Thursday, May 26, 2011

Powerful Group Coaching Questions - What? So What? Now What?

Powerful Group Coaching (and Experiential!) Questions - What? So What? Now What?
Copyright Jennifer Britton, 2011. All Rights Reserved.

My roots with groups extend back several decades to the late 1980s to my first work in the experiential education field working around youth development issues. Thinking back to these formative experiences for me as a university student spending summers working in Algonquin Park, I recognize how influenced my work has been as a trainer, coach and consultant by Experiential models.

A set of questions that continue to stick out for me from these early learning days were the powerful questions of What? So What? Now What? For those of you who are reading as a coach, you will notice how these three questions are so grounded in many of the coaching models we use.

In the realm of individual and group coaching here's how I tend to incorporate them:

These questions are designed to stimulate thinking about what significant experiences clients/group members have gone through. Common questions you may incorporate include:
What was your most significant achievement this week?
What has been your biggest hurdle?
What have you learned?

So What?
So What questions encourage clients to look at what the meaning and importance is of an issue/experience they have faced. Building on to any of the learning points/experiences which a client(s) has shared, so what questions help to "deepen the learning" (a core coaching competency).
So what questions may include:
So What was important about that?
So what did you learn?

Now What?
Now What Questions help group members and clients look forward/ahead. Based on their experience and new insights, now what changes do they want to make, what actions do they want to take going forward.
Now What questions may include:
Now What are you going to do (differently)?
Now what changes are you going to make?
Now what are you going to keep an eye on?

How do you incorporate these types of questions into your work? How may these be useful?

As always I'll encourage you to leave a post below, or comment over at our Facebook page.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2011)
Join me for the Group Program Virtual Retreat (June 3 and 10) or the upcoming Group Coaching Essentials Summer Accelerated Program (June 9 - 24 by phone: 6.75 CCEs)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Coaching Business Builder - Collaboration

Finding the right partners in building and running your business is an important process. Whether you are co-designing and co-facilitating programs, getting support from interns or virtual assistants, or partnering with other service providers, collaboration that works is critical for coaches.

How do you create great collaboration? What are some questions to consider when looking to create partnerships or collaborations that work?

Here are a few I include in a bonus chapter on Co-Facilitation to my book, Effective Group Coaching, (available when you purchase a copy of the book from my site):
1. What are your strengths? Passions weaknesses?
2. How are you complimentary? Where do your skills match? What gaps still exist? What other skills might you still requir?
3. Clearly define your roles - What roles are required to complete the task? Who will take care of what?
4. What are your expectations for your partnership?

(Adapted from Effective Group Coaching Addendum - Co-Facilitation, Britton, 2010. All Rights Reserved, pp. 4-5)

Another couple of questions I would also add are:
1. What does collaboration mean to me? To us?
2. What can we do to support each other? What will be valuable (and seen as support)?
3. How do we define success and quality?
4. What's the most amazing thing that could come out of this partnership?
5. What are we willing to commit to?

A great book to look at collaboration and the impact of it from a business and leadership standpoint is Collaboration by Morten T. Hansen (HBR Press, 2009). As Morten states:
"Bad collaboration is worse than no collaboration at all" .

What steps will you take to ensure you create the best collaboration possible? You may also want to check out some of the past posts I've written on co-facilitation here at the blog (click to your right).

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPT
Author of Effective Group Coaching
Group Coaching Essentials - our Summer accelerated teleseminar program starts on Thurs June 9th (Tues/Thurs 8-9:15 pm ET). Ready to start designing and running your own group coaching programs? 6.75 CCEs
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Retreat With Me In June (By Phone!)

I will be running two of my popular virtual retreats in June, geared for busy professionals and business owners who are looking to create space, time and focus on issues that are important to them, and their business.

