Monday, August 08, 2016

Four Activities for Building Trust and Connection in Group Programs

My recent series of posts on activities and approaches has been warmly welcomed by readers, according to the blog stats. Continuing along in this vein I wanted to share with you four different activities I've used throughout the years in building trust and connection in groups. Taking time to not only create ways of working or group agreements at the start of our work, but also to get to know each other, is key to success within the group coaching process. Without trust and connection it's hard to drop into the depths needed for a coaching conversation.

Here are four of my favorites. Each can be used both in person and virtually:

1. Personal Logos - One of my favorite at the start of a group process is to get each person to introduce themselves to the group and to share one thing that they bring to the group process is to draw it in a logo. It's always amazing to see what similarities and differences show up in groups, and when working with teams have them notice and comments on the synergies, themes and gaps that show up.

2. Visual Cards introduction - as a twist to personal logos, lay photographs out in the raining room (or on a whiteboard  - with copyright approval) - and have people select the photo that represents what they bring to the conversation.

While these two are great starters,  you will want to introduce activities that provide the opportunithy to share at different levels.

3. A third favorite I've been using was introduced to me by a participant in a Facilitation Skills Training I did (thanks Jason!) called COINS. Get people to select a coin from their pocket or from a cental source you have. Ask them to look at the date on the coin and have them share something about themselves and the experience they had in that year. Several times now I have seen this be a significant activity in accelerating the trust factor in groups, depending on the vulnerability demonstrated by group members and what they choose to share.

4. Who am I when I am at my best? Providing people with the opportunity to leverage their strengths, or think about who they are at their best, provides the opportunity for expansion. This is a short activity which can be very powerful, especially if done in a team, where team members can share with each other, their memories when they have seen each other at their best.

What are some of your favorite activities to create trust and connection with groups?

Here are some other posts on connection you may find useful:

Creating Connection amongst group members - from 2014. Click here to read

Check out the Appendices of both of my books - Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013). Available at Amazon, Indigo and other booksellers.



Have a great start to your week,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPTGroupCoachingEssentials.com
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Email: info {at}potentialsrealized{dot}com

Registration is now open for our fall programming including:
Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum (10 CCES with the ICF including 9,25 hrs core competencies): Gain practice and confidence in your group and team coaching skills in this hands-on practicum based class. We'll be taking a deeper dive into content around group and team coaching, as well as giving you a chance to lead us through some group and team coaching activities. Starts Friday September 9th at 1:15 pm ET (runs for 6 weeks, no call 9/16). Click here to learn more and register

Group Coaching Essentials (8.75 CCEs) - Our flagship program celebrating our 10th year in supporting coaches through the best practices of designing, marketing and implementing group coaching programs. We cover content related to best practices, and model a number of approaches you can use in your own groups (in person, virtual, corporate and public groups). Weekly assignments support you in moving from program ideas to skeleton structure. Starts Friday September 9th at 10:15 am ET *runs for 5 weeks, no call 9/16)Click here to learn more and register.

Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewal and PCC - Looking to recertify or work towards your ACC or PCC? Join us for this 10 hour mentor coaching group where we take a deeper dive into the core coaching competencies - what they are, what approaches we use and what they look and sound like. Seven hours of small group calls, and 3 hours of 1-1 mentor coaching with me. Group calls are held on Friday September 9th - two separate groups (Group A - 9-10 am ET, Group B - 12-1 pm ET)  Click here to learn more and register.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Community Call - Five Areas you may want to revisit in your group and team rogram design work

Last week I hosted our summer community call. The focus was on five areas you might want to revisit and tweak within your own group and team programming. In the call I also share the evolution of some of my own programming over the last 12 years, such as the early days of the Your Balanced Life(TM) program in 2004 and how it has evolved into a program which is now licensed for other coaches to offer.

Thanks to those that joined live and who have listened in already. I host these calls quarterly with the intent of shining the light into different areas of our work and also bring people together for dialogue and learning.

I've posted the Call to our Resources page over at FromOneToMany.com - view it here (scroll down to the bottom) or view it on YouTube.

The call runs for 32 minutes. View it here:



Stay tuned for our fall community call which will happen in September!

What's your favorite pointer? Some attendees indicated they liked the piece around engagement, and also hearing about the evolution of some of my program work. Feel free to share your favorite below.

