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

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