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 - Mondays 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)