Monday, December 19, 2011

Top 10 Questions About Group Coaching During 2011

Top 10 Questions about Group Coaching During 2011

Copyright 2011 - Jennifer Britton, All Rights Reserved

It’s been really interesting for me to connect with so many coaches and other professionals looking at group coaching over 2011. Speaking engagements have seen me out in the Martimes of Canada (East Coast) and as far West as Banff. Last month I traveled to Philadelphia and presented at their Fall Conference. Throughout the year I’ve also presented virtually to many SIGs, special interest groups and other coaching schools.

A majority of my sessions/presentations have been interactive and it’s been really interesting to track some of the questions I’ve continually been asked this year. Here are 10 that really have hit my radar screen, as well as links to some resources I have, in case you too have the same question:

1. 1. What skills do I need to be great group coach? Remember that group coaching is an extension/specialization of the coaching profession. Great group coaches are skilled in the core coaching competencies, as well as experienced in group process issues. Practically this means getting out and working with groups. It’s like a muscle – if we don’t use it, we can lose the skills. What opportunities do you have/can you create to work with groups ?

2. 2. What do I need to understand about how groups work? This past summer I presented to Suzee Eibling’s Group Coaching SIG on Group Dynamics and Group Coaching. It was a blast! This topic is of real interest to both experienced and new coaches. For those who have a copy of my book, Effective Group Coaching, please check out Chapter 3 which goes into considerations for coaches regarding group development as well as learning styles.

3. 3. What’s the difference between team and group coaching? Many coaches, myself included, will probably find a natural progression and interplay between the team and group coaching work they find themselves working within. Both are sisters. What I cover throughout the Group Coaching Essentials program is highly transferable to the team coaching context.

Some of the key differences of course are the relationships which may exist as well as the role of leadership, and other team roles that may exist. Please check out some of the recent blog posts I have written this fall on Team Coaching and Team Coaching resources (click on the team coaching tab here at the blog).

4. 4. How do I price group coaching? I actually think this was the most popular question I was asked throughout the year. I cover it more in depth in the Group Coaching Essentials program. There is a huge range out there, which I feel is reflective of the diverse groups coaches are working with, and how they position group coaching in their business offerings. Some of the considerations you will want to think about of course is your contact time, group numbers, overhead (materials, insurance, venue etc).

5. Positioning Group Coaching In Organizations – A few weeks ago I spoke to the ICF Coaching and HRD SIG. I spoke a bit about positioning organizational group coaching. You can listen to the recording here. For those interested, you may want to become a member of this SIG. More info through the ICF’s SIG links.

6. 6. What exercises can I use? There are some terrific resources out there on the web these days. Most coaches will already have a selection of great coaching exercises that can be adapted for groups. We spend a week of the Group Coaching Essentials program looking at this topic, and you can check out the many blog posts I’ve written over the years on this (use the Exercises tab). This year I’ve also seen a resurgence in the number of coaches purchasing the Engaging Exercises E-Manual (one of the first products I created for my business in 2005). Also refer to the Appendix of the Effective Group Coaching book (40 pages of exercises there).

7. 7. From a business perspective, what do I need to have in place? The question of systems for your business and work is a very common and important question I get asked frequently. Please check out this post from 2010 as well as a more recent one on systems which can support you in making the work easier.

8. 8. How Should I market group coaching? A huge question! Consider your audience, your marketing strategy, your strengths. I’ll be working with coaches and trainers this Thursday December 22nd during the Year End BizSuccess Business Planning Virtual Retreat (10-4pm ET) and a main focus of the day will be on planning for your business, as well as your marketing! A few spaces still open – click here for more info.

9. 9. How much can I fit into a group coaching session? I always remind coaches of the Less is More principle. Much of the benefit from a client’s perspective is the opportunity to connect and be in dialogue with others, and have time for space, focus and reflection. Often this means not trying to cram too much into a call or in person session, and thinking about what is a nice to have, rather than a need to have.

10. And probably the number one question – How can I build a successful business as a coach? I’ve heard this question for years throughout the 90 Day BizSuccess program, and during the early years of my business when I worked part time as a Business Faculty Lecturer. Building a coaching business is similar to other businesses – it takes time, focus and perseverance. I often remind coaches of the importance of the 1% rule – taking daily, or regular action, on important business goals. What are your business goals for the next year? Who is going to support you and hold you accountable as you move forward?

I look forward to continuing with the Coaching Business Builder series of posts here at the blog during 2012, as well as continuing to work with coaches individually on their own business development, as well as through programs like the Mentor Coaching Group and this week’s Year End BizSuccess Business Planning Virtual Retreat.

I’m eager to see where I’ll be connecting with coaches next year! If you are looking for a speaker for your group/association/conference on topics related to coaching, group coaching, leadership or business development, please contact me. I’d love to connect and learn more about your needs.

Questions – as always please feel free to reach me directly by email or phone (listed below).

Have a terrific holiday season!

