Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy International Coaching Week

This week we celebrate all things coaching with International Coaching Week (#ICW2017). All around the world, different chapters are celebrating through learning events, pro-bono coaching and other initiatives.

I myself am just back from speaking at the ICFAtlantic Conference held on Friday and Saturday in Halifax. With wonderful speakers on topics including neuroscience, creating safety in teams, team and group coaching, and spirituality, it was a great kick off to this year's ICW. Having just visited the ICF Raleigh Chapter the week before I was struck at how similar our conversations are at the chapter level, even with different geographical contexts.

We often get asked why coaching? What's the impact? I usually like to point prospective clients back to the ICF Research around the Benefits of Using a Coach Article, which you can access here.


Research from the ICF has found that there are a number of benefits because of coaching including:

Increased productivity measures include:
Improved work performance (70%)
Improved business management (61%)
Improved time management (57%)
Improved team effectiveness (51%)


and Improved positivity measures include:
Increased self-confidence (80%)
Increased relationships (73%)
Improved communication skills (72%)
Improved work life balance (67%)

What have you seen to be the benefits of coaching?

I'll be posting a couple of times this week in honor of ICW...stay tuned for a few more posts.

Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized | Group Coaching Essentials
Phone: (416)996-8326

Our spring 2017 Group Coaching sessions start later this week with the Group Coaching Essentials training (Fridays 11:15 -12:30pm ET - 8.75 CCEs) and the Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs). I will also be offering the in person Group and Team Coaching Intensive on June 19-20 in Toronto, CANADA (19 CCEs)

​Connect with us to be the first to know more about launch events around my newest book - Effective Virtual Conversations - coming out later this spring/early summer!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Five virtual program faux-pas to watch out for


 As more and more coaches are exploring the realm of virtual programming in their work  - whether
you are meeting clients by zoom, or phone or skype - it's important to regularly revisit how we are approaching our virtual work. What could use some attention on your part? Where do you feel less comfortable in the virtual domain?

Today's post goes into five virtual program faux-pas or mistake areas to watch out for. These are all small things which can make a difference in shifting from a one way monologue in the virtual realm, to a interactive, engaging conversation:


1. Not having a plan around process - Process is king in the virtual realm, and remember that process is not content. For those of us that are coaches, having a strong focus on the process, while leaving space for our group members to come with their focus and content, is where we lead from. Take stock of the tools and approaches you could incorporate into a call. What are the elements (such as a check in and check out) you want to ensure do fit in.

2. Not building in silence or work time - we often feel that virtual calls need to be chock full of speaking and dialogue. In today's frenetic world there can be real value in leaving some time for short periods of note taking, and reflection on questions posed to the group. There's also an opportunity for people to "do things now!" in the virtual world - not just as a bi-product of multi-tasking, but as something intentional.
Let the group know what they should be bringing to the call, or how they can use parts of the call to take action. Consider what might be useful for people to take action on, so they can either be more present, or be able to move their own initiatives forward.

3. Not making it visual - With so many great techologies today like zoom and skype, consider how you can bring the option to join in a visual way. Having moved many of my own groups over to zoom from phone based programs only in early 2016, I can attest to how quickly "seeing each other" can bring a group together in terms of identity, common ground and a sense of belonging.
Making things visual also gets you to thinking about what handouts, videos or other visual materials you could incorporate into your work.


And finally, two that I've pulled from an earlier post of mine at the Teams365 blog (#742) -

4. ​​Not starting and ending meetings on time. This is critical in the realm of virtual meetings, particularly as it is common that people will be at different parts of their day. Waiting for someone who is not there at the start of the call, could mean waiting the entire call if they don't show up. If you are leading a group or team call, let people know that you will be starting and ending on time, to signal expectations.

5. Not calling on people you haven't heard from - Virtual Meetings, particularly  when you can't see each other - are a ripe opportunity to multi-task and sign out. Key to success on this one is to let people know what's expected so when you do call on people ​it's part of the norm and not being seen as "being picked on".

