Monday, September 15, 2014

Four Facilitation Techiques to Benefit any Group or Team Coach

Four Facilitation Techniques to Benefit Any Group or Team Coaching
by Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC. Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Group coaching is a fusion of our core coaching competencies, supported by additional skills from the facilitation realm.

Masterful group coaches have a variety of facilitation skills at their fingertips to support groups in prioritizing, conversing and moving through the rough patches teams and groups can go through.
Today's blog post explores four facilitation areas caoches can benefit from.

Number one, prioritization techniques. From using post-its to colored dots, helping group and team members prioritize the focus is key in the coaching conversation. With groups, lack of focus can feel like a scattered process for group members. Goals form the anchor points of any coaching process, and coaches will want to consider spending time having group members identify key goals they want to work on throughout the coaching process. Session by session/conversation by conversation you wil want to leave space for group members checking in around their process. Actual sessions may focus on exploring these goals and related issues such as enablers, beliefs, strengths, vision etc.

Six Hats: DeBono's Six Hats model provides teams and individual group members with a  structured process to unpackage and unlayer issues facing themselves. You can read about the six hats here.

Each of the six hats represents a different way to "think" about the issue. For example, you might be working with a team who is struggling to get results. Over the course of one or more conversations you may be exploring different perspectives around the issues. The yellow hat (like the sun) encourages the team to explore the issue from the optimists perspective. The black hat takes the opposite - the pessimists view. What do these perspectives infuse into the commitments for the team/group?

SWOT - The SWOT is an age-old strategic planning tool. Many coaches will find that this tool provides
teams and groups the opportunity to identify and explore their individual terrain (strengths and weaknesses), along with opportunities and threats (their external terrain).

Whether it is a 20 minute conversation or something more extended, the SWOT often provides a safe space for some teams to raise issues which have been under the surface. Of course, it is also a useful foundation for teams to continue to build upon as they move forward.

Force Field Analysis -Coaching is a process of change, and gap analysis is critical in helping clients (team, group and individual) articulate where they are now, where they want to go, and what's in the way. Force Field Analysis encourages groups to explore what are those factors that are enabling change, and which are in the way. You can work with the group/team to use different colors and/or boldness to identify the strengths of these factors.

As you consider your next team or group coaching engagement, how might you be able to incorporate one of these tools? Which one would add a layer onto the work you are doing?

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (,ossey-Bass, 2013)
Conversation Sparker Cards(TM) - a visual deck to bring into your coaching, team meetings, workshops and retreats

Join us for an upcoming program -
The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs) - road-tested tips and ideas for designing, marketing and running your own group coaching work - by phone: Tuesdays 7-8:15 pm Eastern/NY starting October 7th
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour program geared to equip you with facilitation skills and practice. You can join us in Toronto for face-to-face training or take this 15 hr progam online. We cover virtual facilitation to a great depth with the online version. Groups starting Mondays 8-11 am Eastern/NY (5 weeks - September 22, 29, October 6, 20, November 3) OR Wednesday evenings 6:30 - 8 pm Eastern/New York starting October 8 (10 weeks runs to December 10)
Mentor Coaching Group - For ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio - 10 hours (meets  ICF requirement for mentor coaching - 7 hrs group calls, 3 hours individuals). Mondays 10:30 - 11:30 am Eastern -  September 29 to December 29

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The lifecycle of a team or group - a reminder of Tuckman's model

The Lifecycle of a Team or Group: A Reminder of Tuckman's Model
Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC. Copyright 2014

Groups and teams are breathing, living entities, constantly changing. Teams and groups have their own
lifecycle and distinct needs at each stage.

As coaches, facilitators or leaders it  is important to recognize where the team or group we are working with is at and adjust our support accordingly.

Bruce Tuckman's model of Team and Group Development emerged in the 1960s - initially with four stages a group goes through - Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. He later added the fifth stage Adjourning, when groups or teams start to wind down.

