Monday, January 31, 2011

We Magazine's Top 101 Women Bloggers To Watch During 2011

I've just been named as one of the Top 101 Women Bloggers to Watch During 2011 for the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog by We Magazine. Thank you! What a terrific group of women.

It's quite an honour to be named this list, particularly as the blogosphere continues to expand. It's a much bigger place here than it was back in 2006 when I first started this blog. I continue to enjoy writing here, and am inspired on a regular basis by emails from readers and followers who indicate that what they have read has helped them with their own work.

Thank you too for taking the time to stop by. Last year was a year of renewing my creative energy and getting back to writing after the publishing of Effective Group Coaching. With my creativity renewed this year I look forward to continuing to support you. If you have particular questions you would like addressed at the blog regarding group coaching, workshops, retreats, business building for coaches, please email me or leave a comment below. I also hope that you will subscribe to our monthly newsletter, follow me at Twitter or join me for an upcoming program.

For those of you who are business owners, or work with leaders and managers, you may also wish to check out my BizTookit blog which won an award for one of the Top 150 Leadership and Management blogs during 2010. I hope that you will enjoy this too and check it out.

Cheers for another productive week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials - Click on over for upcoming programs
Potentials Realized
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Phone: 416.996.8326
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Group Coaching: Creating a Team Around You

In my book, Effective Group Coaching, I spend a chapter talking about marketing your group coaching offerings. Without "bums in seats" or "voices on the line" a group coaching program really does not exist.

Here's a quick exerpt from the book on questions about the people you may wish to bring onto your team (literally or not) to make your group coaching program a reality:

"Reflect on the following questions:
  • Who is positioned to deliver your product or service (direct providers, as well as affiliates, strategic partners etc)?
  • Who is on your team?
  • Who else do you need on your team?
  • Who else can help you spread the word about what you have to offer?
  • What do they say about you and your product (directly, indirectly and by reputation)?
  • What is your customer service like?
  • How do your business and group program systems (refer to chapter 8) support what your team needs to do?"
(Copyright: Britton, 2010, Effective Group Coaching, Wiley, pp. 166)

As you think about the 5th P in Marketing - People - what actions do you want to take, and relationships you want to formalize/build - to make your program a reality?

Have a great week

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials (An ICF Accredited CCE Program: Starting Feb 8 and 17)
Author of Effective Group Coaching: Order an autographed copy today
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coaching on the Rise: 6th Annual Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey

The 6th Annual Sherpa Executive Coaching survey has just been released and can be downloaded here.

Some of the highlights of the survey report include:
-Training budgets for 2011 will be increasing at a higher rate than we have seen in many years (Chief Learning Officer, November 2010)
- After a pull back in recent years, organizations are again offering coaching to all levels of management, instead of restricting services to include only top line executives.
- Demand for executive coaching on the rise
- A vast majority of business professionals see the value of coaching as very high. The creditbility of coaching increases every year.
- Coaching is used more and more often for leadership development as opposed to problem-solving.
Source: Sherpa Executive Coaching Survey 2011, pp. 4

Interestingly, two of the areas they identify as next wave are: team coaching, and coaching skills training for managers, two areas I've done a lot of work in over the past five years here in Canada and internationally. I agree and continue to see great scope for increased growth in these areas.

I hope that you will take a look at the survey results yourself at

As always, feel free to comment below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials (ICF CCE Accreditation: New programs start Feb 8 and 17)
Phone: 416.996.8326

Monday, January 24, 2011

Group Coaching By Phone - 4 Things to Keep in Mind

Throughout the Group Coaching Essentials program I often get questions from coaches who are designing their own group coaching programs which they are going to deliver by phone. There are some important considerations when designing and delivering phone based group coaching. Keep the following in mind next time you are creating your own phone based program:

1. Consider what is the best use of your phone based time. Really consider how much time you have with a group and if some of your exercises may be better as pre-work, so that you can have sufficient time for updates, coaching and discussion around the key themes you are working on each session. I continue to encourage coaches to consider in their design how they can create meaningful work for their group clients to engage in between sessions. Remember the impact of coaching really happens between the calls.
2. Check in with group members regularly - Research continues to point to the importance of engaging virtual audiences every 5-7 minutes. This may include asking the group to write down a response to a question, hearing from all or selected members of a group, or engaging the group in an exercise. You may wish to refer to some of the posts I've written about engaging your audiences here.