As you consider these five virtual faux-pas, which are important to keep in mind? What do you want to do to avoid them?

*****************************************************************************
On a personal note....
As many of you would know, the bulk of much of my programming over the last 12-13 years has been in the virtual domain. This was in large part a deliberate choice and increasingly for ease of scalability and interactivity.

As I set up my company, Potentials Realized, back in April 2004, I was just coming off 13 years of very intensive global work. I had been based outside of Canada for the bulk of my career, virtually leading teams and programs across countries, and eventually regions of the world. Several years of heavy travel to see my staff members and teams (consider almost 180 nights logged in hotels one year) left me really run down in my early to mid-30s, so much so that a regular eye infection got out of control and leaving permanent scarring in one of my eyes.

After this happened, I spent my next year while working considering what my next step would be. The next step I had been offered was no longer a real, or safe option, given my vision. Did I want to transfer to a more administrative headquarters role with the organization I was with, or was it time to go out on my own and return back to Canada. Looking back now it seems like the decision was so clear to me, and I do recall how challenging it was to transplant myself back to Canada after all those years. From today's perspective I can say with surety I'm glad I made the move! I still get to work globally, see the ripple impact of the conversations I have, and I don't have to travel as much!

Stay tuned as my newest book around creating more engaging virtual conversations is going to be released in late spring! More to come and stay abreast with #letstalkvirtual.

Have a great rest of the week,
Jennifer

 Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized/GroupCoachingEssentials
Email: info (at)potentialsrealized (dot)com



About Us: Jennifer Britton is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) . Since 2004 she and her company, Potentials Realized, have supported thousands of coaches, trainers, and leaders, design and create more impactful team and group programs (in-person and virtual). Jennifer offers customized programs for organizations, as well as virtual public training programs. Our areas of specialty are team development, leadership and coaching. Our 2017 programming includes: The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs), The Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs), and the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC portfolio routes. Our 2017 Learning Lab and Design Studio Group for Coaches who want to build their business and expand their group and team programs meets twice a month on Fridays 8am Eastern.  This month (March 2017) our focus at the LLDS is on creating and designing your own Video Based Programming. Learn more here or jump into our calls for the month, or longer!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Three Activities for Your Virtual Programs - Calls, Group/Team Coaching, Webinars

I've been doing a lot of speaking lately about creating more effective virtual learning events, in lead
up to the launch of my newest book which will be out this summer. As many of you know, for the better part of the last three decades my work has been virtual in one way or another. Whether I was leading virtual teams across countries or regions of the world, of running a series of teleclasses, webinars and virtual group and team coaching, I love working virtually!

Many coaches and other professionals struggle in gaining the confidence to lead their own virtual programs and I'm on a mission this year to support even more coaches in designing their own virtual programs - not just group coaching, but also webinars and other virtual programs.

Having a wide variety of tools on hand can mean the difference between a drab and engaging call. Today's post includes three quick activities you might consider bringing in to boost a team call, or to energize a longer virtual call.

#1 - Map it - Making things more visual is key to fostering engagement in the virtual domain. If you are still leading on a phone only environment, ask people to bring a pen and paper. If you are on a platform like zoom or WebEx make sure group members are comfortable with using annotation tools like pens etc.

In map it, you can have a couple of iterations. The instructions are to ask the group to draw a map of their learning journey so far. If this is done on the phone environment it may be easier to have each person doing this individually, and then verbally having them share it afterwards with others. If you are all on a screensharing have people draw on the screen what they see as the journey. Depending on the size of group, it may become a more collaborative exercise, or if you are working to develop communication or leadership skills you may assign a "peer facilitator" to provide instructions.


