Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Closing off a Group Coaching Process

Closure is an often overlooked element of any group program. We often spend a lot of time focusing at the start, and may pay little attention to the end. What do you want to incorporate into the closing of your next group program? Here are some things to consider:

1. Consider the tone you want to set

2. Do a walk through (as a group) of some of the highlights of the experience. Have individual group members share their insights.

3. Spend time sharing key goals achieved over the course of the program.

4. Leave time for group members to share:
  1. What their next step (s) is.
  2. Who they are going to be accountable to.
  3. What might get in the way.
  4. What will support them in achieving success.
5. Bring in a closure activity like using Visual Explorer and having participants choose a picture which represents their vision or next steps. OR if you are in person and are able to use the natural surroundings, have people take a silent walk and bring back an item which represents who they are/their vision (i.e. a feather which might represent ability to see the big picture, or flexibility).

For many of my in-person programs, I arrange with the group a time for a group follow up call 2-4 weeks after the end of our process. It's a great chance to keep the momentum going, and also check in around these topics outlined above. I often hear thanks for arranging this as it resurfaces people's commitments and ups the bar on accountability.

What closure activity do you want to bring into your next group work?

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program (6.75 CCEs, Wednesdays 7-8:15 pm ET, and other starts on July 10) and the Mentor Coaching Group
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Five Great Books for Coaches to Add to their Bookshelf/Reader

I often get asked about some of my favorite coaching books during the Group Coaching Essentials and Mentor Coaching Group programs. Here are five books I like, and continue to refer back to, in my own work:

1. Facilitative Coaching - Dale Schwartz and Anne Davidson. I really like the practicality of the exercises, tools and templates included in this book. Geared for more of the individual coaching conversation, many of these activities/resources can be adapted for team and group coaching. The book also includes a CD with the resources on it.

2. Coactive Coaching - Whitworth et al. Not only because I originally trained and certified through CTI years ago, I continue to find that the foundational principles of coaching are well spelled out. The appendix is also a terrific resource for new and seasoned coaches. It includes a wide array of powerful questions, inquiries and sample wheels (of life/business) you can use.

3. Appreciative Coaching - Binkert, Orem, Clancy. This book fuses appreciative inquiry and coaching. It's a wonderful resource, and I appreciated the questions and framework which can be brought into the individual coaching conversation.

4. Retreats that Work - Liteman et al. Many coaches also offer retreats for individuals, couples and teams. Retreats that Work is a fantastic resource, with exercises and designs galore. I have found myself referring back to it this spring several times as an inspiration source for retreats I have led.

5. The Coach U Essential Coaching Tools Book - This is a terrific resource for coaches looking for tools, worksheets and activities that they can incorporate into their work. Spanning everything from working with Tolerations to Resources for new Clients/Coachees, this is a great resource particularly for those starting their own practice/business.

What books would you recommend coaches add to their bookshelf or reader? As always, please feel free to comment below. You can also check out other suggestions I have in the online bookstore I created with Amazon. (Note this is an affiliate link).

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs, starting Wed May 23 at 7pm ET) and the Mentor Coaching Group (starting Friday June 1 at 1 pm ET)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Group Coaching Essentials starts Wednesday May 23 at 7pm ET

Looking to launch your own group coaching programs this summer and fall and want road-tested tips and ideas to design, run and market your programs? I hope that you will consider joining me for an upcoming Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program, approved by the ICF for 6.75 CCEs.

This five session teleseminar provides tools and ideas as well as accountability for taking action on your program ideas. Our weekly topics include
* The Foundation of Group Coaching – What is Group Coaching, How does Group Coaching Differ from Training and Workshops, Best Practices of Group Coaching, and Adult Learning Principles
* The Nuts and Bolts of Developing Group Coaching – Making Your Program Development Fun and Effective: Technical issues, Techniques and Templates for Developing and Running Your Program
* Marketing Group Coaching – Knowing Your Clients, General Marketing Principles, Finding Your Marketing Sweet Spot
* Filling Up Your Toolbox – Exercises and Other Resources for Group Coaching (for Virtual, in person, public and corporate programs
* The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Group Coaches
We will cover the nuts and bolts of group coaching, and provide you with tools, templates and resources to support you with your own program design, marketing and implementation. Weekly assignments are structured so that you will leave the program having taken steps with your own program design.

Upcoming Program Dates include:
Wednesday 7-8:15 pm Eastern/ New York: May 23, 30, June 6, 13, and 20, 2012 - 3 spots open
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12 - 1:15 pm Eastern/ New York: July 10, 17, 19, 24, 26, 2012 OR
Thursdays 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern: August 9, 16, 23, 30, September 6, 2012

More information about the program and a registration link can be found at our site.

