Monday, January 27, 2014

Four Stretch Points for Group and Team Coaches

Over the years I've written about pitfalls for group coaching. I'm a firm believer that with attention to
some of these before the work begins we can mitigate, or minimize, many of them. You can listen into a 40 minute call I did on Tricky Issues for Group Coaching about a year ago here.

Along the same vein, what are the stretch points for group and team coaches. What do coaches new to this work find challenging?

Some of the common stretch points I hear mentioned for coaches new to this work include:
1. Being aware of and adapting to the dynamics of the group/team over time. Groups and teams are living systems and evolve constantly. I continue to find the group dynamics framework of Bruce Tuckman extremely useful in my work. I write further about group dynamics and team and group coaching on pages 60-62 of Effective Group Coaching and pages 198 and 199 of From One to Many: Best Practices of Group and Team Coaching.
It's important to note that groups will move back and forth from what Tuckman labels the forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning phases, particualy if the composition of the group/team you are working with changes (and it likely will change!).

2. Becoming comfortable and skilled at facilitating in the virtual domain. Many coaches have taken their work into the virtual domain and appreciate how it really does leverage the coaching process across geographic distance. In a virtual domain there are many different skills to master - from the technology and platform you are using, to the way you facilitate. Practice makes perfect, and the more you can experience the virtual platform as a learner and leader yourself, the more you will discover your strengths and style. Refer to chapter 7 for Virtual Design and Delivery Tips (From One to Many: Best Practices). This is also a large focus of the Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (8 CCEs with the ICF). Over the six weeks of this program coaches are able to lead the group through a virtual group coaching conversation.

3. Stepping into your style - Each one of us does have a unique style as well as biases in the way we coach. This is likely to have been influenced by the types of individuals we have coached in the past, our coach training, as well as our own individual preferences. When working with a team or group it is important to note that you will likely be working with a wider cross section of individuals. What changes will this require to your style? What areas do you want to grow into?
Co-Facilitation can also offer great support and another style to the teams and groups you work with. Who could you partner with? How would their style and approach be complimentary (not necessarily the same)? What value would this add for your groups and teams?

4. Systematizing your work - Systematizing your work so that you are able to support multiple groups or teams, along with individual clients is also another potential stretch point for coaches. What systems do you want to have in place to support you? These systems can range from having a selection of bridgeline services available, to program design systems, to payment and registration systems.
Who can support you in the areas you may not be strong in? Perhaps administration is not a strong suit for you? Maybe it is program design or workbook design? Who would you add to your team to help you expand your capacity and ability to work with  more clients? Chapter 9 of Effective Group Coaching addresses systems. We also talk about them in the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar.

Reflect on these four areas. Identify which will be a stretch.  
What do you need to do, or who can support you, in navigating these areas? 
What other areas might be a stretch for you? 
What resources can you tap into to support you in your work?

Have a great start to your week.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Potentials Realized |
Phone: (416)996-8326
Join us for an upcoming program - 
Group Coaching Essentials (starts Tues at 630 pm ET on Jan 28th or Thurs at 10:15 am ET on Feb 6th) - 6.75 CCEs
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes (starting Thursday 9-10 am ET on Feb 20th running to May 22nd)

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Value of a Team Coach

As many of you know, my latest book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group
Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) expands the focus to include team coaching in addition to group coaching. The book explores the similarities as well as differences between these two related fields.

Today's post is an excerpt from the book - pages 146 and pages 147 - which discusses the Value of a Team Coach. This section, like most of the book, was shaped by the more than dozen interviews I held with team coaching practitioners and experts like Phil Sandahl of Team Coaching International, Drs. Jacqueline Peters and Catherine Carr, and Sharon Miller to name a few.

