Thursday, April 26, 2012

Core Coaching Competency - Powerful Questions Part 2

One of the 11 core coaching competencies of the ICF is powerful questions. In my mind, powerful questions can create the backbone of any group coaching process. The ICF defines powerful questioning as the "ability to ask questions that reveal the information needed for maximum benefit to the coaching relationship and the client".

Within this definition there are four sub-components:
1. Asks questions that reflect active listening and an understanding of the client's perspective.
2. Asks questions that evoke discovery, insight, commitment, or action (e.g. those that challenge the client's assumptions)
3. Asks open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility or new learning
4. Asks questions that move the client towards what they desire, not questions that ask for he client to justify or look backwards.
Source: (11 Core Coaching Competencies - Minimum Skill Requirements)

In your own coaching conversations this week reflect on the following:
1. What do I notice about the impact of my questions?
2. Do my questions create greater clarity, possibility or new learning?
3. How do the questions match the needs of the client perspectives present
4. How do these question focus on the future and what the client's goals are?

One area I continue to be very interested in is the impact of learning styles and the coaching process. Notice the impact of how you phrase your questions to different group members. If there are gorup members who are more visual, they may respond better to "What does it look like?" versus a person who is more kinesthetic who may respond better to "What does it feel like?".

A couple of months ago one of my newsletter articles focused on Powerful Questions. You may want to check it out here. It includes links to some other resources you may find useful. If you have the book, Effective Group Coaching, you may want to check out pages 148-150 for a quick list of some standard questions you may find useful at different parts of the coaching process (i.e. check in, closure).

Have a terrific week!


Jennifer Britton
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)

Upcoming Programs you may be interested in:
Group Coaching Essentials - the next teleseminar program starts Tuesday May 8 at 10:30 am (3 spots still open). 6.75 CCEs
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - Starts Friday April 27th at 10:30 am Eastern (2 spots open)
Mentor Coaching Group - Starts Friday June 1st at 1 pm Eastern

Monday, April 23, 2012

A quick reminder of programs starting this week

I hope that your Monday has started off well! I wanted to send a quick reminder of two programs I have starting this week - a couple spaces are open in both programs:

Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (7.5 hrs) starts this Friday April 27 at 10:30 am Eastern - Designed for coaches experienced in group coaching, this phone based program takes a deeper dive at topics related to group coaching - advanced topics related to design, marketing, co-facilitation, systems, structures, tricky issues. There is a practicum component to the program such that each coach will lead part of one of the sessions, and will receive feedback on their skills. This is a great program for coaches who are looking to deepen their knowledge, get focused on their programs and further refine their skills. 6 x 75 minute teleclasses which are supported by weekly module notes, and 1-1 calls with me. Group Calls will be held April 27, May 11, 18, June 1, 8 and 15 (Fridays: 10:30 -11:45 am Eastern). Space is limited. Click here for more info and to reserve your spot. Cost: $375 US or CDN.

Mentor Coaching Group (10 hrs) starts tomorrow, Tuesday April 24th. The Mentor Coaching Group consists of 7 hrs of group mentor coaching, and 3 hrs of 1-1 mentor coaching, looking at the ICF Core Coaching Competencies. It is geared for ACC Renewals, and those applying for their ACC or PCC portfolio routes. Each group call we look at a couple of the 11 Core Coaching competencies - approaches, techniques and scenarios. Each coach will also get one or two opportunities to coach during the calls and receive feedback on their skills. Each group call is supplemented with workshets/module notes and resource lists. Space is limited to 4-6 coaches. Cost: $1000 US for the 10 hour program. Click here for more info and to reserve your spot.
Group Mentor Calls will be held:
Tuesday April 24 - 7:30 - 8:30 pm Eastern, other group calls will be held on Tuesdays from 12 - 1 pm Eastern: May 1, 15, 29, June 5, 19 and one other (to be set by group). 3 x 1 hour individual calls will be scheduled at a time mutually convenient.

Hope to have you join us!

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: 416.996.TEAM (8326)
Note the Early Bird rate for the July 12 - 13 Group Coaching Intensive in Huntsville, Muskoka, CANADA is on until May 15th (a savings of more than $200). Looking forward to meeting many of you this summer!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Group Coaching - Keeping an Eye on Group Dynamics

Whether your group coaching program is delivered by phone, in person, over the course of a few weeks or even a year, keeping an eye on group dynamics and being sensitive to the needs of the group at different stages, is an important activity for group coaches.

