Monday, March 09, 2015

Creating Shared Expectations and Shared Agreements Early on is Key

Over the past few weeks I've been leading a lot of in person programming - from coaching skills training
for leaders, to team coaching engagements and leading facilitation skills training. What's been so important for success in all of these engagements has been working with each group and team around creating shared agreements and creating shared expectations early on in our work. Checking in to see  how we are doing along the way has also been critical in creating the space for WOW programming.

Whether you are coaching, training or facilitating it is important to have dialogue with the groups and teams we are working with around how we will operate. What is, and what is not, acceptable. For example, what agreements are around phone and technology use, start and tend times, as well as respect for the differences which inevitably exist within a group or team of individuals. Confidentiality is another area which will be important to define.

Our ability to walk our talk - returning back from break early ourselves and starting as we said we would or putting our own phone away - is part of the equation as well, and is inherent in building trust.

Questions to consider: What are the shared agreements the team/group you are working with wants to create? Where will you build in time for this conversation? How much time do you think it will take?

A related area for group connection is creating shared expectations with you and with each other. What can your group or team members count on from you? From each other? Expect from you/each other? Are you a diplomat, or a on-the-table truth teller. Really, what can people expect. As coaches it is critical to be ourselves and also to let people know what they can expect.

Questions to consider: What can groups or teams expect from you? What can they count on you for? What can they count on from each other? What strengths do they each bring? What is the role you find you comfortably play? What are your biases?

As you go to launch new programs consider how you want to support the group in creating shared expectations and shared agreements early on.

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)
(416)996-8326

Join me for a spring program -
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (now 10 CCEs with the ICF including 9.25 hrs of core competencies): Thursdays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET starting April 9th
Group Coaching Essentials - Thursdays 10:15 - 11:30 am ET starting March 26th
Mentor Coaching Group - for ACC Renewals, ACC/PCC portfolio - Thursdays 9-10 am ET starting March 26th or Mondays 1030-1130am Eastern/New York starting mid-April 
OR join me in Toronto (in person or virtual) the weekend of April 11-12 for the Team and Group Coaching Intensive (being renewed for at least 15 CCES)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Join me Thursday and Friday for a two day train-the-trainer - In person or by skype

I'm so looking forward to innovating with several of you later this week as the Facilitation Skills Intensive program goes virtual and in-person at the same time. For most of us across North America this winter we've been pummeled by snow, record breaking cold  AND the show must go on! This Thursday and Friday I'll be opening the Facilitation Skills Intensive program, a two day in-person train-the-trainer, to skype participants.

Over the course of the two days we'll be:
  • Looking at creating powerful, and engaging, group and team processes
  • Identifying how our skills stack up as facilitators
  • Building our toolbox! Exploring more than 2 dozen facilitation techniques to help groups gain consensus, prioritize, problem solve, plan etc.
  • Discovering key tips for making any presentation or learning event more impactful
  • Experimenting with how to create rich learning environments when blending in person and virtual participants - through our own experience!!!!
The program will be held from 830 - 4:30 pm Eastern/Toronto Thursday and Friday February 26 and 27 in downtown Toronto (College and Yonge). Can't join us in person? Join via skype for the two day program and you'll be able to participate in small group discussions, and even lead us through dialogue!

In addition to a 100 plus page binder, the two days of training, and a group follow-up call, you'll get to connect with a variety of other professionals undertaking this work in organizations and communities.

Download a two page program description here. Cost for the program is $850 CDN plus HST. Joining us via skype? Benefit from a great US/Canadian exchange rate! Register with a colleague and each save 15% - Payment links here.

Hope that you will join me later this week!

With best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Questions? Contact me at (416)996-8326



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Three Keys in Marketing Your Group Coaching Work

Three Keys in Marketing Your Group Coaching Work
Jennifer Britton, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Business development and marketing are usually not what attract coaches to the profession. AND it is inherently a critical part of what most of us do to build a sustainable business particularly if you are a solopreneur.  It's pretty common to be asked several times a month "how do I fill my groups when I am a group coach"? For many of us who opt to run group programs to the public, marketing is a key, on-going activity. The specifics of what that marketing will entail is going to look different for each coach based on his or her client needs, AND
there are some key principles in marketing group coaching. Today's post looks at three key principles, and encourage you through questions to consider what it can look like for your own work.

1. Consider your Sweet Spot. Inspired by Jim Collin's Hedgehog Principle in Good to Great, the Sweet Spot gets us to think about What I'm great at? What I'm passionate about? and What my clients want, need and prefer. This place of overlap is a place of leverage. you can read more about it in Effective Group Coaching (pg 157-158) or in the digital marketing chapter of From One To Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching. (Use code 4411). Reflecting on these three questions can provide some interesting insights around leverage, and possible quick wins and traction points for marketing.  It's been interesting to meet many coaches who have now gone through this exercise as part of their own coach training process.

