Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Virtual Program Tips

Many coaches these days are adding virtual programs to their mix, providing their clients with different options to engage, and giving those in other locations, and opportunity to connect and participate.

Coaches may be offering the range of virtual programs from teleclasses and teleseminars which usually have a heavier emphasis on content than coaching, to webinars which add a visual element, to pure group coaching programs.

Since starting my own business nine years ago, a bulk of my programs have been offered in the virtual format - from training programs such as the Group Coaching Essentials telseminar, to more "pure" group coaching programs such as the 90 Day BizSuccess group coaching program, to Virtual Retreat Days to design your own group programs. Personally I love the ability to be able to connect with, and bring together groups, from around the world, while at the same time not having to travel.

Virtual facilitation is a different approach and requires some changes in  your programming. If you currently run a program in-person you may wish to consider these questions:

  • What are the components I can keep as is?
  • What modifications do I need to make?
  • How might I need to change my questions? My activities?
  • Which exercises may be moved to an assignment which participants complete between calls?

For any virtual programs, some things to keep in mind are:
* Visuals provide an important anchor point for people. Even if you are meeting by phone, how can you provide some visual anchors through worksheets, notebooks or photos sent out prior to the call.
* Engagement is key. Many professionals today suffer from "Death By Conference Call". How are you connecting with each participant, and connecting them with each other? Are you checking in along the way to see what insights they are having? Are you drawing out their voice?|
* Change the pace regularly -  It can be very useful in virtual environments to mix things up every 5-10 minutes with a new question for reflection/conversation, a poll if you are online, or simply a pause. What do you have planned to change the pace?
* Pre-work can help to prime the conversation - In virtual programs I place emphasis not only on our phone based conversations but also the work and insights people are having before and after the call. Many activities we do in in-person environments can be adapted as field work opportunities before or after the call, so that the call time is used for discussion. What field work would benefit your group members?

Consider your most recent experience with phone or web based programs. What did you enjoy? What didn't you enjoy? What do you want to incorporate?

Do check out other posts I've written on virtual programming (Virtual Learning tag) here at the blog, and if you have a copy of Effective Group Coaching, please check out chapter 6. I also have a chapter dedicated to the topic of Virtual Learning in my new book - due out later this year.

Have a terrific week.

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Host of the ICF CCE approved Group Coaching Essentials program - Next group starts tomorrow, Thurs Feb 28 at 10 am ET. Group calls Thurs 10-11:15 am ET: Feb 28, March 7, 21, 28 and April 4, 2013. 3 spots sill open. 6.75 CCEs.
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Questions in the Group Coaching Context

Group coaching is an extension of the coaching process, and is grounded in the core coaching competencies. Given the range of coaching models out there, I like to bring a lot of my discussions back to the ICF Core Coaching Competencies. One of the eleven competencies is a competency called "Powerful Questions". As I often say "Questions form the backbone to any coaching conversation".

Powerful questions in the group coaching context are:
- Short in length - shorter is often better
- Linked to the learning preferences of the group members. Depending on the types of groups you work with there may be a mix of learning styles (usual) or there may be a predominance of one style (particularly if you are working within a specific industry or if you are working with a group of technical experts). One difference I see in asking questions within the group (or team) context is that I may ask the same question a number of ways to meet the needs of the different group members. For example, one person may connect with the question "What does it look like?" whereas another might connect with "What does it feel like?".
- Encourage new insights, action and/or perspectives
- Help our group members look at issues from a range of levels - the big picture, or 30,000 foot view, as well as those at the micro-level

In my first book, Effective Group Coaching, I included a number of standard questions. They follow. Note that I have more included more team and group coaching  in the appendix of my new book which will be out in June - stay tuned!

For now, here are 19+ you may wish to draw upon during one of your  upcoming programs:

Starters/Warm up:
  1. What do you want to take away from today's session?
  2. What's your hope for today's session? What's your fear? What's your fantasy?
  3. What is your intention for the day?
  4. What will you commit to bringing to the group?
  5. What role do you want to in the group?
  6. What is your unique gift which you bring to the group?
  7. On a scale of 0-10 how engaged will be with the process?
  8. What risk will you take today?
  9. What is one action you can take today to stretch your comfort zone?

Checking in along the way
1.      What's been your biggest ah-ha so far?
2.      What will turn up the volume on your learning?
3.      What is one thing that you can do in the next hour/day/session that will stretch your comfort zones?
4.      What has shifted for you since we started?
Action Planning: 
1.      What's going to make that exciting for you? OR
  1. On a scale of 1-10 how exciting is that for you?
3.      On a scale of 1-10 how committed are you to it?
4.      What action can you take to make this happen?
5.      What do you need to commit to?
6.      What do you need to say yes to? What do you need to say no to?
(Source: Britton, Effective Group Coaching, pages 149-150 (Wiley, 2010))

What are the favorite questions you bring into your group coaching work?

