - 2 pm Eastern
Wednesday September 26 - 12- 4 p ET

Check out this business development program and other offerings at the Upcoming Events page at the new Coaching Business Builder site. These are separate from the offerings but in the coming months you should see more integration of registration options.

Can't find the link to register? Email me directly at, and I'll send you a direct invoice.

If you are on Instagram, I hope that you'll follow along with the regular posts and videos I am doing at (specific to Coaching Business Development) as well as (focus on the wider coaching and leadership conversation).

Let us know how you enjoy using the 12 questions I've included here!

Best wishes,

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized | /GroupCoachingEssentials
Phone: 416-996-8326
Group Coaching Essentials - All things group coaching
Effective Virtual - All things virtual
Coaching Business All things business related (for coaches)  

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Systems Check Questions for Coaching Programs as You Get Back to Fall

With Labor Day just behind us, many coaches are "getting back to business". As I just wrote earlier
Getting Back to Business
Getting Back to Business
today in my monthly Group Coaching newsletter, taking time to do a systems check around your business is key at this time of year.

In my latest publication, The Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner, I explore five different areas coaches will want to develop systems around in for their business. If you've picked up a copy of this analog planner and workbook at Amazon or the new website, check out pages 70-76.

Five of the key areas you will want to take stock around this fall are your systems related to:

1. Sales and marketing
2. Product and program services
3. Registration and client onboarding supports
4. Financial systems
5. Communication

In this month's newsletter I zoom into #3 - Registration and Client Onboarding support a little bit more. You can read the newsletter online here.

For this blog post, I thought it would be useful to explore a different area - Product and Program Services, which is more the focus of this blog. As you step into the month of September here are a number of questions for you to consider:

  • What is the current mix of your coaching business? 
  • In addition to individual coaching, what are the different products and services you offer?
  • What is working?
  • What feedback have you received? When did you last review it?
  • What is in development?
  • What do your clients say they want more of? Less of?
  • What's not working as you have planned?
  • What steps are you committed to undertaking, this month? By year end?
  • Who can help you with this?

Product and program development projects often evolve into as much time as we want to give them. As an author I know how wonderful it would be, and how much I'd love to just carve out vast stretches of time to just write. Practically my business and client needs usually come first, requiring me to work around the margins of larger projects for my writing work. I've learned to find a rhythm of making this work for me, and the business, refining it with each project. I've also come to realize that the dynamic tension of practice and reflective writing is an important part of the writing I do.

As a former program manager and developer, and in the last 15 years of my business, the varying steps of the program design process have become more engrained in all aspects - from pre-program tasks, to design, delivery, evaluation and sustainability.

Key here is getting into action, and learning through the action and feedback each step creates. What feedback are you getting from your efforts?

For more on the Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner, check out the new site, including the related blog where you'll find more resources to support you in growing your coaching business.

Later this week, on Thursday September 6th from 11 - 11:30 am ET, I'll be hosting my fourth Virtual Book Club call related to the Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner. You are invited to drop in for this complimentary 30 minute call as I explore Habits and Mindsets for Back to Work and Back to Fall. The call will be held in zoom room 270-302-0415. Hope you can join us!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials - All things group coaching
Effective Virtual - All things virtual
Coaching Business All things business related (for coaches)  

 Fall programs are starting in the next couple of weeks including:

The Group Coaching Essentials program - my flagship 5 week virtual program which provides tips, tools and ideas for group (and team) coaching. Coaches are invited to apply their learning weekly around their own projects. The September group will be held on zoom on Fridays from 1015 - 11:30
am ET with calls held on September 7, 14, 21, 28 and October 5, 2018. 8.75 CCEs. This program is related to my 2010 book - Effective Group Coaching.

The Virtual Facilitation Essentials is geared for professionals who want to sharpen and build on their virtual facilitation skills to host more engaging and effective virtual sessions - coaching groups, webinars, even conference calls! 5 weeks, now approved for 8.5 CCEs. This program is related to my 2017 book - Effective Virtual Conversations. Group calls will start Friday September 14th from 11:45 - 1 pm ET with calls September 14, 21, 28, October 5 and 12, 2018.

Mentor Coaching Groups for ACC/PCC - Two groups will start this month - 10 hours meeting the ICF requirments for ACC/PCC. Geared to support coaches in sharpening their skills and deepening their underastanding of the ICF competencies.
Group A - Fridays 9 - 10 am ET: September 14 - December 14 (meeting 2nd and 4th weeks of month)
Group B - Tuesdays 4 - 5 pm ET September 18 - mid-December with group calls being held September 18, 25, October 1, 15, December 18 plus 2 other calls.

