Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Join us at the Learning Lab and Design Studio during 2016 starting Friday at 12noon ET

This Friday January 27th at 12 noon ET the doors metaphorically open for a new online resource portal and group program for all things teams and groups called the Learning Lab and Design Studio.
For several years coaching alumni, and facilitators I have worked with have asked for a venue where they could have longer term learning, support and a space to practice and engage in group and team skills.

Is this year that you want to:
  • Have more focus on your business and creating group and team programs - workshops, retreats, online training (like Udemy), group and team training, coaching or facilitation?
  • Connect with a community of fellow practitioners to learn from and share with?
  • Build your toolkit?
  • Sharpen your skills in working with teams and groups?
  • Become more masterful and skilled in program design - perhaps in newer areas like video based training, virtual retreats, webinars, or e-learning?
  • Boost your confidence in your skills through practice and feedback opportunities?
  • Benefit from group and individual coaching?
  • Access a rich online portal of resources (print, audio, video) which you can use in support of your own work?
Download a brochure about the Learning Lab and Design Studio (LLDS) here.
You can join us at the Learning Lab and Design Studio for the year, six months or even a month at a time. Group members at the LLDS will be involved in:
  • a monthly Facilitation Lab  call where we'll be experimenting with different tools you might want to bring into your work,
  • two group calls a month with a blend of Coaching and Teaching - click here to review the schedule;
  •  a monthly laser 1-1 call with me;
  • dozens of hours of audios, videos, templates (which you can use "as is");
  • The opportunity to beta test new products and courses I am developing;
  • Four virtual retreat mornings (4 hours), one a quarter, to support you with your program ideas and design.
Calls are usually scheduled for Fridays from 12 - 1pm ET, with some scheduled earlier on Friday from 8-8:50 am ET. View the schedule of our first six months of calls here.

Most blog readers know me through my writing or work in the area of group coaching. As the author of Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, you know that I am passionate about supporting coaches, trainers, facilitators and other professionals in doing masterful work with groups and teams (virtually or live). I bring almost 30 years experience of working with groups, teams and in program design and evaluation!

You can join us at the LLDS this year (12 months from January 29th 2016) for an introductory rate of $2500 US, six months for $1250 US and monthly for $250 US.

If you register and reserve your spot for the one year program you also get to participate at no additional cost in next week's Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program (Thursdays 12 - 3 pm Eastern - Feb 4 - March 3, 2016 -  a 15 hour virtual train-the-trainer).  This is a time sensitive offer open only on Wednesday January 27, 2016. Click here to take advantage of this special pricing. This will take you to the Group Coaching Essentials website and is the only place to get this special rate. Regularly  the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program is $950 US.

If you don't see this until Thursday January 28th and still want to join us, while you won't get the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program for free, you will save 50% OR save 15% if you register for the year at the LLDS with another colleague (you each will save 15%) on Thursday January 28th ONLY . Click here to lock in your spot.

Questions? Please email me or call me directly at (416)996-8326.

View several Frequently Asked Questions and what's currently available at the LLDS (beyond our calls and which will be added to regularly) at

I hope that you will join us on Friday at the Lab for the kick off to a rich year of learning, practice and community!

Click here to view a short 11 minute video I did recently on what the LLDS is all about.\

See you Friday!


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Monday, January 25, 2016

Learning Styles - What type are your learners?

One of the really fascinating things in any group or team process is the myriad of learning styles which show up. chances are in any group you are working with their will be a range of visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. While some learning style models create even more discrete categories than this, you will see people with different preferences. I go into more detail around learning styles in my book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013). at it's core, the learning style preferences of the different group members are:

Prefer and learn throguh things they can see - PowerPoints, Post It notes, Written Materials
Visual learners may also enjoy processing like journalling more than free flowing conversation, as words can anchor their learning process
Media rich approaches such as movies and photo decks (such as Conversation Sparker) are also stimulating to visual learners
Would prefer a webinar with screen sharing over an auditory bridgeline call

Auditory Learners:
Learn by hearing
Virtual channels such as conference calls can be rich for learning
Dialogue and discussion  help to lock things in

Kinesthetic Learners
Kinesthetic learners learn by doing and moving
Kinesthtetic learners may appreciate somatic approaches to coaching which incorporates more "body-centered" approaches

As coaches, working wtih our gorup members to learn about their stule prferences helps us shape a program in terms of design, but also should shape the way we ask questions to different group members.

The question "What does that look like?" is going to be more resonant for a visual learner.

