Monday, October 31, 2011

Team versus Group Coaching - What's the Difference?

This past weekend I attended the Annual Fall ICF GTA Conference here in Toronto. It was wonderful to reconnect with many old colleagues and make new connections with others. A number of coaches asked me "What is the difference between team and group coaching?".

In fact, many of the tools and approaches coaches will use in working with teams and groups are very similar, if not identical.

What is different are a couple of key points to consider in terms of how you are working with teams vs. groups:

1. Teams will have some form of leadership which needs to be taken into consideration in designing the type of coaching which will happen. In all of the team coaching, and team systems coaching work I do, team leaders play a key role. In fact, the team coaching process may be started because of a new team leader coming on board. Typically a group coaching process is not impacted by leadership directly.

For example, if I am working with a group of new managers in an organization, they are likely to have different leaders that they report to. Part of our coaching may involve having them share their learning with their leaders, but the leaders are not directly involved in the caoching.

2. Teams have relationships which usually exist before, and after, the coaching relationship. Groups which form for coaching may know each other, but have a different type of relationship. As we often say, teams exist to produce results, so team relationships have a key focus in team coaching. This may not always be the case with group coaching. For example, if I am working with a group of new business owners, chances are that they may be meeting each other for the first time. Their focus will likely be on strengthing their own businesses first, and getting to know each other second. It is still important to be aware of team and group dynamics issues in both.

Stay tuned for a couple of additional posts I am going to write on team coaching resources, and other factors which distinguish teams and groups.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the ICF approved CCE - Group Coaching Essentials program - next group starts by phone on Tuesday November 15th at 10:30 am Eastern (6.75 CCEs)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Virtual Group Coaching More Effective - 5 Tips

More and more coaches these days are exploring how virtual group coaching programs, delivered by bridgelines or even video, can support their clients and match their own needs.

Facilitating, and coaching, in the virtual realm requires some different skills, as well as structures. What are some practical things you can make your group coaching by phone/web more effective? Here are five suggestions for making virtual group coaching more effective:

1. Consider what you really want to use the call time for. With virtual programs my preference is usually to use the time in dialogue, discussion and coaching. This often requires that group members undertake some prep before the call, as pre- or post work.
What do you want to use your call time for?

2. Spend time before the program building relationships with group members. Many of you know about my insistence on holding short pre-program calls prior to public programs I host. This is an opportunity for me to learn more about each group member, their needs, goals and also preferences.
What focus do you want to have pre-program on getting to know your group members?

3. Consider spending time building relationships between sessions with individual group members. Especially with public programs, when groups will disband after the program, members appreciate more touch points with me as coach. Many of my programs over the years have had a hybrid 1-1 and group mix to address this issue. People usually love the opportunity to meet with me 1-1, even if is for a shorter call, to explore their topics/issues more deeply.

4. What visual supports will the group benefit from? Technology is enabling us to incorporate visual media in many foms. What supports will the group members benefit from? A PDF workbook/worksheet? Slides which they can view as prompters? Streaming Video?
Consider what visual supports your groups can benefit from.

5. Consider and address what barriers may exist in group member's participation. Many barriers can exist to virtual program participation. From lack of familiarity with the technology, to low bandwidth issues, to lack of engagement.
Consider what barriers might exist for your group members.

As I 've also written in other posts, practice, practice, practice. Group Coaching is as much as art as a skill set. If we don't use it, we lose it!

What action will you take in the coming weeks to move your virtual programming forward?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials - our next CCE approved program starts this Friday October 28th at 10:30 am Eastern (6.75 ICF CCEs)
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Group Coaching Nuts and Bolts - Room Set up

Today's post is about going back to the nuts and bolts (the practicalities) of group coaching - logistics!

Many coaches will opt to run their programs in person, whether they are running their own programs or working with organizations.

Here are some very practical considerations when thinking about room set up:

1. Look at lighting and temperature
2. Is there sufficient room for the group to meet and work in breakouts if necessary?
3. What configuration is going to work best - (U shape)
4. Does furniture move? - Tables/Chairs. If not, what changes are you going to need to make
5. What insurance, if any, is required by the facility? (Note some venues will ask for proof of Liability insurance in the event of slips, trips and falls. Will vary by jursidiction - check out what is required in your area).
6. What support materials (flipcharts/markers/tape/LCD projector) will be provided by the site - is it free or at a cost?
7. What materials do you need to bring with you (i.e. extra copies)
8. What will you do about meals/coffee breaks? Does the venue allow people to bring in their own food/drinks?
9. Who is the point person/contact person in the event of any challenges (i.e. room too hot, lights blow etc). How can they be reached?
10. What is the earliest you can enter the room? When do you have to be out of it?
11. What deposit is required to secure the room? What is their cancellation policy?

These are just a few questions you will want to consider when deciding on a venue and looking at room set up.

