Posts Taged group-coaching

Weekend Love, September Twelfth

iStock_000049591616Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently. This handful of links takes you to tools or insightful content. Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file if it fits the mood.

We have preferred patterns of communication—particular people, topics, and tones (think gossip).  Dan Rockwell gives some quick advice on what to keep and what to discard when he writes about How to Spiral Up Not Down.

Who wouldn’t like better teamwork?  Jim Whitehurst suggests 3 Ways to Encourage Smarter Teamwork.

No matter how much you try, you can’t do it all.  Leo Babuta provides some insights about making your choices when he writes How Not To Do It All.

From the archives:  Most of the people I coach are trying to find the right way to share their products online without becoming tedious.  I like the advice from Naomi Dunford when she talks about 3 Simple Ways To Mention Your Products From Your Blog or Newsletter.

Read More

Weekend Love, March Fourteenth

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Teams and groups have been studied for decades.  Ed Batista lists nine symptoms of group strength and growth.  They provide great insights into how you want to develop your team.

I wish I could write like Jeff Goins.  He tells a story and somewhere in the middle it becomes a life lesson.  Sweet.  http://goinswriter.com/shame/?

Want to stop yourself from those knee-jerk reactions? Dana Lightman, Ph.D. is a counselor and a coach with some great insights into not letting your lizard brain take over.  Part one explains what happens and part two gives you some alternatives.  (Both are relatively short).

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/02/12/tip-1-retrain-your-amygdala-part-one/

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/03/12/tip-one-retrain-your-amygdala-part-two/

Black bottomed oatmeal pie.  Because it’s pi day (get it? get it?) and we should all salivate just a little over something like this.

Read More

The Secret of Mastermind Groups

MastermindWho wouldn’t want to be in a mastermind group? And what coach wouldn’t want to work with one?  The name says it all:  MASTERMIND; complete understanding; supreme oneness with anything that matters; peace with the universe.  I’ve wanted to coach a mastermind group for several years but couldn’t get past the planning stage.  I was going to have to describe to possible participants the characteristics of a mastermind group and the reasons to be in one.  What makes a mastermind group unique and why is it better than regular group coaching?  I couldn’t figure it out.  Then the light bulb moment hit.  I was over-thinking it all.  (Isn’t there something ironic about making that decision after 14 months?)  Here is the difference:  The core distinction between group coaching and mastermind group coaching is a single word, “mastermind.”  This word creates three differences.

Mastermind groups are synergistic.  As the group participants come together in a mastermind group, they create a power greater than that which can be explained as simple group dynamics.  They create a mastermind.  Napoleon Hill describes it best, “You may catch a significant suggestion from this statement: No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” For Hill, this is a spiritual energy that “becomes available to every individual brain in a group.”

Mastermind groups are cooperatively competitive. While that sounds like a contradiction in terms, it’s not.  Every participant in a mastermind group plays full-out and in doing so, pushes everyone else to do the same.  The best competitors in the world will tell you that the competition is really within them.  It’s not a matter of beating the other person; you have to beat yourself.  When you join a mastermind group, you agree to do that: to not hold back; to push everyone else so that they will push you; to cooperatively drive everyone to their best level.  Ginger Cockerham refers to this concept in her book, Group Coaching: A Comprehensive Blueprint.   She writes, “As the group evolves from an unformed group of individuals seeking personal achievement and becomes a formed group of interactive and interdependent members, participants understand that they have a vested interest in supporting and encouraging other members to achieve the outcomes they want.”

Mastermind groups are highly creative. Regular coaching depends primarily on the creativity of one person—the one being coached.  Most group coaching does the same thing.  A mastermind group is different.  When you participate in a mastermind, you have the opportunity to offer alternatives, weigh ideas from the other participants. Napoleon Hill talks about Andrew Carnegie, who surrounded himself with about 50 men in his mastermind so that he had plenty of people to weigh in with their ideas.

Once I developed a clear mindset of the mastermind, I began to understand how my role as a coach shifts.  Here’s how:

  • My job is to build the mastermind.  When I grow the mastermind, everyone in the group benefits.
  • My job is to coach less and facilitate more.  My role is to allow others to coach, challenge, and innovate.
  • My mindset requires me to stay coach-like without behaving like a coach.