The question "What does that sound like?" is going to be more resonant for an auditory learner.

The questions "What does it feel like?" is going to be more resonant for a kinesthetic learner.

For severeal years now I have worked with different illustrators to bring to life some of these concepts and I am pleased to share with you one we did on the different learning styles. I am sure that for someo of you the cartoon will "lock in" the distinctions, even more than the written word can! Enjoy!

We'll be covering the topic of learning styles to a much greater depth in several upcoming programs including:
The Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour online train-the-trainer for those wanting to lead more effective and engaging virtual events - webinars, teleclasses, virtual meetings, etc. Starts Thursday Feb 4th from 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York (online) and runs for 5 weeks to Thur March 3 (3 spots open)

The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar - 8.75 CCEs - Covering best practices around  designing, implementing and marketing group coaching (in person and virtual groups, corporate and public groups). Starts Fridays 1:30-2:45 pm Eastern February 5 (runs 5 weeks to March 4th)

The Learning Lab and Design Studio - A six and twelve month group focused on expanding your toolbox and confidence with all things related to group and team programming! Meets Fridays 12 - 1 pm ET,kicking off this Friday  January 29th. Learn more (including call times)

And Jo, a new team leader who is trying to figure out how she can support the different learning styles in her team. Jo (and her adventures as a new team leader) will be featured at my Teams365 blog for team leaders this year. I would love your feedback on  how you like this first cartoon. Feel free to comment below.

The Adventures of Jo - Learning Styles, Copyright Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized, 2016.


 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Upcoming programs include:
Learning Lab and Design Studio - Fridays at 12 noon Eastern (by phone) starting January 29th
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday February 5 at 1:30 pm Eastern (8.75 CCes)\
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour onlineTrain-the-Trainer starts Thursday February 4th at 12 noon Eastern

Monday, January 18, 2016

Webinars, Teleclasses, and Virtual Group Coaching - 5 WOW Factors

Virtual Word Cloud created using
Virtual learning continues to take root whether it's through webinars, teleclasses, virtual group coaching or even on-demand video or e-learning programs. Creating virtual programs that WOW is a key consideration for many coaches. As someone who has offered a bulk of my programming through my business virtually over the last twelve years, my clients and I continue to enjoy the opportunity to learn at times and locations that are convenient, without needing to travel.

So how do we create engaging virtual programming? What are some tips you can consider in the design and implementation of your next webinar, teleclass and/or virtual group coaching? Consider these:

Change the pace regularly - Many of you have heard me talk about the improtance of chainging the pace every 7-10 minutes in face to face programs, in virtual progams, particulaly those that aren't as interactive (i.e. webinars) that time frame gets shortened significantly, even down to 1-3 minutes. Consider what's going to keep people focused, engaged and out of the "Death by Conference Call" Mode

Don't be afraid to engage and experiment with what you would normally do within a face to face environment. A lot of coaches, trainers and facilitators, are hesitant to bring some of their face-to-face approaches (with modification) into the virtual realm. Having facilitated virtually for more than a decade I know that group members are tired of the same "talking head" and lack of interaction. They want something different. Think through how you can adapt some of your favorite face to face activities for the virtual realm. It might involve some pre-work or preparation, breakouts or more time.

Consider the level of engagement you want and then the best approach - Webinars, telsclasses and virtual group coaching can vary along the lines of engagement, content and "who's driving the bus" (the faciltator or the participants). Consider the right vehicle.
  •  Are you wanting to pass on a lot of content and don't want interaction. If so, a webinar might be the best way to go.
  •  Are you wanting  to pass on a lot of content and want interaction - a webinar incorporating breakouts, chats and even video streaming might be the best route
  • Is this a program to support group members towards their goals, self-discovery, planning and action? If so, a group coaching approach which leverages breakouts, large and small group activities will be the best approach
Matching the approach and platform with what you want to create is essential. I'll be covering this my upcoming Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program (see below).

Small is beautiful - In my book, Effective Group Coaching, I write that small is beautiful. Think through how many people you really want to support in a virtual program. What is going to work well for you, and their learning? Are you looking to create an interactive, intimate environment where people can get to know each other, connect and trust each other, OR are you looking to get the word out to a mass audience where it's more about the message not connection.
Again, consider the platform and type of virtual learning process (webinar, teleclass, streaming - live or asynchronous, coaching etc) which will influence your ceilings and range of number of participants.
Being clear with expectations around engagement and numbers is key in promoting your work.

