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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What stage is your group at? Part 2 of 2

Last month I wrapped up the month with a blog post sharing with you the forming, and storming
stages of any group process. Throughout hundreds of different group and team experiences I have been part of and led over the last 3 decades I have seen elements of Tuckman's model play out time, and time again - virtually, in person, in groups and in teams. I've seen it play out in the jungles of South America, and the Canadian north. Where is the group or team at that you are working with right now?

Once teams and groups move through the storming stage, and they start to get their sense of where they are at, the team or group moves into the norming stage, then progressing into the performing stage, where really they can thrive and get things done. It is very common in today's world that teams will disband - projects will close off, locations may change, people may move. Tuckman's final stage of group and team development points us to the adjourning stage of any team process, where it's important to close off on the experience. This is a stage that is often overlooked - whether because we are rushing to move to the next experience, or there is simply too much to do to wrap things up.

Here's what I shared in my newest book, Effective Virtual Conversations, about the remaining stages of Tuckman's model - norming, performing and adjourning. Think about what you can do to support movement through these stages.

Stage: Norming - In this stage we are exploring What? What’s acceptable? Who we are?
What’s Important
·         Planning, roles
·         Figuring out how you really want to work
Virtual Nuances
·         Individual norms and collective norms
·         Making explicit different roles, ways of working, norms
·         Is there an evolution of new shared group/team culture?
·         How do we want to operate together?
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         Building trust
·         Getting people into deeper dialogue with each other
·         Using breakouts regularly
·         Clarifying roles and responsibilities
·         Deepening identity of the group
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Values and behaviors
Stage: Performing - In this stage we are exploring acceleration. What’s working? What will keep momentum going?
What’s Important
·         Getting the results in place
Virtual Nuances
·         Participants will be performing in isolation from others and could benefit from pause to look at what support they need
·         Resourcing, roadblocks, enablers
·         Systems and structures that will sustain the work
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         Creating opportunities for reflective pause
·         Creating opportunity for people to share their commitments and update each other in a way that does not just have to be a 30 second soundbyte
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Keeping energy moving
·         Troubleshooting
·         Planning for celebration
·         Use the work (and structures) they are undertaking
Stage: Adjourning - In this stage we are helping the group articulate
What’s Important
·         Wrap up
·         Sustainability
·         Evaluation
Virtual Nuances
·         Last time together
·         Application to local context
·         Closure
·         Feedback
·         Evaluation
·         Lessons learned.
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         How do you want to stay connected?
·         Where can you access the materials?
·         For how long can materials be accessed?
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Spiders Web
·         Acknowledgement
·         Action Planning: One Page Plan and Commitments
·         Evaluation
·         Learning takeaways
(Excerpt: Pages 35-38, Effective Virtual Conversations, Jennifer Britton, 2017. All Rights Reserved)

If you haven't had a look at the first part of this two series blog post, check out part 1 here where I explore the Forming and Storming Stages and what they look like in the virtual space.

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (2009), and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013) and Effective Virtual Conversations (2017)
Phone : 416-996-TEAM (8326)
Upcoming March and April 2018 programs include the 3 month Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC/PCC) starting Thursday March 8th at 12:15 pm Eastern, the Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs) starting Friday March 2nd. Virtual Facilitation Essentials will start again on Friday April 6th (now approved for 8.5 CCEs) Grab your spot today. Our focus in March at the Learning Lab and Design Studio (Fridays 845 - 9:30 am ET) is on Building Your Toolkit, and will also include a half-day Virtual Retreat (Thurs March 8th)