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC

Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

New programs start in early January 2012 - Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs - Jan 12th and 24th), Mentor Coaching Group (Jan 13th)

Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Phone : 416.996.8326

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Selecting Group Coaching Exercises and Activities

Coaching exercises, conversations and activities form the backdrop of a group coaching process. In designing your next group coaching session (corporate or public, by phone or in-person), consider the following in selecting activities:

1. The level of trust and depth of relationships amongst the group members - How well does the group know each other? Trust each other? Do relationships span outside of the group coaching context?
2. The comfort zone of the group - Each group is going to have their own comfort zone. One group's stretch is another group's baby steps. Consider what the comfort zone is for the specific group yo u are working with.
3. Previous experience with the coaching process - Different groups will have different prior experience with the coaching process. If you are doing organizational work, does a coaching culture already exist? If not, ensure that there is clarity about what people can expect.
4. Progression of topics - Consider the flow of the program overall. How does one topic link to another. What pre-work would benefit the group in setting things up and having them come with some reflection and/or action already undertaken.
5. What people can expect/want as a takeaway - a final consideration may in fact be your starting point for selection. What can people expect or what do they want as the outcome of the session - exploration around an issue, clarity, goal setting action? Consider how different activities can be adapted for different purposes, or if in fact they have an emphasis on one approach more than another.

What other questions do you want to consider in selecting group coaching activities for your next session?

Have a terrific week!


Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Join me for a one day Virtual Business Planning Retreat next Thursday Dec 22nd (10-4 pm ET) - carve out time to plan, focus and take action on your business success for 2012! Retreat from your office.
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

2012 Virtual BIzPlanning Retreat - Thurs Dec 22nd

I'm looking forward to spending the day with many of you virtually on Thursday December 22nd. From 10-4 pm Eastern that day I will be running the 2012 BizSuccess Virtual Business Planning Retreat. The program is geared for coaches, trainers, consultants and other service based professionals who are wanting to grow their business next year. I'll be bringing in some of the best tools from the 90 Day BizSuccess program to support you in creating a great foundational plan for the new year.

Throughout the six hour program, we will be meeting as a group each hour for approximately 15 minutes by phone to explore some key issues for our 2012 business plans. The rest of the hour will be spent offline at our own homes or offices working through a series of structured business planning exercises.

The focus of the day is on giving you the time and space to FOCUS on planning, and also take ACTION, on key areas for your business success.

Each registrant receives a Virtual Retreat Manual complete with exercises for the day, as well as templates for you to take forward with your own plans for 2012. I will hold a pre-program 1-1 call with each one of you prior to the start of the program, and will be available for individual business coaching throughout the 6 hour day as part of your registration. We'll also set a date to meet in early January to see how our plans and action are evolving for a short 30 min group coaching call.

Cost for the program is $195 US. Callers are responsible for their own long distance charges to connect to the bridgeline.

For more information and to register, please check here.

Please note you can also pair this program with next Friday's (December 16th) Group Program Design Virtual Retreat Intensive. Wanting to take ACTION on your group program ideas (teleclass, workshop, retreat or group coaching) and make it real for 2012? Join me for a six hour structured series of exercises designed to support you in crafting the skeleton of your program design, marketing and implementation support. The program is of a similar format with focus on group program design. Hours - 10-4 pm Eastern.

Hope that you will join us!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley 2010)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Registration now open for January Group Coaching Essentials programs. New teleseminars start Jan 12 and 24th. 6.75 CCEs with the ICF.

Coaching Business Builder - Fostering Your Relationships

Relationships are critical in building and maintaining your coaching business. Word of mouth often play a key role in generating business. What do you do to keep in touch with, within your networks or web of relationships?

Earlier this week I spoke about the importance of relationship management to professionals in both the HR and Financial services sector. It is just as important for us as coaches. What do you do to keep in touch, and be in dialogue with those in your network?

Consider the following questions:

  1. What do you do well in fostering your relationships for your business?
  2. Who are your key stakeholders? Advocates? Strategic Partners? Allies?
  3. What activities do you have planned to keep in touch with these people?
  4. Who do you want to add to your web of relationships? (Connectors, key influencers, new advocates)?
  5. In the coming year what additional focus do you want to place on building your relationships?

Never underestimate the importance of your relationships and creating community. As one coach said on my 8th Annual Year End Call last week (click here to access the recording link), she came to be in community and connect with others.

In fostering your relationships (virtual and in-person) consider the myriad of ways you can stay connected - by phone, web, email, social media, presentations, drop in community calls etc. Where do you want to put your focus?

Have a great week

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley 2011)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Thursday, December 01, 2011

8th Annual Year End Group Programs Call - Fri Dec 2 at 12 noon ET

I'll be holding my 8th Annual Year End Group Programs call tomorrow, Friday December 2nd, from 12-12:45 pm Eastern. This has become one of my favorite annual traditions for me. I hope that you will join me and other coaches as we take a look back at 2011 successes, and look at 2012 trends for group programs. I'll be sharing some insights which will be useful if you are undertaking your own work (or planning to) in the areas of group coaching, teleclasses, webinars, or workshops.

Please feel free to join us at 12 noon Eastern (New York/Toronto) Friday December 2nd at 1-218-862-1300, access 503003.

There is no cost to participate other than your own long distance charges to the bridgeline.

Can't make it? I'll be posting the recording over at the Effective Group Coaching Facebook page early next week.

Best wishes as we move into this final month of the year!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Join us for one of our remaining 2011 programs - the one day 2012 Business Planning Virtual Retreat (Thurs Dec 22nd from 10-4pm ET by phone) and the Group Program Design Virtual Retreat (Friday December 16th from 10-4 pm ET by phone)
Registration open for January's Group Coaching Essentials program - starting Jan 12th (Thursdays 10:30 - 11:45 am) and Jan 24th (Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:45 AM ET). Advanced Group Coaching Practicum will start Jan 24th (Tuesdays 12 - 1:15 pm ET)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized(dot)com