Today's blog post explores some key support considerations at each stage. It is a topic I go into much greater depth around in both of my books, particularly in chapter 8 of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching.

The forming stage occurs when groups or teams are coming together, and/or are being joined by new group/team members. Key needs at this stage include safety, connection and understanding what expectations aree. As coaches, it is important at this stage to encourage dialogue around expectations, group or team agreements  (or "how we want to operate/get along") and connect people with each other as well as with you.

By a second conversation groups are often into the Storming Stage where they are asking themselves "What? So who are we? What's this all about?". This is where conflict starts to emerge, and can be very overt (visible) or under wraps (i.e. people choosing not to engage and doublebooking themselves). Conflict is a normal and healthy part of group development when they have the tools and skills to learn to work across differences. We can support groups and teams as coaches sat this stage by supporting them with  a process and tools that help them gain clarity about who they are and what it's all about.

As groups and teams move through storming and start to create their own identify they move to the norming stage. We may start seeing the group really start coming together in the second or third group coaching conversation, or even in the morning of a multi-day program. As coaches we can support the process by encouraging dialogue around roles, key goals they are working towards collectively and the purpose of the group or team.

The next stage in Tuckman's model is performing. At this stage the group or team has everything they need and clarity around what they are doing so they can get the work done. As coaches we can support teams and groups at this stage for pausing to reflect on what's working, what's not, what needs a tweak and what's going to support their results.

Groups and teams will end - whether it is a team member leaving, a project team winding down, or a group disbanding. In the adjourning stage it is imrptant to create the space for people to acknolwedge their achievments, learning and start looking at next steps.

Questions to consider:
What stage is the group or team you are working with right now?
What can you do to support them? What do they need from you?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Upcoming September programs include the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes starting September 12 (Fridays 9-10am ET) or September 29 (Mondays at 10 or 11 am ET) as well as the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (starting Friday Sept 12 at 10:15 am ET - 6.75 CCEs)

Thursday, September 04, 2014

What Would You Do? Team and Group Coaching Scenarios

Earlier this week I was a guest expert on Coaching Impact Radio. They are doing a series on Coaching here.
Scenarios and I spoke on a couple of different situations we may face as group and team coaches.. I wanted to share with you the link to this podcast on Team and Group Coaching Scenarios which runs about 33 minutes. You can link to the podcast

New and experienced coaches will enjoy listening into these weekly podcasts - be sure to check them out!

On a related note, for those looking for more extensive virtual training on group and team coaching, I will be leading a 30 hour group and team coaching training program online starting on Monday September 30th at 1:30 pm ET through Impact Coaching Academy. You may be interested in checking it out. More info here.

Have a great weekend,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Upcoming September programs include the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes starting September 12 (Fridays 9-10am ET) or September 29 (Mondays at 10 or 11 am ET) as well as the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (starting Friday Sept 12 at 10:15 am ET - 6.75 CCEs)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Guest Article on Goal Setting

Today was back to work and school for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  As coaches a large
part of our work focuses on supporting our clients around goal setting. Here's a link to a recent article I wrote for the Coaching Tools Company Newsletter - Dive back into work and school with these five key goal setting elements - click here to read the article.


What's your favorite moment from today as you got back to work or school? As comfortable routine rich with learning and community settled in here at our home and at the office, I could almost hear a sigh from everyone!


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC | Potentials Realized
 Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Group Coaching Training and Mentor Coaching Groups

Is it really time for summer to wind down? A quick overview of our September program line-up for coaches looking for some professional development this fall. This month the following programs will start:

By Phone:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar - this five week program is geared to provide coaches with foundational or essential tools and ideas to design, market and implement your own group coaching work. The program is applicable for those who are planning virtual or in-person training, as well as public

or corporate groups. Topics include core skills for group coaching, activities and resources to bring in, best practices, logistics, core elements with design. Each week you receive weekly module notes (approx 15-20 pages), and have 1-1 laser calls (15 min) with me. Class size is generally 4-8 coaches to model the typcial group coaching size by phone.  The program is approved for 6.75 CCEs with the ICF.

