Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A book in 30 days? The power of a 30 day challenge and a community

Some of you may know that in the past two years I have dedicated part of my focus during the month of November to writing. Today I've just penned off on 62,042 words of my latest book. That's about 160 pages. I often get asked by coaches and business owners I know, "What's it like to write a book?" I wanted to shed a little light on the birthing of my latest manuscript (manuscript #4 in the last 7 years) while it is still fresh.


Last November I heard for the first time about NANOWRIMO (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) through a collection of colleagues on Facebook who were going to focus on NABIZWRIMO (National Business Writing Month). I jumped in and pumped out over the course of the month a great manuscript on leadership. I recall my first experience of going from 0 to more than 14 chapters in a month as exciting and quite a bit of work.  As usual work resumed it's normal pace after the November US Thanksgiving lull for me in the month of December 2015 (always a popular month for coaching), so that manuscript has sat and percolated on the side burner since.

With 2016 having been a busy year and a number of commitments in early to mid-November I wasn't sure what the writing process would be like this year. I had a topic in mind and that's about it! The former "planner and project manager" in me loves a plan and in late October I felt that I was a little unprepared but committed to make this happen. On November 1st sat down and drafted out names of the potential chapters (which of course have change). Day 1 I hit 3000 words noticing that it was double the daily amount needed if I wanted to write consistently for 30 days. With the power of the larger virtual NANOWRIMO community as inspiration, along with amazing writing sprints that were streamed on YouTube between November 1 - 15th I was able to hit the 50,000 word mark. That's the goal post set as the monthly goal for the month, and one that was hoping to hit over the month.

When I've had time in the last two weeks I've been able to move the manuscript ahead to a place where it's really taken firm shape. After revising chapters and completing almost a full edit of the text I'm going to celebrate by ordering myself a nifty scarf with part of the text embossed on it.

I'm already planning to square off some time in the first half of 2017 to brush off my 2015 leadership manuscript and get that polished for publication in late 2017 as well.

Now the big question exists. Do I go the traditional publishing route for this new manuscript as I have for my first two books - or do I self-publish? As an experienced author I know that writing the book is only one part of the journey. Now begins the editing, promotion and building a community around it which does take effort as I have seen with Effective Group Coaching and From One to Many: Best Practices for Group and Team Coaching.

It's been a fun month and I am hopeful that this new book is as impactful as my others have been. Stay tuned in the new year for more info as I know many of you will find this another rich compendium to your work.

I know many of you are interested in writing your own books so here are some of my key lessons of the writing a book in a 30 day challenge this November:
1. Create a goal that's important and meaningful to you;
2. Connect with a community that can support you through the process. With how busy the first part of the month was for me with my own work, I can't say how invaluable the word sprints were for me to get focused and get things on paper, especially when I felt I was too tired or busy to write!
3. Undertake daily action, every day, no matter what
4. Trust that the gems will emerge as you find focus and create space for what's important, and what you've committed to
5. Be ruthless in carving out time in your schedule, even if you don't have a plan on how you are going to use it. I've seen how what I call my "15 minute rule" works - set a time for 15 minutes and start writing and usually by the timer goes you'll have a good idea of where your writing is going to take you.

An important reminder for me this month has been how important it is to be part of community and to make sure that I am building in time for myself. As a mom, business owner, and partner/supporter with many, it's easy to have my own needs (beyond regular workouts at the pool) squeezed. The rest of today I'm going to be celebrating in small ways.

Did any of you complete the NANOWRIMO Challenge this year? What was your experience like?
I hope that this post sheds some light "behind the curtains" on the writing process. You'll note in my photo above the three stages completed of the manuscript so far - left is the first draft of approx. 50,000 words, next comes the new chunking of the book into chapters, and the thrid pile on the right are the revisions of the chapters (8 chapters done, 4 to go).

