Monday, January 27, 2014

Four Stretch Points for Group and Team Coaches

Over the years I've written about pitfalls for group coaching. I'm a firm believer that with attention to
some of these before the work begins we can mitigate, or minimize, many of them. You can listen into a 40 minute call I did on Tricky Issues for Group Coaching about a year ago here.

Along the same vein, what are the stretch points for group and team coaches. What do coaches new to this work find challenging?

Some of the common stretch points I hear mentioned for coaches new to this work include:
1. Being aware of and adapting to the dynamics of the group/team over time. Groups and teams are living systems and evolve constantly. I continue to find the group dynamics framework of Bruce Tuckman extremely useful in my work. I write further about group dynamics and team and group coaching on pages 60-62 of Effective Group Coaching and pages 198 and 199 of From One to Many: Best Practices of Group and Team Coaching.
It's important to note that groups will move back and forth from what Tuckman labels the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning phases, particualy if the composition of the group/team you are working with changes (and it likely will change!).

2. Becoming comfortable and skilled at facilitating in the virtual domain. Many coaches have taken their work into the virtual domain and appreciate how it really does leverage the coaching process across geographic distance. In a virtual domain there are many different skills to master - from the technology and platform you are using, to the way you facilitate. Practice makes perfect, and the more you can experience the virtual platform as a learner and leader yourself, the more you will discover your strengths and style. Refer to chapter 7 for Virtual Design and Delivery Tips (From One to Many: Best Practices). This is also a large focus of the Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (8 CCEs with the ICF). Over the six weeks of this program coaches are able to lead the group through a virtual group coaching conversation.

3. Stepping into your style - Each one of us does have a unique style as well as biases in the way we coach. This is likely to have been influenced by the types of individuals we have coached in the past, our coach training, as well as our own individual preferences. When working with a team or group it is important to note that you will likely be working with a wider cross section of individuals. What changes will this require to your style? What areas do you want to grow into?
Co-Facilitation can also offer great support and another style to the teams and groups you work with. Who could you partner with? How would their style and approach be complimentary (not necessarily the same)? What value would this add for your groups and teams?

4. Systematizing your work - Systematizing your work so that you are able to support multiple groups or teams, along with individual clients is also another potential stretch point for coaches. What systems do you want to have in place to support you? These systems can range from having a selection of bridgeline services available, to program design systems, to payment and registration systems.
Who can support you in the areas you may not be strong in? Perhaps administration is not a strong suit for you? Maybe it is program design or workbook design? Who would you add to your team to help you expand your capacity and ability to work with  more clients? Chapter 9 of Effective Group Coaching addresses systems. We also talk about them in the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar.

Reflect on these four areas. Identify which will be a stretch.  
What do you need to do, or who can support you, in navigating these areas? 
What other areas might be a stretch for you? 
What resources can you tap into to support you in your work?

Have a great start to your week.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Potentials Realized |
Phone: (416)996-8326
Join us for an upcoming program - 
Group Coaching Essentials (starts Tues at 630 pm ET on Jan 28th or Thurs at 10:15 am ET on Feb 6th) - 6.75 CCEs
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes (starting Thursday 9-10 am ET on Feb 20th running to May 22nd)

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