The September session will be held on Fridays from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET ET/New York on September 12, 19, 26, October 3 and 10 (4 spots open)

Another group will be held on Tuesdays 7-8:15 pm Eastern/New York: October 7, 14, 21, 28 and November 4

A separate August session will be held on Wednesdays from 10 - 11:15 am ET on August 6, 13, 20, 27 and September 3.

Cost: $425 US or CDN plus HST. Click here for more information and to register.

Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - for experienced group coaches or those with interest in gaining more experience, the practicum is a six session program. We take a deeper dive around topics such as

tricky issues, engagement, learning styles, design and co-facilitation. Each week a different coach will lead the practicum element, taking us through a 25 minute group coaching conversation and receiving feedback. This program is approved for 8 CCEs with the ICF. Two groups are scheduled to start this fall:
Thursdays 10:15 - 11:30 am ET: September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9 and 16, 2014 OR
Fridays 1:45 -  3pm Eastern/New York: October 10, 17, 24, 31 and November 7

 Cost: $495 US or CDN plus HST . Click here for more information and register.

You can also bundle these two programs together and save $595 off your registration.

Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC Renewal and ACC/PCC Portfolio Routes):
This is a 10 hour mentor coaching group which fulfills the 10 hour mentor coaching requirement with the ICF for ACCs and PCCs. 7 hours are held in a small group setting (typically 3-6 coaches per group) by phone and three hours are held individually with you over the three month program. We take a look at the eleven competencies of the
ICF, and also provide you with the opportunity to coach and receive feedback on your skills.
The September program will be held on Fridays from 9-10 am Eastern/New York: with Group calls on September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 17, November 7, December 12

A second group is slated to start on Tuesday September 30 and run to the end of December. Contact us for more information on this later start date.

Cost: $1000 for the 10 hour program. Payable in one or three monthly installments

Click here for more information and to register. 

In person training - Fall 2014

 Group and Team Coaching Intensive - 15 CCEs (including 13 hours of core competencies)

This fall the Group and Team Coaching Intensive returns to Toronto, providing you with two days of learning and practice with group and team coaching approaches. We cover the foundations of team and group coaching, design, activities, approaches, stretch points, resources and activities, positioning and marketing, virtual programming along with many more topics. It will be of interest to coaches who want an intensive in-person learning experience. We will follow up with a group call one month after the event. An early bird rate is on the program until September 15th - $850 plus HST. Regular pricing $1095 plus HST.

Other Learning Opportunities:
Facilitation Skills Intensive - Virtual Offering (3hrs x 5 weeks)
Mondays 8-11 am Eastern/New York: September 22, 29, October 6, 20 and November 3, 2014

Looking to brush up your virtual facilitation skills? The Facilitation Skills Intensive is a two day train-the-trainer foundation covering foundational skills in group facilitation in the virtual environment. It is geared for trainers, coaches, leaders and facilitators who will be leading virtual learning events such as webinars, teleclasses, and also virtual retreats.  Click here for more information about this program. Cost: $950 US.

Fall 2014 Virtual BizPlanning Retreat - Saturday September 20th (Fall Equinox) - 10-4 pm Eastern
Looking to focus in on your business for a day of planning, goal setting and action? Join me for the one day Fall 2014 Virtual BizPlanning Retreat as we move through a structured series of group and individual coaching activities helping you gain clarity and focus around your business vision, goals, marketing, and major projects for the next year.  Visit for more information. Cost: $395 US.

Have a great start to September,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching
Potentials Realized | Group Coaching Essentials

Have a great start to your fall!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Key elements in starting a group or team coaching engagement

It is no surprise that one of the ICF core coaching competencies is about Designing the Coaching
Agreement and another is about Creating Connection and Trust. The start of a group and team coaching engagement is one of the most important things to start planning for, and considering, as your relationships with group and team members, and the expectations you create together, create the foundation for a successful engagement.