Group Program Development Virtual Retreat (By Phone)
Friday June 3 and 10, 2011 (1-4pm Eastern/New York) both afternoons
Geared for coaches, trainers and others who are looking to develop their own group program (workshop, retreat, teleseminar or group coaching program), this program takes you through a structured series of exercises to move you from program idea to reality over the 6 hours. Each hour we spend 15 minutes by phone as a group, with the remaining time spent working offline on exercises related to the design, marketing and implementation of your own group program. The program includes a Virtual Retreat Manual (which includes all the exercises along with more than a dozen tools/templates), group calls each hour, a group follow up call, and access to me for 1-1 conversation at points throughout the retreat. Space is limited to 8.

Here's what past participants have said about the program:
"Jennifer's program gave me the vision and confidence to develop virtual programs for my clients..Thank you Jennifer, for breaking down the process into doable steps" - Marsha Barnosky
Cost: $175 US

Click here to register or for more information.

Summer 2011 Business Planning Retreat (By Phone)
Friday June 17 and 24, 2011 (1:30-4:30 pm Eastern/New York) both afternoons
Are you a business owner who wants to create dedicated time to focus on planning and ACTION for their business? Join me for a 6 hour Virtual Business Planning Retreat where our focus will be on what you want to create and take action on for the rest of 2011 and into 2012. The retreat includes a series of short group discussions, and structured exercises taken offline to reflect and TAKE ACTION on your business goals and priorities. I'll be bringing in some of my favorite tools from the 90 Day BizSuccess Program, including time management, business vision, social media and more!
Business owners are encouraged to identify one key area/project they want to really make headway around over the two afternoons. There will also be some time and space for discussion on areas important for you.. Retreat registration includes a Virtual Manual, the series of group calls, a group follow up call after the retreat, and a comprehensive reading list.

Cost: $175 US. Space is limited to 8 business owners.

Click here for more information and to register.

I look forward to having you join us!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials program and the 90 Day BizSuccess Program
Phone: 416.996.TEAM
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coaching Business Builder - 5 Useful Templates for Group Coaching

Why reinvent the wheel if you don't need to? Templates and systems can really move your business ahead. As I have written in past posts, systems can really make life (and work) more productive for business owners.

A template has been defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms as:


  1. A reusable form or pattern utilized to create objects with an identical shape. For example, a template is used to spray-paint symbols on a parking lot.
  2. An electronic document with established margins, text, and graphics that can be used to create standardized documents and records
Some core templates you may wish to develop for your own work include:
1. Welcome Letters (for different programs you run) for new registrants - this should include dates, times, locations, any pre-work, any materials they should bring with them, and any other relevant logistical (and contact details)
2. Registration and Attendance Trackers - If your programs are accredited it will be necessary to track attendance. It is always useful to have hard (and soft) copies of your registration on hand, including a mobile phone contact (in the event of bridgeline malfunction, or late arrivals for a program)
3. An Achievement Tracker/Pre-Session Prep Forms: A template where clients/group members can list their own successes, questions and achievements in between coaching sessions. This may be a separate form or one that is integrated into a workbook.
4. Follow up Communication - What would be useful to follow up with your group members on? Follow up can be an important tool for evaluation purposes (for you and for group members). Are there specific areas/activities you want to track?
5. Coaching Log - for those who are working towards ICF accreditation or certification through other bodies, a coaching log is a must have! Whether you use paper, or use a computerized program such as Coaches Console, track your hours. Remember that every hour spent coaching a group counts as one hour, as long as there are no more than 15 members of the group.

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2011)
Join us for the ICF Accredited Group Coaching Essentials program (6.75 CCEs) or our upcoming 2 day in person Group Coaching Intensive (July 14-15, 2011)

Two Weeks Left - Early Bird Rate: Group Coaching Intensive

There are two weeks left for the Early Bird Rate for the Group Coaching Intensive, which will be held on July 14-15th in Huntsville, Ontario. This two day in person group coaching training program, provides coaches with hands on practice and feedback on their gropu coaching skills, as well as road-tested tips, tools and ideas for designing, marketing and implementing their group coaching work. Space is limited.