And as an FYI (For Your INFO)..... to anyone who as looked at the amount of paper used in horror....Two fun things -The first two drafts were printed on a whole pile of old 1980s computer paper which had come from my parent's house. Who remembers the old DOS printers with the holes on the side? It was amazing thin paper to print on which meant my briefcase was not as heavy when I had to travel with the first draft!

Second, one of my summer jobs during an undergrad was as a tree planter up the beautiful wilderness of Northern Ontario. While it was a rough job for a young woman in her late teens in early twenties up "in the bush" (as we call it), six weeks of work paid for most of my tuition and expenses during my 4 years of university. We were paid by the tree, and with some days being what we called "highball" days of 1000 new trees in the ground, with 30 days a year, over 4 years, I'm sure some of the paper I used was planted by me or some of the crews I worked with.

Have a great start to your December!

Jennifer


Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCCGroup Coaching Essentials | 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
Email: info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com

PS- The final Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar for 2016 starts tomorrow, Thurs Dec 1st. Consider joining us if you want to launch your own group coaching program in 2017. Calls will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4:15 pm ET on December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 by zoom. 8.75 CCEs. More info and registration here. 3 spots still open. Cost: $450 US.

Want to carve out some space to move your program plans, business plans or projects forward? I'm hosting at least 2 more Virtual Retreats before the end of the year - join me for one or both. Thursday December 1 from 10-2 pm ET I'll be focusing on Program Planning for 2017, and on Friday December 9th from 1-5pm ET join me for a Get it Done Virtual Retreat where you can focus on business or program planning or a project of your own. Cost: $97/one day  More info here. 



Monday, November 28, 2016

Planning for an Exceptional Group Coaching Program in the New Year

As we move towards the end of the year it's time to gear up for new year planning, if you haven't
already. You might think that you don't have enough time but with the way the holidays are falling this year, some people and many schools will be taking holidays from December 24th through to January 9th. That leaves a good 6-7 weeks for planning, and marketing.  The new year is a great time to launch new programs, as many coaching clients are looking to make their changes stick come January 2nd!

Here are several considerations for your planning over the next few weeks:

1. Consider or listen into the focus areas your clients are looking for group coaching support in.

  • If they are a business owner, what are the key 3-4 areas they are looking for support in? 
  • How can these areas become the foundation of a new program areas for you?
2. Consider how long you want to be offering groups for.
  • Is this a short term group or long term group?
  • How frequently are you meeting?
  • When are people able to meet?
  • What do they want/expect in terms of contact points with you as coach? With each other?
  • Be noticing what your clients are hungry for in terms of support areas.
3. How do you want to offer this? Virtually or in person?
  • Again, consider your client preferences, as well as your own.
  • If you need to set up a bridgeline or zoom room, do that now.
4. What are the 5-10 ways you can consistently get the message out to people about your offering.
  • Marketing is often left as the final thing to do and in group programs we need people on the line in order to have a group.
  • Grab a calendar and map out your daily actions for the next 30-45 days in these 5-10 strategies. What exactly will you do?
  • What are the things you want to communicate? What's included in the program? What benefits are there? What can people expect from your work together?
  • Check out past posts here about marketing and promotion
5. Consider what additional support is going to make this group become a reality?
  • What support you do need in order to make it happen?
  • What program supports are going to make this an exceptional program?
  • Who can help you make this a reality?

What other things are going to make this real for you? Grab a pen and paper and make a list right now - scheduling it in.

As we know "What doesn't get scheduled, doesn't get done!" - Peter Drucker.

Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCCGroup Coaching Essentials | 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
Email: info(at)potentialsrealized(dot)com
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➪If you are looking for some support, join me this Thursday, December 1st from 10-2 pm ET for a Virtual Retreat Day focused on Program Development. Over the course of the 4 hours you will move through a series of group calls and individual exercises (offline) to breathe life into your program plans. I'll be available for part of the day as well for "Drop in" 1-1 mentoring as well. You can also join us for a second virtual retreat day on Friday December 9th from 1 - 5 pm ET with a focus on Getting Things Done. Sometimes we need the space and focus to make things happen. Register for one, or the two (and receive access to the recording of a virtual retreat I held a few weeks ago on Business Development - if you opt for the two program option).