3. Carefully consider your numbers of participants - A purer group coaching approach leverages the smallness and intimacy of a group. To facilitate the flow and sharing amongst group members many coaches opt to keep the numbers in their phone based group sessions on the smaller side - say between 4-8 group members. Even for experienced coaches like myself, I prefer the intimacy and connectivity with these smaller groups.

4. Consider both the benefits and drawbacks of phone based programs and what adaptations you may need to make.
Phone based programs have the benefits of:
- Real time participation without the time and expense of travel (for you and participants)
- Ability to bring together groups across distance, time and geography
- Low, or no overhead cost

Some of the drawbacks can include
- Not being able to "see" each other
- The wandering eyes, and minds, of group members (i.e. multi-tasking)
- Technology challenges

These are just a few of the pros and cons to phone based programs. What this do you want to put into place to address these?

Have a terrific week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching:
Group Coaching Essentials program starts on Jan 25, Feb 8 and 17 (6.75 CCEs with the ICF)
Group Coaching Intensive - Toronto: April 2-3, 2011

The Art of Time Management

Time Management can be a core issue for any coach, especially as your business grows and your client base expands. A couple of years ago I came across the 4 D model to time management. I continue to enjoy the simplicity and power of the model.

Very simply, the 4 D Model to time management is:
Do It!: What tasks and activities do you need, and want to get done?

Dump It!: What tasks and activities should you let go of? What tasks and activities are merely a time sucker or adding no, or little, value?

Defer It!: What tasks and activities can you put off? If you defer them, are they scheduled in? often what doesn't get scheduled, doesn't get done?

Delegate it!: What tasks and activities can you delegate to someone else? A business partner? A staff member? A VA? An intern?

Even Microsoft has adapted the model to managing your email box and state:

  • 50 percent of email can be deleted or filed
  • 30 percent can be delegated or completed in less than 2 minutes
  • 20 percent can be deferred to your Task List or Calendar to complete later
In your planning time this week, take note for yourself what activities you want to DO, DUMP, DEFER and DELEGATE. From my days as project manager, I continue to promote the adage that 15 minutes of planning can save us 60 minutes of unfocused effort! How much time do you take to plan each day?

Have a productive week!


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials program
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Mentor Coaching Group - For ACCs

I am pleased to announce the dates for the Winter 2011 Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and Applicants. For those of you who are looking to renew, or apply for your ACC with the International Coach Federation, you are required to work with Mentor Coach for 10 hours over a 3 month period.

Starting on Friday February 25th I will be working with a small group of coaches as we move through the 3 month mentor coaching process. The program is a combination of 7 hours of mentor coaching group calls, and 3 hours of individual mentor coaching calls (held monthly).

The Winter 2011 Mentor Coaching Group will meet on Fridays from 11 - 12 noon Eastern on Feb 25, March 11, 25, April 1, 15, 29, and May 20, 2011

The program will include:
  • A look at each of the 11 Core Coaching Competencies (ICF)
  • Self Assessments of each competency;
  • Identification of your strengths, and blind spots as a coach;
  • Specific action steps to hone and refine your core coaching competencies;
  • Practical, and tested tools and templates for coaching and business building which accompany the 7 group mentoring modules;
  • An opportunity for you to practice and receive feedback on your coaching skills from Jennifer and your peers;
  • 7 hours of group mentor coaching;
  • 3 hours of mentor coaching individually with Jennifer (taken monthly in one hour mentor coaching sessions);
  • A letter of support, based on your successful demonstration of the 11 core competencies, and completion of the 10 hours.
the cost of the program is $1000 US which can be paid monthly, or in one or two installments. Register with a colleague and each save $250 off your registration. Space is limited to ensure interactive discussion, feedback and dialogue.

For more information and to register, click here or contact Jennifer directly at 416.996.8326 or by email at info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Group Coaching Intensive (April 2-3) - Early Bird Ends Jan 31

This spring I will be hosting the Group Coaching Intensive program here in the Toronto area from April 2-3, 2011 (Saturday/Sunday). This 2 day in-person training is geared for new and experienced coaches who are eager to learn, practice and receive feedback on their group coaching skills.