Here are six things a team coach provides for teams ("The Value of a Team Coach") which is expanded upon in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching:

1. Space for the team to pause and reflect
2. Prioritizing the need for focus
3. A non-judgemental sounding board/space for dialogue
4. Ability to mirror back to the team what is going on
5. Strong focus on the outcome
6. Accountability focus
(Copyright Britton, 2013, pp. 146-147, All Rights Reserved) 

Here is what I write in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching:

"The Value of a Team Coach
In today’s era of cost-cutting, the conversation around the value add of team coaching  is critical. What do team coaches bring to the table that the team cannot do for themselves?

In today’s busy world of doing more with less, with little space to pause and reflect, the team coaching process can provide teams with:

Space for the team to pause and reflect : In today’s busy environment it is very easy to let reflection moments become swept away by immediate issues. A team coach sometimes provides the only reason why teams will stop - “We know that they are coming in” or “we know that we have scheduled it”.

Prioritizing the need for focus - By bringing in team coaches (whether internal or external), there is now pressure to make this a priority. It is not an issue that can slide as easily as if the leader or team members were tasked with this.

A non-judgemental sounding board/space for dialogue - Coaches provide the non-judgemental sounding board and space. It may be the only safe place for team members to “air their dirty laundry”. The confidential nature of the conversation can help to surface the “elephants that are below the surface”. One team I worked with indicated that they had failed to surface the elephant for two years because they did not feel safe in divulging it, nor have a confidential forum to raise it in. Once the issue was surfaced it enabled the team to make a significant change in terms of the types of difficult issues they were communicating and addressing.

Ability to mirror back to the team what is going on - Coaching provides an opportunity for the team to see itself in the mirror. What do they notice about how communication happens, or persistent patterns that play out day after day. Mirroring provides an opportunity to really “see” what is happening in the team it’s processes and relationships.

Strong focus on the outcome - Team coaching holds the space for the team to create a deep focus on the issues that are important for the team, as well as identify key outcome measures. What is important to us? What will the outcome be? What will success look like?

Accountability focus - One of the greatest benefits I hear from team coaching clients is that it holds the entire team responsible for taking the action, and making the changes they have committed to over time, through sustained conversation and check-ins.  If the team has operated in a culture of creating action plans but not following through, having an external accountability partner like a coach, can have a big impact."
(Copyright 2013, Britton, pp. 146-147, All Rights Reserved)

What do you see or hear from your teams about the value you as a team coach are providing them?

For several case studies around what team coaching looks like and the impact it is having, I would invite you to download a digital chapter "Team Coaching In Action" which accompanies my latest book here

I would also invite you to check out the other resources - interviews with featured coaches and other links - at the From One to Many: Best Practices website

Please feel free to share your insights and comments below.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized | GroupCoachingEssentials 
(416)996-TEAM (8326)
Check out daily quotes, questions and ideas at the Teams365blog - for teams and team leaders 

Upcoming programs include the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting Tues Jan 28th at 6:30 pm Eastern/New York (1/28, 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 3/4) and Thursday Feb 6th at 10:15 am ET (running 2/6 to 3/6). 6.75 CCEs. Early, early bird pricing on for the April 5-6 Group Coaching Intensive (being renewed for 15 CCEs) until Jan 30th.

Friday, January 17, 2014

New Effective Group Coaching Video - Five Ways to Use Index Cards

For those of you who like videos, I've posted a video this week at our YouTube channel which includes five ways to use index cards. You can view it here.

For those with my book, Effective Group Coaching, you can find the five ways on pages 244 and 245. Click on over now to hear me talk about them.

How might you incorporate index cards into your next group or team program?


With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT
Group Coaching
(416)996-TEAM (8326)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mentor Coaching Resources

With the start of  a new year a number of coaches set as one of their goals gaining their ICF Certification. Today's post is about mentor coaching. Since 2007 I've been supporting coaches towards their ACC and PCC certifications, either through individual mentor coaching, or through my popular mentor coaching groups.

Mentor Coaching for ACC renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes focus on the eleven core coaching competencies. Mentor Coaching provides you with an opportunity to look at and refine your coaching skills, whether you are working with individual, team or group coaching clients. Mentor coaching calls/conversations need to take place over a  minimum of three months. They can occur 1-1 or partially in a small group context. A maximum of 7 of your mentor coaching hours can be in a small group setting (maximum 10 coaches), although I cap my mentor coaching groups at 6 coaches.