The cost of the program is $375 USD (or $375 Canadian including HST), and includes:
* 5 x 75 minute teleseminar calls
* An 80 page Manual (delivered by email in weekly modules)
* Pre and Post-course one-on-one meetings with me, focusing on your group coaching vision, your individual project and learning needs;
* Access to lazer (15 minute) 1-1 weekly coaching calls with me during the course of the program at no extra cost.
This is a hands-on, interactive program and space is limited to 6-8 coaches. Calls will be recorded if you can’t make a session.

Here’s what previous participants have said about the program:
“I love programs that give you lots of useable takeaways. By that, I mean that I can use the materials I receive immediately in my business. The Group Coaching Essentials program gave me just that. Not only has it jump started my group coaching offerings, it will pay for itself many times over in the additional revenue I will generate.”
Nan O'Connor, MCC, http://www.nanoconnor.com

I hope that you will join me for one of these programs, or make the trip to Muskoka this summer for the two-day in person Group Coaching Intensive (Huntsville, Muskoka Thurs/Friday July 12 - 13, 2012 - 15 CCEs with the ICF). Even though our early bird rate has ended, if you register with a colleague for the two day intensive you will both save $125 off the regular pricing ($950 plus HST).

You can register online for the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar here, or contact me directly by phone (416)996-8326.

Warm regards

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

Designing the Agreement with your Group Coaching Clients

Designing the Agreement is one of the ICF Core Coaching Competencies (Core Coaching Competency #2). The ICF Defines this as

"Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship"
With Subcomponents including
·  Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (i.e. logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate)
·  Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client and coach’s responsibilities
- Determines whether there is an effective match between his/her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client

Components which you may want to consider including in your group coaching programs are:
  1. A pre-program 1-1 call to get to know the client, answer any questions they may have about the logistics, scheduling etc. The pre-program 1-1 call can also provide a touch point to ensure that there is a good match between the client’s needs and the group coaching work you are offering
  2. Creating Ways of Working in your First Group Session to ensure all people have the same understanding of what’s expected and what will make the group process supportive for all. 
  3.  For some of your programs you may also want to develop a questionnaire to gather further information about the client’s goals. This can be sent out pre-program by email or designed as an online survey such as SurveyMonkey. 
  4.  Spending time during the first call/session in co-creating what the coaching work will be about. This in fact starts connecting the next two coaching competencies.
As you consider your group coaching work, what do you already have in place to Design the Agreement?

What additional components might you want to consider adding?

Please feel free to share what you do with your programs below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone (416) 996-TEAM (8326)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials Teleseminar Program (6.75 CCEs - Next program starts this Wednesday at 7pm Eastern - May 23, 30, June 6, 13, and 20)
Want to explore the core coaching competencies at an even greater depth? Consider joining me for the Mentor Coaching Group which includes 7 hrs of group mentor calls (max 4 coaches), and 3 hours of individual caoching with me. Meets the Mentor Coaching Requirements for ICF ACC and PCC portfolio routes and ACC renewals. Groups starting June 1st at 1 pm Eastern (Fridays 1-2 pm ET) and August 10 (Fridays 12 - 1 pm ET)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Don't let technology get in the way with your group programs

Group Programs - Don't Let Technology Get in the Way
Jennifer Britton. Copyright 2012.

Lately I've had a lot of professionals, including coaches, talk about how technology has actually gotten in the way of their virtual/online learning experiences - whether they have been participating,  or leading a teleclass, a group coaching session or a webinar. Virtual Programs have been a mainstay of my work for the last eight years and can be a terrific way to bring people together regardless of location.

The following are four tips for coaches and facilitators to consider before and during a program to  ensure that technology does not get in the way and actually inhibit the learning process:

1. Test it out and practice - Before using the service you have provided test out the different options, be familiar with the codes to mute all, self-mute, raise hands, record etc. Practice using these.
2. Have a back up - In the event of a failure with technology, have a back up. If it is an extended program you are running, discuss what and where people should turn if there is a bridgeline failure. For example, will you email them with instructions? Is there an automatic bridgeline people turn to?
3. Confirm that all people can access the services you use. Increasingly I am finding that callers from certain locations are unable to access certain area codes. Rather than leaving people frustrated last minute as they dial into a number they cannot reach, you may want to consider sending out bridgeline information well in advance, with a request to have participants try the number a couple of days before the call. This definitely lowers the last minute frustrations.
4. Provide callers with an FAQ - i.e. instructions on how to do things like mute/raise hands etc. Another trend I notice with teleclasses I run is that people are calling in from a variety of modalities - skype, I-phones, cell phones and landlines. Although I do not like to mute the entire call, poor call quality can be a real deterrent. Providing callers with an FAQ on how to connect/mute can also help.