The Coaching Biz Growth Lab - Meets on Fridays from 3 - 4 pm ET the 1st and 3rd weeks of the month this coaching group focuses on supporting coaches around their business development. Join us monthly or for the quarter. More info and registration here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What are the differences between group and team coaching? I recently explored this topic in an article for the Spring 2018 edition of Choice Magazine - The Magazine of Professional Coaching.
You can view the article on pages 36-38 of the Taking Care of Business Volume.

For years I've written that group and team coaching are related siblings. While very similar, the stance of the coach can vary, as does where emphasis is placed. Another significant difference can be in the focus - individual versus collective - of the coaching conversation.

Consider these examples:

Scenario #1 - 

A group of new leaders comes together to explore what's possible for them in their career. They are from different parts of the business and do not normally associate with each other.

What type of coaching engagement is this most likely to be? Group Coaching.
The coach will play a significant role in starting the group and wrapping it up, as it sounds like members may not know each other. Key to cultivating the context for this engagement is connection between the group members as well as with the coach. The coach may also want to think about how the supervisor can support their team members during this work as well.

Scenario #2:

A team has engaged a coach to help them "kick it up a notch" for an upcoming project which has high visibility. They team is asking the coach to work with them before the project launch, during the launch and after.

What type of coaching engagement? Team coaching
Team coaching continues to expand in what it can look like and sound like. This coaching engagement may focus on results, and relationships, and each stage - pre project, during the project, and after the project may look very different. From full-day embedded conversations with the team where coaching may happen real time during key moments of the project, to shorter virtual conversations pre and post. The team coach always wants to make sure that the focus is on helping the team sustain the conversation and weave it into all processes and meeting touch ponts they are having, whether the coach is there or not.

What are the possible engagements on your dashboard? What are the considerations you want to keep in mind, to make sure it works well?

Enjoy your week,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Effective Virtual Conversations

PS - I'll be presenting at this year's June WBECS pre-summit sessions, and later this year as part of the main series. My pre-summit session is being held on June 13th at 9 am ET and will focus on Virtualizing Your Conversations, based on some of the writing of my new book - Effective Virtual Conversations.
If you haven't heard of WBECS it's a valuable, complimentary, content-rich series of conversations that will take place throughout most of June. I hope you will join me for my session.

Click here for more information about all the WBECS Pre-summit events.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Visuals in Group and Team Coaching Work

Earlier this week I dedicated my bi-weekly Facebook live call to working with visuals in group and team coaching. While I've been using different card decks and visuals for more than a decade now, I continue to rely on them as a "go-to" for conversations of all types. If you're still over on Facebook, please check out the 4.23.18 13 minute bi-weekly call I did sharing a recent experience of working with goals, visuals and questions.

Given that not everyone is on Facebook (and yes - that may be you), I thought it would be useful to dedicate part of this post here at the blog to a quick walk through of a potential activity you might consider.

We stepped into quarter 2 a few weeks ago and many of our clients are working towards this, or other important goals. Here's a quick 20 minute activity which can help individuals gain some new perspectives around goals.

First, have each team member think about one of their most important goals. With a partner, zoom into that, discussing what it would look like if that goal is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound. I always an an E on the end and if you've read any of my books you'll see me call them SMART-E goals. E is for exciting. Be sure to check out why the goal is exciting and what's important about it. Have them write this out and notice what becomes clear for them around the goal.

Next, get partners to select a random question card (there are 22 in the Conversation Sparker Deck) and then connect that question to their goal. Perhaps the question is "What do you need to do to collaborate more?" or "What do you say no to?"or "What else?". The role of the partner is simply to listen to what the other person says.

Finally, you can have group members in a third round of this discussion select another  photo which represents what they want to create in their goal achievement.

Visuals have a way of accessing new knowledge and ideas in a way questions alone may not. Check out the Conversation Sparker Cards at

I've rolled in more than 40 facilitated instructions into an e-manual called 40 Ways to Work with Visual Cards, which is available through our site and also Coaching Toys. If you are looking for actual instructions and five worksheets you can use and duplicate for your groups, check it out at our Potentials Realized Store.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC | Effective Virtual 

Want to sharpen your coaching skills? The next Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC starts Monday April 30th, with calls being held Mondays from 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern/New York. 7 hours of group calls, 3 hours of 1-1 calls. Calls run to end of July 2018. 3 spots still open!

