Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Years, 10 Posts From the Last 2 years

This month celebrates my 10th year in business. Somedays it is hard to believe! What do you want to celebrate? The photo on today's post is one of the 70 photo cards which are part of my newest product, Conversation Sparker Cards(TM). The cards are designed for coaches, trainers and other facilitators to bring into their workshops, retreats and coaching sessions.

 Tomorrow, I'll be hosting a 10th Anniversary call for alumni of my Group Coaching Essentials programs tomorrow and will be sharing some of my lessons learned, as well as some of the things that are different in the profession today, then when I started Potentials Realized in 2004. Check your latest newsletter for more details for the Friday April 25th call at 12 noon (40 min). We'll be using some of the Conversation Sparker Cards as well during the call. Be sure to check out some of the card launch specials at the new website!

Today I wanted to share with you 10 of the top read posts over the past few years. I started blogging in 2005, and since then it's been a regular part of my communication, writing and connecting with people. I often get asked, how do you keep coming up with new ideas? Two things help me with this? First, I'm continually out working with groups and teams and there is always a new experience or insight even after decades of this work! Second, I usually use MindMaps to help me get sparked with new ideas. If you are looking to write, blog, speak etc. try carving out a few minutes of MindMapping every month to capture new ideas for topics. Having these all in one place you can refer to is useful.

And now....on to the top 10 posts over the last 2 years (according to reader numbers at least!):
Creating Connection Amongst Group Members - Feb 2014
Four Stretch Points for Group and TEam Coaching - Jan 2014
What? So What? Now What? - Fall 2013
The Benefits of Group Coaching - July 2013
Team Coaching Characteristics - September 2013
Bringing More Visuals into Your Group Coaching - December 2012
Partnering and Co-Facilitation: 10 Questions -  October 2012
Closing off a Group Coaching Process -  May 2012
Five Great Books for Coaches to Have on their Bookshelf - May 2012
Coaching Business Builder - Know Your Client - May 2012

What have been your favorite posts over the years? What have you used to support you in your work.
As always, please feel free to share your insights!

Hope you will join us tomorrow at 12 noon ET. Recording will also follow in the next few days.


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized |
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 

Join us for an upcoming program:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Friday May 9th runs to June 13th at 10:15 am ET by phone. No class June 6th (6.75 CCEs - 4spots)
Mentor Coaching Group for ICF Credentialing (ACC/PCC) or ACC Renewals - Fridays 9-10 am Eastern - 10 hours. 7 group calls starting May 2nd running to July 25th (3 spots)
Early bird rate for the July 10-11 Group and Team Coaching Intensive is on! Join me this summer in beautiful Muskoka for this 2 day program (approved for15 CCEs - 5 spots).
June 2 - 3 (Monday/Tuesday) join me for a two day Train-the-Trainer at the Facilitation Skills Intensive held in downtown Toronto. The focus is on group facilitation techniques (6 spots).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What's in your back pocket?

It's always useful when working with groups and teams to have something in your back pocket, just in
Photo by Panmat (Stockxchng)
case. You never know where you will go in any conversation. Sometimes groups get caught up and we may need to put something aside, and sometimes, groups move quickly, and it can be useful to have something in your back pocket.

I often get asked about some of my favorite resources. Many of them I have picked up over the years, starting with some of my initial faves from the old days of Adventure Based Learning and Project Adventure.

The web is a fantastic resource for newer facilitators, and for those of us who are experienced, who need a little bit of a spark.

What are some of your favorite web resources? 

In a few weeks I'll be traveling to Washington DC to attend the ASTD International Conference and Expo. I'm really looking forward to being surrounded by lots of info, resources and other professionals who work in the area of workplace learning.  I am also REALLY excited to visit the ASTD bookstore. I continue to recommend many books that have come out through ASTD Press for coaches, trainers and other facilitators. Most of the books I have bought from them over the years are uber-practical and really supportive in pulling GREAT programs together. You can find ASTD's online store here.

Here's a link to some of my past posts on some of the different things to do with groups and teams. Enjoy!

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, PCC
Potentials Realized
Group Coaching Essentials
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices of Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Virtual Program Tips - Teleclasses, Webinars, Virtual Group Coaching

I've spoken to a lot of coaches and other professionals who  saw significant disruption in their work this past winter winter due to weather. For the last few years, I've intentionally moved a lot of my programming during what I am calling the winter season (mid-November to March for me in Toronto) to the virtual domain. I think many who went through the angst of this year's winter and travel woes will be making different  plans for next year. Will you be doing something different next year? Is now the time to start putting systems in place, and experience under your belt?

For those that are considering moving to more virtual programming (for whatever reasons) here is what I wrote about Five Virtual Program No-Nos almost three years ago back in 2011:

"With travel plans both sides of the Atlantic being stymied over the holiday season due to weather, many businesses, and individuals, are re-evaluating whether they really do want to, or need to, fly and/or travel.

Earlier this week, I identified increased virtualization of learning programs, including group coaching as a possible trend for 2011.

If you are a coach or trainer looking to launch your own group program by phone or web this year be sure to avoid the following virtual program No Nos:

1. Not having a back up plan in the event of technology failure: Technology glitches usually happen when least expected. Ensure that you have a back-up bridgeline ready, and a fast way to communicate with registrants if needed. Depending on your call size, call type (webinar/teleclass vs. group coaching) and your comfort levels, you may consider having a support person take care of the technology issues during your call.