Over the past few years I have written a number of blog posts which touch on this very issue. Check out the group development tab at the side of the blog.

Many of you may be familiar with the work of Bruce Tuckman and his forming, storming, norming, performing stages, along wtih the fifth stage he added later called adjourning (or what I usually refer to as closure). During each stage in the group process there will some things to keep an eye on. Note that the dynamics may be more pronounced in more intensive environments (i.e. working with a group on an offsite for 3-4 days versus a group which meets by phone one hour every few weeks).

Forming - Think about your needs as a group member when you have started participating in any group experience. You may have felt a bit hesitant, unsure of what the experience would be like, who the people were, what to expect. At the initial stages, it is important for the coach/facilitator to create a comfortable, and safe environment. Letting the group members get to know each other, discussing expectations, what the progam is all about, who you are, are key activities at this stage.

Storming - This next stage involves some conflict as the group figures out who they are, what their roles are and how they want to work together. The conflict may be overt, or it may be more passive/under the radar screen. Conflict is a natural part of the group process, and it is important for people tohave the tools to work through it. As a coach, it can be useful to point to what you are observing and normalize it.

Norming - As group members figure out their roles and gain clarity about what's the best way to work/converse together. At this stage the coach/facilitator can start to step back a little.

Performing - Ultimately we hope that groups will move to the stage of performing which in my mind often means that they take the lead - I will step in with questions along the way, supporting and following the energy they bring.

Adjourning/Closure - There is always an end point of a group process, whether the coaching work is over or group members change. It is important to spend time at the end celebrating, acknowledging and reflecting on key learnings. As coaches this is where a focus on the "What Next" and longer term accountability around commitments is the focus.

For more detailed information about these stages you may also want to take look at Chapter 3 or pages 59-63 of my book Effective Group Coaching.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: (416)996-TEAM(8326)

Join us for an upcoming program (by phone):
Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs): Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:45 am ET: May 8, 15, 22, June 5 and 12
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum: Fridays 10:30 - 11:45 am ET: April 27, May 11, 18, June 1, 8
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC Portfolio Route: Tuesdays 12 - 1 pm ET: April 24, May 1, 15, 29, June 5, 19 and July

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Group Coaching Skills - Action and Accountability

I have uploaded a short video on Action and Accountability in group coaching. I hope that you enjoy it - it's just 3 minutes in length. You can view it here

How are you supporting your group members with Action and Accountability? These are two of our core coaching competencies (Competencies 9 and 11). In the video I provide some examples of how you may use the skills of coaching requests, coaching challenges and Inquiry.

What can you do to strengthen your support of group members in the area of action and accountability?

Click here for a listing of the ICF Core Coaching Competencies.


Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Looking to enhance your core coaching competencies? Join me for an upcoming Mentor Coaching Group. Next one runs April 24 - July 24 with calls being held on Tuesdays from 12 - 1 pm Eastern (April 24, May 1, 15, 29, June 5, 19 and 24). 2 spots still open. 10 hours of mentor coaching - 7 hrs group, and 3 hours individual mentor coaching
Launching your own group coaching work this spring/summer? Looking for tools and tips? Next Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program starts Tuesday May 8 from 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern (6.75 CCEs)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mentor Coaching: Four Things to Look For

Whether you are a new coach, or an experienced one wanting to brush up on your skills, mentor coaching can be an important process in helping to refine our skills and craft. Here are four things to look for in a mentor coaching process:

Compatibility – Is there a good fit/chemistry with the mentor coach? What are you looking for – someone who can encourage you on, stretch you or be a sounding board?

Experience – What is the experience of the mentor coach? Do they bring the type of experience in the coaching realm, and possibly outside the coaching realm that you are looking for? Are you looking for breadth or depth in terms of their experience?

Synergy with your coaching approaches – individual, team, group. I increasingly find more coaches are adding team and group coaching to their mix. In your mentor coaching process, are you looking to also explore the distinctions of how the core coaching competencies look and sound across the individual, team and group coaching realms.

Composition of your learning needs – scenarios, supervision, tricky issues. These can all be valuable parts of the mentor coaching process, as the core coaching competencies are explored. How do you learn best? Individually or in a group mentor coaching process? You may want to consider how you could benefit from a mentor coaching process in a group.

The ICF has also created some really good documentation around what to look for in a mentor coaching process. For an overview click here, and you can check it what ICF recommends for Mentor Coaching duties and competencies here.