Looking for more tips, tools and best practices? The final Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar is starting this week and we'll be meeting in an accelerated fashion with calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4:15 pm Eastern/New York on December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15. This program is approved for 8.75 CCEs with the ICF and covers the best practices of designing, implementing and marketing group coaching (Virtual/in person/corporate and public). 3 spots still open. More info and registration link here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Building your group and team coaching toolkit

One of the main focus areas of this weekend's Group and Team Coaching Intensive is going to be the
focus on building your toolkit. Building confidence and skills in working with teams and groups. For any of you who have read my work, or joined me for a program, you know how passionate I am as a coach practitioner in this topic area of building our toolkit and innovating as we do it. Each client engagement - whether a team or a group - is different and usually requires a different blend of skills and approaches.

Here are some past posts on this topic of building your toolkit - I hope you'll check them out:

Group Coaching Exercises from 2010 - read it here

Why are exercises important for group programming from 2006 - read it here

Exercises - the backbone of any program from 2009 - read it here

Group Facilitation Tip - Debriefing Exercises  - read it here

You'll hear and see me talk more about exercises and tools in some of last year's Group Coaching Design Studio blabs which I hosted. Here's a 30 min video on Visual Cards- one of my favorite tools. View it here

Here's a really short 3 min video on 5 ways to use index cards - another essential item in your toolkit. View it here.

What are the tools you want to add to your toolbox in the coming months?

We'll be going through more than 2 dozen (24) coaching tools and approaches this weekend at the Group and Team Coaching Intensive (19 CCEs) here in Toronto. I hope that you will consider joining us for this rich weekend program - spots are still open for virtual and in person attendees. Grab your spot here.

Have a great rest of the week,
Jennifer

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

Join us for an upcoming program:
1.  Three year end Virtual Retreats for 2017 program and business planning - Nov 17, Dec 1 and 9 
2. Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio - Fridays starting November 18,  
3. Accelerated Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting December 1st (Tues/Thurs 3- 4:15 pm ET: Dec 1, 8, 10, 13, 15 (8.75 CCEs)
4, Group and Team Coaching Intensive in Downtown Toronto - 19 CCEs - new weekend date of November 12 - 13, 2016 - A few spots still open for this 2 day intensive training around group and team coaching when we explore the best practices, techniques and approaches of group and team coaching. Special colleague discount when you register with a friend.


Monday, November 07, 2016

Difficult Conversations Group and Team Coaches Need to Have

Coaching is not always a positive, cheerful conversation. Many times there are difficult issues we
need to pose in a group or team, and sometimes we are the ones who surface the elephant in the room. Today's post focuses on five difficult conversations we may find we need to have as group or team coaches:

1. With the group or team member who consistently does not take action they have committed to. It's easy for coaches to fall into the habit of overlooking a group member who isn't following through on their commitments. Consider how it might be more in-service to have a coaching conversation with the group or team member who is constantly letting things slide. You might consider asking them:
What took precedence this week for you in respect to the commitments you had made?
What was important about doing that versus what you had committed to?
How is this change or pushing aside your own commitments showing up in other areas?
What value did the actions you ultimately took have on....
What would you do in the future if you faced this choice?
In our context what changes do you want to make around the commitments you make?
Do I/do we have the opportunity to check in on how committed you really are on your commitments each week, in service to what you've said you want to get out of the work we're doing (note this is a little long question - not the short snappy 5-7 words we often aim for in coaching questions!)

2. Another difficult conversation is surfacing the taboo issues teams have. Maybe there are things that are not talked about in the team. This might be an unspoken truth, the issue that is being swept under the carpet or something else. What's taboo for the team or group you are working with? What would be the value of asking that question to them?

