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Group Coaching 201: Advanced Facilitating

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>> Hello, everyone. Now that you have a good understanding of how to organize a group, you're ready to learn how to structure and facilitate your own sessions. In this lecture, I'll cover the general structure of a group session and share with you five skills to effectively facilitate the group process. While more detailed models exist, there are essentially three main phases in a group session. You can think of them simply as the beginning, middle, and end. The beginning of a group session is when you want to warm up your group and get everyone comfortable with talking and sharing. You want to do this every session to help draw out all of your clients and get them engaged to encourage their participation when it's time to share about deeper matters. The easiest way to do this is to start with an icebreaker or a warm-up exercise. This should be an easy activity that lasts about 10 minutes. It can simply be fun and social, or it can relate to the topic you're going to introduce later on in your session, but it shouldn't tap directly into any deep or difficult emotions. Icebreakers, in your first few sessions, should be focused on helping your clients get to know one another and get them comfortable sharing about basic information about themselves. So moving on to the next phase, the middle of your session makes up the bulk of your time. This is the time for information, work, and sharing. Like an individual session, you'll want to check in with everyone first on their progress and goals, offering support and enforcing accountability. Take the time to listen to everyone who wants to share. If everyone is stuck around the prior week's topic or what transpired since the last session, it's okay to stay there and work with them on what's going on for them in the here and now. Otherwise, you want to move on into new territory. Typically, you want to have a general topic to guide each group session. You want to introduce concepts and key points, but take care not to turn this into a class or information session. Be sure to take ample time to elicit client stories, thoughts, and feedbacks around the topic, being mindful to try to include all group members in this conversation. I'll give you some tips on how to do that later on. To help your clients learn how to internalize and apply the new information to what's going on for them, you'll want to help them personalize and evaluate these concepts through their own lenses. Everyone learns differently, so you want to help them learn through multiple modes, audibly through notes and diagrams, and from hands-on experience. Having your client put things in their own words, shared through their own experiences, or looked at through a real life scenario will help them bring learning to life. You can facilitate this through discussions and group activities. Two ways to accomplish this are through what's called rounds and a common classroom technique called think-pair-share. Have you ever been in a class, or workshop, or a concept, or activity was introduced and after doing the work or given the topic some thought, everyone had to take turns going around the room to share their answers. This is what is referred to as a round. Rounds are a way to get everyone to share without having to individually single out group members. When everyone shares a room full of different perspectives and stories are expressed, which can lead to deeper conversations and insight. Now think back to a time when you were in a class and the instructor introduced a concept or activity, and then you had to get into pairs or small groups to discuss the answers and insights before bringing the full group back together for a larger discussion. This is the learning technique known as a think-pair-share. Making use of these techniques to facilitate discussion and activities will keep your session active and lively. At any point, if a client appears to want to go deeper, or your intuition tells you it's okay to draw them out further, you can zero in to do deep emotional work with that client. Not only is it useful for the group members in the spotlight, it gives all the other group members an opportunity to learn vicariously and offer appropriate constructive feedback. Striking a balance between deep emotional work and full group discussion is a key to keeping the flow in a group session. While it can be hard to cut someone short who is experiencing insight, or to curtail a lively discussion, you always want to leave some time, ideally at least 5 to 10 minutes to bring the group back up to the surface to reflect upon their learning and insights for the day. This is the end phase of a group session. And it should never be overlooked or treated as an afterthought. You want to make sure everyone took away the key points of the day and to have time for ample closure, making sure everyone is okay. It's also helpful to both you as the coach and your clients to elicit feedback at the end of each session to see what was most and least helpful and what was gained during your time together. To recap what you just learned, the general structure of a group session ideally begins with an icebreaker to warm up your clients and transition them into the middle of a session. This is when information is transmitted, work is done, and sharing is encouraged. At the end, time is reserved for reflection, conclusion drawing, and feedback. To help you engage your clients during each of these phases, I'll now share with you five advanced skills for effective group facilitation. Drawing out, cutting off, eye contact, linking, and protecting. One, drawing out. This is the skill of eliciting comments from clients to either get greater involvement from a quieter member or to get a client to go deeper. Before drawing a client out, you want to assess why they're silent or staying in shallow territory. They could be anxious to talk out of fear of how others will view them, they might be thinking or processing, they could be quiet by nature. A client could be mentally distracted, or they may be unprepared or confused. Also assess the other members of your group. Is there a very dominant client? There's always the possibility that an overly dominant personality is intimidating a quieter one. You never want to call out a quiet client in a way that makes them feel awkward or embarrassed. But there are ways that you can draw him or her out. Be direct, but gentle. You could say something like, "Daniel, last week you expressed interest in learning about limiting beliefs. Now that we've discussed the concept of faulty thinking, I'm curious to hear what you'd think about this topic and how you might relate." For more timid or anxious