A colleague of mine, Bachan Anand, kindly recorded a brief interview with me about coaching circles. It is available on YouTube. Bachan and I have been working to start an Agile coach mentor group and after a few false starts, finally succeeded!
The backstory here is my exploration of different ideas relating to coaching circles, mentor groups, and other formats. As often happens when working with a concept important to our own development, the idea keeps coming up all around me. The group with Bachan is the second such group I’m leading with Agile coaches. Then, last week a coaching colleague (not an Agile coach) asked me to help her start a group coaching program for a large financial institution. Suddenly, I realized how my world was calling me into something.
What I’m wrestling with is how to choose–or perhaps better, to synthesize–from amongst different forms to guide these groups. My purpose is to share two things: my experience in coaching and organizational transformation, and my professional coach training as a relationship systems coach.
One form is the self-organized Coaching Circle. The Orlando Scrum Gathering recently held a session on this format, documented here. This form taps into the richness of community that comes from peer collectives and the power of the Community of Practice, a concept articulated by the anthropologist Etienne Wenger.
A second form is one I have personally experienced: the Mastermind group, originally articulated by Napoleon Hill. My mastermind group is a source of inspiration, intimacy, tremendous personal support, as well as accountability and challenge. It is a group that will ‘call me forth’ to my own greatness. (If you don’t have one, do yourself a favor and investigate it.)
I grew up as a clinician with case presentations in Peer Group Supervision. The learning that happens in this context can be both deep and vulnerable. Even though the center of attention seems to be the client problem you brought to the party, what is truly revealed is our own patterns, limitations, preconceptions and false beliefs, in addition to our magnificence and power.
Finally, the Mentor Group is a form I am starting to explore in a big way. It leverages one or more people with extensive experience across multiple mentees, who both benefit from the mentor and from the network of their peers.
The synthesis for me right now could be called a Coach Mentor Circle. It combine the Mentor Group with the Coach Circle, while also using a component of Peer Group Supervision. This will go on for a set number of sessions, then the group will become whatever it needs to be, perhaps a Mastermind group. I believe this is part of something trying to happen in our world. . .bringing coaching and mentoring to more people and creating community bonds and networks in the process.
By the way, there are still two slots open, so if you are interested please let me know.