#2 - My desk - Photo Spark - Many of you may know how much I enjoy integrating photographs into the work that I do with groups. In the virtual domain it can be worthwhile to develop or purchase a series of photos which you can use and share with your virtual groups. One quick activity is to put 2-3 photos up on the whiteboard with a question related to the topic you are discussing. Perhaps it's a webinar on leadership styles. You might put up 4 photos of desktops - one messy, one Spartan, one really organized, and one a briefcase. Ask the group members to select the photo which is most representative of their desk and what they like about the work space they have created for themselves,. Get people to write their name on the photo so you can break them into breakout groups. Have them spend 4-5 min with those who selected the same photo, sharing what they enjoy about their workplace. this is a quick activity to create some connection and break the ice.


#3 - Finding the common theme. We know that teams that are diverse in skills, yet have a common bond are often most effective. If people do not feel connected it is more likely that they will disengage. This is a good activity for a virtual team who might be newly forming, or have been together for a while. Set the context for the activity that the task is to find the common theme. You may choose a generic topic like - what's my favorite food, pastime, place to visit.
Ask team members to take some time to find their common ground around the topic you have chosen.
So, for example it's about finding a common thread around what everyone on the team loves about work/food/vacation.  Let the team go and see what they come up with! I've had groups find the common theme in just a few minutes, and others needing much more time.

What quick energizers do you like to use in the virtual domain?

Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized/GroupCoachingEssentials
Email: info (at)potentialsrealized (dot)com


About Us: Jennifer Britton is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) . Since 2004 she and her company, Potentials Realized, have supported thousands of coaches, trainers, and leaders, design and create more impactful team and group programs (in-person and virtual). Jennifer offers customized programs for organizations, as well as virtual public training programs. Our areas of specialty are team development, leadership and coaching. Our 2017 programming starts during the week of January  9th and will include: The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs), The Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs), and the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC portfolio routes. Our 2017 Learning Lab and Design Studio Group for Coaches who want to build their business and expand their group and team programs meets twice a month on Fridays 8am Eastern.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mentor Coaching Groups (ACC/PCC) start Friday Jan 20th at 9 am ET(Group A) or 12 noon (Group B)

Is this your year to sharpen your coaching skills? Or is this your year to get your ICF credential
(ACC/PCC) or renew your ACC?

Join me this Friday January 20th as we kick off the Winter 2017 Mentor Coaching Groups. One group will be meeting by zoom/phone on Fridays from 9-10 am Eastern/New York (Group A) and one will be meeting by zoom/phone on Fridays from 12 - 1 pm Eastern/New York (Group B).

During the 3 months of the program we'll be holding 7 group calls, geared to go deeper into what the 11 ICF competencies are - what they look like and what they sound like in individual, group and team coaching conversations. Coaches will also have an opportunity to do some real-time coaching practice and get feedback on their skills. Each month you'll schedule a one hour one-on-ones with me. That's time to discuss current tricky issues you may be experiencing in your coaching, or go deeper into the competencies. Group calls are supported by short written module notes focusing on the 11 core competencies.

Group A will be meeting on Fridays 9-10 am ET starting January 20: Calls will be held on January 20, 27, February 10, 17, 24, March 3, April 7. 3 individual calls will be scheduled for February, March and April.

Group B will be meeting on Fridays 12 -1 pm ET starting Jan 20. Calls will be held on Jan 20, 27, Feb 17, 24, March 3, April 7 and 21.

The program costs $1000 US or CDN (plus HST), and is payable in one, two or three installments. Space is limited to 6 coaches per group.

Click here to learn more and register.

Here's what two past group members have said about their experience with the mentor coaching group with me:
This is the 2nd time I joined Jennifer’s program.  Her program is always very organized and helpful!  It’s not easy to manage a group of people over the phone, but Jennifer is doing such a great job in terms of delivering planned topics, managing time, and most of all, making sure that every member is participating and learning.  I highly recommend Jennifer’s program!
-          Vivian Chang,
Jennifer Britton’s Mentor Coaching Group was a very productive, growing experience and an excellent value!  I got far more than I expected through our small group sharing, her coaching and practicing my skills.  As a coach I’d describe the experience with these three words: engaging, stretching and skill-enhancing!  For those preparing for an ICF credential, I’d highly recommend Jennifer Britton as your mentor coach!  - Linda Stephens-Jones
Download an article I wrote for Choice Magazine on Mentor Coaching back in 2012. You can read it here.