Coaching Biz Growth Lab will be meeting in May on May 4 and 18th on Fridays from 3 - 4 pm ET.  Jump into this ongoing business development group coaching program.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Keeping it Simple in Groups and Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum starts Friday April 13th at 11:45 am ET

With recent social media scrutiny, I don't want to assume that you have been keeping abreast of all
your feeds and notifications.  A couple of alerts here at the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog regarding upcoming programs, and recent Facebook Live calls I've hosted. One of the beauties of technology is that you can always catch up if you weren't able to attend

Upcoming CCE Programs:
Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practium starts tomorrow, Friday April 13th at 11:45 am Eastern. Looking for really get what group and team coaching looks like while you get practice in Hope you'll join us. A few spots still open! Cost: $495 US for the six sessions
your skills. Join me for part 2 of the Essentials program, the Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum, where each week a different coach will take us through a 30 minute group/team coaching conversation, with us as their group. We'll take a deeper dive into different elements of group and team coaching such as design, engagement, virtual, what really are the distinctions, setting groups up for success, and virtual. This program is approved for 10 CCEs with the ICF (including 9.25 hours of core competencies). We're meeting this spring on April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18 Fridays 11:45 - 1 pm ET/ New York on ZOOM.

Group Coaching Essentials - Looking for the foundations of creating, leading and marketing your own group coaching work? This program explores practical and tactical ideas for you to consider in your own work. Content rich, this is suited for coaches who want a quick primer on the essentials of group coaching. Follow up with the Advanced Practicum for experience in sharpening your skills. The Essentials starts Friday April 20th - with calls held on Fridays from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET/New York on ZOOM - Group calls April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18. 8.75 CCEs with the ICF. 4 spots still open. Grab your spot here.

Catch up on past calls:
This week's Facebook Live Call was on Keeping it Simple! Whether we are thinking about design, exercises, fieldwork, keeping it simple is essential in group and team work. In this short 15 minute FB Live call I cover several areas you will want to think about. Stay tuned for our bi-weekly call announcements. They usually happen on Mondays but may occur in the morning or afternoon depending on my schedule. Next call Monday the 24th.

Join me Monday for this month's Effective Virtual Conversation Community Call. Everyone is invited for this month's complimentary EVC call on Monday April 16th from 11 - 11:30 am ET. We meet in zoom room 270-302-0415. This month's topic is on 3 activities for your virtual work. 

With an ice storm heading our way here in Toronto over the weekend I hope our power lines will stay up! If you don't see me Monday, you'll know why.

Finally, we kicked off the Coaching Biz Growth Lab last Friday at 3 pm ET. This is my newest group for coaches - geared for those who are looking for support around their business develompent. We meet the first and third weeks of the month. With monthly themes, calls are geared to coaching you on topics which are important in the moment. Regular touchpoints throughout the week keep you focused and moving forward on your business. I'm really excited about this program and you can join us at any time as it is an open enrollment group. Want to amp up your business this spring - consider joining us. You can join for the year, the quarter or the month. GEC alumni rate also available. The group is meeting the first and third Fridays of each month for live calls from 3 - 4 pm ET. The program also includes regular supports, a monthly article and template to support your growth. Only $149/month. Check out our program registration page here, or the CBGL portal here.

Hope that you will join me for an upcoming program. You are sure to pick up a few tips you can apply in your own virtual or in-person work with clients.

Best wishes,

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Accountability and Group Coaching

Accountability is an integral part of the Group Coaching process, and many times you may find that
group members consistently go above and beyond what they say they may do, particularly if your groups have gelled. Peer accountability can be as powerful, if not even more so, than the bond between coach and client. A few weeks ago I posted a related article entitled "Peer Coaching: An Opportunity for Capacity Development" on LinkedIn. You can read it here.

Earlier this week I touched on the topic of accountability and group coaching during my Monday Facebook Live call. If you are on FB (and still there!) check it out at my Effective Group Coaching Facebook video page.