Always have a back-up: It's highly likely that something technical may go wrong within the virtual realm. Contingency planning is key. Always have a back up - this may entail having another platform,  having a support team around you, and thinking through the series of What Ifs! Nothing is more frustrating for participants (and will take away from the WOW) if they are struggling with technology and feeling cut off.

I'll be going much more in-depth into virtual programming tips (design, marketing, and implementation) in the upcoming Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program. In addition to building to your virtual facilitation and design toolkit, you'll also get several opportunities to practice your skills in the virtual domain (and get feedback from others). We'll be meeting online Thursdays from 12- 3 pm Eastern in this 15 hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer on February 4, 11, 18, 25, and March 3rd. We'll be using platforms ranging from bridgelines, to skype, to zoom, join-me, and webinar platforms to give you experience and more confidence on these different platforms. Cost: $950 US. Save 15% when you register with a colleague. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot (5 spots  open).

I'd also invite you to see what I've written about virtual programming over the last decade here at the blog. There's still lots left to cover!

Have a great start to your week,

 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Upcoming programs include:
The Learning Lab and Design Studio - starting on Fridays later this month: Are you looking for a content rich, community which will support you in learning and experimenting with design, implementation and marketing of group and team programs. The Learning Lab and Design Studio offers coaches, trainers, facilitators and other professionals a place for learning, connection, and accountability. Participate in two group coaching calls a month, a Facilitation Lab monthlyDownload a brochure here or learn more and reserve your spot.
, plus one individual coaching session. Also benefit from dozens of resources aimed at supporting you to do your best work with groups and teams whether you are leading webinars, retreats, teleclasses, group or team coaching. Join us for the year, six months or monthly.

The 38 hour ICF ACSTH approved Group and Team Coaching Training program through Impact Coaching Association starts early February (Tuesdays 12 - 3 pm ET) online.

Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - 15 hour train-the-trainer for those wanting to build their virtual toolbox, learn more about best practices in virtual facilitation (for webinars, virtual retreats, teleclasses, telseminars, group and team coaching) and acquire practice and feedback in sharpening their skills. Thursdays 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Five Essential Elements in Your 2016 Facilitation Toolkit

I love the start of a new year and reading all the posts on trends from the last year, and possibilities for the new year. If you have not viewed my 12th annual year end Group and Teams program call where I cover some of the 2015 trends I saw you can view it here on blab or YouTube. Last week's blog post included three priority areas for group and team coaching. You can read that post here.

For today's post I thought I would highlight five essential elements in your 2016 Facilitation Toolkit. one of my missions this year is to expand the work I do with coaches in refining their facilitation skills and confidence. As many of you know, later this month I will be launching the Learning Lab and Design Studio, a multi-month group coaching program created for those of you who want to expand your work in the areas of groups and teams, and expand your coaching business. It includes group coaching support, a Facilitation lab, some 1-1 time with me and more importantly a growing community of other professionals. Cost is $250 US/month and will be of interest for those looking for some ongoing support, ideas and accountability read more about the Learning Lab and Design Studio here, and/or download a flyer here. 

This year, here are five essential items for your faciltiation toolkit:

1. Post it notes - Post it notes continue to be a favorite of mine and have been so for decades now. They are a great tool to elicit participation from all group members, see connections and focus thoughts. Read this 2008 post I did entitled Post It Notes: A Facilitators Ally.

2. Visual Decks - For many years I have been using visual cards and photographs with in person and virtual groups. A wonderful "conversation sparker" across differences, photos help group members create new perspectives, insights and connections. Whether you are using Visual Explorer, the JICT Deck, Points of you - The Coaching Game, or Conversation Sparker (my deck) consider the many ways you can use cards as openers, closers, or as the main focus of the session.  In late November I released the 40 Ways to Use Visual Cards E-Resource, which includes detailed instructions on 40 ways to facilitate activities with cards (from goal setting, to innovation, to strategic planning, to closure) and also five worksheets you can use "as is".

Working with visuals was also my focus of the Design Studio Blab #6 - View it here.

3, A selection of virtual platforms - having at your ready a selection of virtual platforms can make a big difference. Whether you decide to set up bridgelines, Skype, a Zoom platform, Web Ex, Go To Meeting or other platform, feeling confident in using them and translating some of your in person offerings to the virtual domain can make sense for those who don't want to, or don't have the resources, to travel to participate.
In a few weeks I'll be kicking off the first of four Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensives for 2016. This is a fifteen hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer for those who want to expand their virtual skills and confidence facilitating in the virtual realm. WE'll be meeting Thursdays from 12 - 3 pm ET from 2/4 to 3/4. Click here to learn more or reserve your spot (4 spots open)

4. A variety of back-pocket ideas - You never know what's going to be needed when you work with groups and teams. It's always a great idea to take stock of the different activities and resources we have at our disposal. Spend 15 minutes this week doing an inventory of what you have available and/or going through some of the books/resources you which are accumulating dust. What might you bring into an upcoming session?

