2. Group Coaching: Mechanics of a Session by Gloria E. Bader, Ed.D.

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The mechanics of a Group Coaching program vary depending on the number of people in a group and the number of sessions held over a period of time. Five half-day sessions (5 hours in length) over 7-10 months will accommodate five participants.

Ideally, an orientation to the methodology of Action Learning launches the Group Coaching work ahead. Confidentiality and other ground rules are established. After the orientation, the sessions generally follow this type of format.

  • Members define and discuss work-related challenges one at a time. Themes such as quality or change management may serve as themes for the challenges.
  • Time is divided equally among the members, 45 minutes to an hour
  • Without interruption, one member presents his/her issue for 5 minutes
  • Other participants then ask questions to assist the presenter to gain a deeper understanding of the issue and their assumptions about it. Approximately 25 minutes
  • Typically, the problem is re-defined by the presenter and new actions ensue.
  • At the right point, participants guide the presenter to action via questions, such as: “How might you go about this?” 8 minutes
  • At the end of the session the facilitator guides a discussion of system insights and themes, best questions, organizational and personal learning. 7 minutes
  • Over time, the group members improve their abilities and eventually manage their own sessions
  • The skills are immediately usable in countless other settings

During the sessions participants achieve:

  • Uninterrupted time to frame the business issue (45 minutes per person)
  • Intense listening
  • Stronger questions to assist with deeper understanding of an issue
  • Challenges to each other’s thinking and assumptions
  • Improved feedback abilities
  • Action steps and accountability
  • Reflection on lessons learned
  • Maximum group effectiveness
  • Systems thinking
  • Cross-functional themes
  • Support
  • Trust

Our next blog will offer a sample of the pre-work the participants bring to a session.

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