Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Four Essentials In Making Group Coaching Work for You

Group Coaching can be a great addition for coaches who love working within the group context, and who get energy off of working with more than one person. Over the last ten years as I'v worked with hundreds of great coaches in the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program, I've encouraged people to think about what systems are going to support them in accelerating their work.

Four key areas, or essentials, I think are critical to consider when stepping into group coaching, or expanding your work are these:

1. Marketing - Where do you want to spend your time and energy in marketing, and letting others know about what you have to offer in the group context. Marketing is about consistent action over time, so consider what activities will leverage your strengths, be enjoyable to undertake and can also be built upon, or repurposed for other medium. In my program, Marketing Tips for Team and Group Programs, I go through four hours of video tips, and a dozen worksheets, to support you in developing your marketing strategy, and exploring several approaches (blogging, article writing) that you might want to incorporate.

2. Registration - Enabling people to easily register in a way that works well for them is key. Consider where your market is. What's going to make it easy to register? For years I have stayed with PayPal as my registration system of choice, in part because it is a global brand and makes it much easier for those outside of North America to utilize, and two, because it allows me to invoice easily in myriad of currencies.
What registration systems work best for your business. What do you have in place to not only register people, but also accept the financial part of the transaction quickly and securely?

3. Supports for you- Not all of us bring experience in the myriad of areas which make a great group program - facilitation, coaching, logistics, program design, workbook design, activities. Who can you add to your team (even as a sub-contractor) to help you create programs you are proud of. I know that having several exceptional graphic designers around me have helped up the ante in several of our programs in the past few years, including designing brilliant worksheets for programs such as the Inner Biz Leader(TM) Virtual Business Planning Retreat.
As facilitators we need support too. Consider what is going to keep you renewed and at your best every time you work with groups.

4. Platforms for Building Community - Supporting alumni, individually, and collectively, from my programs has been key in the work I've done since opening our doors in 2004. Every quarter I host community calls for the alumni of the Group Coaching Essentials programs, and late last year I experimented with using Blabs as a way to connect with more people.
This year the Learning Lab and Design Studio is a robust, and growing, community of group program practitioners who are coming together for a series of group and individual calls throughout the year.  This year long group (which you can join for a month, six months or a year) is gaining traction after our first month. We meet on Fridays (usually at 12 noon ET) for a blend of group calls, facilitation labs (next one this Friday Feb 26th), and some 1-1 coaching. Check it out.

What other systems and focus areas will help you in making group coaching work for you?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC | 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
The next Group Coaching Essentials telseminar program starts April 6. the next Advanced Group coaching Practicum starts Thursday March 31st (10 CCEs)

Monday, February 08, 2016

Six Coaching Questions - Focus

Coaching as an approach may be one of ony a few pause points in the course of a week for an
individual, team or group. Today's blog post includes a few more than six coaching questions you may want to be asking the people you are supporting:

1. What's important to you right now?
2. What does success look like?
3 Who can help you focus on this?
4. What do you need to say NO to order to be successful?
5. What could get in the way of your focus?
6. if you look at the big picture/or 30,000 foot view, what's in focus? What's not?
7. If there was one thing you could add or take away to help with your focus, what would it be?

If you enjoyed this post on coaching questions for focus, you may want to check out these other Six Questions posts including:
Six powerful questions to deepen awareness in groups - read it here.
Six coaching questions to strengthen connection in groups and teams - read it here
Six coaching questions for business building - read it here.
Six coaching questions around priorities and time management - read it here

Have a great start to your week!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC | 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

Join us for a 2016 program including:
The Learning Lab and Design Studio Coaching Group - join us for six or twelve months at the LLDS - group calls, facilitation lab and dozens of hours of audios, videos and templates to support you in your work! Click here to learn more. Calls are held on Fridays at either 12 noon ET or 8 am ET.  Cost $250 US/month. Join us for a year and get 2 months free!

Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - want to lead more powerful webinars, teleclasses and virtual retreats? Join us for this online train-the-trainer.  Jump in with us in week 2 this Thursday at 12 noon ET.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Want more confidence leading webinars, teleclasses? Virtual Train-the-trainer starts Thurs Feb 3 at 12 noon ET

A quick reminder that on Thursday February 4th from 12 -3 pm ET I kick off the 15 hour Virtual Train-the-Trainer (the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive). If you are a professional looking to gain practice, confidence and skills in leading more effective and engaging virtual events such as webinars, teleclasses, virtual retreats, virtual groups/teams and virtual meetings than this is for you.