I regularly hear questions from coaches new to group coaching, how do we create accountability in groups? What if each group member is working on something different?
In fact, the assumption that everyone will be working on something different is a great starting point, as you go to consider different components of the group coaching process, which can support individual members going deeper and further in the areas that are important to them. As I discuss in this week's call on Accountability and Group Coaching that might entail:
  • Making a One Page Plan part of your group coaching process. Read my 2015 post on the Power of a One Page Plan here.
  • Creating Peer Partners or Buddies who meet between the group calls
  • Using email as a way for people to connect between calls
  • Creating a private group portal where group members can connect, share and comment between calls. Many readers may know that I have recommended for many years exploring different options of portals you can control and ensure security around. This was in advance of the privacy issues currently swirling online. Consider what LMS (Learning Management Systems) you want to use and can control. For almost 3 years now some (but not all) of my groups have space over on different Teachable portals where we can house resources and comments amongst group members. The revamped Coaching Biz Growth Lab will be using this when we kick off again in April (I've been floating dates for two different cohorts - Fridays 3 -4 pm ET or Fridays 730 - 830 am ET. We'll (generally) be meeting the first and third weeks of the month. Click here for more info. 
  • Including some 1-1 time with group members. This will look different for each coach depending on how much time is available, cost of program. I always say, nothing can replace the deep dive of a 1-1 coaching conversation. Hybrid programs which incorporate group and individual coaching calls can be very powerful for our clients
What would you like to include to boost accountability opportunities for your group clients?

For more on this topic of accountability and group coaching, take a look at a 2016 meta-post where I include links to five separate posts on working with accountability in group coaching. Read that 2016 meta-post here.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC | Effective Virtual 

Accountability will be a key topic of both the April Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs) and the Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs). Our spring programs start in a few weeks:
April/May Group Coaching Essentials will run Fridays 10 - 11:15 am ET: April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 2018  (8.75 CCEs). Click here to learn more
Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs focusing on giving you practice in leading group and team coaching conversations and feedback on your skills): Fridays 11:30 - 12:45 pm ET: starting April 13th and running to the end of May. Learn more about the Advanced Practicum here.
Coaching Biz Growth Lab starts Friday April 6th at 7:30 am ET or Monday April 9th at 3 pm ET (choose the best time for you). Jump into this ongoing business development group coaching program.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Sprints and Hacks and Coaching

Recently, I have found myself talking a lot more about how coaching conversations are changing as
Program Design Hack-Sprint December 2017
our client’s world has changed.

Over the last 14 years I’ve had the chance to innovate with a number of different program modalities to “meet clients where they are at”. A standard 60 minute, every other week, conversation model has not always worked. As a group and team coach, the shift started quite a long time ago in the world of  my clients, and in recent years I have found myself in engagements ranging from an hour a week over a year, to working embedded with teams for three days to a week. What I love about this is that our conversations are never static!

As a program designer I’m always listening for what my clients are yearning for next. It’s led to a couple of national awards, and more importantly, programming that fits their needs.

One of the program designs many of the coaches who work with me are flocking towards for their own development is participating in the regular (i.e. quarterly) program sprints and hacks I offer through the Learning Lab and Design Studio. 

As you can imagine, program work can expand to a pretty big canvas. This is especially true as coaches where we are always wanting to meet the client “where they are at”. I’m a real believer in Parkinson’s Rule, that tasks will take as long as we allocate them. This led me to start experimenting with a much more compressed program design cycle, influenced by the sprint and hacks coming out of the Agile space.

About 2 years ago I started offering 45-minute program development sprints and hacks as a quarterly offering. What we used to do in a 3-6 hour window we’re moving through in a compressed 45-minute window. Every three-to-four minutes we move through a cycle of questions, reflection and writing space. These reflective chunks can be interspersed with sharing and dialogue if you have more time.
One of the real-benefits of a process like this is that you can really zoom into some quick clarity, intuitive clarity, around new programs or processes. At the end of the 45 minute widow where we go
Wrapping up a Program Design Sprint Hack - Britton 2018
through about 8 or 9 sets of reflective questions, everyone who has participated in the last few years with me through these hacks has had a rough skeleton to leave with. It is by no means the final end product, but it is a solid foundation to build upon.

If you’d like to experience one for yourself, join us in the Learning Lab and Design Studio this month (March 2018) as one of our three calls this month will be another 45-minute Program Design Hack. 

The calls this month at the LLDS are:
Friday March 2nd (845 – 930 am Eastern/Toronto)– 5 Skills Facilitators and Coaches Need
Thursday March 8th (1:30 -5:30 pm Eastern/Toronto): Virtual Retreat – Get Things Done!
Friday March 23rd (845 -930 am Eastern/Toronto): Program Design Hack

Learn more about the LLDS click here and join us for the month of March, or for the rest of the year. Monthly membership is $147/month or you can join us for the next 12 months for $1250 US. Email me to reserve your spot and be invoiced separately.