Monday, January 22, 2018

What stage is your group (or team) at? Part 1 of 2

In all three of my books (Effective Group Coaching, From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Effective Virtual Conversations), I write about the importance of meeting groups (and teams) where they are at. The work, and research, of Bruce Tuckman continues to influence us today. Tuckman's Model posits that groups (and teams) move through different stages as they work together - from Forming, to Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Groupings can move back and forth, up and down the staircase, when leadership or membership changes, or resourcing becomes scaled back. As a coach, or facilitator, it's important to know where groups and teams are at, and be able to adjust our support, tools and questioning to meet them where they are at.
Group Coaching, and

One of the more popular calls coaches listen to for the Group Coaching Essentials program is a call I did quite a few years ago on Group Development. You can find it over at the From One to Many Resource page. In it I review some of the key things you will want to consider/explore with groups at  different stages.

Here's a very high level (and I mean high-level - i.e. just enough to get you going) overview of the FIRST TWO OF THE FIVE different stages, anexcerpt from Effective Virtual Conversations. As you read through, think about where your group is at and what may be needed as support:

Stage: Forming - In this stage, we are helping the group explore the What?

What’s Important

·         Safety, expectations, clarity around what the program is about

·         Getting people to connect and/or share their WIIFM

Virtual Nuances

·         Group/team members can’t see each other

·         Geographically dispersed

·         Different realities and priorities

·         Notice how people are engaged in the virtual realm—video versus text only interaction

·         Creating of a shared group portal or “go-to place” for resources can be important


·         WOW – Ways of Working

·         Focusing on connecting the group

·         Choosing platforms and considering synchronous and asynchronous** connections

·         How do people want to connect?

·         How do you ensure privacy?

·         Confidentiality agreements

** Synchronous conversations happen real-time. For example, I can be conversing real-time with someone in London right now through text, chat or voice from my desk in Toronto. In Asynchronous Learning there is a lag—so, for example, I might post a comment on a shared thread tonight which can be read tomorrow by someone else, somewhere else.

Things to Make Sure You are Doing

·         Clarifying what is expected

·         Group norms

·         Connections amongst groups

·         Reviewing

·         Checking how to share personal information with each other

·         Discussing confidentiality or how information is shared

Activities You May Want to Use

·         Activities to create trust and connection such as:

          Personal Logos




          Goal Setting

Stage: Storming - In this stage, we are helping the group explore the What? So, who are we? What’s this all about?

What’s Important

·         Figuring out roles

·         How we want to operate

·         How this connects with me

Virtual Nuances

·         Greater likelihood of disconnection

·         Greater opportunity for the anonymous factor, or, They can’t see me to kick in or people to disengage


·         There may be a lot of variances regarding culture and language

·         Notice differences in how people approach, and are comfortable with, conflict

Things to Make Sure You are Doing

·         Normalizing conflict

·         Reinforcing the Ways of Working

Activities You May Want to Use

·         Normalize functions, tasks, decisions

·         Appreciation

·         Best team

·         What’s holding the team back?

·         How to have difficult conversations or working across differences

·         Prioritization

·         Style Assessments – MBTI and DiSC"
(Excerpt: Effective Virtual Conversations, Copyright Britton, 2017. All Rights Reserved)

This is often the second or third call of any group or team coaching process.

Next week I'll cover the last two or three stages - Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Where are your groups right now?

If you have any of my books, refer to these pages for more information:
Effective Virtual Conversations: pages 33 - 38
From One to Many: pages 195-197
Effective Group Coaching: pages 59 - 62

Enjoy your week,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (2009), and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013) and Effective Virtual Conversations (2017)
Phone : 416-996-TEAM (8326)

Other Winter programs include the 3 month Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC/PCC), the Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs). The Coaching Biz Growth Lab(TM) a 3 month business development group coaching program for coaches starts Thursday February 1st. Grab your spot today.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Coaching Biz Growth Lab Launches February 1 at 3 pm ET - Group Coaching for Coaches wanting to grow their business.

What's on your dashboard for your growth and development this year? I'm excited to announce a new program for coaches wanting more focus on their coaching businesses. Some of you may know that one of the first series of group coaching work I launched in my business, way back in 2005, was in the area of small business. For many years I taught business studies part time at the post-secondary level, and I enjoyed leading the 90 Day BizSuccess(TM) programming from 2006 onwards. That's  now a program I license to other coaches.

For the last several years I turned my attention to developing several on-demand business development programs for coaches - The Coaching Business Builder, and the Solopreneur primer, which I bundled last year with the Marketing Your Group and Team Programs, for the 2017 Kickstart.

In recent months, I have had a number of coaches reach out and ask when I'd be forming a new live virtual business coaching group for them. Yearning for a place to take stock of, and more importantly, take ACTION on their coaching business, in a supportive group where they would be create ACCOUNTABILITY in taking REGULAR, CONSISTENT Action on their most important goals.

AND SO.... The Coaching Biz Growth Lab(TM) emerged.

I'll be kicking off the Winter 2018 session in two weeks, on Thursday February 1st from 3 - 4 pm ET on zoom. We'll be meeting on February 1,15, March 1, 15, April 5, 19, May 3, 2018

Your registration will include :
7 x 1 hour live group coaching calls (you bring the topics you want coaching on some weeks and other weeks we explore themes such as your business ecosystem, competitive advantage)
An afternoon of Getting It Done! (March 8 1-5:30 pm ET)
Laser 1-1 calls in between our group calls
Accountability to get things done (hence the checkmark in the logo)

Download a program one-pager here which goes into more details about the program.
We kick off in a few weeks - I hope that you will join us.

