Monday, April 30, 2007

Leveraging Technology for your Business Marketing

What technology are you leveraging for your business marketing? Are you using blogs? Podcasts? How are you getting your message heard?

I often get requests from coaches to learn more about how they can leverage these technologies. A few resource people I would recommend:

Podcasting - Leesa Barnes
Blogs - The Blog Squad, and Andy Wibbels
Technology - Sandra DeFreitas, The Tech Coach

What current marketing strategies are you using right now? With a new month ahead you may want to consider undertaking a 30 Day Challenge on marketing or technology issues. I am just wrapping up a 30 Day Challenge to my subscribers on my Your Balanced Life! Blog. The 30 Day Challenge involves undertaking consistent action on one goal for 30 days -- not huge steps every day, but small 1% changes that over the course of a month that will show impact. What will your 31 Day Challenge look like for you in May? I'd be interested in hearing, so feel free to comment below.

Have a great start to the week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Group Coaching Essentials
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

I'll be a guest panelist tomorrow, Tuesday May 1st at 11am EST, on the ICF Relationship SIG. I will be joining Phil Sandahl, Co-Author of Co-Active Coaching and co-founder/principle of Team Coaching International, as well as Kathy Hay of Integra Leadership Inc, speaking on Team Coaching. This is a one hour call, and if you are an ICF member you can find out call in details at the ICF website. I hope that you can join us!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Group Coaching - Best Practices Part 2

A couple of months ago I blogged on Best Practices for Group Coaching and looked at two best practices - Less Is More, and Recognizing that Participants Learn In Different Ways.

As part of an ongoing series, today I'm going to blog on another best practice to consider incorporating into your next group coaching program - Creating Accountability Structures.

Create Accountability Structures:
Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

The first best practice that I want to talk about in today's post is to create accountability structures in your group coaching programs. Just as in individual coaching, we have a number of tools to forward participant's learning. The same principle works in group coaching. Consider incorporating the following in your programs:

* Homework between sessions -- this can be one piece of homework for the entire group, or you can have participants individually identify their own homework for the time between the sessions;

*Create a structure for Action Planning:
Build time into the last section of your group coaching program for action planning - have participants identify one or more things that they are going to do as a result of the session. It may be useful to share with them the SMART Goals framework, and have them identify resource needed to accomplish this, timelines, and any other support structures.

The weekly action plans can be shared as part of the weekly closure as a group, or participants can be paired off with an accountabiblity partner.

Spend time at the start of the next session checking in with the group to see how their homework was achieved. What did they do? What did they learn? What challenges are showing up?

* Create learning or accountability partners within the group. Having participants buddy up throughout the program can be a very powerful process. Buddies can check in between sessions as well as work together during the program itself. With larger groups, triad groupings, rather than dyads, can also work.

* Create a Hybrid Coaching program: In several of my programs I offer a hybrid program of group coaching sessions twice a month interspersed with individual coaching once a month with each participant. Feedback from participants is that they really enjoy the combination of group and individual sessions each month.

What ideas do you have about creating accountability structures within your programs? What's worked well? What hasn't? Please feel free to comment below.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

Thursday, April 19, 2007

New Group Program Virtual Retreat Date - Thurs May 10/07

When is the last time you had a structure and six-hours to dedicate towards your own group program development and marketing? Are you planning an upcoming retreat, group coaching program or workshop?

I'm excited to announce a new group program creativity virtual retreat date for Thursday May 10th from 10 - 4pm (EST). I've added this date in response to the interest shown in tomorrow's group program creativity virtual retreat, which a number of coaches could not attend.

This six-hour virtual retreat (held by phone) is for coaches, trainers and other group facilitators who are wanting to move forward with their own group program work. The purpose of the day is to hold the space for creativity, design and discussion. I have been leading these virtual retreats since last July and have seen amazing results emerge for participants.

Past participants have achieved the following during the creativity virtual retreat day:
* Created the skeleton of their group program– including venue, topics, exercises, audience
* Venue identified and booked
* Exercises to be used during the program researched and selected
* Marketing approaches identified and marketing copy drafted
* Webpage for the event drafted and ready for web-designer
* Welcome package for participants drafted
* Participant manual/notebook created for the program

Every hour we will be meeting as a group for approximately 15-20 minutes to focus on different issues that are important for our own group program development and marketing. For the remaining 40 minutes of the hour, we will disconnect and retreat from our own home or office undertaking individual work, breathing life into our program ideas.