Questions to consider are:
What is your sweet spot? 
What do your clients really want? 
What are they looking for? 
What can you provide as a solution to this need? 
What will this look like?

Read a 2007 post I wrote about Leverage and Impact and Marketing for Coaches here.

2. Be consistent with a strategy  - As you get clearer on who your ideal clients are, what lights you up, and where your strengths lie, you will develop a better sense of what you want to include in your strategy. Your strategy for business development, building relationships, developing a platform and also promotion. Notice these are all different things. Have a plan, work the plan as we used to say, and take consistent action.

In group coaching particularly numbers are key as are relationships. Filling groups may take time and it is important that you are communicating about programs regularly. I continue to go against the grain of other marketing "experts" and advocate with group coaching that it can be important to offer multiple dates at at time and let people know about how frequently programs will be offered. In my own work this has paid off time and time again, where people are able to budget and plan for attendance.

The marketplace continues to shift and change. As I look at blogging, something I have been involved with actively for 10 years now, I smile when I hear "experts" saying that blogging is a #1 strategy for getting business. Track your results, and know what is important to your people. Leverage the strengths you bring and notice over time where you get your traction. The great thing with something such as blogging is that over time it does create a "digital footprint", which can be more easily traced and followed over the longer-term compared to otehr social media strategies. Again, it's one part of a strategy!
Questions to consider: What is my strategy? Where do I want to put attention, resources etc? What does consistency mean for me in marketing? How will I track my results?

Read my 2011 Coaching Business Builder blog post on Focus, Track and Consistency here.

3. Experiment -Not all coaches are entrepreneurs, embracing risk. At the same time, in service to designing with our clients the best solution for them, we need to experiment. We may need to go out of our comfort  zone in using new technologies, or returning to old ones, in order to create the richest environment for dialogue.
As this relates to marketing, listen to the adage of "experts" (myself included!) with the lens of what's going to work best for me, and for my clients. In this work it is not a one-size fits all solution. Experimentation and trying things out is key to finding the strategies and approaches that will work best for you and your clients. 

Read my post from earlier this year on Experimentation an Our Work as Coaches here.

Question to consider: What does experimentation mean for me as it relates to marketing?

As you consider what you want to create during 2015 around group coaching, what's the question you want to consider around marketing success for you and your clients? What's the action you want to take?

Have a great week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials.com - Next classes start this Thursday February 12th at 10:15 am ET (3 spaces still open) and in early April 2015
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

In case you are interested I've just released my second on-demand video training at Udemy on Tips for Your Group and Team Programs. Based on my 2014 e-book, 28 Tips for Group and Team Programs, this class includes more than 3.5 hours of video lectures with me, and 28 structured activities you can undertake at a pace that works well for you. Do it in one day or one tip a day over the course of a month, I cover 28 tips in areas of pre and post program ideas, design and implementation. They are all road-tested, practical tips you can apply to a workshop, retreat, teleclass, group or team program. Part 2 will follow as soon around marketing your group and team programs. Click here to sign up for the course (or use this special link  until Feb 13th to save 50% on  your registration).


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

February Programs: Group Coaching Essentials starts Feb 12 and Facilitation Skills Intensive Toronto February 27-28

Did the groundhog see its' shadow in your part of the world! The days are getting longer here in Toronto, signalling that winter should hopefully soon be wrapping up! This month I have two new programs starting including:

February 26-27 in downtown Toronto Canada the Facilitation Skills Intensive, a two day train-the-trainer geared for leaders, coaches and trainers who want to add more facilitation skills to their mix.

We're going to take an interactive and engaging look at the foundations of great group and team experiences, as well as explore more than 2 dozen facilitation tools and techniques. Whether you are looking to increase your own toolbox in working with groups and teams, or are looking for more experience and feedback on your skills, this two day immersion is a powerful small group experience, packed with practical facilitation approaches you will be able to apply in meetings, workshops, webinars and other small group events.


Register with a colleague and save 15%, register with two colleagues and save 20%. Price is $795 CDN plus HST and includes the two days of training, a program binder and a group follow-up call.

The program will be held in downtown Toronto on Thursday and Friday February 26-27 (8:30 - 4:30 pm ET both days).

Click here to reserve your spot or contact Jennifer directly by email if you have a group that would like to register.

You can also view a short 7 minute video here as I talk about the program:


Group Coaching Essentials Teleseminar - 6.75 CCEs with the ICF
Are you a coach wanting to add groups to your mix? Join Jennifer, author of Effective Group Coaching, for this five week teleclass as we look at the best practices of design, marketing and implementing your own group coaching programs. Benefit by avoiding many of the pitfalls new group coaches fall into, an
d avoid reinventing the wheel by benefiting from dozens of tips and frameworks that Jennifer has used in her own group coaching work.
The program is approved for 6.75 CCEs with the ICF and will be meeting on Thursdays from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET on February 12, 19, March 12 and 26. 