5. A community of other practioners - Developing your own network of follow faciltators/coaches and trainers is not only good for business when you want to scale your work, it's also really important in terms of ongoing development. Consider how you will invest in your relationships with other practitioners this year, and also expand your skill base.

What other resources would you recommend for a 2016 Facilitation Toolkit. As always, feel free to comment below.

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Upcoming programs include:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs) starting Thursday January 14th at 1015 am ET (Thurs 1015 - 1130 am ET Jan 14 - Feb 12th)
Learning Lab and Design Studio (6-12 months) - starts Fridays later this month. Download a brochure.
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - Thursdays 12 - 3 pm ET - Feb 4- March 4 (15 hrs) online

Monday, January 04, 2016

2016 Priorities for Group and Team Coaching

For the last several years in early January I've blogged on possible priority areas for group and team coaching. It's become somewhat of an annual tradition. Last week here at the blog I posted on some of the key themes from 2015 we saw in the realm of group and team coaching. Here's the post if you haven't read it yet, and make sure to check out the December blab I hosted as part of my 12th Annual Year End Group Programs call.

Some of the key themes and priorities which I see as being priorities this year include:

1. Clearer definition of group and team coaching competencies. For many years I have written that as sub-disciplines of the coaching profession, we lead from our core coaching competencies (link to ICF Competency framework), AND as the profession becomes more nuanced, there are some important additional skill areas and nuances around the current competencies. Additional skills such as an understanding of group dynamics, process orientation, and a more robust toolkit of resources specific to group and team coaching are some areas. There have been several studies that I am aware of which have started to explore this topic around team coaching, and I'm looking forward to being part of additional conversations which are tackling this important topic area.
What do you see as additional skill sets required for team and group coaches?

2. Continued definition of the field of team coaching - In recent months I've heard a lot of coaches saying that they feel that "team coaching is coming into its own". I fully agree, and just like in the wider coaching profession we need to be vigilant in terms of how we define the field and approaches of team coaching, as well as what it looks like.
I continue to go back to some of the core research which defines coaching as a profession. What is the focus in the work we do around goals, action, awareness and accountability? How does the "intervention' support sustained conversation and change in a team? Who owns the process? How does the team define success? How are we holding the team "naturally creative, resourceful and whole"?
How do you define team coaching with your clients? What makes it distinct from other team interventions?

3. Continued focus and expansion in virtual programming - For coaches and clients alike virtual programming can be a mysterious entity. It does provide so many benefits for clients from greater anonymity, to convenience, and ability to connect with others in a much wider geography. As many more teams become virtual in nature, building our skills in this area will be important. As coaches, the time and cost savings, added to a much larger market reach, continue to be popular selling points.

As someone who has led a bulk of my work virtually for the last 12 years as a coach (and longer than that as a former virtual leader in my earlier career), I continue to work with coaches who are wanting to shift into the realm of virtual programming (Check out the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive which will start online on February 4th, or the Learning Lab and Design Studio a longer term group which launches later this month).

What do your clients value - in person? Virtual? What's going to support you in expanding your skills in the virtual domain if it's of interest?

While I think that there are many more areas which are priorities including measurement, engagement approaches, sharpening our skills, I think these three are quite critical for both team and group coaches. I'd love to hear your comments - as always feel free to comment below or join the conversation at the Effective Group Coaching Facebook page.

Have a great first week back to work for 2016!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

Join me in January to sharpen your coaching skills, amp up your group and team coaching work and/or coaching business:
Group Coaching Essentials teleclass starting Thursday January14th from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET (8.75 CCEs with the ICF)
Mentor Coaching Group starting Friday January 8th from 9-10 am ET (for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - 10 CCEs starting Friday Jan 8th at 10:15 am ET giving you more practice and feedback on your group coaching skills, and exploring topics such as virtual programming, engagement, and activities
The six and twelve month Learning Lab and Design Studio membership group which includes two group calls  a month, a Facilitation Lab, access to a treasure-trove of resources, and some 1-1 time with me monthly. We'll be kicking off on January 22nd or 29th.