Each hour has a different focus, and retreatants will end the day with a skeleton of their own workshop, group coaching or retreat program. Each retreat participant receives a virtual retreat manual which will guide you through the retreat, as well as a follow-up thirty minute caching session with me. We will meet again as a group one month after the retreat for a one hour call to check in on what’s transpired. The cost for the program is $97 US (prices will be going up in June).

If you are committed to bringing a new program into the world, and want a fun, supportive environment to do it in quickly, I hope that you will join me. Space is limited to 12 participants. I look forward to having you join us!

For more information, visit the Group Coaching Essentials website -- payment is by PayPal or Visa by phone.

Looking forward to having you join me on May the 10th!

With best wishes,
Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Group Coaching Essentials
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com

PS - If you can't make May the 10th, the next scheduled Group Program Virtual Retreat is Friday June 22nd from 10-4 pm. Reserve your space now!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Group Faciltiation Tip - Keeping the Momentum Going

Keeping the Momentum Going
Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton

This week's Group Facilitation Tip is all about keeping the momentum going with the groups that you work with, whether in a corporate environment or the public domain.

What do you do in your programs to keep participant's momentum going after the program? This is an issue very dear to my heart, and in fact is one of the main reasons why I became trained and certified as a coach. Prior to lauching my business I worked as a global manager for over a decade. Given my former background in the area of small group facilitation, I was often tasked with staff development and learning, and in later years, facilitating head office retreats and other programs.

One question I kept asking myself, after these powerful, intensive programs together was "How do we keep the learning alive?". Coaching is a wonderful tool to keep the learning alive after a workshop or retreat, and can support participants in integrating their learning into the work context.

How do you as a coach keep the learning alive, and momentum going, after your group programs? Some of the structures I have built into my own group programs include:
* Follow up calls 4-6 weeks after a teleseminar or a retreat. It is wonderful to connect with participants again to find out what's working, and what roadblocks are still there. Many participants comment that this follow-up call keeps them in momentum, or kick-starts them again.
* Community Calls on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. Because I have run a number of my programs for several years, there is starting to be a large alumni base. One of the things I have started offering this year for some of the programs is a free community call for a one-hour period. It's the chance for past participants to reconnect and also get a booster shot -- whatever that may look like.
* With most corporate clients I work with, I develop a long term relationship, so that I am not popping in and out of the organization or team. There are a number of ways you can keep the momentum alive with corporate teams -- so many that I think that this will be another post!

These are by no means the only way to stay connected with your participants, and to create a structure to support their ongoing momentum -- what approaches do you use? As always, feel free to comment below.

Have a wonderful start to your week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Friday, April 13, 2007

Become a resource go-to person

Are you a resource go-to person? Are you someone who can link clients and others with resources they need? Or prehaps you provide these resources yourself.

A key principle of marketing success for independent professionals I often speak about is getting known in your area of specialty. What is your specialty?

When I first started coaching in early 2004, I really resisted the push into one niche or specialty area. Over the last three years I have continued to draw on my different areas of specialization (in part due to my very diverse education and life experience) which have included group program development, work-life balance, teamwork and business issues. It's hard to look back objectively, but I'm pretty happy that I remained multi-focused and it certainly has led to a very diverse business base for myself. As someone who craves diversity, I appreciate being able to move back and forth between client groups and different projects. It has however required concerted effort in getting known in these different client groups -- and very strategically.

Last night I hosted a call with Hellen Buttigieg, TV host and diva organizer, which was attended by close to 15o participants. The evening's topic was "Help! I'm drowning in a sea of paper". From feedback last night and emails this morning, it certainly had a very profound impact on participants.

One of the things that brought Hellen and I together was my expertise in the area of virtual retreats and group coaching. We are co-leading the Get Organized! Virtual Retreat in early May (which I hope that you might consider attending yourself). It's a six hour virtual retreat over two evenings which focuses on organization and balance. I'm really excited about this upcoming project and it is definitely something I would not have thought of creating on my own, and is a much bigger scale. To me, this example demonstrates the become a resource go-to person principle. You never know where it may lead!

In closing, I'd like you to ask yourself, What can I become a resource go-to person for? Who do I want to get known as? What is one thing I can do next week to offer myself as a resource?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and please feel free to comment below.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Group Facilitation Tip - Debrief Exercises

Group Facilitation Tip - Debrief Exercises
Copyright 2007 - Jennifer Britton. All rights reserved.