In addition the calls you will receive weekly module notes, and have short assignments geared to get you applying your ideas into your own program ideas. Weekly lazer calls (15 min 1-1) are also included as part of your registration. Space is limited to 8 coaches. Cost: $425 US or CDN (plus HST)

Click here for more info or to reserve your spot.

I hope that you will consider joining us or pass this information on to others who might benefit from the programs.

Have a great start to February!

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


Monday, January 26, 2015

Secrets to Running Multiple Groups at One Time

Group coaching may be appealing to many coaches who are eager to work with more than one person at
a time, as well as focusing their efforts. As group coaches it is quite feasible that you will have more than one group running at a time, whether you work with public groups, corporate groups, or virtual groups, or all of these.

AS someone who usually has half a dozen groups occurring at any one time,  I often get asked "What are the secrets to running multiple groups at a time?". Beyond marketing (which would be the focus of a handful of posts on this same topic), from a programmatic standpoint there are several things which are important to keep an eye on:

1. Pay attention to the systems you have built in your work - and if you haven't got them, build them as you go. Administrative pieces can take up a huge amount of time, especially if you have multiple groups running at any given time. You'll want to consider how do you streamline:
- Registrations
- Payments
- Distribution of materials for each week's session (Distribution of PDFs if virtual by email? LMS? Photocopying if in person? Other?)
- Scheduling of 1-1 time with groups
- Keeping in touch with group members, supporting them to feel connected
- Tracking attendance (especially if any of your programs are approved for professional development certifications)

2. Consider what's going to work best to stay connected with your group members. My personal philosophy is one that is very high touch, and verbal. Most of my programs include a short 15 minute laser call with each participant. This is in contrast to other approaches which might include private Facebook connections or other written channels. Consider who your group members are and what they value. For example, if you work with a client group who are inundated by email and are trying to disconnect, will they want more communication online or not? What are the connection modes people will value and engage in?

3. Always keep an eye on marketing - Even if you are "busy" working with groups and have a full slate, remember that these experiences will come to a close. Consider how to build in time even while running a group to plan for, promote and fill the next group.

4. Schedule in time to keep incorporating current feedback you are receiving for the next group. Your clients will provide you with invaluable feedback about what works, what doesn't and what they want next. Build time into your schedule to incorporate this regularly. Once programs are well established you may want to flag certain programs or products for a "Refresh/Rebrand/Replatform"

5. Remember that relationships are key. As coaches, relationships are the fabric of our business. The deep connection we are able to form with participants, even in a group setting, requires attention and focus. What are you doing to stay connected? To give back to your participants/alumni? What are you doing to keep the conversation alive? What are they looking for next from you?

Together each one of these strategies forms an important part of being able to sustainably run mulitple groups at once.

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)
(416)996-8326

Two programs starting later this week - The Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - designed for those who want to get practice and feedback around group coaching in-action (Thursdays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET Jan 29 -end of March)  OR the Mentor Coaching Groups (for ACC Renewal and ACC/PCC portfolio routes) starting Friday January 30th at 9 am ET.

 
Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Friday, January 09, 2015

Ready to lead more effective virtual programs? Join me Thursday

Virtual programming allows us to expand our reach and impact without having to travel. For the past ten
years a bulk of my work has been virtual. Whether I have been leading teleclassses and teleseminars with groups of coaches, business owners or leaders, or webinars for international teams and professionals, most days finds me connecting with people in handful of countries and timezones.

For the last 9 years I have offered the Group Coaching Essentials program where we talk about, and model, group coching approaches in the virtual domain, but it was only last fall that I started offering the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program. This is a ten week course (virtual and online of course!) providing you with a virtual train-the-trainer.

We take a look at tips, tricks and techniques for creating engaging online programming whether it is a teleclass, webinar, group or team coaching program. You also get practice in the skills and different platforms as a virtual facilitator.  Each week we'll be meeting on different platforms including bridgelines, webinar platforms, Zoom, Skype and even Google Hangouts. For those that know my training it's all about giving you practical things you can adapt for your work right away.

The program will meet on Thursdays from 11:45 - 1:15 pm ET for ten weeks from January 15th to the end of March. The cost is $950 US or $316/month (three installments paid in Jan, Feb and March) for this 15 hours of training. You'll receive a 100 page e-manual plus numerous supplements to support you in your own work leading high impact virtual programs.The group size is limited so I can work closely with each one of you, providing with you opportunities to practice your skills as well.

