Coach: Lee-Anne Van Rooyen
Guidelines on Appropriate Conduct for Online Group Coaching
Engaging remotely using technology is fairly new for most of us. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines below on appropriate conduct and etiquette for our online Group Coaching sessions.
- Please RSVP so that we know who to expect online.
- Be online 5mins early and test your audio and video before the meeting starts. It is best to use a headset if you have one, and be sure that your mouthpiece is positioned over your mouth. Ensure your camera is positioned at eye level by placing a box or some books under your laptop. Be aware of what others can see behind you and make use of an appropriate virtual background should you need to.
- If you arrive online late, please keep your microphone on mute so as to not disrupt the session.
- Once the meeting has started, please keep your video on and put your microphone on mute to minimize background noise.
- Choose a quiet, private location for the session. Ensure that the people around you know that you are in a coaching session and that you should not be disturbed for the duration of the session. Remember it is not only for your privacy but also the privacy of the others in the session that should be respected – they also need to know what they are saying cannot be overheard by people not participating in the session.
- Switch off your social media and email notifications so that you are not distracted during the session. Put your phone and tablet off or on silent and out of reach.
- Be prepared. Make sure you have your notes and whatever stationery you need, as well as something to drink during the session.
- Be present. Stay focused and engaged throughout the session. You are welcome to stand during the meeting and even stretch to keep alert. Don’t sneak out. If you need
to leave the session for any reason, please let the Coach and other participants know.
- Be prepared to introduce yourself briefly if and when invited to do so (by sharing your name, location, company, role, and something personal about yourself for example
your family, hobbies, interests)
- If taking part in a discussion, always speak clearly and loudly and be concise and to the point – be mindful of time, but avoid speaking too fast.
- Take note of any “rules” that the group may agree to with the intention to ease the flow of the discussion, for e.g. don’t interrupt others, how speaking turns will be
organized by the Coach, how to use the chat facility, etc. In addition the group may agree to some signs for e.g. wave if you agree and empathise with what another person is saying, and thumbs up (yes) or down(no) when voting.
- Due to the nature of these Group Coaching sessions, please note that these online sessions may not be recorded.
What is Group Coaching?
Coaching has, over the past several years, become a widely used and highly valued contributor to the people development field. However, it is generally accepted as a one to one exercise – the coach acting as a mirror or sounding board, and asking challenging questions, with the intention of enabling their client to gain deeper understanding and
therefore clarity, for any situation or issue they may be facing.
So how can coaching be offered to a group, and how does it work?
The basic principle remains unchanged. The coach engages with each individual in the group as they seek to unleash their full potential to meet any challenge. It is therefore important that the group is comprised of individuals at a similar age and stage in their careers and development. It is very likely therefore that they will be facing the same, or similar challenges.
For group coaching to be successful, not only does it require a group of individuals who have similar requirements from their coaching. It also demands that each participant is willing to trust the group members, to respect each other’s confidences and, rather like the coach, engage the process in a non-judgmental and open manner.
Clearly, each individual does not get quite the same personal attention from the coach – who has to spread themselves among all members of the group during a coaching session. There is however significant compensation in the form of the support and input which comes from the other group members during the discussions. Typically, over time, the group members form a close network which lasts well beyond the coaching intervention.
About seven years ago, the CEO of a large organisation decided to implement the use of goals and objectives to align the work of the staff with the mission and success of the organisation. There was talk that, once everyone was familiar with how the process worked, this would enable the organisation to then implement a “pay for performance” process to tie pay rates to performance and ensure that those who truly did an outstanding job would be properly rewarded; unlike the union, where everyone gets
the same raise (output) whether they worked at 98% or 68% of their ability (input).
A third-party software program, designed for helping those at the top set “SMART” objectives, was purchased and set up on the organisations primary server. A team of
top-level management members was formed to create three or four organisational objectives for the year and then cascade them down to the department supervisors, who would then cascade them down to their management and direct reports, who would in turn then cascade them down to their staff. The idea seemed like a good one until the employees began to receive and read the cascaded objectives. They were vague and not easy to measure. At that point, they mostly scratched their heads and would say, “What does this mean and how am I to affect it?” The employees spent a great deal of time trying to determine what part of their work related to these objectives so they could keep track of the tasks they were required to perform and so that they could use this as evidence that they were doing things to support the organisation’s
In addition, managers at the mid-level had the option of adding up to three additional goals to an individual’s list of pre-set organisational objectives. These goals are
designed to improve the individual’s skills, knowledge, or job attitude. The managers usually set two of these goals based on behaviours of their direct reports that they
would like to see more of or less of. The third goal could be contributed by the employee with the manager’s approval – so sometimes no third goal was added or if added, could be amended by the manager.
Unfortunately, the organisation realized that the performance assessment software program with its organisational objectives did not appear to be motivating the employees to be exemplary performers. Management was lost as to why not. In fact, some of the employees appeared to be performing at a lower level and appeared to
be underperforming – such as, not completing their projects and assignments on time.
Seven years later, things have not changed and there is still no pay-for-performance program that the employees are aware of. Each year the employees receive a form listing 4-6 organisational objectives and nearly all of them feel that they are being tasked with meaningless goals for which they will receive no reward for attaining.
You are brought in to solve the problem.
What do you do?
The program director at a small, family-owned gym in an affluent neighborhood works closely with the owner, his wife, and one other manager managing the day-to-day operations of the gym.
The program director’s main job is to oversee the frontline staff of the gym, which ranges from 5-7 people, all part-timers. In an effort to motivate these part-time workers, the owner occasionally comes up with monthly sales goals that he randomly drops on the staff. The gym is in a great location and always performs well with regard to sales, but the owner always sets low marks for the employees and berates them when they try to set higher sales goals on their own.
When the other managers tried to approach the owner to have open discussions about setting different goals, an argument ensued and the owner stormed off. Any feedback given by employees as to the progress made towards attaining the owner’s goals, was usually negative and seldom included solutions or suggestions for correcting the issues that were stopping the staff from achieving these goals. In addition, when the goals were not reached, the owner would react harshly toward the managers and employees, and would hold them responsible for the failure to reach these goals.
You are brought in to solve the problem.
What do you do?