Today's blog post encourages you to consider these elements in starting up your next group or team coaching engagement:

1. Get to know group/team members: For years I've talked about, and written about, the importance of a pre-program 1-1 call in terms of getting to know your group members, identifying common issues/themes across the group, and also answering any questions about the program. These pre-calls are also important in starting to create shared expectations about the coaching process.

2.Creating Ground Rules/Ways of Working - Creating shared agreements about behaviors which will support a positive learning environment is key component of the first call. Discussion around confidentiality and what this means, and other process issues, helps to create shared understanding. It also becomes a reference point if behaviors do not match these shared agreements during your work.

3. Building connection amongst group members. Consider your introductory activities and how you want to start building relationships amongst group members. Trust and connection is key in the team and group coaching process. What will bring together the group? What themes do you want to illustrate in your work together? Whether you bring in a visual deck like Conversation Sparker Cards(TM) or look to a site such such as for inspiration, remember that people tend to remember the start and end of things, so your kick off is key!

4. Identify areas for coaching - a number of coaches ask " How is it possible to coach more than one person at a time?". Key to success is identifying the common areas people want coaching around. This can look different in different types of programs.

For team coaching, assessments often get at the core what the issues are. Assessments like the Team Diagnostic Survey from Team Coaching International, or the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team(TM) help to pinpoint areas where there may be systemic areas of focus - low trust, inability to work across conflict etc.

In group coaching you may be marketing a program publically - for example - a business group coaching program for solopreneurs. Your program description may have drawn some of your group members to the program. Ask group members to identify and prioritize key focus areas. Working together through dialogue, what are the key topics for each session

A key definer of the coaching process is that it is shaped by the people being coached, so watch your balance between coaching and facilitation.

What else do you want to consider as you move into preparing for your fall programs? What else will create a positive first session?

Have a great week,

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)

Join us for an upcoming program including:
 The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting Friday September 12  from 10:15-11:30 am ET by phone, with calls held September 12, 19, 26, October 3 and 10 (5 calls, 6.75 CCEs)
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - starting Thursday September 11 from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET running to mid-October (6 calls, 8 CCEs)
Mentor Coaching Group starting Friday September 12 at 9 am Eastern, running for 3 months to mid-December. Meets the 10 hours of mentor coaching requirements with the ICF.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Five From One to Many Tips -

With the ongoing changes to Facebook algorhythms you may not have seen these recent From One to Many Tips posted at our Effective Group Coaching Facebook page. Here are five which were posted oer the last month - As you read through them, which ones can you incorporate into fall and winter programming?

Check out past posts which go into some of these topics including Four Approaches to Consider ,

Check out the post on Key Components for Designing Group and Team Coaching for some additional percolation points around engagement and design.

View my December 2013 video where I talk about some of these decks at the Effective Group Coaching YouTube page here.

You can also read a 2014 post on Five Ways to Use Visuals.

Check out the group coaching tools tab for a multitude of ideas of what you might want to incorporate or resources you may want to go to for inspiration when developing your next program. Both of my books - Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching - have 40 plus page appendices with many other group coaching activities listed.

During week 4 of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar we cover more than a dozen tools, and each week of the teleseminar I bring in through modeling and your own participation a different approach or activity which you can adapt for your groups.
If you haven't done so, make a list of all the resources you have available to you.

Have a great weekend,

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)

Join us for an upcoming program including:
The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting this Wednesday August 13 from 10-11:15 am ET by phone, with calls held August 13, 20, 27, September 3, and 10 (6.75 CCEs)
Mentor Coaching Group starting Thursday August 14 at 9 am Eastern, running for 3 months to mid-November. Meets the 10 hours of mentor coaching requirements with the ICF.