How to Engage Your Teams and Groups in the Virtual World | by Jennifer Britton PCC

Group Team connecting virtually

Group coaching has come into its own in recent years—and its popularity is understandable. Not only is it economically scalable, but it meets the real need for people to feel connected to others as they learn, especially in a remote or virtual setting.

Engagement and motivation are key whether you're laser coaching, backdoor coaching (where people learn from seeing others being coached) or taking a more collaborative coaching approach.

There are many different formats for group coaching, as the needs of clients can be very different. But within these variations, central components shape the conversation.

It's essential to engage our virtual groups

Structuring our group coaching with care is one way to ensure that we really are coaching, not training or mentoring.

But how can you make sure that group members are fully, deeply engaged in a virtual session?

Well, beyond the core coaching competencies of focusing on the clients' goals and co-creating the roadmap of where you are exploring, in virtual group coaching, each conversational touchpoint should ideally:

  1. Create a space for connection.
  2. Create a space for reflection.
  3. Create a space for action.
  4. Create a space for awareness and insight.

Let's explore each of these four key points.

Here are 4 Ways to Engage Your Teams and Groups in the Virtual World

1. Create a space for connection

In my work I talk about the Six Layers of Connection™.

During virtual coaching sessions, you want people to:

  • Connect to the session topic – What's their personal connection with the topic? Why is it important to them? How does the topic have relevance in their life?
  • Connect to you as the coach – What is the connection with you, the coach? What have you done to build trust and connection with each group member?
  • Connect to others on the call – Group members need to feel connected with other group members. This means that they get to know each other, and have opportunities to connect with each other, during and outside of the call. Without a connection to others on the call, the learning process may not go as deep as it could.
  • Connect to the content – What's the connection to the content you're engaging in? What elements are important to each person?
  • Connection to the platform – What elements of the platform (Zoom, Teams or other) will help you in moving the call forward?
  • Connection to your context – What are you doing to connect clients to the wider context? It's key that we spend time focusing on the wider context, and not just focused on a screen.

In particular, connection to others in a group coaching process is absolutely essential. It's likely that people will learn just as much from each other as they will from you.

2. Create a space for reflection

Central to the coaching process is leaving a space for reflection.

Whether it's a series of questions provided as a reflective pause, or time spent in silence, what are you doing to give people time to take stock of their situation? How are you supporting them in exploring what they are doing—and not doing?

3. Create a space for action

Action is an important part of the coaching process. Coaching involves taking action on what's important for the client. It's about putting things into practice.

What are you doing to build in this time during the call? After the call?

In particular, what are clients doing to track their progress?

Whether you have them use a Monthly Daily Tracker from PlanDoTrack or a customized form, helping clients note their progress along their journey is a powerful part of coaching.

4. Create a space for awareness and insight

Be sure to leave time in the group coaching process for new awareness.

In a group coaching conversation in the virtual space, it's especially important to connect people on several levels.

Awareness can be created on multiple levels, through becoming more aware of our body, or mindset. This can be done via questions, sharing with others or journaling.

What insights are people gleaning from the coaching process? What new awareness is the conversation creating?

Wrap-up

As you plan your own virtual group coaching sessions, what will you do to engage your groups? Which of the 4 elements above will you develop in your virtual groups?

Jennifer BrittonContributing author: Jennifer Britton's book Effective Group Coaching was the first book in the world to be published on the topic of group coaching. Celebrating its 15th year, Jennifer's Group Coaching Essentials and Advanced Group and Team Coaching Practicum programs have become known as the must-do training in the area of group coaching. Focused on providing coaches with best practices in designing, marketing and implementing group coaching, the program has helped hundreds of coaches launch their own group and team coaching programs in a wide variety of settings. Together both courses are approved for 18.75 CCEs with the ICF - learn more here.

For more on remote and virtual conversations, be sure to pick up a copy of Jennifer's newest book, Reconnecting Workspaces: Pathways to Thrive in the Virtual, Remote and Hybrid World, available through her sites or Amazon.

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Image of Group / Team Connecting Virtually on Screen by fizkes via Shutterstock

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