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)
Looking for more tips and tools for your group programs? The next Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts this Thursday Feb 28 at 10 am Eastern. Group calls are held on Feb 28, March 87, 14, 28 and April 4, 2013.  6.75 CCEs with the ICF.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A reminder of two upcoming programs: Mentor Coaching Group and Group Coaching Essentials

A quick reminder about two programs which will be starting next week:

1. The Mentor Coaching Group will be held on Fridays from 130 - 230 pm Eastern/New York (by phone) starting March 1st and running to June 7th. This program is geared for those coaches who are looking to renew their ACC or are undertaking their ACC or PCC portfolio route. The program meets the requirements for 10 hours of mentor coaching for these ICF processes, and includes 7 hours of small group calls (max 4-5 coaches) plus 3 hours of 1-1 calls with me.
Our group calls this spring will be held - March 1, 8, April 5,19, May 3, 10 and June 7th (Fridays 130-230 pm Eastern)
In addition to the group and individual calls, you will receive session module notes with additional resource links around the core coaching competencies.  The program is also designed to give each coach an opportunity to practice their coaching, and receive feedback on it during one or more of the group calls.
Cost: $1000 US or CDN (plus HST) for the 10 hour program. Can be paid in 1, 2 or 3 installments.
Click here for more info and to register.

2. Are you a coach looking to add group coaching to your offerings and are looking to acquire some ideas and approaches to support you in  your work? The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar is approved for 6.75 CCEs and includes 5 x 75 min group teleclasses (usually 3-8 coaches each group), plus weekly 1-1 lazer calls with me (15 min). Coaches also receive weekly module notes which make up an 80 page manual. We cover the nuts and bolts about group coaching including best practices, design, marketing, implementation and exericses/resources.
Calls will be held on Thursdays from 10-11:15 am Eastern on Feb 28, March 7, 21, 28 and April 4, 2013.
Cost for the program: $395 US or $395 CDN. 4 spots open.
Click here for more information and to register for the Group Coaching Essentials program.

Have a terrific weekend!

Best wishes,
Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Email: info{at}potentialsrealized{dot}com
Phone: (416) 996-8326

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's in your group coaching toolkit?

What's in your group coaching toolkit? What favorite activities and tools do you incorporate into your work?

Masterful coaches bring a wide variety of approaches to draw upon in their work with their groups (and teams).

Some of the tools you may have in your toolkit already are:
- Powerful Questions
- Standard coaching tools like the Wheel of Life (or Wheel of Leadership, Wheel of Career etc)
- Assessments (StrengthsFinder, DiSC)
- Visualizations

I've blogged on the topic of exercises and resources in the past. You may want to check out these past posts (plus others listed under group exercises)

 Group Coaching Exercises
Selecting a Group Exercise - Things to Consider

plus last year I did an A-Z series of exercises to bring into your group or team coaching work over the Effective Group Coaching Facebook page (July - September 2012)

For those that prefer audios, do listen into a five minute audio on 28 Ideas for Group Coaching here.

Which are your favorite resources?
What new approaches do you want to incorporate into your work, or add to your toolkit?

Have a great week,

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

Join me for an upcoming program, including:
 Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs - next group starts Thurs Feb 28 at 10 am ET), the Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (8 CCEs - starts Tues April 9 at 430 pm ET), Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC Renewals, and ACC/PCC portfolio) starts Friday March 1 at 130 pm ET.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Why Coaching - Several Benefits

This is a great iconograph out from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) which talks about the value of coaching. I thought that I would share it with you today.

Research from the ICF has identified increased productivity, increased positivity and return on investment (ROI) from coaching.

Increased productivity measures include:
Improved work performance (70%)
Improved business management (61%)
Improved time management (57%)
Improved team effectiveness (51%)

Improved positivity measures include:
Increased self confidence (80%)
Increased relationships (73%)
Improved communication skills (72%)
Improved work life balance (67%)

What do you see as the benefits of coaching?

Have a great start to your week,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Author of  Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)
Upcoming programs include the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs starting Thursday March 7 at 10 am Eastern/New York) and the Mentor Coaching Group starting Friday March 1 at 1:30 pm Eastern (for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes - 10 hrs). Join me in Toronto on April 6 and 7 2013 for the Group Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs)

Monday, February 04, 2013

The modular approach to program design

A shot of two of my current projects: Jenn Britton
In my book, Effective Group Coaching, I talk about how I use a modular approach to program design in creating most of my coaching and training programs. We also cover this in the Group Coaching Essentials teleclass.

By  using a modular approach I can combine different components to create different programs. For example, over the years I have developed several different components (or building blocks) around working with values. Some of these run for 20 minutes, others can expand to 2 hours. We may use a values checklist to start the conversation, or do a peak experience visualization to explore values, depending on the group. Likewise, I have several different options (or building blocks) if a client, team or group wants to look at strengths. Some shorter and more defined, others more exploratory and group led.

The great thing with a modular program design is that is allows you  to quickly take stock of what approaches you have already and how these can be combined for different groups and needs. Right now, I am in the process of designing three different sessions to be delivered in the next few weeks to three different client groups. One is a full day retreat, one a series of team coaching conversations, and one is a two hour presentation. As I have moved through the pre-program 1-1 calls the focus and interest areas have emerged for the different groups. This has allowed me to quickly pull together draft agendas which either go directly to the team and/or organizer for consideration. It certainly has made it much easier to be planning for multiple new programs this month.

How might a modular approach benefit your program design?

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Next Group Coaching Essentials teleclass starts Tuesday/tomorrow Feb 5th at 2 pm Eastern. Group calls held Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 and March 5, 2013 (Tuesdays 2-3:15 pm Eastern/New York). 6.75 CCEs. Three spots still open.
Phone: (416)996-8326