In gearing up for renewal or a new application (portfolio or other) you will want to visit ICF's credentialing website.

Past posts I have written on the mentor coaching process include:
Mentor Coaching: Three Things to Consider. You can read it here.
Mentor Coaching: Four Things to Look For. You can read it here.

I also wrote an article for Choice article geared for coaches who want to mentor coach themselves. The article was entitled "Mentor Coaching: Developing Your Muscles and Refining Your Craft" (Volume 10. No 3). You can download a copy of the article by clicking the link.

My next mentor coaching group starts by phone on Thursday February 20th at 9 am ET/Eastern/New York. We will be holding group calls on Thursdays 9-10am ET/8-9 Central on Feb 20, 27, March 6, April 3, 10, May 1 and 22. We will also be scheduling individual calls in Feb/March, April and May. The program includes:
The program will include:
  • A look at each of the 11 Core Coaching Competencies (ICF)
  • Self Assessments of each competency;
  • Identification of your strengths, and blind spots as a coach;
  • Specific action steps to hone and refine your core coaching competencies;
  • An opportunity for you to practice and receive feedback on your coaching skills from Jennifer and your peers;
  • 7 hours of group mentor coaching;
  • 3 hours of mentor coaching individually with me (taken monthly in one hour mentor coaching sessions);
  • A letter of support, based on your successful demonstration of the 11 core competencies, and completion of the 10 hours.
 You can read more about the Mentor Coaching Group program here and register for one of my upcoming groups - I hope that you will join us!

If you prefer to undertake mentor coaching 1-1, here's the link to my 10 hour package for that individual work as well (ACC, PCC and CPCC).

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized |
(416) 996-TEAM (8326)

Monday, January 13, 2014

More team and group coaching tips

A number of you follow my group and team coaching tips over at the Effective Group Coaching Facebook page. I also know that a number of you are not on Facebook.

Here are some of the recent team and group coaching tips I've been posting from my latest book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Enjoy!

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Effective Group Coaching Facebook page
(416)996-TEAM (8326)
Join us for an upcoming program including the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs) - new start dates include:  
Thursdays 10-11:15 am Eastern/New York: Feb 6, 13, 20, 27 and March 6, 2014 OR
Tuesdays 6:30 - 7:45 pm Eastern starting Jan 28 to March 4, 2014 (NEW DATE)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Experimentation and our work as coaches

I love to experiment and find that it's a critical part of continuing to evolve as a coach and business
owner. Perhaps experimentation is part of my DNA and my training - my undergrad work was a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McGill. Back in the late 80s and early 90s at McGill we were talking a lot about neuropsychology and starting to link the brain to learning (see where we are today!). There was also the more traditional work of chemistry labs which brought in precision, and measurement.  This same rigor and experimentation to learn new things, and see how things work, are important skill sets for coaches.

This afternoon I had fun experimenting with using Google Hangouts with the alumni of my fall Advanced Group Coaching Practicum. This past fall almost every week over the course of the program we used a different interface for our calls, which added a real rich layer for real-time experiential learning. Not each one of these "experiments" has always been easy - there are learning curves behind it. Take for example the challenges experienced in getting on the Hangout today. We saw how different interfaces (mobile phones, Apple and PC) all had slightly different experiences. The good news is learning took place and those coaches will be able to approach their experience as learners and facilitators differently.

My work in the realm of group and team coaching also continues to be influenced by experimentation. Today in 2014 there is a stronger base - documented and experiential - for us to step into. We also need to keep expanding the range of our work in service to the diverse clients we work with.  Coaching is not a one-size fits all.

Whether it's the adaptation to one of our favorite coaching tools, or a new platform (moving from the in-person world to the virtual world), continuing to expand our comfort zones is important.