The program has been described as:

MUST for a group coach building their business – Ellen Nyland, CPCC

Informative, Action Oriented and Professional – Beverley Rodrigues

The “REAL” thing on group coaching – Elaine Bradshaw

If you want to create, synergize, and learn about group coaching, then this is for you – Ryan DaCosta

Hands-on, practical, great practice sessions, and lots of opportunity to interact with peer coaches – Margaret Imai-Compton

Save $175 (plus tax) on your registration if you sign up by May 31st. Regular pricing is $950 (plus HST), early bird savings to the end of this month is $775 (plus HST).

I will be finalizing the venue in Huntsville, after checking out a couple of venues this Friday. I am aiming for a venue which has accommodation onsite or very close by, for those who are coming from out of town. Huntsville is location approx. 2.5 hours north of Toronto (by car). It is also accessible by train and bus. Well known as a popular summer destination as part of Muskoka, I hope that you may merge this with a holiday! An application will be submitted to have this program re-accredited for 15 CCEs by the ICF (as was our April 2011 program which included 13 hrs of core competencies).

I hope that you will join me!

If you have any questions or want to register, please click here for more info and a downloadable brochure, or contact me by phone at 416.996.8326.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials - Our next ICF CCE phone based program starts this Thursday May 19th (12 - 1:15 pm Eastern/New York: May 19, 26, June 9, 16 and 23). 3 spaces still open! You may also want to consider the June Accelerated Program which starts June 9th (Tues 7-8:15 pm ET)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Group Coaching Benefits - For Clients/Group Members

Group Coaching Benefits for Clients/Group Members
By Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC. Copyright 2011.

What exactly are the benefits for clients or group members of group coaching? In my book, Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and an article published in the recent edition of Choice Magazine, I share six group coaching benefits as identified in the research I undertook in 2009 when I was writing the book. We often hear about the benefit of group coaching often being available at a lower price point, and what else is a benefit for clients/group members?

Here are six benefits for clients/group members of agroup coaching experience:

1. Collective wisdom - Group Coaching taps into the collective wisdom of peers and other members of the group. i would assert that in a group coaching process, members learn as much, if not more, from the stories and insights of their peers, than the coach.

2. Less Didactic - Unlike the back and forth volley of question and answer, question/answer, question/answer some individual coaching conversations can emerge as, group coaching leaves more space for clients to reflect and think before responding, perhaps deferring to another group member first for their insights.

3. May have more time to reflect - For people who process more slowly, like to have more time before articulating their thoughts, having more time to reflect can be very important for their learning and development. Coaches should consider what the unique needs are for each member and each group that they work with. How much time for reflection will work well? Which group members need more time to articulate? What would be the benefit of providing time for everyone to write out their thoughts before responding?

4. Less on the spot - I find that it is quite common for group members to become "sparked" or "inspired" by hearing others' perspectives, goals, successes, challenges and stories. For some clients the feeling of being less on the spot can make coaching more meaningful.

5. Enables people to connect across geographic and industry boundaries. Often groups are drawn together by common themes (i.e. enhancing work life balance, becoming a better leader, building their business more quickly) which can pull in a wide geographic and industry focus. In fact, for some programs the diversity becomes a real strength, enabling people to open up more fully, particularly if they are concerned about competition (as in the case of businesses) or issues becoming too personal and well-known (if they are in a small tightknit group/community/organization).

As you move forward with your own group coaching work, note what benefits your clients/group members are indicating. Incorporate and build onto these into your future program designs, marketing and implementation.

Please feel free to share these benefits with other coaches, organizations or clients themselves, using the social media links below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) - Note Chapter 2 on the Business and Learning Case for Group Coaching
Join us at Twitter and Facebook for more tips, tools and ideas about group coaching
The Group Coaching Essentials program (6.75 ICF CCEs) provides road-tested tips, tools and ideas to design, market and run your own programs - Next class starts May 19th (Thurs at 12 noon ET). Click here for more info and to register! Space limited to 6.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coaching Business Builder - Notice Your Time Suckers

Leveraging,and maximizing, your time as a business owner is a key for success. It's very easy to get pulled off-course, especially when you are working from home. Whether it is the shiny new item, or the "must do" to build your business, it is very easy to lose sight of what's important getting you results as you build your business.