There is space for four more professionals to join in! I hope you are interested. We are going to get kicked off this coming Thursday January 15th at 11:45 am Eastern/New York.

Click here for more information and to register for the program.

With 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

Also starting next week is the Mentor Coaching Groups (for ACC Renewal and ACC/PCC portfolio routes) starting Monday January 12 at 10:30 am ET (2 spots still open). 

Key Topics we're covering in the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive include: designing powerful programs, more than 2 dozen facilitation tools you can use virtually and in person, dealing with tricky issues, difficult participants, a virtual facilitation skills self-assessment, how to navigate different platforms, creating energizing and engaging virtual presentations, plus lots, lots more!

Monday, January 05, 2015

2014 Trends in Group and Team Coaching Work

Copyright 2015, Jennifer Britton

2014 Trends in Group and Team Coaching Work

By: Jennifer Britton, All Rights Reserved.

Last month I hosted two year end calls. One a traditional year end phone call (30 minutes), and the second a year end screencast (45 minutes) If you missed them you can View the 45 minute screencast at my From One to Many Resources page (scroll to the bottom of the page)

It's become an annual tradition for me over the past ten years to provide an overview of some of the trends from the past year, and an overview of what might lie ahead with respect to group and team programs. In both calls I shared some of the trends from last year as they relate to group and team coaching, along with possibilities I see for 2015.

Today's post is going to cover the some of the trends from 2014 I have seen around group and team programs, with an emphasis on group and team coaching. My next post will look at 2015 possibilities for group and team programs.

There were a number trends I saw in my work, which was reflected through the hundreds of conversations I had with coaches at coaching conferences I presented at, training sessions I led and peer dialogue. Some of the key coaching trends last year I noticed were:

Group and team coaching becoming more embedded - Group and team coaching became even more embedded in learning processes during 2014, especially in the realm of leadership development. It is much more common today to hear of how group coaching is being used to follow-up with leadership training, or how organizations are turning to team coaching rather a one-off team process. There is still a long way to go, but many organizations are seeing the value of a sustained series of conversations for groups and teams in their organizations.
Questions to consider: Where do you notice coaching becoming an integral part of your client's lives and work? What opportunities does this create?

Time Crunch on the part of our clients. Clients continue to be even more time crunched. Savvy organizations are realizing that coaching (individual, group and/or team) all provide important pause points in a frenetic day. Coaching not only focuses on supporting our clients into action (ICF Core Competency # 9) but also supports our clients in deepening awareness around issues that are important to them and their work (ICF core competency #8). The one hour a week (or every few weeks) spent working with a coach individually, or with peers and a group or team coach, provides a critical pause point for many of clients to stop, look strategically at issues, gain insights and make better decisions.
Questions to consider: What do you notice about time availability on the part of your clients? What types of solutions are they looking to? 

Teaming - Amy Edmonston coined the term teaming in her book Teaming several years ago. the ability for all workers to enhance their competencies in the area of team work, and their ability to move in and out of quickly forming (and disbanding) teams is becoming a reality for many today. Again coaching can provide an important role in supporting teams in creating common visions, and creating sustainable frameworks which they can carry from team to team.
Questions to consider: If you coach teams, what do you notice about the types of teams which exist? What is their life-cycle? What coaching support could they benefit from?

Integration of coaching - The establishment of coaching cultures is becoming embedded in many more organizations today who are looking at many different ways to integrate coaching into their learning and development processes. This enhanced understanding of what coaching is, and what coaching is not, makes our work as internal and external coaches easier in many respects, as organizations can select from a variety of different coaching solutions (internal/external, group/individual/team). Personally I like to look at it as an "and" rather than "either-or" and most of my clients see it that way as well.
Questions to consider  - What does integration mean for you? For your clients?

Partnering  - I included partnering as a trend for 2014 as I am increasingly seeing coaches recognize and leverage the enhanced abilities and impact created through co-faciltation, and other collaborative approaches with fellow coaches and other professionals. I know how important partnering was in creating results for last year, and would like to thank those who I was able to collaborate with!
Questions to consider: What role did partnering play for you last year? What results did you get? What opportunities for partnering exist in 2015?

What trends did you notice last year? What opportunties does this create for you and your clients?

Have a great start to 2015 - and stay tuned in the next few days for my post on 2015 possibilities. You can also listen into what I shared last month at the 11th Annual Year End Group Programs Call which is now at the From12Many ("From One to Many" ) Resources page (scroll to bottom).

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

Join me for a 2015 program including the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar(6.75 CCEs) starting Thursday January 8th (6.75 CCEs),  the 10 week Virtual Facilitation Skills program starting Thursday January 15th at 11:45 am ET OR one of the Mentor Coaching Groups (for ACC Renewal and ACC/PCC portfolio routes) starting Monday January 12 or Friday January 30th.