These tips are geared to help you to focus on your role as facilitator - delivering a great call and learning experience, rather than getting stuck into a lot of just-in time logistics. Technology can always happen - perhaps this may mitigate against some of the challenges that can surface.

Some different bridgeline services you may want to check out are:
Freeconferencecalling.com - Great recording services with ability to share your recordings in a number of ways - online, via Facebook, through Tweets and also through a link on your website.
Freeconferencecall.com - also can connect with screensharing. Has local access numbers for a variety of countries.
MaestroConferencing - Allows you to bring people together in virtual rooms. Paid Service.

Which bridgeline services do you use and enjoy? What tips would you provide to others regarding things to do with their own programs.

For more info regarding considerations for leading virtual group coaching programs you may want to check out Chapter 7 of my book, Effective Group Coaching. Take the Self-Assessment there to see how your skills and confidence stack up in leading virtual programs.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs - starts Wed May 23 at 7pm Eastern) and the Group Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs - July 12 -13 in Huntsville, Muskoka).
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Group Coaching Intensive: July 12 - 13: 15 Take-Aways

I am looking forward to leading the next two day in-person Group Coaching Intensive in beautiful Huntsville, Muskoka, Canada on July 12-13, 2012. The program will be of interest to both coaches who are looking to add group coaching to their offerings, or want to deepen their skills and practice in group coaching.  The program is approved by the ICF for 15 CCEs (including 13 hrs of core competencies, and 2 hours of business development)
15 things you’ll learn, or take-away from the Group Coaching Intensive: 

  1. What group coaching is and how it is different and similar to workshops, retreats and individual coaching
  2. Essential skills for group coaching and how you stack up
  3. Key issues in group dynamics
  4. Tools for designing your own group coaching programs, whether in person
  5. Key considerations for Knowing Your Client
  6. Essential components in opening, closing a session and keeping the flow
  7. Core exercises and tools for group coaching
  8. How to create actions, assignments and accountability to take your clients to the next how
  9. New group coach stretch points, pitfalls and how to avoid them
  10. Designing Virtual Programs – Phone, Web, Key considerations when going virtual
  11. Corporate considerations – positioning group coaching, connections with other initiatives
  12. Evaluating your programs
  13. Pricing your group coaching work
  14. Developing a marketing strategy for promoting your work – social media and traditional media
  15. Tricky Issues – how to avoid them, and what to do if they happen

And two of the most valuable things coaches have indicated from their experience with the Intensive – the ability to have their specific questions answered in the small group intensive, the opportunity to connect with other coaches, and practice and feedback!

Today, May 15th, is the last day to benefit from the Early Bird rate of $775 CDN (plus HST). Pricing will increase to $950 (plus HST) tomorrow. Take advantage of the early bird pricing. Included in your registration are the 15 hrs of training, a copy of Effective Group Coaching, a group follow up call after the event, and your own physical Group Coaching Toolkit to take forward with your work. A special accommodation room rate is being arranged for coaches attending.

The program will be held in beautiful Huntsville, Muskoka, CANADA. Take a look at what Muskoka has to offer - it's a great excuse for making this a family holiday! Muskoka was voted as a top summer destination last year by National Geographic.

Spaces are limited as this is a hands-on learning experience.

I hope that you will join me this summer in beautiful Muskoka! Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2012)
Phone: (416)996-8326
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Can't make it to Muskoka this summer but are still looking for further development in the area of group coaching? Consider joining us for an upcoming Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar program (new programs start May 23, July 10, and August 10 - 6.75 CCEs) as well as the follow-up phone based Advanced Group Coaching Practicum

Monday, May 07, 2012

Visual Supports in Your Group Coaching Work

Some of my fave visuals - http://pinterest.com/jennjbritton

Many readers may have heard me talk about, and write about, the importance of visual supports in your work - whether it happens by phone or in person. Some research points to the fact that learners are increasingly becoming more visual, particularly as new generations enter the workforce.

Here are a couple of ideas for providing visual supports in your group coaching work:

1. Visual Explorer - Is use this terrific tool from the Center for Creative Leadership at least once a month with groups, if not more often. It is a great conversation starter and keeper. Visual explorer is a series of very vivid photographs. Coaching questions can range from selecting the photo which represents "what is your vision" to "what does ______ look like" (Fill in the blank according to the themes you are working around. I have used the tool with HR Managers, Engineers, police officers, UN personnel, safety individuals, educators, coaches. It always starts the conversation flowing! From my understanding there is also a digital version available which I think could be adapted for phone or web based group coaching work.

