Saturday, March 29, 2008

Powerful Group Coaching Program Opening Questions: Group Coaching

I'm facilitating the Group Program Virtual Intensive today and am having a lot of fun, as well as getting a lot of work done on my own programs. Right now we are working on an hour of marketing, so I've spent the last little bit updating program details on my site, as well as posting about some of my upcoming programs. I also wanting to share with you a really small product outcome for me today.

I've been thinking quite a bit about QUESTIONS for group coaching LATELY in response to a question from a coach who is new to this work Her question inspired me to come up with a quick list of some powerful program openers which I use.

Here's a really short list:
Starters/Warm up:
1. What’s your hope for today’s session? What’s your fear? What’s your fantasy?
2. What do you want to take away from today’s session?
3. What is your intention for the day/session?
4. What do you want to create?
5. What will you commit to bringing to our group?
6. What role do you want to in the group?
7. What is your unique gift which you bring to the group?
8. On a scale of 0-10 how engaged will be with the process?
9. What risk will you take today?
10. What is one action you can take today to stretch your comfort zone?

Here's your challenge -- create your own list of powerful program openers. Write them down.

I give a similar exercise to coaches that I mentor coach as they are moving through their certification program (CTI) or as they are preparing to for their ICF Credential (ACC or PCC). If you are a new coach, really relaxing in to having a powerful question there on the tip of your tongue might not feel possible for you. One of the things my coach challenged me to do years ago when I first started out was to develop an emergency list of questions I could have on hand in case my mind went blank. This was really the inspriration for this post today.

I came up with so many questions that I will include a few more in later posts. A very comprehensive list will be available in one of my newest products - the Group Program Toolkit which will available in April, for my 4th anniversary (stay tuned for other special birthday announcements).

Have a great week, gotta get cracking on some other actions - only an hour and a half left of the Virtual Intensive and lots of ground for me to still cover!

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized

PS - If you missed today's virtual intensive and want a structure, tools and dedicated time to spend on creating your next program, consider joining me on Tuesday April 8 and 15th from 7-10pm (ET)/4-7pm (PT) each evening for the next Group Program Virtual Intensive. More information and registration here.

A few spaces still remain in both Group Coaching Essentials programs starting in a few days:
Wednesday 8-9:15 pm (EST)/5-6:15 pm (PT): April 2, 9, 23 and 3oth plus a 5th call in June
Thursdays 10:30-11:45 am (EST)/7:30-8:45 am (PT): April 3, 10, 24 and May 8 plus a 5th call in June
More information and registration here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Keeping the Client as Center

Last week I spoke to the ICF Education SIG about coaching for teams and groups, and how this can be a natural extension of the work you already undertake as a coach doing 1-1 work.

A basic tenet I hold central to any group coaching work, to distinguish it from a training/seminar/workshop approach, is holding the clients agenda. Just as in individual coaching, our role a coach is to hold the client's agenda as central, the same principle applies to group coaching – however in this case you may have anywhere from 2 – 15 agendas at play.

Getting to know your clients and their needs, their aspirations is a central part of a group coach’s work. As many of you will know from reading earlier posts, I spend a significant time up front prior to the start of any program, “meeting” with each participant, to find out what they want to take away from a program, find out about their expectations, as well as starting to learn about their “agenda” – what they really want in the bigger picture.

Keeping the Client as center – or as I always say “Knowing Your Client” – is a best practice for any group coaching work. Knowing them as best as you can will help you exponentially in terms of:
* Creating and delivering meaningful programs
* Marketing your services most appropriately (using the best method, placement and wording) -- click here for a post from 2006 where I touch on Knowing Your Client, as well as some other marketing tips
* Offering programs at the most convenient time
* Offering programs in the most convenient format
*Providing meaningful resources for their needs

When was the last time you stepped back and really asked yourself, what do my group coaching clients really want? How do their needs infuse the programs I offer?

In its purest form, the client will always be at the center of a group coaching program.

Have a great week,


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CHRP, CPT

PS - Still wanting to get your group program launched this spring or summer? Here are two programs you may want to consider:

Saturday March 29th (10 - 4pm EST): The Group Program Design Virtual Intensive. This coming Saturday I'll be working with a small group of coaches who are commited to getting their own programs launched. We'll go through 6 hours of structured exercises as a group by phone and individually at our own homes or offices. You'll leave the program with at least one program design, exercises and ideas to market the program. 75% of past Virtual Intensive participants have actually sketched out 2 programs during the day. Cost: $150 US/Cdn. For more information and to register, please click here.

Next Week two new sessions of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program will start - Wednesdays from 8-9:15 pm (EST) or Thursdays from 10:30 - 11:45 am (EST). Click here for more information or to register. Sessions will run throughout April and into early May. Space is limited to 6 coaches per session.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Expanding Your Reach: Coaching Teams and Groups

I will be speaking on Wednesday evening to the ICF Education Special Interest Group (SIG) on Expanding Your Reach: Coaching Teams and Groups. If you are an ICF member you are free to join the various SIG calls.

During the one hour call on Wednesday at 6pm (ET_, I'll be covering some key tips and tools to support you in expanding your coaching reach to teams and groups. I’ll also be covering how group and team coaching is similar to, and also different from, individual one-on-one coaching. I’ll also discuss how you can adapt some of your current coaching tools to teams and groups. Please bring any and all of your questions about group and team coaching to this month’s SIG call.