Exercises are the backbone to any group facilitation program. Are you getting the maximum impact out of them?

My roots in group work are from the experiential education field which is is grounded in interactive exercises. I must say that I tend to bring number of tools forward within my current work from the field of experiential education.

In experiential education, the debrief process after the exercise is just as important as the exercise itself. The debrief stage focuses on creating a framework for participants to identify and lock in their learning. Often a 1:1 or 2: 1 ratio will be used for activity:debrief. The gift of the debrief process is to provide participants with space to reflect on and learn from what they have just experienced.

Usually the experiential education model is divided into three parts -- What? So What? Now What?

For example, when debriefing exercises you might lead with a selection of questions such as:
What: What was that exercise like? What did you notice/observe? What was the most challenging thing about that activity? What was the easiest?

So What: So what did you learn? So what are your new insights? So why is this important?

Now What: Now knowing what you know, how can you take this forward in your work/life?

I still use this basic framework in most of the group programs I run -whether they are group coaching programs, a workshop or retreat.

In your own programs, how do you create the space for participants to identify their learning and new insights from activities? How do you create structures to take this forward?

I hope that you have found this week's group facilitation tip useful -- I would love to hear your comments!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized ~ Group Coaching Essentials
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960

Only a few more days until this months Group Coaching Essentials program starts on Tuesday -- will you join us?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April's Program Line Up

We have an exciting line-up of programs this month, to support you in moving your group program ideas into reality for the spring and summer. Our programs include:

Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:45 am(EST): April 10, 18, May 1 and 8th: The Group Coaching Essentials Program.
Are you a coach, looking to add group coaching to your offerings? This program provides you with tips, tools, and templates to make your group coaching program exceptional. A few spaces still remain.

Mondays 7-8:15pm (EST): April 16, 23, 30 and May 7/07: Workshop and Retreat Essentials
This program is for professionals who are looking to create their own workshop and retreat programs for individuals or organizations. The output of this program is your own workshop or retreat program design and marketing. As one of our initial offerings back in 2004, this program has now been taken by hundreds of professionals around the world. The program is delivered by phone.

Friday April 20th (10 - 4 pm EST) - The Creativity Virtual Retreat Day - Are you looking to create the space to Get It Done? This program creates the space for coaches, trainers and other facilitators to dedicate to group program development and marketing. During the six hours of the program we will be retreating from our own homes or offices. We will be meeting for the first 20 minutes of every hour as a group by phone, followed by forty-minutes to work on different components of our own group programs. I have seen outstanding results from this process which creates the space to focus on own work, which is supported by the momentum of the group.

Wednesday April 11th (7-8:30 pm EST): The Engaging Exercises for Teams and Groups Teleclass
Are you looking for some new exercises for your workshops, retreats or group coaching programs? During this one and a half hour call, I will be sharing some of my favorite exercises with you. You will also receive an e-copy of the Engaging Exercises for Teams and Groups Manual, initially published in 2005. It is guaranteed to be a fun, energetic call, rich with many take-aways for you to apply immediately to your own group programs. The cost for this program is $59 US.

Friday May 4th : 12 - 1:30 pm (EST): Tips and Tools for Making Your Workshop or Retreat a Success.
This call focuses on nine areas for making your next workshop or retreat a success. Covering essential tips, tools and templates, you will leave the call with some new ideas for making your programs engaging, impactful and fun. We will cover tips on design, implementation and marketing. The cost for this program is $39 US and includes an E-Workbook.

I hope that you will consider joining me for one or more of these programs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 1-866-217-1960 or by email at jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com.

With best wishes,

April's 30 Day Challenge

A couple of days ago, I launched a 30 day challenge on my Your Balanced Life! Blog. It was inspired by Robin Sharma's idea of how consistent effort or change of 1% over an extended period of time can really make a difference.

What impact would there be on your group programs or business if you took strategic, focused action steps consistently for 30 days?

I've commited to focusing this month on my writing - through my newsletters, blogs and other articles. In the busyness of the past few months, these activities have taken the back burner. By the end of April I hope to have made significant inroads into some my writing goals for the year. I trust that some of this focus will spill into my group programs, but more importantly, will be supporting some of my larger business goals for the year.

Will you join me for the 30 Day challenge? I'd love to hear your comments, and what you have decided to focus on. Please feel free to comment below.

With best wishes,
Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized ~ Integra Enterprises
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com