Thursday, March 01, 2018

Sprints and Hacks and Coaching

Recently, I have found myself talking a lot more about how coaching conversations are changing as
Program Design Hack-Sprint December 2017
our client’s world has changed.

Over the last 14 years I’ve had the chance to innovate with a number of different program modalities to “meet clients where they are at”. A standard 60 minute, every other week, conversation model has not always worked. As a group and team coach, the shift started quite a long time ago in the world of  my clients, and in recent years I have found myself in engagements ranging from an hour a week over a year, to working embedded with teams for three days to a week. What I love about this is that our conversations are never static!

As a program designer I’m always listening for what my clients are yearning for next. It’s led to a couple of national awards, and more importantly, programming that fits their needs.

One of the program designs many of the coaches who work with me are flocking towards for their own development is participating in the regular (i.e. quarterly) program sprints and hacks I offer through the Learning Lab and Design Studio. 

As you can imagine, program work can expand to a pretty big canvas. This is especially true as coaches where we are always wanting to meet the client “where they are at”. I’m a real believer in Parkinson’s Rule, that tasks will take as long as we allocate them. This led me to start experimenting with a much more compressed program design cycle, influenced by the sprint and hacks coming out of the Agile space.

About 2 years ago I started offering 45-minute program development sprints and hacks as a quarterly offering. What we used to do in a 3-6 hour window we’re moving through in a compressed 45-minute window. Every three-to-four minutes we move through a cycle of questions, reflection and writing space. These reflective chunks can be interspersed with sharing and dialogue if you have more time.
One of the real-benefits of a process like this is that you can really zoom into some quick clarity, intuitive clarity, around new programs or processes. At the end of the 45 minute widow where we go
Wrapping up a Program Design Sprint Hack - Britton 2018
through about 8 or 9 sets of reflective questions, everyone who has participated in the last few years with me through these hacks has had a rough skeleton to leave with. It is by no means the final end product, but it is a solid foundation to build upon.

If you’d like to experience one for yourself, join us in the Learning Lab and Design Studio this month (March 2018) as one of our three calls this month will be another 45-minute Program Design Hack. 

The calls this month at the LLDS are:
Friday March 2nd (845 – 930 am Eastern/Toronto)– 5 Skills Facilitators and Coaches Need
Thursday March 8th (1:30 -5:30 pm Eastern/Toronto): Virtual Retreat – Get Things Done!
Friday March 23rd (845 -930 am Eastern/Toronto): Program Design Hack

Learn more about the LLDS click here and join us for the month of March, or for the rest of the year. Monthly membership is $147/month or you can join us for the next 12 months for $1250 US. Email me to reserve your spot and be invoiced separately.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What stage is your group at? Part 2 of 2

Last month I wrapped up the month with a blog post sharing with you the forming, and storming
stages of any group process. Throughout hundreds of different group and team experiences I have been part of and led over the last 3 decades I have seen elements of Tuckman's model play out time, and time again - virtually, in person, in groups and in teams. I've seen it play out in the jungles of South America, and the Canadian north. Where is the group or team at that you are working with right now?

Once teams and groups move through the storming stage, and they start to get their sense of where they are at, the team or group moves into the norming stage, then progressing into the performing stage, where really they can thrive and get things done. It is very common in today's world that teams will disband - projects will close off, locations may change, people may move. Tuckman's final stage of group and team development points us to the adjourning stage of any team process, where it's important to close off on the experience. This is a stage that is often overlooked - whether because we are rushing to move to the next experience, or there is simply too much to do to wrap things up.

Here's what I shared in my newest book, Effective Virtual Conversations, about the remaining stages of Tuckman's model - norming, performing and adjourning. Think about what you can do to support movement through these stages.

Stage: Norming - In this stage we are exploring What? What’s acceptable? Who we are?
What’s Important
·         Planning, roles
·         Figuring out how you really want to work
Virtual Nuances
·         Individual norms and collective norms
·         Making explicit different roles, ways of working, norms
·         Is there an evolution of new shared group/team culture?
·         How do we want to operate together?
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         Building trust
·         Getting people into deeper dialogue with each other
·         Using breakouts regularly
·         Clarifying roles and responsibilities
·         Deepening identity of the group
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Values and behaviors
Stage: Performing - In this stage we are exploring acceleration. What’s working? What will keep momentum going?
What’s Important
·         Getting the results in place
Virtual Nuances
·         Participants will be performing in isolation from others and could benefit from pause to look at what support they need
·         Resourcing, roadblocks, enablers
·         Systems and structures that will sustain the work
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         Creating opportunities for reflective pause
·         Creating opportunity for people to share their commitments and update each other in a way that does not just have to be a 30 second soundbyte
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Keeping energy moving
·         Troubleshooting
·         Planning for celebration
·         Use the work (and structures) they are undertaking
Stage: Adjourning - In this stage we are helping the group articulate
What’s Important
·         Wrap up
·         Sustainability
·         Evaluation
Virtual Nuances
·         Last time together
·         Application to local context
·         Closure
·         Feedback
·         Evaluation
·         Lessons learned.
Things to Make Sure You are Doing
·         How do you want to stay connected?
·         Where can you access the materials?
·         For how long can materials be accessed?
Activities You May Want to Use
·         Spiders Web
·         Acknowledgement
·         Action Planning: One Page Plan and Commitments
·         Evaluation
·         Learning takeaways
(Excerpt: Pages 35-38, Effective Virtual Conversations, Jennifer Britton, 2017. All Rights Reserved)

If you haven't had a look at the first part of this two series blog post, check out part 1 here where I explore the Forming and Storming Stages and what they look like in the virtual space.

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)
Upcoming March and April 2018 programs include the 3 month Mentor Coaching Group (for ACC/PCC) starting Thursday March 8th at 12:15 pm Eastern, the Group Coaching Essentials program (8.75 CCEs) starting Friday March 2nd. Virtual Facilitation Essentials will start again on Friday April 6th (now approved for 8.5 CCEs) Grab your spot today. Our focus in March at the Learning Lab and Design Studio (Fridays 845 - 9:30 am ET) is on Building Your Toolkit, and will also include a half-day Virtual Retreat (Thurs March 8th)