Please react.  I’ve you’ve been in a mastermind, what made it different for you?

 

Read More

Two Books for Your Use on Group Coaching

The most typical format for coaching is a one-to-one encounter.  However, both the Sherpa Executive Coaching Surveys and the ICF Global Study indicate that alternative methods of coaching are growing in popularity.  One of the most popular alternatives is group or team coaching, which provides a coaching alternative at a more fiscally conservative price.

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of bookshelf resources on group coaching.  Two of the better ones are Effective Group Coaching by Jennifer Britton and Group Coaching: A Comprehensive Blueprint by Ginger Cockerham. The two books provide very different approaches to the same topic.

Britton’s book is best read first.  Although the book claims it is written for both new and seasoned coaches, a better claim would be to say it is written for someone who has very little experience in group coaching.  The book is grounded on a wealth of knowledge that shows the author’s experience.  She shares some of the hard lessons in starting a group coaching practice and makes it very easy to avoid those same errors. I especially appreciated the chapters on the business case for group coaching (Chapter 2) and the one on the essentials of adult learning (Chapter 3).  If you are thinking of starting a group coaching practice, this is the book to read from cover to cover.

Ginger Cockerham Group CoachingCockerham’s book takes a different approach to laying a foundation for group coaching.   It’s about coaching first and business practices second.  Each chapter begins with a Venn diagram (Chapter 1 is shown here) to visually illustrate the theoretical concepts covered.  What follows is a very concise explanation of the concept, some great case study insights, and then some coaching questions to prompt the reader into making their own applications.  This is the book to have as a reference when you want to take your group coaching to a new level.

Cockerham Group Coaching Chapter 1 imageMy recommendation is that you obtain both.  They make nice companion volumes on the practice and theory of group coaching.

If you’ve had a chance to read either book, please feel free to share your thoughts.

Read More

Group Coaches Are Group Facilitators

At Ultimate Coach University, we teach some courses in group coaching.  Most beginning coaches are concerned about doing too much telling, training or directing.  The perspective we try to develop is one in which group facilitation is a key part of group coaching.  Here’s why:

Coaches are always facilitators.   A facilitator is defined as “one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision.”  That’s what coaches do.  Whether it’s one-to-one or with a group, coaches create an environment within which learning, self-discovery, curious invention and the like occurs.

The focus is the individual in the group setting.  Groups are not teams. Teams have a goal that requires a specialized participation from everyone.  Groups do not. Groups exist because the group members see an individual benefit from being there.  As a coach facilitator, the goal is to maximize the benefits for all of the individuals in the group.  The only goal of the group is to maximize the individual’s achievements.

Group dynamics are more complex. The coach always has part of themselves in the coaching and part of themselves monitoring the coaching.  The coach is responsible for time management, focus, productivity and accountability.  Those occur when the coach is monitoring (facilitating) the interactions.  In one sense, the coach is both mental in and mentally out of the coaching space.  When group coaching, the mentally out part is more complex.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • Instead of overall time, the coach has to manage the portion of time available for each person to talk.
  • When each person talks, it changes the communication expectations for everyone else.  Imagine a group of sales leaders and one says, “This month sucks. My top people have taken the month off, nobody wants to promote, and our ability to attract new people is terrible.”  The group can easily spiral down from there.  Somebody who is having a good month may hesitate to talk because they don’t want make other participants feel bad.

In short, the coach has to manage the group in order to produce an environment that will maximize things for each individual.  The coach may have to interrupt clients, add topics to the agenda, or cut some topics short for the purpose of getting the most for everyone.

Peer coaching opportunities arise.  I’ve been working with groups for nearly five years. In that time, one of the benefits for everyone is what they get from the other participants.  They get a diversity of opinions, questions from the group, and suggestions to move things forward.  In addition, the group members get to hear others being coached in real-time and strong role modeling in communication skills.

Ginger Cockerham defines group coaching in her book, Group Coaching, as “a facilitated group process led by a skilled professional coach and created with the intention of maximizing the combined energy, experience, and wisdom of individuals who choose to join in order to achieve organizational objectives or individual goals.” In other words, coaching and facilitation are conjoined.  When we start with the assumption that the two go together, the resulting coaching is stronger.

Read More