3. Supporting a team through conflict, when the team is conflict avoidant, is not only a difficult conversation, but also a tricky one. It's important that we provide teams and other clients we work with tools, skills and approaches to navigate conflict. This may involve some "teaching" or the introduction of a model they can all have a conversation from.
What do you notice about conflict and the way the group and/or team members you are supporting approaches conflict?

4. The group member who constantly hogs or dominates the conversation. For some coaches supporting the dominant group member who may "hog" the space or bulldoze others may be a challenging type of person to support. Each one of us will probably find different types of group members more challenging to work with. In the many years I've supported coaches - it's often the challenger, or dominant group member who coaches note would be the challenging one for them to support.

5. The group member who is not engaged. In coaching, coachability always should always be at the forefront. Is this person ready and interested in being coached. Keep in mind, coaching is not training. As a coachee, they need to be setting their goals, and taking action. It's about the coachee driving the bus. Having discussions with clients who are not engaged around their coachability can also be a key issue.

What do you see as the most Difficult Conversations for yourself? I'd welcome your input and comments. Please do so below!

Best
Jennifer

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

Join us for an upcoming program:
1.  Three year end Virtual Retreats for 2017 program and business planning - Nov 17, Dec 1 and 9 
2. Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio - Fridays starting November 18,  
3. Accelerated Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting December 1st (Tues/Thurs 3- 4:15 pm ET: Dec 1, 8, 10, 13, 15 (8.75 CCEs)
4, Group and Team Coaching Intensive in Downtown Toronto - 19 CCEs - new weekend date of November 12 - 13, 2016 - A few spots still open for this 2 day intensive training around group and team coaching when we explore the best practices, techniques and approaches of group and team coaching. Special colleague discount when you register with a friend.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Group Coaching: The Group is often it's greatest own complexity

In any group work - coaching, retreats, training - the biggest complexity is often the group itself. For
years I've been talking about the importance of keeping things simple as the multitude of variables involved in group work can be what makes the work that more complex. The last few weeks have been chock full of group and team work for me - with both corporate and public programs, in person and virtual events. I've seen the complexity and fluidness of groups and teams play out with:

Last minute date and start time changes (a couple of times now in the last 2 weeks!)
Key players not being available as needed or being pulled out for other strategic priorities
Logistical glitches leading to last minute adjustments needed or phone lines being severed
Critical issues being top of mind for groups/teams that led us in entirely new directions
and of course, life and work happening for group members, and myself

Amongst all the changes I have to say it's been a really fun few weeks and as always when working with groups and teams, rich with learning!

What's helped move through the fluidness is to remember something that one of my graduate school supervisors told me decades ago which was to "embrace the chaos". In chaos theory, now known as complexity theory, it's easier to embrace and flow than to fight it. My travels over the last few weeks actually reconnected me with a couple of professionals I worked with in the early part of my career more than 20 years ago. It was so interesting that for one person who I reconnected with one of the things that had stuck out for her was my adage of "embrace the chaos". She herself has been applying it in her work over the last  two decades. We never know what mark we will make - for the positive and negative. Don't underestimate it!

 I have to say it takes a certain level of trust and groundedness not to get thrown by some of the changes that come our way.  Pre-preparation is essential. As is our own self-management and presence.

What have you been learning this year about fluidness in our work? What's helped you remain flexible?

Have a great week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton

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

Join us for an upcoming program:
1.  Three year end Virtual Retreats for 2017 program and business planning - Nov 17, Dec 1 and 9 
2. Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio - Fridays starting November 18,  
3. Accelerated Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting December 1st (Tues/Thurs 3- 4:15 pm ET: Dec 1, 8, 10, 13, 15 (8.75 CCEs)
4, Group and Team Coaching Intensive in Downtown Toronto - 19 CCEs - new weekend date of November 12 - 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Group and Team Coaching Intensive in Toronto - Nov 12-13 (19 CCEs)

A quick note that we still have a few spots open for the upcoming Group and Team Coaching Intensivee
which will be held on the weekend of November 12-13 in downtown Toronto. The program is approved by the ICF for 19 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCES) including 17 hrs of core competencies.

