Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Group Facilitation Tip - Virtual Programs

At the desk...Photo J Britton
This fall as I have been leading a number of presentations on group and team coaching with different ICF chapters and coaching schools, I've been asked a lot of questions about running successful virtual programs, whether it is a group coaching, webinar or teleclass, here are four things you will want to keep in mind:

1. Priming people for learning: Setting up our group and team members for maximum engagement is What do you want to do to "prime" people for learning?

critical. What pre-work would be useful to get people prepared for the conversation? Is there a question you can pose for people to think about? A video for them to watch? An audio to listen to? I find that pre- and post-work play an even more important role in virtual programs, to expand the impact of our call time together.

2. Building connection - in a virtual environment it is important to build connection amongst individuals and with the coach/facilitator as early as possible. Pre-calls with each learner start the connection process for a facilitator. What can you incorporate to build connection amongst participants? What additional visual elements can you incorporate? What will give the greatest impact in building connection amongst your group members?

3. Engage regularly - in an in-person environment it's often recommended that you change the pace every 7-10 minutes through switching activities. In a virtual environment engagement and pace changes can be even more important. Make use of breakout opportunities (possible if you use services such as Maestro Conferencing or FreeConferenceCalling.com). You may also get people to write things down, or share in a larger group. Have people use the chat function if you are on a webinar. Check in regularly with your group to see how the pace is working with them. What approaches do you want to use in engaging your learners?

4. Less is More- You may find that it takes longer to cover topics in the virtual domain than an in-person environment. Factor in transition times if you are having people move to a virtual breakout. What are the components of the content that can be put aside, and perhaps moved into post-work, or a resource list?

What other tips would you offer for others in running successful virtual programs? Which of these one areas do you want to focus on as you move forward with your work? For those that have my latest book - From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, you will want to take a look at Chapter 7 - Virtual Program Design and Delivery. Enjoy!

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, CPCC, PCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
GroupCoachingEssentials.com - Our next Group Coaching Essentials program starts by phone Tues 12/3 at 3 pm ET - 6.75 CCEs (which you can complete before the end of the year)
Phone: (416)996-8326

Facilitation Skills Intensive - Toronto: December 17-18, 2013

Are you looking to add facilitation skills to your toolbox to more effectively work with teams or groups
next year? I'll be running a two day in person group facilitation skills training program (train-the-trainer) for those looking for more resources to do great work with teams and groups. The program is a mix of content as well as practice in working with small groups. The program will be held in the Toronto area on Tuesday December 17 (8:30 - 5:30) and Wednesday December 18 (8:30 - 4). We will also follow up with a one hour call in January.

We will be exploring topics such as:

The skills, competencies and best practices of successful facilitators,
• How your skills compare through a Facilitator Self-Assessment,
• How to identify participant learning styles and preferences,
and implement facilitation techniques to accommodate them
• How to be sensitive to different phases of group formation and how to adapt your facilitation style to meet the different needs,
• How to create a positive climate for learning,
• Specific techniques on how to deal with difficult participants,
• Specific techniques to conduct and debrief learning activities,
• How to manage the logistics and finer details of a learning event (in-person or virtually/by phone)
The program will be of interest to new and experienced facilitators who want to add more tools to their toolbox, as well as get further practice working with groups. Program size is limited to 8-10 participants, with group size typically between 5-10.

Cost: $795 plus HST for the two day program. This includes a program binder (80 pages) with resources and templates to support you in your work, a pre-call with Jennifer and a post-group call. Contact Jennifer directly for information on the venue. Click here http://www.groupcoachingessentials.com/pages/groupfacilitationintensive to register for the program.

You can find out more about the program and register here. Registrations received by November 30th save an additional $50.

I hope that you will join us in Toronto in a few weeks!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC, CPT
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-8326

Monday, November 18, 2013

CSTD Follow-up - Expanding Coaching Impact from One to Many

I wanted to thank the close to 200 learning professionals who joined me last week at my session on
Expanding Coaching Impact. What are you going to share from this presentation with others at your organization? What was your biggest takeaway from this year's CSTD conference? What do you want to make sure you take action on?

As promised, I wanted to share in this post some of the resources which you (and other readers) may find useful in your work:

For those interested in looking at the distinctions between coaching and counselling, there is a great chapter by Patrick Williams exploring this topic. You can download it from Wiley here.

During our session we used the Visual Explorer deck from Center for Creative Leadership. I also shared the Miniature Metaphor resource from CoachingToys as well. 

For those interested in  more specific case studies of group and team coaching engagements, you can download two free chapters of my latest book - From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching here. You will want to click on the download tab, and download Group Coaching In Action, and Team Coaching In Action. The code to access them is 4411.

Thanks again for spending the afternoon with me! Please feel free to share any of your insights, and applications from the session here as a comment, or over at our Effective Group Coaching Facebook page.

I look forward to keeping in touch and continuing the conversation,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
Potentials Realized  - Teamwork, Leadership and Performance Issues
Group Coaching Essentials.com
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices of Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Phone: (416)996-TEAM

Monday, November 11, 2013

Six Ideas for Field Work in your next Coaching Engagement

Accountability is a critical part of any coaching process, whether we are working with groups, teams or individuals. Here are six ideas which you may consider as you co-design field work with your group and/or team members:

1. Provide group or team members with a reading, weblink or podcast as a follow-up to some of the topics you worked around, or as pre-work for the next session. Coaching is not about teaching content, however, groups and teams can benefit from having a common framework.

2. Assign buddies or learning partners who meet between your group or team calls. In today's world of budget constraint, learning partners can help sustain the conversation, while bilding peer coaching skills. Peer partners/buddies/learning partners can benefit from a  suggested focus and possible questions they may want to explore in each call. Check in with peer partners at the start of the next group/team session to have them share their best practices. Again, this helps to build coaching skills and capacity for better listening, questionning and relationships amongst the group or team.

3. Create with individual group members or the team an activity to support the coaching competency of "DO IT NOW". Perhaps team has been putting off a particular task and would benefit from  accountability around this before your next meeting.

4. Co-create a coaching challenge with the team and/or group members. Remember, a stretch for one is not a stretch for all.  Coaching challenges serve to provide a supportive stretch in action. What will provide challenge for each group member.

5. Have group or team members use a MindMap to collect their learning, insights and action plans.

6. Use journaling as a way to provide opportunities for group members to deepen their awareness around the issues you are working on. You may go low tech or explore online platforms such as  Journal Engine.

What are some of your favorite field work activities which you have used with teams or groups?

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
Potentials Realized
Phone: (416)996-TEAM
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

Join me for  an upcoming program:
1. The December Accelerated Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (Tues and Thurs 3-4:15 pm ET on December 3, 5, 10, 12, 19) - 6.75 CCEs, 
2. The Group Facilitation Intensive in Toronto (for trainers and facilitators) on December 18-19
3. The 2014 Business Planning Virtual Retreat (Friday December 6 and 13 (1:30 - 4:30 pm ET)
4. A special 1-1 Day of Mentoring with Me (Nov 27, December 2,4 still open)