Enjoy
Jennifer


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Looking to Building Your Toolkit as a Coach, Trainer or Facilitator? Join us throughout 2016 on Fridays at the LearningLabandDesignStudio.com. Special summer rate on - join us for the rest of the year for $1100 US.
(416)996-8326

Monday, July 18, 2016

Four Activities for Opening Group and Team Coaching Sessions

Having a robust toolkit of activities in your back pocket is a must have for team and group coaches.  Building onto other posts here at the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog (Four  Ways to Create Coaching Closure with Groups etc), today's post covers four of my favorite activities for opening group and team coaching sessions.

Trust and connection is key to successful coaching conversations, and in a group setting, it is likely that people will not know each other. In a team setting, history, roles and power differentials can also impact trust and connection.

These four activities can be adapted for the different groups and teams you work with:

1. Personal Logos: I've used this activity with multiple groups and teams. With teams it is always really interesting to see what themes emerge from the logos people choose. Instructions are simple, ask people to create a logo which represents what they bring to the group or team. Have them write it down as part of their name card. Get each person to introduce themselves according to their logo. Have the group or team notice the patterns, similarities etc.

2. Visual Cards -
Visual cards can provide a new "spark" for conversation. Lay photographs (your own or a photo deck like Conversation Sparker Cards) out on a table and have people select the card that either:
1. Represents that they bring to the group;
2. Represents their hope for the work together;
3. Signifies where they see the team right now (for teams)

If you have time, you may want to ask people to select a second photo which represents:
1. What they hope to gain or achieve through your work together
2 Where they would like to see the team going (for teams)

Check out one of the blabs I did last fall, dedicated to working with visual cards. As I mentioned in my July Team and Group Coaching Newsletter (subscribe here), one of my biggest sellers at last month's ICF Mid-West Conference was the 40 Ways To Work With Visual Cards E-manual. Check it out here.

3. Patrick Lencioni's Personal Histories
 - Many coaches and trainers love the resources included the Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of Team Playbook. One you will want to look up and consider using is his Personal Histories exercise. I have used it with executive teams from mining, full teams involved in television, and also with teams in customer service. When time has been available, it's been a valuable exercise in building connection at the start of one day and longer sessions.

4. And the generic go-round - Who are you, what's brought you here. For virtual shorter calls giving people an opportunity to connect and hear each other's voices can be important and can help with boosting engagement and ownership of the call. When people come to a virtual call and realize that something is a little different with their introductions, it may be easier to cut through the assumption that your program is goingt to be another experience of "Death by Conference Call"

People remember the start and end of things and a memorable kick off can be very important.Taking time to focus on creating the space for trust and connection helps people feel safe to take the conversation to a deeper level, and really bring themselves into the conversation.

What's going to help you feel confident around that? What are your next steps around this?

Have a great week,
Jennifer

 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Looking to Building Your Toolkit as a Coach, Trainer or Facilitator? Join us throughout 2016 on Fridays at the LearningLabandDesignStudio.com. Special summer rate on - join us for the rest of the year for $1100 US.
(416)996-8326

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Four Activities for Coaching Closure with Groups and Teams

Four Activities for Coaching Closure With Groups and Teams
Jennifer Britton, GroupCoachingEssentials.com. Copyright 2016.

It's the early part of June and a popular time of month for many groups to wind down for the summer. In the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar, and the Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum, I get a lot of questions about different activities coaches can use to create closure with the
groups and teams they are coaching. Today's post includes four of my favorites:

1. Photo Cards - Many of you know my love of incorporating different photo cards. They are a different way to "spark conversation" for multi-lingual groups, and connect with people in a different way than questions do.  Whether you are using my Conversation Sparker Cards (TM) or CCL's Visual Explorer, of the Points of You cards, consider bringing these in as part of your closure.

Possible questions can be:
Select the card which represents what's changed for you during our work together.
Select the card which represents what's next for you.
Select the card which highlights your learning.
In a group coaching context you may have each group member select a card, wheras in a team coaching context they may select both an individual card and a shared card.

For more ideas of how to use visual cards check out the 40 Ways to Use Visual Cards e-manual I released a few months ago which includes detailed instructions around how to bring visual cards into your coaching, facilitation and training work around topics like innovation, change, closure, strategic planning etc.

2. Creating a Roadmap of Next steps - Coaching has goals, action and awareness at its core. What are the next steps the group or team members are committing to? Who will they be accountable to? Have people either write these out, or jot them down in a one page plan (check out this month's newsletter for a downloadable One Page Plan). You can also give them a blank roadmap and have them write out their next steps. This is something I incorporate into alot of my own programming, and it has a different impact that just writing it out in a table.

