Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Archive for July, 2012

Ignite Leadership Coaching

The Ignite Leadership Coaching Course is one of those training events that made me go WOW! I did the training with Tony Draper from the Forton Group and Sharon Honner a couple of years ago in Queensland.

I was so impressed I went back to Queensland in October last year and completed the course again along with the Train the Trainer so Sharon and I could facilitate this course together.

We facilitated our first workshop in Adelaide late in June and were thrilled with the feedback we received. We were very fortunate to have Tony come to Adelaide to support us as we facilitated this for the first time.

The Forton Group is an international organisation who has designed The Professional Leadership Coach Training Programme to meet the needs of organisations and the people who work in them. The Programme is accredited with the International Coach Federation, and consists of four modules – The Ignite workshop being the first of these.

The concept of coaching is often not clearly understood as we often relate to Sports Coaching or coaching for a skill. The Forton Group define coaching as “Supporting people to get what they want, without doing it for them, or telling them what to do. The coaching conversation is an art, a science and a practice.”

In contrast to a mentor who has experience in a field and acts as a guide, a coach knows how to ask great questions so the coachee can discover for themselves and experience their own journey.

I also particularly like the Forton Groups definition of leadership; “Leadership is about people being successful and enabling success in others. Leadership is more than a position: it is who we are, what we achieve and how we do it.”

The Ignite Leadership Coaching is the foundation course, it introduces the professional leadership coaching model. It touches on emotional intelligence, how we coach to develop peoples’ emotional capacity, introduces the model and focuses on leadership vision and accessing resources.

Sharon and I hope to offer this fantastic program again later in 2012 or early in the new year. If this sounds of interest to you let us know.

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In this fast paced world we live in, and  with the distances in rural Australia, we are turning to web conferencing and teleconferencing as alternatives to meeting face to face.

Managing teleconferences well requires planning to ensure they are inclusive and effective. We miss all of the body language clues on the phone, however, if we learn to listen well it’s amazing how much we can “hear” from tone, pitch and intonation as well as language.

During a recent facilitation session we brainstormed ideas for effective teleconferencing these included;

  • Work out the group guidelines for teleconferencing while the group is face to face, if possible ,so everyone how ownership in how they will work together as a team.
  • Have a well prepared agenda which includes sufficient detail – send this out for input from everyone well before the meeting.
  • Have a list of everyone’s name and tick whenever they speak – that way you can keep track of contribution and ask for input from quiet participants.
  • Having the list also makes it easier to “run around the group” to ask for input on important topics of dicussion. I prefer to do this in a random order rather than thinking “it’s my turn next because I’m always asked after x”.
  • Start with a roll call and question – this might be “What hey would like to get out of the meeting?”, a quick report or something relevant to the group as an icebreaker.
  • Finish the meeting with a closing comment from everyone.
  • Keep the meeting to one hour, it’s very difficult for people to stay focused on the phone for longer.

Some ideas for group guidelines include

  • say your name each time you speak
  • one person speaks at a time
  • use the mute button to keep background noise to a minimum
  • be in a quiet environment
  • stay focused
  • it you can’t hear say so immediately
  • limit the time one person can speak
  • have clear detailed agenda and have read all papers prior to the meeting

If anyone else has any great ideas about how to make teleconferences effective I would love to hear from you!

Have a great week.

Facilitation Skills workshop

On Thursday and Friday last week Sharon and I facilitated our “Facilitation Skills Workshop”. We enjoyed working with our enthusiastic participants in this interactive workshop.

The workshop aims to provide practical hands-on skills to facilitate effective sessions.

Our focus for facilitation is – a structured session where participants are guided through a process to achieve an outcome. The outcome is created, accepted and understood by all.

The facilitator is “content free” their role is to guide the group to achieve an outcome, not to have knowledge of the topic. They draw the information from the group in an inclusive manner so all have ownership in the outcome.

This concept can be a challenge for people who normally provide information to, or chair, a group of people. It requires a change in mind set from being in control to being there to build consensus.

Our next “Facilitation Skills” workshop in scheduled for November 1st and 2nd in Adelaide.

This workshop was funded by GRDC and DAFF Caring for Country as part of the Grain and Graze 2 program, Adaptive Management theme for East SA. This project is managed by the Ag Excellence Alliance. 

Thankyou for the comments about my last couple of blogs – I’m sorry I haven’t answered them – I will soon. Look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts. Jeanette

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