2. Not working out a timeline for the call and sense of where you can "accordion": Having a sense of how the call may play out time-wise, and thinking through what areas can be shortened if time is running out, or lengthened if you are moving too quickly, is an important consideration for all group coaching programs, especially in the virtual domain.

3. Not doing a dry run - The first time you run a program, it will be important to do a dry run. Your dry run may be as simple as a mental "rehearsal" in your head, or as detailed as having a live pilot group move through the program, providing feedback and enabling you to see real-time how your program design, exercises and materials stand up.

4. Assuming everyone is engaged and focused - This assumption can be the kiss of death for a virtual program. It is critical to engage your groups throughout the call. Wandering eyes, and minds, are very common in the virtual domain. A general rule of thumb is to change the pace every 5-7 minutes in the virtual domain, whether you ask the group a question, call for a response, or have people write something down. Another important technique to support the focus is to regularly provide an overview of the process - where you are, what's been covered/discussed, and what's coming up next.

5. Not recognizing the different learning needs on the calls - It is very likely that within any group you are working with you will have a mix of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. Avoid the trap of thinking that everyone attending your virtual program is an auditory learner. What activities can you incorporate, or changes you can make as a facilitator, to meet the different learning needs of the group (i.e. visual learners, kinesthetic learners)? For different strategies, you may wish to check out a recent blog post I did on engaging your groups.

Next time you are running a virtual program, whether pure group coaching, or a webinar or teleclass, be proactive to avoid these No Nos."

These five areas haven't really changed in the last three years. They are still some of the top considerations I keep in min when designing and implementing group and team coaching work, webinars and other teleclasses.

What other tips would you recommend to those adding Virtual programming to their mix? For those with a copy of my first book, Effective Group Coaching, you will want to refer to chapter 6 - Powerful Delivery Options - In-person or Virtual for more tips, and if you have my latest book From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, you will want to check out  Chapter 7 - Virtual Design and Delivery.

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Group Coaching Essentials | Potentials Realized

Upcoming programs include:
Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio - Fridays 9-10am Eastern  April 25 to Late July.
Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCes) by phone: Fridays 10 - 11:15 am Eastern: May 9, 16, 23, 30 and June 13
Group and Team Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs) - Two days in person Huntsville, Muskoka, CANADA July 10-11. Early Bird rate on now! More info on the intensive at

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Connections in Group Coaching

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on building trust in a group and team coaching process. A critical part of
developing trust is creating opportunities for creating connection and creating shared agreements about how the group wants to operate. Shared agreements may include how communication will occur between sessions as well as more foundational group process issues such as confidentiality, starting and ending on time, "being present" and other ways the group wants to operate.

As I have written many times over the past few years, one of the most important things a coach can do when working with a team or group is create connection early on with each person. In a group coaching process this may entail pre-call 1-1s to get to know each person, answer any questions they have, and learn more specifically about what they are looking to get out of the process. Another critical area to explore is learning about their learning styles.

Incorporating new group members who may join during a second call/conversation is also an important issue to consider. Will you be allowing people to join the group once it has gotten started? If so, how will you connect them to the group?

Consider also that the one of the real benefits of any group or team coaching process is the peer learning and sharing that occurs. As team and group coaches we need to set a strong focus around process and connections early on, and once these are established, it's important to be able to fade out or move to the side to allow the group to connect and evolve. As this group ownership expands, continue to keep an eye on process issues (focus on goals, commitments, action, awareness, accountability) while encouraging group leadership and evolution.

Group connections may occur throughout your face to face work, as well as in between sessions. Whether by email, phone or through online platforms such as Journal Engine, it is important to remember that the value of the coaching process extends beyond the coaching conversation in the room or on the phone.

What ways do you want to encourage connection with, and between group members?  Many of the chapters in From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, in particular Chapters 5, 8 and 10 along with the digital chapter on group coaching provide wonderful examples of how coaches are creating connection in their own work.

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Connect with us on Facebook for regular From One to Many Tips
Join us for an upcoming program - Group Coaching Practicum (starts April 11 at 12 noon ET by phone - 8CCEs) and the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (6.75 CCEs starts April 15)

New start date for Group Coaching Practicum - April 11 at 12 noon ET(8CCEs)

A quick note to let you know that the Group Coaching Practicum teleclass start date has been moved back by one week. It will now start on Friday April 11th at 12 noon ET/New York and will run until May 30th (no call April 18th b/c of Easter). The program is geared for coaches who want to take a deeper dive around group (and team) coaching issues and want to acquire some practice and see approaches IN ACTION! Each coach will be leading the group through a 25 minute group coaching conversation and will get feedback on their skills.

Two spaces are still open for the Spring program starting next week which is approved for 8 CCEs with the ICF. Click here to learn more and to reserve your spot.

The program is chock full of useful resources and tips for you to incorporate into your work right away. Cost: $450 US, which includes the six classes (coaches responsible for their own long distance charges) plus  a bonus 7th!, weekly module notes, and access to six 1-1 laser calls with me.

Hope that you will join us!

With best wishes,

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