Each one of us will have different areas in which experimentation may benefit our work with clients and ourselves as coaches. Consider this list, and note what gets your juices flowing, and would stretch you:
1. Adding a new coaching methodology this year to your toolbox
2. Working with clients in a different industry
3. Co-facilitating with another coach
4. Moving some of your in-person work to the virtual domain
5. Moving some of your virtual work into the in-person realm
6. Experimenting with Google Hangouts, Skype Group Calls or Maestro Conferencing
7.  Repurposing some of the work you do for a different audience - i.e. taking what you do with individual clients and making it into a group coaching program
8. Trying out different forms of social media
9. Letting go of different forms of social media
10. Considering the 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle) what 20% of your activities give you your most impact? Which of those less impactful activities could you experiment with in letting go.
11. What else could experimentation look like for you and your clients?

Part of experimentation also involves measurement. What do you want to keep an eye on in terms of measuring success? How much time and other resources do you want to invest?

Part of the coaching philosophy is that the person being coached is the expert, not the coach. With your own expertise, what do you know you would benefit from experimenting with this year?

Have a great week,

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

Join us for an upcoming program:
The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday Jan 10 at 12 noon ET on 1/10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb 6 as well as Thursdays at 10:00 ET starting Feb 5 (6.75 CCEs). Two spots open for the 1/10 program!
The Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals, and ACC/PCC portfolio routes runs Fridays 9-10am ET from Jan 10 - April 11 (7 hrs group calls, 3 hours individual calls)
Facilitation Skills Intensive, Toronto: Feb 24-25, 2014
Group Coaching Intensive, Toronto: April 5-6, 2014 - Early, Early Bird rate on to 1/30

Monday, January 06, 2014

January Programs - Group Coaching Training and the Mentor Coaching Group

It's January and this week marks the launch of a number of my winter programs geared for coaches. Programs starting later this week, and next include:

The Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs): Fridays 12 - 1:15 pm Eastern/New York on Jan 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb 7th.
This program is geared to support coaches who want to design, market and implement their own group
coaching programs. Whether you want to run a program in person or by phone, with corporate groups or public groups you pull together, this is a resource rich program designed to get you in gear. Each call has a different focus including best practices, differences between group coaching and related fields (training, facilitation, team coaching), designing programs, resources and exercises to bring into programming, and marketing.
Registration includes the five group calls, weekly 1-1 laser calls (15 min) with me, and an 80 page manual.  Class size is capped at 8.
Cost: $425 US or CDN (plus HST)
Click here to register and reserve your spot. Five spots open in Friday's program.

The Advanced Group Coaching Practicum (8 CCEs) : Fridays 10:30-11:45 am ET on Jan 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb 7 is geared for alumni of the Group Coaching Essentials program and those wanting more practice with leading group coaching sessions. We take a deeper dive at topics including design, virtual programs, tricky issues, skills and approaches for group coaching. Each coach also leads us through a
25 minute group coaching process, and receives feedback on their skills. Class size is capped at 6.
Registration includes six calls, weekly 1-1s (15 min) with me, and module notes with weblinks and audios.
Cost: $450 US or CDN (plus HST)
Click here to reserve a spot in the Advanced Practicum

The Essentials and Advanced Practicum can be bundled together and save $50 for a total of $825.

Mentor Coaching Group: Fridays 9-10 am ET from Jan 10 - April 11, 2014
This program is geared for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes. It it consists of 7 group calls over the three months and one individual call each month. It meets the mentor coaching requirements for the ICF, and explores the 11 core coaching competencies. It also provides coaches with feedback on
their coaching skills.
Group calls will be held on: Jan 10, 17, 31, Feb 7, 14, 28, April 11. Individual call scheduled monthly.

Space is limited to 5-6 coaches. Cost $1000 for the three month program, payable in monthly installments.
Click here to learn more and register. (Note: I also offer individual mentor coaching as well for those who prefer 1-1 work.)

If you have any questions, please contact me by email or phone.

