Monday, January 17, 2011

Accountability and Group Coaching

Accountability and Group Coaching
Copyright 2011 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

Enabling our clients to deepen their awareness, enhance their learning and also take action towards important goals, are key foundations of the coaching process. As such, the focus on accountability, and a check in on the action steps a client has taken, helps to distinguish coaching from other professions and approaches.

Last week during the Group Coaching Essentials program I was asked by one of the coaches participating in the program to elaborate a little more on approaches and tips for creating accountability in a group coaching program. Here are a few suggestions:

Remember that as a coach you already have a number of core approaches for supporting the core coaching competency of "Managing Progress or Accountability" (as defined by the ICF). In both your individual coaching, and group coaching work, consider how you can use:
1. A Request to undertake a specific action step (s). Clients should always have the option to agree, not agree or change a request.
2. An inquiry - a large question which clients will reflect on throughout the course of the week. For example, "What is fun for me?" or What does it mean for me to have impact?
3. A challenge - A request that takes people outside of their comfort zone. For example, asking a business owner to contact 10 new customer bases in a week. Notice that in a group setting, a challenge for one is not a challenge for all.
4. FieldWork or Homework assigned between sessions can also be useful. This may entail undertaking reading of a key book/resource, undertaking an Assessment such as the ViaStrengths Profile, or StrengthsFinder 2.0.

In a group context you may not assign the entire group the same fieldwork/homework or assignment. In fact, it can be very powerful for the individual group members themselves to self-identify what action will be meaningful, relevant and will stretch them.

In a group coaching process it is important to build in time/space for people to share their results - whether it is dedicating the first segment of your session to verbally share their insights/lessons learned/actions OR by having them circulate this prior to each session.

Remember the adage that "Coaching really happens in between our sessions". What accountability approaches and processes do you want to build into your next group coaching program?

Have a terrific week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials - An ICF Accredited CCE Program. Next programs start January 25 (Tuesdays 9-10:15 am Eastern/DayTime) and February 8th (Tuesdays 8-9:15 pm Eastern/Evening)
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Author of Effective Group Coaching Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC supports coaches and other professionals eager to undertake their own group coaching work through the Group Coaching Essentials program, an ICF Accredited CCE program. She works with corporate groups and teams to accelerate their results, as well as with business owners who wish for greater impact and success. Jennifer has designed award winning mentoring training programs for the financial services sector, and brings more than 20 years experience in developing and delivering high impact group programs. For tips on group coaching visit the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog at For tips and ideas around leadership and business please visit the BizToolkit blog at

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