Are there other questions you would recommend, based on your experience? As always, please feel free to comment below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley 2010)
Group Coaching - Next class starts Friday October 28th from 10:30-11:45 am Eastern - Calls held Oct 28, Nov 4, 18, Dec 2 and 9, 2011 (6.75 CCEs with the ICF)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Upcoming Events - Group Coaching - Join me

This is a quick post for a couple of announcements of things happening in the next week or so:

1. Join me Monday evening (Oct 24) from 7-8pm Eastern when I am a Guest Speaker on The Coaching Lab Online Radio on Blog Talk Radio. I'll be speaking with Coach Ryan Decoste about Group Coaching. Here's the link for more info:

You can also call in during the last half of the call to ask questions.

2. The next Group Coaching Essentials program starts next Friday October 28th from 10:30-11:45 am Eastern. This is an ICF approved CCE program (6.75 hrs), providing coaches with tools, templates and resources for designing, marketing and implementing their own group coaching work.

Our upcoming programs which still have spaces available are:
Fridays 10:30-11:45 am Eastern: October 28, November 4, 18, December 2 and 9, 2011

Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern: November 15, 22, 29, December 13 and 2011

Tues/Thurs 7-8:15 pm Eastern: December 1, 6, 8, 13 and 15 2011 (Accelerated Program)

You can learn more and register at

3. If you are a coach in the Toronto area I will be at the GTA ICF Conference on Saturday October 29th. I will have a booth so drop by and say hi. You will be able to purchase copies of Effective Group Coaching, pick up a Group Coaching Toolkit Resource book. I will also have special Conference pricing for the December 3-4 Group Coaching Intensive (15 hrs) which will be held in Toronto - spaces still open.

4. I'll be leading a 2 hour workshop on Group Coaching in Philadelphia on November 11th at the 2011 PACA Conference. Looking forward to meeting many of you there!

Finally, a quick reminder to check out our Effective Group Coaching Facebook page. I have recently posted a copy of last week's audio on Group Coaching Exercises, and have also uploaded my first Effective Group Coaching Video Tip on Going Virtual. You can check it out on my new Effective Group Coach Channel on YouTube or through our Facebook page. I welcome your comments.

Have a terrific week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching
Phone: 416.996.TEAM


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Virtual Group Coaching Tips

Many more coaches are exploring the world of teleclass, webinar and virtual group coaching delivery these days. As someone who has had a bulk of programming being offered online since 2004, I always encourage coaches to see how these modalities can support the learning and connection amongst your group members.

It's a very different landscape than it was in 2004, with mobile technology having made great changes in our lives, and people being more comfortable in using it.

I'm about to release one of my first videos and the focus is questions should ask when going virtual. I'll post a link to the blog as well as our Effective Group Coaching Facebook page when it is live (maybe even later today!).

If you are a coach looking to add virtual programming to your mix, you will want to check out the past posts I have written under the virtual learning tag, as well as 5 Questions to Ask Yourself when going virtual.

Enjoy and have a great week! I'll keep you posted about when the video is live. I hope that you will enjoy my upcoming video tips for Effective Group Coaching.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials - Our next CCE approved program starts on Friday October 28th from 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern/'New York by phone. Spaces are still open for coaches who are looking for tips, tools and ideas for designing, marketing and running their own group coaching work.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coaching Business Builder - Track It!

The Pareto Principle states that we get 80% of our results from 20% of our effort. What activities are giving you your biggest impact these days?

In building a business it is critical to notice where your results are coming from - in the short term, as well as the medium and long term. As new clients start and as you receive inquiries notice where people are hearing about you and your services. Over time track which ones are a constant source, as well as ones that perhaps aren't giving you the return you would like.

On the tracking side of things, in addition to inquiries and registrations, here are some other items you may wish to track over time:
- Inquiries (sources, volume, frequency, peaks at time of year)
- Registrations for individual, team and/or group coaching (volume, sources, frequency, peaks/lows)
- Cash Flow (particularly any cycles/downtimes/cash crunches)
- Results from specific marketing campaigns (newsletters/social media/tradeshows/articles/speaking etc)

What other activities do you want to keep an eye on for your business?

Going forward, what are the activities you really, really want to keep a focus on?

Have a great week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Potentials Realized
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs): Next Program Starts October 28th (Fridays from 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pre-Program Questions for Corporate Clients

Last week I wrote a post on questions to ask pre-program for clients who are signing up for public programs, or programs that you may be offering. Many of you may be offering group coaching in an organizational context. Today I wanted to share with you some of the pre-program questions I ask to group coaching members when I work in organizations:

1. What do you wan to get out of your involvement with the program?
2. What are your needs and preferences around - delivery? Topic areas? Learning styles?
3. How do you see your participation linking to you - Performance Goals? Role (individually and in your team)? Developmental needs?
4. How will you feed back what you are learning/your insights to your Team? Supervisor? Organization? Life?