Hope that you'll join us later this week! Questions - email me. Click here to reserve your spot or learn more

Best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials.com | PotentialsRealized
info(At)potentialsrealized(dot)com
(416)996-8326

Monday, January 16, 2017

What's on Your Top 5 Resource List for Group and Team Coaching for 2017?

Last month I hosted the 13th Annual Year-end Team and Group Programs call for alumni and
members of the group and team coaching community. In that call I highlighted the importance of  "getting out and doing the work" as well as having a robust toolkit to draw on. I also shared some of my favorite tools and approaches which I bring in to group and team coaching. I wanted to share ten of my favorite tools with you today - resources I tend to go back to time and time again, whether I am working with a team, a group, in coaching programs, training sessions and even webinars. There's always a way to tweak an activity to bring more engagement!

As you take a look at this list, consider what you would put in your top 5 of favorites:

Working with vision - whether it's providing group members with a reflective space of questions, or supporting a team in developing a storyboard of their vision, creating a pause for focus on where you want to go is a key focus of much of the work I do with groups and teams.

Working with visual cards. I've used visual cards in my work for the better part of the last decade and have had so much fun experimenting with different ways to bring them in for dialogue, insights and focus. From working with them on vision, to values, to what people bring that's unique to the group, visual cards are a fantastic tool to get the conversation going. There are a range of different visual cards available including CCL's Visual Explorer, the JICT Deck, Points of View-The Coaching Game, or the deck I created Conversation Sparker. I found that I was using cards so much that I created the 40 Ways to Work with Visual Cards e-manual about a year ago.  It includes facilitated instructions to 40 different activities you may want to undertake with teams and groups in using any visual card deck.

Working with Strengths - Coaching is a strengths based approach and another rich area for exploration is working with strengths. Whether you integrate VIA Strengths, or Strengths Finder 2.0 into your work, creating the space for group members and/or teams to explore strengths on an individual and/or collective level can lead to many rich areas of exploration, and action.

Working around Goals - Goals are central to the coaching process, and providing group or team members with skills in goal setting as well as goal structures that work for them can be another rich area for coaching conversations. From SMART-E goals (note I always add an E on SMART Goals for Exciting. As I mentioned in my book From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, if goals are not exciting we are unlikely to be motivated to achieve them), to other goal frameworks like John Whitmore's CLEAR and PURE goals (refer to Whitmore's Coaching for Performance book), there are multiple ways to work with goals with your coaching clients. What resources do you have, or want to acquire this year, in working around goals?

Working around awareness - Coaching is not always about moving people into action. When I first started out as a coach almost a decade and a half ago, my stretch zone was both personally and professionally around supporting clients around awareness. Given that I work with a lot of Type A leaders like myself who are great into getting into action, coaching can often be of greater benefit when we "put the breaks on" and explore the varying layers of awareness around an issue. This could include:
  • exploring perspectives around an issue
  • identifying mindsets
  • looking at beliefs - enabling beliefs, inner critics/Saboteurs/Gremlins, derailers
  • working with values
to name a few.  What tools and resources do you have for supporting clients around awareness?


This list is no means comprehensive, but it is a great starting point for many different conversations. What do you notice about the resources you use on a regular basis? are there any areas you would like to be learning more about this year?

Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized/GroupCoachingEssentials
Email: info (at)potentialsrealized (dot)com 

 


About Us: Jennifer Britton is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) . Since 2004 she and her company, Potentials Realized, have supported thousands of coaches, trainers, and leaders, design and create more impactful team and group programs (in-person and virtual). Jennifer offers customized programs for organizations, as well as virtual public training programs. Our areas of specialty are team development, leadership and coaching.