During this two day programs we explore both group and team coaching - best practices, approaches, and we will give you several opportunities to practice leading group and team coaching conversations over the two days.

We will be exploring questions such as:
* What is group coaching? Team Coaching? What's the difference?
* What creates the optimum foundation for group and team coaching?
* Core best practices for designing, marketing and implementing group and team coaching
* Building your toolkit - more than 2 dozen tools, approaches and techniques for coaching groups and teams
* Essential components of team coaching and group coaching engagements - and they are different!
* Considerations for virtual programming
* Considerations for corporate/organizational programming

Cost for the two day program is $1095 CDN plus HST. Register with a colleague and each save $200. Click here to learn more or to register.

Listen in as I talk more about the program and what you can expect to get out of it


And here's what past participants have said about the program:


Your registration includes:
The two days of learning - Saturday 830-430, Sunday 830 - 4 pm ET
A resource manual of more than 100 pages which we'll use during the training
A group follow up call in early December to check on your progress and implementation of learning
A pre call with me

I hope that you will join us and grab one of the remaining spots. The proram will be held in downtown Toronto accessible by car, public transit, and close to the Billy Bishop Airport.

Questions? Email me or call at (416)996-8326

With best wishes
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Group Coaching Essentials | Potentials Realized  
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Upcoming programs include: Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio (Mondays 9-10 am ET starting October 31), and the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting Thursdays 10:15 - 11:30 am ET starting October 20th (8.75 CCEs)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Virtual Facilitation Tips - Leading more engaged and effective virtual events

Many coaches today are tasked with leading virtual events. Whether it is a virtual group or team coaching session, or a webinar or teleclass, it is important to avoid the Death By Conference Call experience.

Recently, over at the Teams365 blog which I also host,  I have done a series of posts on Virtual Facilitation Tips. I thought it would be useful and interesting to share these with you there as well. As you review them, consider what tweaks you want to make in your own virtual programming.

Tip - Each person adds an exponential layer of complexity
It is important to note that as we add one member of a group we are adding a whole web of relationships, perspectives, insights and beliefs. Consider how growing group size impacts the webs. Read this Teams365 post here.


Tip - Small Is Beautiful
Part of the challenge of virtual events is to support group members in feeling connected and supported by each other. To facilitate this, consider how smaller group size can create more of a connection. Read this Teams365 post on Virtual Facilitation Tip #3 here.



Tip - Use Breakouts Liberally
one of my favorite posts so far explores the use of breakouts. Many virtual facilitators shy away from breakouts and lose the opportunity they present. Take a look at how you might consider using breakouts in your programming. Click here to read this post
 


There are many other posts available to you at the Teams365 blog which I hope you will check out and I have many more posts planned for this month and next .

This November I'll be launching our newest Essentials program - the Virtual Facilitation Essentials program. We'll be exploring core best practices for designing and leading engaging virtual events, along with building your toolbox and exploring the technologies. This course will cover the foundations of virtual facilitation, with the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive - our 15 hour virtual train-the-trainer being offered again in January for those who want an even deeper dive.

Join us in November on Fridays from 10:15 - 11:30 am ET: November 4, 11, 18, December 2 and 9, 2016. Click here to learn more about the program and reserve your spot. Class size is limited to 8. Cost: $450 US. Reserve your spot today.

Have a great week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, CPT, PCC
Group Coaching Essentials | Potentials Realized  
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Upcoming programs include: Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio (Mondays 9-10 am ET starting October 31), and the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar starting Thursdays 10:15 - 11:30 am ET starting October 20th (8.75 CCEs)
Join us in Toronto on November 5-6 for the Group and Team Coaching Intensive (19 CCEs) - a 2 day deep dive into group and team coaching theory and practice - 4 spots open
Contact us by phone: (416)996-8326