I will be offering an early bird discount for the training up until January 31st. Regular pricing is $950 CDN (plus HST). Early bird pricing this month is $775 CDN (plus HST).

Topics covered include:

- The Foundation of Successful Group Coaching – Learning styles, Group Process

- Core Group Coaching skills
- The Group Program Continuum

- Setting the Tone: techniques for opening and closing your group coaching process
- Strategies, Techniques and Approaches for Design, Marketing and Implementation

- Exercises for Group Coaching
- Dealing with difficult issues in design, marketing and implementation
- Techniques for Engagement (in person/by phone)

The program includes:

  • 15 hours of instruction and exercises in an in-person environment (An application for CCEs for the program will be submitted)
  • The Group Coaching Intensive Manual
  • A Group Coaching Journal and Toolbox (yes! your own physical toolbox of program tools and resources)
  • A copy of the Effective Group Coaching book
  • A follow up call with Jenn and the group
The program will be of interest to new and experienced coaches, as well as alumni of the Group Coaching Essentials program. We will be covering techniques and approaches for both in person group coaching, as well as group coaching by phone.

I hope that you will join me this spring here in the Toronto area! I'll also be offering the program again on June 15-16, 2011 in the Muskoka area. For those who are eager to learn about group coaching, and find travel tricky, consider joining me for the phone based Group Coaching Essentials program, with sessions starting once or twice a month throughout 2011.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Accountability and Group Coaching

Accountability and Group Coaching
Copyright 2011 - Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved

Enabling our clients to deepen their awareness, enhance their learning and also take action towards important goals, are key foundations of the coaching process. As such, the focus on accountability, and a check in on the action steps a client has taken, helps to distinguish coaching from other professions and approaches.

Last week during the Group Coaching Essentials program I was asked by one of the coaches participating in the program to elaborate a little more on approaches and tips for creating accountability in a group coaching program. Here are a few suggestions:

Remember that as a coach you already have a number of core approaches for supporting the core coaching competency of "Managing Progress or Accountability" (as defined by the ICF). In both your individual coaching, and group coaching work, consider how you can use:
1. A Request to undertake a specific action step (s). Clients should always have the option to agree, not agree or change a request.
2. An inquiry - a large question which clients will reflect on throughout the course of the week. For example, "What is fun for me?" or What does it mean for me to have impact?
3. A challenge - A request that takes people outside of their comfort zone. For example, asking a business owner to contact 10 new customer bases in a week. Notice that in a group setting, a challenge for one is not a challenge for all.
4. FieldWork or Homework assigned between sessions can also be useful. This may entail undertaking reading of a key book/resource, undertaking an Assessment such as the ViaStrengths Profile, or StrengthsFinder 2.0.

In a group context you may not assign the entire group the same fieldwork/homework or assignment. In fact, it can be very powerful for the individual group members themselves to self-identify what action will be meaningful, relevant and will stretch them.

In a group coaching process it is important to build in time/space for people to share their results - whether it is dedicating the first segment of your session to verbally share their insights/lessons learned/actions OR by having them circulate this prior to each session.

Remember the adage that "Coaching really happens in between our sessions". What accountability approaches and processes do you want to build into your next group coaching program?

Have a terrific week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials - An ICF Accredited CCE Program. Next programs start January 25 (Tuesdays 9-10:15 am Eastern/DayTime) and February 8th (Tuesdays 8-9:15 pm Eastern/Evening)
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Want to reprint or share this on your blog or in your newsletter? We are happy to as long as you include a link back the blog and include the following.
Author of Effective Group Coaching Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC supports coaches and other professionals eager to undertake their own group coaching work through the Group Coaching Essentials program, an ICF Accredited CCE program. She works with corporate groups and teams to accelerate their results, as well as with business owners who wish for greater impact and success. Jennifer has designed award winning mentoring training programs for the financial services sector, and brings more than 20 years experience in developing and delivering high impact group programs. For tips on group coaching visit the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog at For tips and ideas around leadership and business please visit the BizToolkit blog at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kindle, Books and Highlighting: Mark It Up

Yesterday I retweeted a great blog post by Scott Strathern entitled "The Awesomeness of Being a 2.0 Author". In it he talks about his views on having his book now aviablle via Kindle. Here's a link to his post. Check it out because it's really interesting.