Today's post is an encouragement for you to notice where your time is really being spent. I am sure many of you provide your coaching clients with an assignment of tracking their time. Why not try it yourself. Here's the activity:

For the next week (or two) note where your time is being spent. You may wish to note it in 15 or 30 minute blocks.

After a week (or two) total up where your time has been spent. Notice:
1. Where are your time suckers - those activities which really do not add any value (in the short/medium or long term) and are taking up a lot of time?
2. What is out of balance?
3. What activities are giving you results? How much time/focus are you actually giving these?
4. What do you want to be doing more of?
5. What do you need to say NO to?

I'm always really interested in hearing about where time are being spent in the groups and individuals I work with. Feel free to comment below on what you notice!

Have a terrific, and focused, week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials - sessions for this ICF accredited program start on May 10, 19 and June 9th (6.75 CCEs)
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010):
Phone: 416.996.8326
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Monday, May 09, 2011

Group Coaching Exercises: Five Considerations

Whether it is your first meeting with a new group, or your tenth, here are five things to consider when selecting a tools/exercise/questions for your next group session:

1. What's the theme that's bringing this group together? What is the topic/focus area that is their priority (or agenda) that they want coaching on?
2. Where is the group in terms of it's own development? Is this a newly forming group that doesn't know each other, or is this a group which has developed strong bonds of trust and intimacy. What do they require from you? Check out past posts I've written on group development.
3. What does the group enjoy in terms of pace and engagement. I often speak about the unique rhythm and culture of each group I work with. Some groups love deep conversation as a larger group, others feel more comfortable connecting in smaller groups. What is the pace that they enjoy?
4. What are the different learning styles within the group? Working with a group who has kinesthetic learning as a preference, will be different from those who are more auditory.
5. How much time do you have together? What's your room set up like (or is it virtual)? Never underestimate just how much time it will take for conversation, reflection and action planning.

Next time you are considering what tools/questions/exercises you are bringing into your group coaching, reflect on these five questions.

I invite you to add any other questons you think coaches may find useful. As always, feel free to comment below.

Have a great week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Check out our upcoming programs: Group Coaching Essentials and the Group Coaching Intensive as well as our Mentor Coaching Group

Group Coaching Training - Three Upcoming Programs

For coaches looking to acquire tools, skills and ideas for their own group coaching work, I hope that you will consider joining me for one of our upcoming ICF accredited CCE programs:

Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 ICF CCEs):
This program is designed to provide coaches with tips, tools and ideas on how to design, market and implement their own group coaching programs (in person or by phone, for public groups or corporate groups). The program includes 5 x 75 minute calls, an 80 page manual (delivered electronically in weekly modules), and lazer calls with me (at no extra cost during the course of the program). This program provides practical how-tos on getting your programs up and running.

Upcoming program dates:
Tuesdays 7-8:15 pm ET/New York: May 10, 17, 24, 31 and June 7 (3 Spots still open!)
Thursdays 12 - 1:15 pm ET/New York: May 19, 26, June 9, 16 and 23 (4 spots still open)
June Accelerated Program (Tues and Thurs 7-815 pm ET: June 9, 14, 16, 23 and 25, 2011)
Click here for more information on the program and to register
Cost: $325 US or CDN (plus HST)

Group Coaching Intensive
This two day in person group coaching program provides coaches with tools, tips and practice in group coaching. A strong focus of the program is in providing you with practical tips, as well as practice and feedback on your own group coaching skills. Participants in our April 2011 Intensive program described the program as "A MUST for any group coach building their business" and "The real deal about group coaching". This program has been accredited in the past for 15 hrs of CCEs with the ICF and an application for renewal for the July program is being submitted (included 13 hrs of Core Competencies).
Click here for more information on the topics covered during the two day program and to register
An early bird savings of $175 (plus tax) is available until May 30th.
Upcoming Program Dates: July 14-15, 2011 in beautiful Huntsville, Muskoka (Canada, approximately 2.5 hours north of Toronto).

I look forward to having you join me for an upcoming program!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly by phone at 416.996.8326 or email at info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Warm regards

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