3. Appreciations - This spring I 've been doing a lot of work with global, virtual and intact teams. In today's business world there is not a lot of time built in for sharing with peers. That can be one of the major benefits of team and group coaching processes. Leave time for group members to share appreciations with each other. A small token may help to lock in the learning, or a written piece of paper with comments from peers may solidify the coaching process and be a valuable takeaway for each group member.

4. Closure Metaphors - Metaphors are a powerful tool for coaches. Whether we are creating these through drawings, or photos or verbally, what is the metaphor people are closing off with?

What are some of your favorite closure activities? As always, please feel free to comment below.

You may also want to check out my 2006 post on The Importance of Closure For Groups here.

As popular a time a year it is to close off with groups, summer is also a popular time to start new groups. Next week's post is going to focus on four activities for kicking off your group and team coaching. Stay tuned!

Have a great week,
Jennifer

 Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Join us throughout 2016 on Fridays at the LearningLabandDesignStudio.com
(416)996-8326

 You'll get hands-on practice in more than 24 group and team coaching activities during the July 14-15 Group and Team Coaching Intensive - Join us in beautiful Bracebridge Muskoka on July 14-15
(Thursday and Friday) for a two day hands on training around best practices for team and group coaching. We have just submitted a CCE renewal application for 19 hrs (including 17 hrs core competencies). Register with a colleague and each save $200 plus tax. Special room rates available for those coming in from out of town. Bracebridge is 2 hours north of Toronto, easily accessible by bus (takes you to the front door of the venue!) and car.
Can't join us this summer in person? Consider the Summer 2016 sessions of the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar (starts Thursday July 7th at 10:30 am ET - 8.75 CCEs) and/or the Advanced Group Coaching PRacticum (starts Thursday July 14th at 12 noon ET - 10 CCEs)



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Posts on Creating Awareness in Group and Team Coaching

I'm sure that if you are a coach you too often get asked, "What makes coaching different from other modalities?". I often point people (prospective clients, organizations etc) over to the research the ICF has done over the years, including the 2009 Global Coaching Client Survey. Goals, Action, Awareness and ongoing accountability were all highlighted by clients in that survey as being definers of the coaching process.

A few weeks ago my post looked at Five Past Posts I had written on Goals. Goals to me are the foundation and starting point of any coaching process, especially for teams and groups. In a team you will likely have the team focusing on collective goals, and also possibly have individual members working on goals. In a  group coaching process, while there may be a shared META goal such as "I want to grow my business" or "enhance my work life harmony" it is likely that each group member may be working towards separate, and possibly unrelated goals.

In today's post I wanted to highlight another layer of the team and group coaching process. once goals are clear, we then want to focus on creating opportunities for group or team coaching clients to expand awareness around their goals, their vision etc. The land of Awareness in coaching might take us into the terrain of:
Values
Assumptions
Paradigms
Beliefs - empowering beliefs, limiting beliefs (including Saboteurs/Gremlins/Inner Critics - depending on the coaching models you are using)
Future/Ideal/Best Self
Other selves
Perspectives
Enablers/Derailers
Opportunities/Roadblocks
etc.

This can be a very rich area to be coaching in, and I always like to assert that in coaching for awareness and action it's not always a 50/50 balance. This week notice where you are spending your time with different clients/groups/teams - what's the mix of action and awareness?

Here are five past posts I've written here at the blog on the topic of Creating Awareness:

Six Powerful Questions to Deepen Awareness - Click here to read

Group and Team Coaching: Four Elements of Good Design - Click here to read

Group Coaching : Awareness and Action Through Questions - Click here to read

Six Ways to Bring Visuals into Your Work with Groups and Teams - Click here to read

Exercises for Group Coaching - The Importance of Closure - Click here to read

Have a great week,
Jennifer

Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
(416)996-8326

Creating Awareness is one of the 11 core coaching competencies of the ICF. We explore this in greater depth during the Mentor Coaching Group. Next group starts Thursday June 2nd at 9:15 am ET by phone/zoom. 3 month program - 10 hours. Click here to learn more or reserve your spot.http://www.groupcoachingessentials.com/pages/mentorcoachinggroup

We explore the topic of creating awareness in the Group Coaching Essentials teleseminar as well as the Group and Team Coaching Intensive - Join us in beautiful Bracebridge Muskoka on July 14-15 (Thursday and Friday) for a two day hands on training around best practices for team and group coaching. We have just submitted a CCE renewal application for 19 hrs (including 17 hrs core competencies). Register with a colleague and each save $200 plus tax. Special room rates available for those coming in from out of town. Bracebridge is 2 hours north of Toronto, easily accessible by bus (takes you to the front door of the venue!) and car.