Reserve your spot here. Cost $199/month or $597 for the series.

Questions? Drop me an email to info{at} or let's connect for a 15 minute conversation to see if the program will be a good fit for you.

Looking forward to having you join us,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (2009), and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013) and Effective Virtual Conversations (2017)
Phone : 416-996-TEAM (8326)
Other Winter programs include the 3 month Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC/PCC), the Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs). The Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs) starts 1/19.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Setting New Year Intentions at the Learning Lab and Design Studio

Today was New Year Intention Setting day at the Learning Lab and Design Studio, an annual group I
2018 Intentions at the Learning Lab and Design Studio
host for coaches. We’re stepping into year three at the Learning Lab and Design Studio this month. The LLDS is a group I host for coaches, trainers and other professionals who are looking to expand their work and business in the areas of group and team work.
Every month we meet for two calls – one a hands-on Facilitation Lab where I bring real-time tools and approaches and we apply it to our monthly theme. The second call is a content/learning call where I share resources you can apply right away in your work (upcoming 2018 themes are exploring are video-based learning, building trust, program hacks, core skills and building your toolkit).

As I went to wrap up our call today, I pulled some cards for my own intentions at the LLDS this year and wasn’t it interesting what showed up.

From the Points of You Deck I pulled the card – LOVE – lucky #88. The LLDS is one program I LOVE facilitating. It’s also probably one of the lesser known programs of mine. It’s been a way that I hve been able to develop an extended relationship with coaches who don’t just want to quick dive into group and team coaching, or growing their business, but want a longer term focus. You can join us at any time (and of course there’s a 50% New Year Special on it right now)

From Wayne Dyer’s card deck, The Power of Intention, I pulled the “Practice the Power of Intention Card” which I take as a reminder to me to get more into the practice of intention setting, or thinking of what outcome I am looking for in my work, before taking action.

Finally, the last tool I shared this morning were Rory’s Story Cubes….As you’ll see from the photo above the following story showed up for me around the LLDS 2018:

The apple – As the first cube selected, I take the apple as a representation of Knowledge – very appropriate for us at the Learning Lab and Design Studio where the lens is about all things learning, and creating engaging learning and growth experiences for the groups and teams we work with as coaches, trainers and facilitators.

Magnifying glass – Every month a different theme gets put under the magnifying glass. As a facilitator myself, it encourages me to continue my pursuit of learning, keeping abreast of new trends in our field, and exploring topics I can bring in my own work to my clients.

The Flower – As an avid gardener in the warmer months I was pleasantly surprised to see this come up. It got me to researching to see if different flower symbols have different meanings – and in fact they do – here’s a cool list - . For this story, I’m taking the flower as a representation of the importance of building up your garden bed, and taking time to appreciate the beauty they exist. I think that for many of us doing a lot of work with groups and teams we are moving so fast (like our clients are) that it’s quite rare to have a quick pause to take stock of what we have, and what we can do. The LLDS creates one of these important pauses.

Footprints – The LLDS is also about taking action, and leaving your mark. Once a quarter I host a 4 hour virtual retreat afternoon, geared to get you into action around your own work. This year I’ll also be hosting quarterly program hacks so you can do some real-time design work in a compressed timeframe.

Lightening Bolt – One of the two calls each month is a facilitation lab. In establishing this program in January 2016, I felt that it was really important to create a place where we as facilitators could try out different tools, and experience them as learners ourselves, before taking them into work with our clients.

Book - There is an abundance of topics we cover throughout the year, and I’ve loved how there are now more than 24 sets of templates, articles, and almost 50 recordings for LLDS members to explore when they have time.

Conversation – One of my favorite symbols (the conversation bubble which is also on the title of my newest book, Effective Virtual Conversations) was next in the storyline. The other element I love at the LLDS is the conversations that ensue. It is a small group conversation experience, and unlike larger group webinars where  everything might be chat only, we engage every week in rich conversation.

Fountain – The fountain to me represents the fact that there will always be a myriad of topics left to explore. Our work and professional field is not static. It’s ever changing and evolving. The LLDS provides a regular reminder to keep learning.

Tree – For the last three or four years now I have been returning back to my roots as an environmental scientist in different ways, particularly as I speak and write about ecosystems. My work has always been very multi-disciplinary and the tree symbolizes how at the LLDS many of our conversations span the different disciplines of coaching, training, learning, education, e-learning, facilitation, social change….

As a writer and author I love seeing how these cubes spark a new storyline for the teams and groups I work with!

I hope that today’s blog post has given you more insights about what we explore and the conversations we have at the Learning Lab and Design Studio.We’ll be meeting throughout 2018 on Fridays from 845 – 930 am Eastern (slightly later than our last two years of programming, but early enough so you can catch us as you head into work on Fridays). Calls are held twice a month with the next one on Friday January 19th.

My 50% off New Year’s special is on for a few more days (until our next call). Save $625 US on the annual rate of $1250 US. Use code 2018NewYear at checkout. More info and registration at
I'd love to have you join us this year! Email me to set up a time to discuss how this program could support you.
With best wishes,
Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (2009), and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013) and Effective Virtual Conversations (2017)
Phone : 416-996-TEAM (8326)

Most 2018 programs kick off on Friday January 12th with the return of the 3 month Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC/PCC), the Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs). The Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCEs) starts 1/19.