The Power of Follow-up Calls | by Jennifer Britton

Coach Making Notes Ready for Follow-up Call with Client

Group Coaching involves an ongoing series of conversations, with a focus on supporting a client's individual goals and agenda. It's this ongoing focus on goals, and the deeper levels of action and awareness, which shift the conversation from the facilitation space into coaching.

A component which is not always incorporated into group coaching, but adds tremendous value for both clients and coach, is a follow-up call once the program has ended. Whether this follow-up call is scheduled for two weeks or two months after the coaching process, follow-up calls support ongoing accountability for the clients, continued integration of the learning and useful evaluation feedback for the coach.

Here are 4 Powerful Ways Follow-up Calls are Helpful:

  1. They're a catalyst and reminder for clients of the learning and change they have undertaken.
  2. They extend the learning and action cycle for our clients. It's quite common to hear clients say how useful it is to have the reminder of what they committed to take action on.
  3. Follow-up calls provide valuable insights and feedback for the coach, beyond the immediate program timeframe. It's during these more longer term windows that coaches hear more about the ripple effect of coaching.
  4. Finally, in coaching we often say that our coaching conversations "make the invisible, visible". Follow-up calls provide another window to helping teams and groups SEE and articulate their world.

How to Have a Follow-up Call:

Start by preparing people for this elongated coaching process. Set up the expectation of follow-up calls at the beginning of the coaching program, thereby extending the range of focus for the client.

There are a number of ways follow-up calls might take place after a group coaching program. One example is a series of ongoing coaching conversations, for example, a one-hour conversation once a month for six months.  You could also have a conversation every 2 months, or at the quarterly or even six month mark.

Another idea is asking group members do to a "letter to self". This is where people write themselves a note about their aspirations six months or one year from now. Then you send  these letters to the group members just before the follow-up call.

Following the initial 6 months once a program has ended, even longer term follow-up with teams and groups might include:

  • Quarterly "booster-shots" for teams who have been coached. While the formal coaching process may be complete, the team may be able to benefit from regular "pause points" for connection, reflection and focus.
  • Review and updates after six months or one year. It can be interesting to take the team back through some of the things they explored, whether it's through photos or words. What are the items, themes and tools they are using? What has stuck? What did not?
  • Longer-term evaluation. Anecdotally we know the impact of coaching usually happens after the coaching conversations, when our clients put things into action. By meeting with group or team members again at a later date we hear about the medium and longer-term impact of the coaching process, and the sustainable changes they have made.

Questions coaches might consider including in a follow-up call, or in the lead up to one, are:

  1. What have you put into practice since we last met?
  2. What successes have you had?
  3. What goals have you taken action towards?
  4. Looking back at our conversations, what's made an impact?
  5. How do you want to keep connected?
  6. What can you do to build in regular checkpoints for yourself?
  7. Who do you want to be accountable to?

Wrap-up

There are many different ideas, options and timeframes for following up with group and team coaching clients.

I'll leave you to ponder the question: "What can you do to help individuals 'lock in their learning' AND further integrate their goals once the coaching has ended?"

Contributing author: Jennifer Britton is the author "Effective Group Coaching" (2010) and "From One To Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching" (2013) and Effective Virtual Conversations (2017). Jennifer provides a wide range of supports for coaches, and other professionals who are working with teams and groups. From her Conversation Sparker Deck  to the 40 Ways to Work with Visual Cards, she's committed to helping coaches create engaging and impactful work with the teams and groups they support, while creating businesses that thrive.

Jennifer's latest workbook and analog planner Coaching Business Builder Workbook and Planner will be released later this month and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

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Image of Coach Ready to Have Follow-up Call with Client by EHStockphoto via Shutterstock

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