Friday, May 27, 2016

What to Look for in a Mentor Coach

Since 2006 I've been involved as a mentor coaching in supporting CPCC candidates through the CTI coach training program, and since 2007, coaches from all backgrounds through the ICF ACC and PCC credentialing process. Whether I'm working one-on-one as a mentor coach or taking small groups of coaches through the Mentor Coaching Group process, I continue to love the learning and sharpening of skills that happens through the process.

As coaches start exploring what mentor coaching is, and the myriad of possibilities which exist, it can be useful to consider the following as you look for a mentor coach:

1  What skills, knowledge and experience does the mentor coach bring? How does this match what you are looking for?
2.  What coaching skills training have they undertaken? What coaching models do they use or integrate into their work?
3. How do they keep their skills sharp? What regular learning do they undertake?
4. How do they demonstrate their understanding of the ICF core competences?
5. What has been their experience in supporting others through the mentor coaching process? What experience do they have with coaching? (Consider their experience in the types of clients they support, the different industries they work in, if they expand their work outside of 1-1 coaching to incorporate other areas)
6. What resources are they connected to which can help you learn, grow and sharpen your skills?
7. What do you notice about the fit between the two of you? How can they support you in your development?

 Finally....What are your preferences for being supported? Do you want to take the deep dive of doing all your 10 hours of mentor coaching 1-1, or would you like to mix it in participating in a smaller group. ICF allows for 7 of the 10 hours of mentor coaching to be undertaken in a small group context. This can provide the benefit of seeing other coaching styles at play and learning from peers who might bring different coaching approaches and resources to the work.

Several years ago I wrote an article for Choice Magazine on the considerations in developing your skills as a mentor coach. While it is several years old now, the points are still very relevant. Download your own copy of my Choice Article "Mentor Coaching: Developing  Your Muscle and Refining Your Craft " here.  Check out the questions I have posed in the side bars on page 32. These are questions a mentor coach should be able to answer quickly if you reach out and interview several before choosing one.

AS you go about thinking about how to sharpen your coaching skills to take them to the next level, what's going to be important for you?

If you are looking for some support from a mentor coach like myself, please reach out and email me and let's see how we fit. I offer Mentor coaching Groups for ACC renewals and ACC/PCC portfolio routes (10 hours including 7 hour small group) and also individual mentor coaching (for CPCC and also ACC/PCC).  The next Mentor Coaching Group will be held by zoom on Thursdays from 915-1015 am ET starting on June 3rd running to September 8th. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot.

With best wishes,
Jennifer

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
(416)996-8326

2.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Five Posts on Coaching Goals

Welcome back to another top five series, where I'm pulling together some past posts from the last 12
years as we look at different coaching competencies of the International Coach Federation.

Planning and Goal Setting is one of the eleven core coaching competencies of the International Coach Federation. You can view the ICF competencies here.

ICF defines Planning and Goal Setting as "the ability to develop and maintain an effective coaching plan with the client".

 Consider what you do to support your clients in goal setting and focus. My guess is that it looks a little different whether you are focusing on individual coaching, group coaching, and team coaching.

At the core of my work across these three modalities, is the One Page Plan. Providing clients (individuals, groups and teams) with the opportunity to write out their top 3-5 goals during our work together and keeping them visible in one page is key for success with many of my clients. From the One Page Plan I have people creating MindMaps or using Post Its or Index Cards. Within a team context people may have their own individual plan as well as a collective one.

What are your best practices around goal setting and suppport? As always, please feel free to comment below.

Here are five past posts from the Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog which explore this foundational topic area:

From March 2016: Six Coaching Questions Around Goals. Click here to read.

Goal Setting at Multiple Levels in Group and Team Coaching - Click here to read this 2014 post.

Core Coaching Competency - Goal Setting - Click here to read this 2013 post.

A reminder of the 1% rule to business development - Click here to read this 2012 post.

The Power of a One Page Plan. Click here to read this 2015 post. 

What resources do you recommend as a coach? Please feel free to share these with others in comments or over at the Effective Group Coaching Facebook page. 

Best wishes,
Jennifer


Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
(416)996-8326
Goal setting is something we explore in the Mentor Coaching Group for ACC Renewals and ACC/ PCC portfolio - next group starts Thursday June 2nd at 915 am ET. Runs to September 8th.

We'll also be exploring goal setting in the context of group and team coaching during the 6th Annual Group and Team Coaching Intensive which will run in person on July 14-15 in beautiful Muskoka Canada. Early bird savings on until May 30th.