Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Join me for Two Virtual Retreats : Dec 1, 8 and 17th

A quick heads up for the last two virtual retreats I will be holding over the next few weeks, geared to support you in taking action on key projects for the new year. I hope that you will join us!

First, if you are a coach, leader or trainer, looking to create space and focus to get your next group program (workshop, retreat or group coaching program) designed and marketed, I hope that you will join me for the Group Program Virtual Retreat. I'll be holding it on Wednesday December 1 and 8th from 7-10pm Eastern both evenings. Over the two evenings you'll move through six hours of stuctured group and individual exercises, geared to support you with taking action on the design, marketing and implementation of your program. Benefit from the accelerated accountability and focus over the two evenings. We'll spend 15 minutes of each hour by phone, the rest of the time working from our home offices.
Cost: $175 US
Dates: Wednesday December 1 and 8, 2010 from 7-10 pm Eastern (by Phone)
Click here for more info and to register

I will also be hosting a one day Virtual Business Planning Retreat for Small Business Owners. This one day program is geared to support you in setting goals and taking action on key projects for the new year. Benefit from the six hours of structured exercises supporting you in the areas of goal setting, marketing, budgeting for 2011 and closing off for 2010. Benefit from one day of laser focus and action on your business.
Cost: $175 US
Date: Friday December 17 from 10-4 pm Eastern (By Phone)
Click here for more infromation and to register.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

I look forward t having you join us!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching
Phone: (416) 996-8326
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's needed in a Group's Forming Stage?

Many coaches are familiar with the Group Dynamics model or stages from Bruce Tuckman. His work asserts that groups go through several stages - forming, storming, norming, performing, and ultimately adjourning (or completion/closure). These stages usually play out in the background of a group coaching process, making it important to be aware of for coaches.

What's needed by a group in the forming stage? Reflect for yourself on some of your most recent group experiences. Chances are you wanted information who was in the room (or on the line), what to expect, the different roles and the terrain you would be covering.
In the forming stage people are usually at their most vulnerable. They may feel uncomfortable and be unclear as to what to expect. In this stage, it is important for a group coach to be directive and provide information, creating a safe, and confidential learning environment.

What should group coaches make sure they cover, or provide the room for, at this stage:
* Introductions - of yourself, and of each other
* Ground Rules - including the ever important one of confidentiality
* What people can expect from a group coaching process
* A high level overview of the program
* Any other logistical pieces of interest
* Designing the Coaching Alliance

What else do you think is needed in the forming stage? Are there any exercises you find useful in this first or second session with a group? As always, I invite you to comment here at the blog.


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials
Email: info[at] potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: (416) 996-8326

Note: New dates for our final Accelerated Group Coaching Essentials program of the year: Tues/Thurs 8-9:15 pm Eastern: Nov 30, Dec 2, 7, 9, and 14, 2010 (all classes will now fall in 2010 for those still requiring CCEs. The program is accredited for 6.75 CCEs, including 4.25 Core Competency CCEs)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Essential Resources: In Person Group Coaching Toolkit

I was in Michigan over the weekend talking to the Professional Coaching Association of Michigan (PCAM). It's an outstanding ICF chapter!

It's been a while since I have written about some of the core materials you will want to have available for in-person programs, so here's a list of what I had in my briefcase (or wished I'd had) over the weekend:

* Post It Notes
* Masking Tape
* Timer
* Bell/Chime
* Markers - Thick and thin
* Extra Pen
* Handouts (if appropriate)
* Back up of presentation on USB
* Extra soft copy of presentation material
* Remote for presentation projector (plus extra batteries!)
* And Whatever exercises you are going to use

My presentation to PCAM was on Phone Based Group Coaching. Even though there was quite a bit of material to cover, the groups had quite a bit of fun using Visual Explorer. Once again, the tool and it's impact was golden!

Thanks PCAM for having me. It was a lot of fun!

What other tools do you like to have at your disposal when you work with groups?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Engaging Your Groups - 4 Ways

I've spoken with a number of virtual and in-person groups over the past few weeks about the importance of engaging your groups throughout a program - whether it is group coaching, or even a teleclass. Keeping the pace of your program moving is a key consideration for any facilitator.

Here are four things you can do to engage a group during your next call:

1. Pause and ask a question to the group - If the group size is small enough, hear from everyone. If the group size is large, hear from a few members.

2. Ask group members to write down their thoughts to a question - Encourage group members to write things down during a program. This becomes a "take-away" or record for their insights and thoughts, which they can refer to at a later date. Our moments of brilliance are never planned. Who knows what seeds you will encourage through your group process.

3. Encourage kinesthetics - No, that's not calisthenics, but kinesthetics. Increasingly learners are interested in learning through doing. How can you encourage activity and hands-on practice in your next program.

4. Create break-outs: Rather than being the "talking head" at the front of the room, how can you turn the reins over and let your group do the work. Whether you are face to face or virtual, consider how smaller group discussion can foster more meaningful engagement.

What other ways do you like to engage your groups? As always, I look forward to hearing your insights - feel free to comment below.

Have a great start to the week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Group Coaching Essentials.com
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: 416.996.8326

Next Group Coaching Essentials program starts tomorrow - Nov 16th at 2 pm (Eastern) - Two spots still open. Accredited for 6.75 CCEs with ICF. Next start dates Nov 30th and January 13th.

Registrations are also open for the Year End Virtual Business Planning Retreat - Join me for a day of FUN, reflection and ACTION on Friday December 17th (10-4 pm Eastern). Start 2011 with a plan!

Monday, November 01, 2010

When your website goes down: 5 Key Learnings

I had the inevitable happen last week - my trusty GroupCoachingEssentials.com website which has been so dependable for the last five years, went down. Even my web designer had to do some investigation to find out what had happened. As it turns out the web host had been acquired by a larger firm with no transition plans in place. Even the back-ups stored by the company that was acquired were no longer accessible.

So...a few days of going back to basics and accepting registrations for programs by phone. The site will be back up in all its glory in the next day or so, thankfully due to the support of my wonderful web guy.

It's been a good learning process for me and has underscored the importance of a number of things:
1. Systems are critical - have a copy of all your pages on back up for yourself. Run off a hard copy. Know where you have all your downloads/graphics and other add-ons to the site.

2. Diversification is key - Even though GroupCoachingEssentials went down business has continued with people reaching out to me to register through my other online presences - PotentialsRealized.com, this blog and via Twitter.

3. Remember that marketing is also about an ongoing conversation - Even though the site has been down, I know that the site is only one of a handful of communication vehicles with my community and audience. How are you sustaining an ongoing dialogue beyond your website? Are you leveraging blogging, newsletters, phone based group calls?

4. Know and Trust Your Web People -I've been very fortuante since day 1 of the design of my GroupCoachingEssentials site back in 2006. My designer was starting out then and we've worked over the years to maintain a very good line of communication. I owe a lot to his support.

5. Offer alternative ways to accept registrations - Had my website been the only way for people to register for my group programs it would have been a very challenging week. Ensure that you have alternative ways to accept registrations - by phone/fax, credit card, PayPal or other.

Hope that you will not have a similar experience, but if is should happen, I hope that you will keep these issues in mind as you continue to develop your own systems for your own business.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials.com (Hopefully back online tomorrow!)
Phone: 416-996-8326

The next Group Coaching Essentials program starts November 16th (Tuesdays 2-3:15 pm ET, nov 16, 23, 30, Dec 14 and 21, 2010). Still looking for CCEs to renew your credential? The program is accredited for 6.75 CCEs with the ICF. Registrations by phone at 416.996.8326, PayPal or back online here by midweek.