Monday, May 29, 2006

MindMapping - A Creative Tool to add to your Toolbox

Looking for a tool to suport you in your next program design or marketing? Try MindMapping. This great tool, originally developed by Tony Buzan in the 1970s, has powerful relevance for any coach or professional who is looking to break through creative blocks, or to see program development and marketing in a different light.

Here's an exercise for you to try. Take out a blak piece of paper and in the center draw a circle. In the center of the circle put the topic or name of a Group Coaching Program you are thinking to develop. For the next five minutes, write down evertying that comes to mind about this program, drawing one line extending out from the center of the circle (almost like rays of the sun) for each sub-topic (for example, exercises, content, marketing strategy, audience, venue etc). For each new idea in these sub-topics, create lines extending off of that line. we've got five minutes to create!

Welcome back! How was that? Whether I am using this tool with coaches who are creating their own program, clients who are wanting to get unstuck or clear on an issue, or even entrepreneurs who are wanting to create their business plan, I never cease to be amazed at the power of this tool.

You can MindMap freehand, or also put it on computer. MindJet has a great computer MindMapping tool and a free 21 day trial offer. You can visit them at As you will see from their website the application of the tool is endless!

I'd enjoy hearing from you regarding your experience with MindMapping. What evolved? Any surprizes? What became clear? Click the comment link below and share your thoughts!

Happy MindMapping,

The next Group Coaching Essentials program starts next Monday at 6:45 pm (EST). If you are looking for new tools, templates, techniques and resources for your next Group Coaching program, then join me for our next teleseminar program. We'll be meeting on June 5, 12, 19 and 26th, plus one date in late July/early August for a follow-up call. Course size is limited to eight coaches to ensure individualized focus. To register contact me toll free at 1-866-217-1960 or by email.

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Impact of Fun and Time

Last week I had the privledge of running a one-day staff retreat/group coaching program with an amazing corporate client here in Toronto. I must admit that it was one of the most fun, invigorating programs that I have run in a long time. And the participants' evaluations reflected my sense that it was one of their most powerful learning experiences as well.

Two lessons were underscored for me last week as I reflected on what exactly had made the program so powerful. Several comments came up time and time again across the organization in terms of what made the program so great.

First, the program was FUN and meaningful for each participant.Our morning was spent in activities related to both personal and organizational issues. Our afternoon was mostly dedicated to completely experiential activities focusing on communication, teamwork and leadership. We could have covered the same material in a number of different ways - case studies, lecturettes - but what staff indicated as being really powerful, was the opportunity to play, to discover for themselves through trial and error their own lessons. I have no doubt that this learning will "stick" and be used much longer than if we had used a less engaging approach.

Another approach I used with this program was to actually remove most of the structured timeline. The agenda reflected our start and end times, as well as break and lunch times, in addition to the broad topics we would be covering. This allowed us to spend more time on the issues that were most important and meaningful for staff, less time on those that didn't resonate as much, leaving the team with the overall sense of an easy pace throughout the day. Again, a majority of the staff commented on the easy flow of the day and just how fast the program had flown by. This was very important for the team and their learning process.

What can you do to inject more fun and time into your programs?

Potentials Realized

Our next Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program begins on Monday June 5th from 6:45 - 8 pm (EST) (June 5, 12, 19 and 26th). Will you be able to join us?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Do You Evaluate?

Evaluation of our group coaching programs, and other programs in general, is an often overlooked, but critical activity.

There has been a lot written about evaluation of programs in the training realm, and several professionals such as Donald Kirkpatrick have led the way in providing us with frameworks to understand the importance of evaluation of programs. Kirkpatrick's Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels is an industry classic and standard.

I would be interested in finding out how many coaches actually evaluate the impact of their coaching programs, both in the short and long term, for both individual and group coaching programs. This issue is very much linked to the ongoing discussion within our professional community related to ROI (Return on Investment) and measuring the impact of our coaching interventions.

Evaluation is so important from many different perspectives. It initially allows us to know if we are on the mark, it can be useful in re-designing future programs or sessions to better meet the needs of our clients, and it can be a very useful marketing tool.

I'll be writing more in a future post about one of the quick mini-eval tools I use for my group coaching work. It only takes a few minutes, and gives me feedback immediately of what's working and what's not for my clients. That way, I can make changes as needed between our group coaching sessions. you evaluate? And, if so, how?

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, CPCC
Potentials Realized