Listen in to a quick audio I recorded last summer on what to look for in mentor coach.

What is important for you in the mentor coaching process? What's going to challenge and stretch you to be the best coach you can be?

Have a great week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Looking to complete your mentor coaching requirements? Join me for an upcoming Mentor Coaching Group (10 hours) starting April 24 (Tues 12-1pm ET), June 1 or August 10. 7 hours group calls, 3 hours individual mentor coaching. For ACC renewals, and ACC and PCC portfolio candidates. I also offer 10 hour individual mentor coaching packages as well which can start at any time.
Phone: (416)996-8326

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WIIFM - What's In It For Me

WIIFM What’s in it for me? Next time you go to design a presentation, work with a group, or market your services start with the WIIFM – What’s In it For Me? Think about the group/audience you are targeting:

1. What do they want?

2. What do they already know?

3. What are they looking for?

4. What is redundant?

5. What really will meet their needs?

6. In terms of programming, what’s important?


The WIIFM principle can be applied in so many different areas. Consider it today around the projects and tasks you are working on.

Have a great week!

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC

Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2012)

Upcoming programs include: Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals, and ACC/PCC Portfolio Routes starting Tuesday April 24th (12 – 1 pm Eastern) and the Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (Friday April 27 – 10:30 -11:45 am Eastern)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Eight Years, Eight Lessons

This month marks the 8th anniversary of my business, Potentials Realized. My memories are still very fresh of April 1, 2004, returning back to Canada after 13 years of working internationally with the UN, Canadian and British Aid agencies. I hadn’t lived here for more than a decade and was bringing Andray my partner from the Caribbean to see how we could make a life for ourselves work here. Looking out 8 years later so much has changed over the years - a new home, our son who is almost 7 and my business, Potentials Realized, now 8. I think of the hundreds of coaching clients and dozens of organizations across the non-profit, corporate and public sector who I have supported through workshops, retreats, strategic planning, coaching and learning strategy work.It has been quite a journey.

I have learned a lot as a business owner and usually take this time of year to reflect on some of my key learnings. I did this about 10 days ago during Earth Hour. Here are 8 of the lessons I have learned which have been most important for creating where I am today – as a business owner, a mom and a professional:

1. Be clear on what you really want to create – Having a clear vision, and a pretty big one, has been critical. In the immediate, short term and longer term create a vision. I think back to my original visioning work in 2004 which included things like becoming an author, and designing award winning programs. At the time I had no idea how these would come about and both have. It is an ongoing reminder of how important vision and trust is in building a business.

2. Create systems that will support you and can be built upon. What tasks and activities do you think you will need to undertake regularly (registrations, invoices, workbooks, evaluation forms)? Think about what you already have developed and how these can be systematized. If admin doesn’t come naturally, you may want to consider bringing someone onto your team to help you with this.

3. Use your strengths – AS coaches many of us are familiar with the research that surrounds strengths based leadership, and the impact on engagement and productivity. Check out what Gallup has to say. Are you using your strengths in your business? How? What changes do you want to make around this?

4. Make sure you really enjoy what you are doing…. As business owners we are responsible for “everything plus the kitchen sink” some days. If we don’t enjoy what we are doing it may be a wake-up call to think if business ownership is the best fit.

5. Create a business that works for you and your lifestyle – Your own lifestyle needs will likely change over time. Consider where and when you want your effort. Over the past few years I have been able to spend most of my summer (June – August) working out of my cottage, structuring programming so more of my virtual work is done in those months, and in person programming done outside of those months. Consider how technology can work for you….

6. Quality is key – Quality can be the key to referrals and repeat business. Ensure that the quality of what you offer is outstanding.

7. Differentiate/Diversify – What makes you different than other businesses? How is what you offer different than other service providers. In terms of diversification, what different offerings do you have? What risk exists from the amount of diversification (too much or too little) you have?

8. Be clear on your bottom line and track, track, track – Become really clear on what your bottom line is and what you are willing to undertake. Track where business is coming from and really notice what is giving you the results.

I hope that you are enjoying the start of spring! As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on key business success lessons for coaches. Please feel free to comment below or over on our Facebook page.

Warm regards


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC

Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)

Join us for an upcoming program - Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs with ICF starts Thursday April 12 at 10:30 am ET), Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (Fridays 10:30 - 11:45 am ET starts April 27) and the Mentor Coaching Group starts April 24th (Tues 12-1pm ET)

Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)