clients, invite them to participate, or give them the option to decline. You could say something like, "I'd love to hear what someone from this side of the circle is thinking. Daniel, do you have any thoughts about the concepts of limiting beliefs that you'd like to contribute to the conversation?" Another strategy here is to break everyone into pairs or do a round so that everyone is forced to start talking. Or you can establish eye contact with the client and hold it for a few seconds, discreetly and gently signaling to them that you're interested in hearing them share. Two, cutting off. In practice, this is exactly what it sounds like. You're stopping a group member from talking. We do this to keep the group safe and productive, and so everyone has a chance to share. This can be one of the hardest skills to apply because frankly, it feels awkward, and we don't want to come off as rude. But for the sake of time and for the sake of other group members, sometimes, we need to step in and redirect our clients. This technique is appropriate when tactfully applied in the following situations. When a client is rambling on without pause, when inaccurate factual information is being given, when a client is gossiping, and when group members are arguing, or being hurtful, or inappropriate. The point here to remember and to convey is that you're not criticizing, you're simply fulfilling your role as a facilitator to stop things that are not helpful to the group and keep things productive. It's important to explain in your first sessions that you may have to do this and why, so that clients are put on notice that they're not being singled out, or being judged if and when you cut them off. Three, eye contact. What I mean here is using eye contact strategically to help encourage or discourage behaviors or participation. You can purposely use eye contact to assist with the following, without having to single out group members or interrupt the discussion. To draw quiet clients and convey that you're interested in them, to signal, to disengage or distract clients that you'd like them to refocus, to discourage clients who are having side conversations, to demonstrate active listening when a client makes an important point. Conversely, you can withhold eye contact as a way to signal a long-winded talker to wrap up or to discourage dominant group members from sharing. Four, linking. Linking is a technique to bridge sharing or a discussion from one client to the next. This allows them to see how their experiences and problems connect them with others in the group that they share the same struggles and concerns. Linking is a simple tool to increase feelings of connectedness and empathy in groups. It's a way to remind clients that they're not alone in their struggles, and to encourage them to lean on and learn from each other for support. This skill requires remembering the stories and details of your clients. When you pick up on themes, patterns, and similar shared stories between two clients either overtly or in between the lines, all you need to do is use good timing to point out the similarity and encourage the related client to share or offer feedback. For example, you could say something like, "Kelly, what I hear you saying is that you're struggling to create time in your day to honor and pamper yourself. Do you remember last week when Monica shared with us about how she felt guilty taking one night off a week just for herself, and we encouraged her to go home and try it? I'm wondering if something like this might work for you." "Monica, would you be willing to share with Kelly and with us what this experience was like for you?" Another example of how to link two clients would be, "Well, Lillian, thank you for sharing that insightful comment about the tendency to self-sabotage when things are going really well." "Dennis, you mentioned earlier that you're struggling this week, and that you felt like you were taking steps backwards. I'm curious if this relates at all for you with what Lillian just said." Linking is a great tool. Just be careful to use it in a way that does not cut clients off or keeps the discussion moving too quickly from one person to the next. If you feel like a client needs to go deeper into their story, let them continue to travel inward before bringing them back up to the surface and linking them to someone else. Five, protecting. When clients are hurtful and say something inappropriate or judgmental we want to react by correcting the offending client's wrongful behavior and modeling positive interactions. But sometimes, it can be beneficial to protect clients in a time of vulnerability. And there's a way to do this without making the offended client feel victimized or incapable of handling their own matters. This can be a difficult concept for new coaches to apply. You can protect the client while still supporting their empowerment. You're not jumping in and rescuing them, rather you're stepping in to mediate and provide an opportunity for group members to steer the conversation back in a positive and productive direction. Protecting is more about a way of reiterating ground rules in the context of the current situation. It's a way of blocking a situation abruptly before it escalates into something worse. You can protect a vulnerable client by saying something like "Mark, you may not agree with Tamara's decision to stay in her relationship, but it's not for any of us to judge, and I'm certain she had a legitimate reason for doing so." "Tamara, I would like for you to please continue. How did this decision serve you?" You could use the technique of protection like this. "Astrid, I see the overall point you're trying to make, but we shouldn't use Hannah as an example in this situation in her absence. Could you find another way to get your idea across? Perhaps use an example from your own experience?" So which of these skills do you feel most comfortable trying out? Do any seem confusing or intimidating? Practice will get you comfortable and familiar with how to expertly apply these advanced group coaching skills, and with time, they'll become second nature. To help you guide your practice, I've included a handout in this module called Five Advanced Skills for Facilitating Groups that provides a quick summary of each of these skills. You can refer back to it and use it as a refresher when you work with your own groups. Do you feel ready now to get out there and coach a group? Seize the moment and don't wait to launch a group of your own. The sooner you jump in, the quicker you learn how to swim. Share your plans with each other in the Facebook group, and thanks for watching.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on May 30, 2019

Group Coaching 201: Advanced Facilitating

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