Many times it may not be feasible to have a phone conversation prior to the program start, so if we can't meet by phone I will send this by email to participants. As with public programs, designing the coaching agreement is an essential component of any group coaching process. The more you know your clients, their priorities/focus areas, and preferences, the better a program will be. Likewise, pre-program information can help with clarifying and confirming expectations.

For more questions, and additional elements you may want to consider in your work, please check out Chapter 7 of Effective Group Coaching.

Have a terrific week!


Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Group Coaching Essentials - next program starts Tuesday October 11th - 6.75 ICF CCEs
Group Coaching Intensive - Toronto - November 5-6 (Saturday/Sunday) - 15 hrs of Training (awaiting renewal of ICF CCEs - 13 hrs Core Competencies, 2 hrs Business Development)
Phone: (416)996-8326

Friday, October 07, 2011

Pre-Program Questions for Clients - Individual/Public Clients

Many readers would know that I place a strong priority on having a pre-program conversation with group coaching participants. Designing the Coaching Agreement is a core coaching competency, and can start before group members even enter the room (or come together on the phone). In my book, Effective Group Coaching, I cover a number of questions I might ask to individuals who are signing up for a program that I am offering, as well as questions I would ask to corporate clients. Refer to Chapter 7 - Essential Elements for Your Group Coaching Program.

In today's post, I wanted to share the pre-program questions I may ask to individuals signing up for my public programs.

Some of these questions may include:
  • What do you want to get out of your involvement with this program?
  • What topics do you want to explore?
  • What should I know about you?
  • What should I know about your goals?
  • What should I know about your learning style?
  • How will this link back to your work? Your life? Your relationships?
  • What are the most important topics around _______ (insert topic)?
Typically I spent 15 minutes with each participant by phone (or skype) in discussion around these questions, as well as covering off logistics for the program. It helps in terms of getting to know each other, as well as finding out what are key priorities for participants. Finally, it is essential in ensuring that expectations match.

Consider for yourself:
What is important for my pre-program processes?
What questions do I want to ask my participants before the program starts/or in the first session?
What do I want participants to know before we start our work together?
What do I want to know about them?

Have a wonderful week!

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials - Next group starts Tuesday October 11th at 7 pm Eastern -Approved for 6.75 CCEs with the ICF. Spots are still open - reserve yours today
Group Coaching Intensive - Two day In Person Training (Toronto - November 5-6). Register with a colleague and each save $175 plus HST
Phone: 416.996.8326

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Group Coaching Intensive - Toronto - November 5-6

I am looking forward to meeting many more of you in person during the upcoming Group Coaching Intensive which will be held here in Toronto on Saturday November 5th (9-6) and Sunday November 6th (8:30 - 5). This is a two day hands-on group coaching training program. If you are looking for tools, resources as well as practice and feedback on your group coaching skills then read on!

Described as a "powerful incubator" and a "must have for anyone wanting to do group coaching" I will be working with a small group (maximum 6-8) of coaches over the weekend as we explore the topic of designing, running and marketing group coaching (phone/in person/corporate and public groups).

Topics covered over the two days include:
  • What Group Coaching Is, How it Can Be Delivered (in person/by phone);
  • The Continuum of Small Group Processes;
  • Fundamental Principles of working with groups
  • Competencies for Group Coaching including Group Coaching Core Skills and Best Practices;
  • Tricky Issues in Group Coaching - How to avoid them, and how to handle them when they happen
  • Tips for Designing and Running Your Own Group Coaching Programs
  • Virtual Facilitation Basics - What do do, what to avoid and how to facilitate engagement with phone/virtual programs
  • Marketing Your Group Coaching programs
  • Exercises for Group Coaching (which you will experience and be able to facilitate yourself!)
  • Group Coaching Skill Practice, Skill Presentation and Feedback

Your registration includes:
  • copy of my book Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
  • The Group Coaching Intensive Participants Manual (65 + pages of content and worksheets)
  • The Group Coaching Toolbox - A core selection of group coaching tools/resources in one box, which you will use time and time again!
  • An individual pre-program call with me
  • A group follow up call one month after the Intensive to check in on your progress and successes.
  • 15 hours of training (an application for renewal of 15 hrs ICF CCEs is being submitted) in the area of group coaching with a light lunch both days
  • Invitations to community calls for alumni of the Group Coaching Essentials program
Registration is $950 CDN plus HST. Register with a colleague and each save $175 plus HST off your registration rate (until October 21st).

For More info and to reserve your spot please visit our site. You can also download a brochure with more detail about the program off of our site.

Venue - Hotel near Toronto airport with shuttle service available for those coming in from out of town. A special room rate is available for participants.

I hope that you will join us for the Group Coaching Intensive! This will be a great opportunity to get a head start on your 2012 programming, brush up on your skills, or get those remaining CCEs you need. If you have questions, please contact me directly by phone or email.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)