2. Points of View - the Coaching Game - I've been really pleased to see how they have continued to evolve the supports for coaches with this product, recently including instructions/directions on how to use the tool with groups.

3. Pinterest - I recently stumbled on Pinterest (see screen shot above)and am continually thinking about how I might be able to use the platform in the group coaching context. For now, you can check out the boards I have created on Group Coaching training, group coaching quotations, business building, and venue sites that I like. Enjoy! I look forward to connecting with you there.

What other visual supports/tools would you recommend?

Have a great week!


Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs) - New teleclasses start May 8 and May 23 (Wed 7-8:15 pm ET)
Group Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs) - July 12 - 13, 2012 in Huntsville, Muskoka, CANADA. Early Bird rate on until May 15

Friday, May 04, 2012

Coaching Business Builder - Know Your Client

Putting our clients, or the people we coach, front and center is a key part of the coaching process. Knowing your client is also critical in terms of creating a group coaching program that is relevant, resonant and impactful for them.

For many years I have been talking about the importance of "Knowing your Client" in the Group Coaching Essentials program. Our clients will shape when and how our programs are offered, key themes, how we market the program, and what themes the coaching will explore.

As you consider your future program ideas, I would encourage you to consider these questions around your ideal client:
1. What are there needs?
2. What are the questions/challenges/concerns keeping them up at night?
3. What solutions are they looking for?
  • Resources
  • Guides
  • Individual work
  • Group work
  • Team work
4. Where do they congregate (online, in person)?
5. Where do they look for information and development?
6. What are there preferences around time, dates, length of commitment?
7. Who are some of the key influencers in the field/industry/geography they are located in?

For those that have a copy of Effective Group Coaching you may wish to refer to, and complete, The Client Profile on pages 99 and 100.These questions can be applied not only to the group coaching context, but will be useful as you think about all your programs and services.

What other questions are important for you to consider when you think about your clients?

Have a great week!

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the Group Coaching Essentials program (6.75 CCEs) - groups start May 8 and 23
Early Bird Rate for the July 12 -13 Group Coaching Intensive in Muskoka on until May 15th

May Programs - Group Coaching Training

For coaches who are interested in boosting their skills, here are some of the upcoming May programs and specials I am offering. I  hope that you will join us:

Group Coaching Essentials program (6.75 CCEs)
Two May groups start:
Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:45 am Eastern: May 8, 14, 22, June 5 and 12 (3 spots open) OR
Wednesdays 7-8:15 pm Eastern: May 23, 30, June 6, 13, and 20

This teleseminar program provides coaches with tips and tools so to design, market and implement their own group coaching programs - in person, virtual, corporate or public groups. Coaches will benefit from our weekly discussions, as well as the 70+ page notes which accompany the program, the accountability provided through weekly assignments, and 1-1 support from me through lazer calls. Cost: $375 US or CDN. Click here for more info and to register.

Group Coaching Intensive - July 12 - 13, 2012 in Huntsville, Ontario (15 CCEs with the ICF including 13 Core Competencies)
This is a two day in person program which provides an in-depth look and practice around group coaching. Topics include core skills, marketing, pricing, tricky issues, best practices, design, and you will have several opportunities to practice your skills throughout the two days. Described as "a terrific incubator for group coaching skills", a "must have", this program also includes an 80 page manual, a copy of the Effective Group Coaching book, The Group Coaching Toolbox (a physical box of resources to support you with your work), a pre-program 1-1 with me, a a post program group call.
Early Bird savings of $200 until May 15. Early Bird rate $775 plus HST ($875.75). Price increases to $950 plus HST after May 15. Space is limited. Click here to reserve your spot and for more info.

Mentor Coaching Group - For ACC Renewals, and ACC/PCC portfolio routes
Upcoming programs:
Friday June 1 - 1 - 2 pm Eastern: Group calls held on June 1, 8, 15, July 20, 27, Aug 10, 24.
Friday August 10 - 12 - 1 pm Eastern - August 10, 17, 24, Sept 14, 21, Oct 12, Nov 9
This is a 10 hour mentor coaching program geared to support coaches in honing and strengthening their core coaching skills. 7 hours of group calls explore the 11 core coaching competencies, and provide you with practice and feedback on your skills. We also hold 3 hours of 1-1 mentor coaching over the three months. Each group call is accompanied with worksheets and resources to support you with your skill development. Cost: $1000 for the 10 hour program. Space is limited to 4 coaches per session.
Click here to reserve your spot or learn more

I look forward to meeting many of you in person in Chicago next month at the ICF Mid West Regional Conference. I will be speaking on Group Coaching on the Friday morning. Hope that you will join us!

Have a great month!

Warm regards

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