Thursday, February 06, 2014

Creating Connection Amongst Group Members: Group Coaching

One of the eleven core competencies (of the ICF) is about Building Trust and Rapport with our
Five Ways to Build Connection - Copyright 2014, Jennifer Britton
coaching clients. In a group and team coaching context creating connection amongst group members is just as important in creating a "safe" space for a coaching conversation. Without the sense of safety it is unlikely that people will engage into the depth of a coaching conversation. It may be more of a "surface" conversation.

Today's blog post explores five ways to create connetion amongst group members. As we know, the coaching process may begin before you even get in the room, or on the phone together. Many of thes tips are also useful in creating a link between you and each particpant.

#1 - Introductions: Consider how you can make introductions a key part of creating connection. Whether you are in person or on the phone/web, consider how you can use introductions to make people feel more connected. Is there any follow-up (i.e. photos and a paragraph about themselves) you would like people to share after the first session?

#2 - Utilize breakouts: Breakouts make a huge difference in getting people to connect in a larger group setting (even when the group may only be 4-8 people). Historically, it was only conference calling services such as Maestro Conferencing that allowed you to do breakouts on the phone. today free services such as allow you to break into up to four separate groups. How might you leverage breakouts for connection?

#3 - Bring in different approaches, for example, Visuals. I continue to get amazed at the impact of using Visual tools such as Visual explorer in my work. Seveal weeks ago, while I was delivering a conference presentation I brought in Visual Explorer as a conversation sparker around collaboration. The change of energy in the room was instantanenous, which says a lot for 3:30pm! using visual resources may allow certain participants to connect to the conversation in a different way.

Click here to view my December video post on different visual tools I use in my work.

#4 - Leave enough time - Creating connection takes time. A best practice in any group coaching work is "Less is more". What might you need to let go of in terms of topics, activities, in order to provide the space for people to be in dialogue?

# 5 - Peer learning partners/buddies - Creating peer partners (twos or threes) can also provide a significant way to keep the conversation flowing and boost connection between some group members. If you are concerned that these connections may create cliques, rotate the pairings. Fro my experience, I have found that people have enjoyed building connection with one or two other peers in the group, and that it has allowed them to go deeper in their own goals and plans. Also, it's always interesting to notice what connections people find, even it pairings are done randomly!

What approaches do you want to bring into your next group coaching process?

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, 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)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Join us for an upcoming program - 
Group Coaching Essentials (starts Thursday March 20th at 10:15 am Eastern/New York) - 6.75 CCEs
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