Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The importance of a back-up

I'm not sure if you have been experiencing it as well, but it's been an interesting past week with
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technology and technological challenges.  There's an old saying that things often happen in threes, and they did last week. What each experience has done for me has been to draw attention to the importance of a back up, and test out those I have in place.

Flash back one week. I was scheduled to present to an ICF chapter via webinar. For whatever reason, the tried-and-tested technology did not work as usual, keeping several participants off the line. Luckily they were able to record the call for those who could not access it. What do you have in place if people can't access you?

Next, one of my trusty bridgelines, which had been used earlier that day, went down. What could have been a challenging switch was pretty easy as I have a selection of different bridgelines available (with different service provides) at my fingertips when I do a call. What back-up bridgelines do you have? Do you have the alternative information easily accessible? Is it with different service providers - a lot of time if one service has problems, several will have problems.

Over the weekend, my main website went down, along with email. About a year ago I had made a decision to have that site design hosted on a cloud based application, so while the domain went down, I was able to get a mirrored-site up and running by the end of the day with a different host. The main site was back up again in the morning, and the time it took for that company to respond will play into the decision as to where that domain gets renewed another year. What do you have in place in case your domain goes down?

Contingency planning is key for small business owners. What steps can you take to mitigate against these blips?

With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, PCC, CPCC
Potentials Realized | GroupCoachingEssentials.com

Upcoming programs include:
The June 2-3 Facilitation Skills Intensive in Toronto (Two days of hands on training for working with groups)
Group Coaching Essentials - Wednesdays 9-10:15 am ET: starting May 28 or June 11 (6.75 CCEs by phone)
Group and Team Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs with ICF): July 10-11 in Huntsville, Muskoka. Early Bird ends May 30.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Power of a Visual

It is said that the brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. Read about this MIT research here. han words.
continued to see this play out in group and team coaching and development programs. A few months ago I also shared three visual tools I use regularly in my own programs in my January Effective Group Coaching video. You can view the four minute video here.

These three tools are:
Points of You - The Coaching Game - I had the chance to meet the creators behind this wonderful tool last week in Washington and really enjoyed their experiential session using the cards. They also have created terrific processes coaches and faciltiators can use (questions and layouts) which make them a rich resource. I picked up a set of the Punctum cards and have enjoyed exploring them.

Visual Explorer from Creative Leadership - a mainstay of my visual facilitation conversations for more than five years now. I love the range of photos available

The JICT Journey Cards - Smaller and with questions, the JICT cards are another  great resource.

Last week at the ASTD Conference I picked up a great book by Glenn Hughes and Thiagi entitled "Photo Jolts". It includes 51 ways to work with cards/photos (their own deck and others). Brilliant! I have enjoyed taking a look at it and getting "sparked" by some possible uses to use with future groups and teams.

This has become such a large part of my own work that last month I launched the Conversation Sparker Cards(TM). They were a hit at the ASTD session I led and it was wonderful to see how they provoked some new insights and perspectives around issues for participants. You can learn more about the Conversation Sparker Cards(TM) at our newest website. Download a flyer about them here. Enjoy!

What has been your experience in using photos in your work with teams and groups?

Have a great weekend!

Best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
GroupCoachingEssentials | Potentials Realized
Join us for an upcoming program:
Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starts Wednesday May 28th at 10:15 am ET. Calls on May 28, June 4, 11, 18 and 25 (6.75 CCEs)
Mentor Coaching Group starts Monday May 26th from 10 - 11 am ET. Three month mentor coaching program with 7 hours of group calls, and 3 hours of individual calls. For ACC renewal and ACC/PCC portfolio routes.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Train the Trainer June 2-3 - Facilitation Skills Intensive, Toronto

Are you looking to equip yourself with enhanced group facilitation skills to work with groups? I'll be holding the two-day Facilitation Skills Intensive in downtown Toronto on Monday June 2 and Tuesday June 3rd. We are three weeks away from the start of the program and I hope that you will join me for this hands-on deep dive into group facilitation issues.

This program is for professionals who are keen to learn more about, and practice, the techniques, skills and approaches of group facilitation. This is an intensive small group learning experience and typical group size is 5-10 professionals. We will be looking at skills that are useful in workshops, retreats, teleclasses, and other instances when you work with groups.

The program will provide you with an opportunity to explore:
• 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) including room set up, media use and other logistics

Participants will also create a personal development/action plan including strategies to further practice their new facilitation skills in their work.

This two day program will be running on Monday and Tuesday June 2-3 (hours 8:30 - 5 day 1, 8:30-4:30 day 2) and will be held in downtown Toronto, accessible by public transit. Those coming in from out of town can benefit from a special room rate at the hotel until May 15th. Contact us for more info.

Registration includes:
  1. The Facilitation Skills Intensive binder (100 plus pages of content, worksheets)
  2. A copy of either one of my books: Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) or From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014)
  3. 15 hours of instruction over the two days

Cost: $795 plus HST. Discounts are available for two or more registrants from the same organization.

Please visit our dedicated site http://www.faciliationskillsintensive.com for more information and to register.

I hope that you will join us!

With best wishes,

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

Friday, May 09, 2014

Goal Setting At Mulitple Levels: Group and Team Coaching

Goal setting is a critical part of the coaching process. As team and group coaches it is also important to look at goals from a number of levels. These levels can be different when working with groups versus working with teams.

Whether you are working with a group of individuals or an intact team who works together every day, a foundation part of the coaching process is on goal setting. In coaching, those being coached get to set their own goals.

Some of our clients may automatically think about setting SMART goals and start working away at them. For those that might not be familiar with SMART Goals, we want to make sure that they are specific, can be measured, are achievable, realistic and have some time indicators as well. I usually add an E on to include Exciting. If goals are not exciting to the person which created them it is unlikely that they will be followed through.

When working with teams, it can be useful to have team members consider goals at the individual, team and organizational level. What do these goals look like at each level? How are they similar? Where might they be in conflict? Building space in to the coaching conversation for a team using these questions can often raise some interesting insights for team members.

Another rich area to explore is to have people look at goals at what many coaching models call the META view - or big picture view, as well as the granular MICRO VIEW. One of my favorite questions to ask is what you see in today's selected Conversation Sparker Card(TM) here:

What's the 30,000 foot view? What's the view from the weeds?

When looking at issues from the 30,000 foot view it connects us to our passions, strengths, vision, values and the bigger picture. It can also be important to look at it from the weeds, or the ground level, where we can ZOOM into the specifics.

Notice where the individuals you work with naturally go around goals - the 30,000 foot or the grains of sand? Having them look at their goals from another perspective can be very insightful.

What focus do you want to put around goals with your clients?

Have a great weekend,

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