This morning I thought that I'd check out my own book, Effective Group Coaching, to see how the Kindle version is doing. The Kindle version came out about 6 months ago, and to be honest, I wasn't sure if I liked having it available or not as an author. My publisher, Wiley and Sons, made it available, and I'm glad they did.

I too think it's really cool to see what people are highlighting in their own Kindle versions. You can check out the Kindle edition of Effective Group Coaching and take a look yourself as well. If you have a Kindle version here's my invitation to "mark up your book" with highlighting. I think the highlights are an interesting snapshots of nuggets of wisdom, and themes that different readers latch onto.

What do you like about Kindle books? I'm still a hard copy kind-a-gal myself, although as e-book readers become more competitive here in Canada, it may change for me. I'd love to hear your stories, and any experience you've had in "Marking Up" Effective Group Coaching. What have you liked?

Have a great day,

Jennifer Britton
Group Coaching Essentials : Our Jan 13th class is now full AND registrations are being accepted for the Jan 25th program (Tuesdays 9-10:15 am Eastern) and the Feb 8th program (Tuesdays 8-9:15 pm Eastern). Hope to have you join us!
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Coaching Business Builder - Focus, Track, and Consistency

In December I ran the 2011 Virtual Business Planning Retreat with a handful of coaches. It was a great day to focus in on our businesses, to plan and start taking action on key business goals for the year. I'll be doing it again next Friday January 21st for coaches who are eager to focus in on their business.

Three words that I continue to share throughout my programs are Focus, Track and Be Consistent. As a business owner myself, and as someone who has both coached business owners and taught business programs at the post-secondary level, I continue to find that coaches who incorporate these three practices - Focus, Track and Be Consistent - often get more leverage and results. So what do they mean and how can you incorporate these into your work?

Focus -
Focusing is important in building a coaching business along several veins - focusing on your activities, focusing on what's important for your clients, and focusing on what's going to give you greatest impact.
I often see new and experienced coaches get pulled sideways and off their focus as they rush to try out the latest tool or trend.

Ask yourself:
What are the key activities and goals you have for 2011?
What are the specific activities which are going to get you there?
How much time are you spending focusing on these?
Where is your focus getting diluted?

Track Your Results: Over the short and long term notice and track where you are getting your results from. As new clients contact you ask them where they found you.

Ask yourself:
Where are you getting your results?
Where do you want to put more focus?
What activities do you expect to give you longer term results, if they have not netted anything yet?
What do you want to let go of?

Be Consistent - Daily, or consistent activity in key areas, will pay off in the long term. I often speak about the 1% rule. In other words, if you were to undertake one action on a daily basis which moved you each day 1% closer to your goal, what would happen after a month? Right, you would be 30% closer to it. In building a new business, and maintaining or growing an experienced one, it is important for us to be consistent in our activities to build a solid foundation.

Ask yourself
What activities do you want to be consistent with this month?
What is the one goal you want to take consistent action towards? What will this "consistent action look like"?

Have a great start to the week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching - Next classes start this Thursday January 13th (3 spaces still open) and Thursday January 25th (5 spaces still open)
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Virtual Business Planning Retreat : Friday January 21st (10-4 pm Eastern)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

5 Group Coaching Virtual Program No Nos

With travel plans both sides of the Atlantic being stymied over the holiday season due to weather, many businesses, and individuals, are re-evaluating whether they really do want to, or need to, fly and/or travel.

Earlier this week, I identified increased virtualization of learning programs, including group coaching as a possible trend for 2011.

If you are a coach or trainer looking to launch your own group program by phone or web this year be sure to avoid the following virtual program No Nos:

1. Not having a back up plan in the event of technology failure: Technology glitches usually happen when least expected. Ensure that you have a back-up bridgeline ready, and a fast way to communicate with registrants if needed. Depending on your call size, call type (webinar/teleclass vs. group coaching) and your comfort levels, you may consider having a support person take care of the technology issues during your call.