Have a great start to 2014!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Group Coaching Essentials | Potentials Realized
(416)996-TEAM (8326)
Email: info(at) potentialsrealized(dot)com

Friday, January 03, 2014

2014 Group and Team Coaching Priority Areas

In December, during my 10th annual year end group programscall  I shared four areas of importance for 2014 as it relates to group and team coaching. These four areas were: synergy and blending, relationship building, measurement, and business sustainability. Two of these four areas  - relationship focus and measurement - were also highlighted at the start of last year.

Throughout the last part of 2012 and into early 2013 I spent a lot of time in dialogue with group and team coaches as I wrote my most recent book, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching. In addition to a strong set of coaching skills, these four areas were often  mentioned individually, or in totality by more than the dozen coaches I interviewed for the book. 

As team and group coaches, here are some things to consider as we move forward this year:
1. Synergy and Blend. Coaching is one of many approaches available to individuals, organizations, groups and teams in the process of change and realizing their own potential. Many of you have heard me speak or write over the last several years of the importance of us being able to blend the best of many different disciplines in the work we do. 
As group and team coaches it is essential that we lead from our core coaching competencies (refer to the eleven core competencies of the ICF). Masterful team and group coaches blend additional skills into making their work with teams and group that much more impactful. Some examples of blend include knowledge of a variety of facilitation approaches, and an understanding of team effectiveness, and OD.

For coaches working in the organizational context synergy is also critical. It is very likely that your coaching support are dovetailing into other corporate intiatives. What questions will help your clients also make the connection and link to other leadership, talent management initiatives in an organization? How does your work feed in?

Question to consider: What does blend and synergy mean for the work that you do?

2. Business sustainability is a second area I flagged as a focus area for coaches for 2014. Business sustainability is important in terms of our own businesses (for external coaches), as well as the sustainability of the businesses we partner with. Economies around the world continue to change in interesting ways, and events such as natural disasters (ice storms, for example) are not just events half a world away. Since the early 1990s I’ve been involved in working with organizations, communities and also nations on sustainability issues. My work for more than a decade with the international development community - the UN and other aid agencies - gave me  deep appreciation of the complexity of what sustainability means. I hope that throughout the year we may have opportunity to dialogue and explore what sustainability means, and looks like, for each one of us.

Question to consider - What does sustainability mean for you and your work and/or business?

3. Relationship building/focus was another area I spotlighted again as a key focus areas for coaches during 2014. Coaching has become much more mainstream in recent years, and there are still large pockets of individuals who are not aware of what coaching is and how it can benefit their individuals, leaders and teams. Coaching is also a service which is highly relationship focused, influenced by the relationship, and trust and connection that is creted between coach and clients. 

Question to consider: As you think about relationship building for yourself in 2014 what’s important? Who do you want to connect with? Build relationships with?

4. Measurement was the fourth area I highlighted in my year end call. Organizations and prospective clients are hungry to know more about the impact of coaching and what value it really has. Many of us have opted to utilize tools which are grounded in emprical measurement such as the Team Diagnostic Survey from Team Coaching International. As coaches it is also important for us to have the dialogue with our clients in terms of how they are going to measure success, and what metrics they may be tracking already.

Question to consider: What’s important for you, your clients and measurement this year?

As always I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please feel free to do so below, or at our Facebook page. If you missed listening into my 10th annual year-end group programs call, you can listen to it here approx 50 min).

Have a great start to 2014!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized | Group Coaching Essentials
(416)996-TEAM (8326)

I hope you will join me for an upcoming program to deepen your skills and move your work forward:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday Jan 10 from 12 - 1:15 pm ET (6.75 CCEs). Calls held 1/10, 17, 24, 31 and 2/7.
Advanced Group Coaching Practicum starts by phone on Friday Jan 10 from 10:30 - 11:45 am ET(8 CCEs). Calls held 1/10, 17, 24, 31, 2/7 and 2/14.
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC and PCC portfolio and ACC Renewals - Friday Jan 10 from 9-10 am ET. 7 hrs group calls, 3 hours individual calls. Runs to April 11, 2014.