Upcoming programs include the  Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC portfolio routes with a new group (10 hours) starting on Friday January 20th from 9-10 am ET running to mid-April. You can also join us for  ongoing annual group - the 2017 Learning Lab and Design Studio Group for Coaches who want to build their business and expand their group and team programs which meets at 8am Eastern (2 group calls on Fridays throughout 2017)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Three Key Infuences for Group and Team Coaching in 2017

Every year I dedicate a blog post to some of the potential trends which may emerge in this new year around group and team coaching. It continues to be a time of growth and interest in group and team coaching as organizations and individuals look to leverage their resources and time, as well as benefit from the collaborative conversation space of these modalities.

In my December 2016 Community call I took a look back at some of the trends which had shaped 2016 including continued virtualization, and real-time coaching support. These will continue to be important influencers this year as well. Real-time coaching support requires that we remain flexible regarding what the coaching engagement looks like in terms of timing, frequency, blend of face to face and/or virtual, to meet the dynamic realities of the clients that we are working with. Some of my favorite 2016 coaching engagements with teams and groups involved a more intensive, real-time, embedded series of work, where new practices, approaches and habits could be practiced and tweaked repeatedly real-time over a series of days at the start to make these habits more engrained.

The continued development of streamlining technologies such as zoom are changing the coaching conversation space for groups. The ability for groups to see each other real-time, and not just hear each other, has significantly changed the way people are connecting with each other across time and space. Since transitioning most of my groups from phone only to zoom in the early part of 2016 I have noticed how groups are forming faster and connecting more quickly with their ability to see each other. Zoom as a platform has also made it easier for many people to connect in a more stable manner. This year you may want to revisit the technologies you are using to bring people together

Another key influencer this year will be the continued dynamic nature of teams. While the teaming environment has shifted significantly in many contexts, it is important to be flexible with our coaching approaches to meet the dynamic needs of teams (and also groups) in organizations today. Whether teams are completely virtual, matrixed, agile or other, spending time with the team to evolve a process that is going to work for their context is critical.

One of the resources you may want to tap into to learn more about group and team coaching is the panel discussion which I was part of with other team coaching thought leaders such as Phil Sandahl, Marita Frijohn, Peter Hawkins, David Clutterbuck and DJ Mitsch at the October Columbia Coaching Conference. You can view the 1.5 hour panel on YouTube.

As you consider your work this year, how will real-time support, leveraging virtual and/or streaming programming and working within a dynamic teaming environment, shape your work this year?

What do you see as some of the 2017 influences in your work?

Hope you are having a great start to 2017,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized/GroupCoachingEssentials
Email: info (at)potentialsrealized (dot)com



About Us: Jennifer Britton is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) . Since 2004 she and her company, Potentials Realized, have supported thousands of coaches, trainers, and leaders, design and create more impactful team and group programs (in-person and virtual). Jennifer offers customized programs for organizations, as well as virtual public training programs. Our areas of specialty are team development, leadership and coaching.
Our 2017 programming starts during the week of January  9th and will include: The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs), The Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs), and the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC/PCC portfolio routes. Our 2017 Learning Lab and Design Studio Group for Coaches who want to build their business and expand their group and team programs starts Friday January 13th at 8am Eastern (2 group calls on Fridays throughout 2017)

Friday, January 06, 2017

January 2017 Programs - Mentor Coaching, Group Coaching Essentials, Practicum, Learning Lab and Design Studio

It's January which means the kick off of our winter 2017 programming. Is this year that you want to sharpen your coaching skills for your ACC/PCC (Mentor Coaching Group)? Or is it the year you want more community with other professionals who are working in group and team programming - consider the Learning Lab and Design Studio which meets on Fridays at 8 am ET. Or perhaps you want to get grounded in the best practices of group coaching through the Group Coaching Essentials program which will start at 1030 am ET on Friday Jan 13th. Friday afternoons this winter I will be hosting the Group and Team Coaching Practicum - a six session hands-on virtual learning class where you lead us through a group/team coaching session and receive feedback on your skills (Fridays starting Jan 13th at 1:15 pm ET).