We meet for five weeks (Feb 4 - March 3rd 2016) on Thursdays  from 12 - 3 pm Eastern/New York for an intensive 3 hours online, covering topics such as:
  • What's similar and different in leading virtual events;
  • Core skills for masterful virtual facilitators;
  • Designing powerful virtual programs - core elements of great webinars, teleclasses and virtual group and team coaching;
  • Mitigating against tricky issues in the virtual domain - and what do to when they do happen (and they do!);
  • More than 2 dozen (yes, 24!) facilitation approaches you can use online and in person;
  • Engagement strategies for virtual programming

You'll take part in a pre-program self-assessment to benchmark your skills, and you'll have 3 or more opportunities to lead the group in dialogue and/or activities throughout the program.  You'll also receive 100 page binder full of content, resource lists and approaches you can use in your work. We'll also be holding the calls on different platforms each week so you get to see how they work, what you like and what you want to use in your work.

Cost: $950 US (payable in one or two installments)

Click here to learn more and grab one of the remaining 2 spots!

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)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email me with any questions you have at info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

Join us for other programs including:
The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (8.75 CCEs) Fridays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET from Feb 5 - March 4 (for coaches who want to add group coching to their mix : 3 spots open
The Learning Lab and Design Studio - All things groups, teams and virtual programming! Join us for for six or twelve months for a combination of group calls, a monthly Facilitation Lab, a rich online resource portal and some 1-1 time monthly with Jenn.  Calls normally held Fridays from 12 - 12:50 pm ET- with some alternative dates and times.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Ethics and Group and Team Coaching: Five initial areas to consider

Several weeks ago I presented to coach trainers at ACTO - the Association for Coach Training
Organizations - on group and team coaching issues. One area that was raised that we were not able to dig into during the presentation was ethics and group and team coaching. I promised to address this in at least one post (and more!) at the blog.

Ethics is the foundation of any profession, and as coaches, being aware of the grey zones we may find ourselves in,  or perceived as in, is important to identify before it happens.

As I sit down to write this post I realize that we could do a whole series of posts on the topic of ethics in group and team coaching. As such, please take today's post as a starting point for discussion of a very large iceberg topic. As in icebergs, this is the tip, of a very large mass! This post is also not meant to provide any advice, but rather pose some areas for you to explore in your own work.

The first thing I want to do is point to the fantastic resources which exist already in the world of the ICF. There is an Ethics committee and a COP dedicated to the exploration of this very important issue.

In the realms of group and team coaching, there may be different ethical concerns, due to the history, relationships and dynamics of groups versus teams, as well as in the role of the coach.

At a very high level considerations five areas coaches should keep in mind include:

  • Role of the coach and his or her ability to hold the grouping as a coach - there can be some significant differences here where a coach is working with a team. What does it mean to hold the focus for the entire team? More often than not  you will want to bring in additional individual coaches to coach the individual team members on a longer term basis, especially if there are agreements in place around transparency.
  • In the realm of the group coach, it can be easier (but not always possible) to avoid some of the grey ethical zones by serving as the group coach, and also providing individual coaching services 
  •  What confidentiality means not only for the coach and group or team, but also amongst the team and group members and keeping things "on the line" on the line, and not being fed out to others in an organization.
  • The role of sponsor and coach and group or team.  Sponsors are often eager to learn more, and potentially be part of, the process of a team or group coaching session. It is critical early on in the start of contracting to clarify roles, responsibilities, reporting and confidentiality.
  • Evaluation - What structures/processes do you put into place to support evaluation and sharing of results. How can you invite the sponsor to a facilitated discussion? How do you maintain confidentiality during evaluation. How do you share results?

As with any ethical issue, it is important to explore the context, players, relationships, history, power etc. Coaches will want to explore these areas carefully not only in the lead up to a coaching engagement but also throughout. This is where the role of a mentor coach or supervisor can really play a key role.

As I wrap up this week's blog post, what is important to consider in your work around ethical issues right now? Who can you reach out to for support and dialogue?

Have a great 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:
Learning Lab and Design Studio - Join us on Fridays in the LLDS as we not only learn, but also design and practice group and team coaching skills. We also discuss topics such as this - ethics! Join us for 6 or 12 months, or monthly at the Lab. Download a brochure here, or take a look at upcoming calls here.
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday February 5 at 1:30 pm Eastern (8.75 CCes) with calls held on Fridays from 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET on Feb 5,12, 19, 26 and March 4 (3 spots open)
Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - a 15 hour online Train-the-Trainer starts Thursday February 4th from 12 - 3 pm ET on Feb 4, 11, 18, 25 and March 3rd. Geared for those who want to gain skills, theory and practice in virtual facilitation - useful for leading webinars, group and team coaching, and other virtual meetings. (2 spots open)