I hope to "see" you there!

Also a quick announcement that registration is now open for April's Group Coaching Essentials programs. Similar to last month I will be offering a morning and evening session to meet the needs of different timezones. It seemed to work great last month with coaches participating from across North America, Germany, the UK and also New Zealand!

Here are the details for April's two Group Coaching Essentials programs. Choose from either:

Wednesdays 8-9:15 pm (ET/NY)/ 5 - 6:15pm (PT/LA)-- Evening Session
April 2, 9, 23 and 30, 2008, plus one in late May/early June


Thursdays 10:30 - 11:45 am (EST)/7:30 - 8:45 am (PT) -- Morning Session
April 3, 10, 24, May 8, 2008 plus a fifth call in June 2008

Space is limited to 6 participants in each session. Calls are recorded if you can't make a session. The timing is ideal for those wanting to create, market and launch their own group coaching programs for the summer.

For more information and to register please click here. Please also feel free to drop me an email or give me a shout toll free (1-866-217-1960) if you'd like more information or to register

Have a great start to the week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960
Email: jennifer{at}

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sharpening the Skills of Your Trade

When was the last time you sharpened the skills of your trade, and picked up some new skills or approaches?

After going almost a year of applying my last learning, I've returned back to the seminar room myself in the last few weeks. I took a postively powerful program with Shadow Coach (TM) Donna Karlin last week here in Toronto. I first saw Donna speak back in 2005 at the ICF Global Conference and was intrigued with the Shadow Coach model, which includes real-time observational coaching with clients. It's an ideal model for environments which are really fast paced and dynamic or constantly changing - places such as the UN or Government or many corporations. I'm pleased to announce that I am now a Shadow Coach (TM) and am offering this as an additonal offering to my corporate clients. So rather than meeting with clients twice a month by phone, some of them can now have me come in and shadow them for several days at a time and engage in coaching in the pauses of the day.

You can find out more about the Shadow Coaching work that Donna does here or her training program for coaches here.

Another great offering is coming to Toronto in a few weeks - The Team Diagnostic Assessment. It will be offered here in Toronto from April 4 through 6th.

The Team Diagnostic Assessment™ is a state-of-the-art instrument, based on a proven model that defines the necessary strengths for high-performing, sustainable, and inspired teams. Participation in this rigorous training program leads to certification in the Team Diagnostic™ Assessment which authorizes the participant to deliver this comprehensive development tool for teams that identifies gaps in Productivity strengths and Positivity strengths and facilitates concrete action in order to create sustainable high performing teams. This program is unique in its systems approach to teams and in its coaching approach to the facilitation and ongoing guidance of teams. The model, assessment and delivery format are grounded in systems theory, emotional intelligence work, appreciative inquiry and leading academic research. The difference between this work and training is that it teaches the team to become response-able for their own behaviour as a team over time, resulting in sustainable change in team performance and results. Unlike other coaching approaches, relationship systems coaching views teams not as a collection of individuals, but as a self-organizing system of relationships and interacting influences all of which affect the performance and satisfaction of individuals and of the system as a whole. This creates breakthrough paradigm shifts in the way team members interact and how the team performs as a whole.

This course is for you if:
You’re a coach looking for a unique model and assessment to use with teams
You’re trained in ORSC (systems coaching) and want a complementary assessment tool and model to use with teams
You currently work with teams in a facilitation or consulting role and would like to learn a proven method for team development
You are a coach looking for a tool that will help you take your coaching into organizations
You are in HR or OD and looking for a model or assessment to bring in-house

For more information or to register contact Team Coaching International at You can find out more under Products and Team Diagnostic

What new skills and programs are you taking right now to sharpen your skills or add new ones to your toolkit?

Warm regards,

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

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Technology Happens - Always Have a Backup

The lesson that's been reinforced for me today is "Technology Happens - always have a back up". It's been a funny day for me today with teleconference bridgelines, even the trusty ones that I love to use (

Early into this morning's Group Coaching Essentials program , technology happened. All of a sudden, some of us couldn't be heard on the line (myself included as facilitator). I'm not really sure what exactly happened other than a huge sun spot passing over? After reconnecting and returning to the call, we were bounced off again.

The incident was more humorous than annoying, and reinforced a couple of important points for facilitating phone based programs:

1. Spend time discussing (or instructing) what people should do if they get disconnected (i.e. phone back in)

2. Have a back-up bridgeline, preferably with a different service provider

3. Develop a protocol in the event of poor line quality (i.e. should all participants check their email to look at next steps or to communicate when everyone's been disconnected, instructions call back in on a different line etc).

I have only had to invoke the back-up bridgeline once in the last 6 months (which is pretty good since I use teleconferencing at least once a day to run group coaching programs or teleseminars). AND, I always feel good knowing that I have one to rely on.

This afternoon I had another similar situation during a guest speaking engagement, this time with their recording system not working. Luckily, she was able to invoke the back up and saved the day.

With one more teleconference call later tonight, I'm curious as to what back up I'll need there?

Coaching Question: What back up do you need to put into place for your group programs? What back up do you need to put into place for your work and life?

Have a great rest of the week,


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC

Potentials Realized

Group Coaching Essentials

Toll Free: 1-866-217-1960