2. Not working out a timeline for the call and sense of where you can "accordion": Having a sense of how the call may play out time-wise, and thinking through what areas can be shortened if time is running out, or lengthened if you are moving too quickly, is an important consideration for all group coaching programs, especially in the virtual domain.

3. Not doing a dry run - The first time you run a program, it will be important to do a dry run. Your dry run may be as simple as a mental "rehearsal" in your head, or as detailed as having a live pilot group move through the program, providing feedback and enabling you to see real-time how your program design, exercises and materials stand up.

4. Assuming everyone is engaged and focused - This assumption can be the kiss of death for a virtual program. It is critical to engage your groups throughout the call. Wandering eyes, and minds, are very common in the virtual domain. A general rule of thumb is to change the pace every 5-7 minutes in the virtual domain, whether you ask the group a question, call for a response, or have people write something down. Another important technique to support the focus is to regularly provide an overview of the process - where you are, what's been covered/discussed, and what's coming up next.

5. Not recognizing the different learning needs on the calls - It is very likely that within any group you are working with you will have a mix of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Avoid the trap of thinking that everyone attending your virtual program is an auditory learner. What activities can you incorporate, or changes you can make as a facilitator, to meet the different learning needs of the group (i.e. visual learners, kinesthetic learners)? For different strategies, you may wish to check out a recent blog post I did on engaging your groups.

Next time you are running a virtual program, whether pure group coaching, or a webinar or teleclass, be proactive to avoid these No Nos.

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPT
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs with theICF): January programs start January 13th (Thursday 10:30 - 11:45 am ET) and January 25 (Tuesdays 9-10:15 am ET). Register online today.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Group Coaching: Trends for 2011

Group Coaching: Trends for 2011
Copyright Jennifer Britton. All Rights Reserved.

At the start of the year it's always interesting to read about trends about where things are going. Last month during the Group Coaching Essentials program, one of the participants asked me what I saw as some of the trends in group coaching over the next year.

The following are some of the trends I see emerging in the group coaching realm:

1. Increase in the virtualization of programs -Whether it's due to poor weather, reduced budgets or lack of time, more and more individuals and businesses are re-evaluating whether they really need to travel. This applies to participants engaging in learning as well. As more people become confident in using telephone and web based technology, I forsee continued growth in the virtualization of group coaching work.

Ask yourself:
What plans do you have this year with virtual programs (phone/web)?
What technologies do you want to experiment with? What barriers might exist for your client groups? What technologies do your client groups already use?

2. Recognition of the Differences Between Group Coaching and Teleclasses/Training:

Increasingly coaches are become more sensitive to the nuances of whether a program is a webinar/teleclass (typically one way passage of interaction) or a purer group coaching process (involving interaction, goal setting and sharing amongst group coaching) using phone or web. Many of you will have heard me speak on the importance of size in the group coaching domain and that small is beautiful (and important in the group coaching environment). The International Coach Federation (ICF) set a cap on group coaching numbers as 15 several years ago.

Ask yourself:
How large are your groups? Are you providing more content, is it a one-way passage of information or are you facilitating a coaching conversation? Is your program a hybrid? What's meaningful and relevant for this group?

3. Continued Demand for Value and Quality
One of the trends we have seen over the past five years is "the sales pitch disguised as a teleclass", where a one hour class focuses not on content, but on sales. Participants want value and quality. What quality are you providing in your programs?

Ask yourself:

What value are you providing for your participants? What are they finding beneficial? What is an appropriate sales message for your audience? What is the quality of your programs? What's missing?

4. Appreciation that Coaching May be One of Many Solutions
I continue to see and hear from corporate and individual clients that coaching, like other modalities such as training and mentoring, has a time and a place. I continue to believe that coaching, whether individual, group or team, can provide valuable support to organizational and individual achievements. Likewise, coaching may be one of many solutions to an individual or organization. It is my hope that coaches and clients alike will appreciate what solution will work best, and where needed will look to bring in different modalities as required.

Ask yourself:

In the clients you are working with, how is coaching addressing the challenges and opportunities? What other modalities (training, mentoring etc) could also assist the growth and performance of the organization/individual?

What do you see as some of the trends with coaching and/or group coaching this year? As always, please feel free to comment below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials program - new classes start Jan 13th and 25th.