Upcoming January Programs include:

Mentor Coaching Group (ACC Renewals & ACC/PCC Portfolio)  - By phone 
Upcoming Program Dates:
Fridays 9-10 am ET  - starting January 13th running to April 13th OR Fridays 12 - 1 pm ET starting January 20th running to April 20th.
The Mentor Coaching Group will be of interest for ACC renewals, as well as those working towards their ACC and PCC portfolio applications with the ICF. This is a 10 hour mentor coaching program, which includes 7 hours of group mentor coaching calls, and 3 hours of individual mentor coaching sessions (held monthly). We look at all 11 core coaching competencies of the ICF, and coaches have the opportunity to practice and receive feedback on their skills during the program. Each class you'll receive module notes to support you with your learning and coaching work  These will also be supportive for you with the new knowledge exam.


  
Here's what one coach said about her recent experience in the program:
"As an experienced coach who needed to fulfill my mentoring requirement for ICF certification, I was amazed at how much I got out of it! Working with Jennifer in the mentor coaching group energized me and helped me reengage my passion for coaching. It helped me hone my skills and be deliberate about expanding my coaching and consulting practice. Absolutely worth it!" - Shannon Goodwin, ACC 
 

Group Coaching Essentials - 8.75 CCEs
Fridays from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET on January 13, 20, 27, February 10, 17 - 5 spots open
Want to expand your work as a coach to groups? Join us for this five week virtual seminar where we
explore the best practices of Designing, Marketing and Running Group Coaching Programs. Weekly calls model different approaches to the group coaching conversation and weekly assignments support you in starting to draft out your own program ideas.
Cost: $450 US (includes the 5 x 75 min calls, weekly module notes and a weekly 1-1 laser call with Jenn). Reserve your spot in our January program starting Friday January 13th

Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum - 10 CCEs
Fridays from 1:15 - 2:30 pm Eastern/Toronto on January 13, 27, February 10, 17, 24, March 3
The first of four 2017 Advanced Practicums will be held in January (with others starting in April, June and September). This program provides a deeper dive into the context of group AND Team
coaching topics including design, activities, co-facilitation, virtual programming. It also gives coaches the opportunity to practice their skills by leading at least one practicum. This program has six zoom calls and includes 1-1 lasers, and more rich content. Space is limited to 6 coaches. 4 spots are open for January's group which will met on Fridays from 1:15 - 2:30 pm Eastern/Toronto on January 13, 27, February 10, 17, 24, March 3. Cost $495 US
More information and registration for the Advanced Practicum here.
Learning Lab and Design Studio
Two Fridays a month from 8 - 8:45 am ET throughout 2017  

Are you looking for creating community with other coaches, and looking to continue to expand your learning during 2017? I'll be hosting the Learning Lab and Design Studio in 2017 giving you the opportunity to work with me directly at a lower price point, and on an ongoing basis. The focus at the
lab is both business building and all things groups and teams!
After our inaugural year our format for 2017 will include:
  • Two group calls per month focusing on group and team program development and business building. These calls will take place on Fridays from 8-845 am Eastern/Toronto by zoom. Download the January - June schedule here.
  • Access to more than 30 hours of past LLDS calls focusing on program design, marketing and implementation issues, a dozen templates and articles. These resources are only made available to those at the LLDS.
  • Quarterly virtual retreats (3-4 hours each) to focus in on your planning and actions
  • An opportunity to bring your real-time questions to each group call.

You can join us for a monthly charge of $147 US/month or join us for the entire year for $1250 US. You can also add on a block of five hours of coaching support (taken at any time in 6 months) for only $500 US (that's a significant savings on my regular rate of $300/hr).

Join us at the LLDS starting today until the end of 2017 for $1250 US. Click here to register and reserve  your spot.
If you have any questions about these programs, please email or call. 
Hope you are having a great start to 2017!
Jennifer
  
Best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized/GroupCoachingEssentials
Email: info (at)potentialsrealized (dot)com 
(416)996-TEAM (8326)