Group coaching can be tricky. It is easy to get bogged down in the minutia of agency changes, specific family or system partner challenges, and day to day business. It is, after all, much easier to bond over common struggles than it is to make positive changes.
This is a tremendous waste of opportunity. We all need to regularly review what we know, refine our learning, and add new craft knowledge. We all need to be reenergized and reinvigorated from time to time. We could all use more chances to teach and learn from our fellow staff members. Group coaching lets us do all of this – but only if we approach it the right way.
Consider this: you have a staff member who has been really struggling to work with a particular case worker. She has tried everything she can think of, and is getting really frustrated. You have tried to help, but are out of ideas. You have three choices:
- Tell her just to deal with it, and let everyone’s moral drop a little while they gossip around the office about that case worker and the struggles of providing wraparound.
- Address it in a group meeting by letting everyone complain together – increasing group bonding but undermining self-efficacy.
- Address it is a group meeting in a solutions focused manner that gives everyone a chance to brainstorm together, bringing the problem back to the process at the same it.
Obviously, option three is the way to go. It fosters bonding, the sharing of ideas, and the group wide development of craft knowledge. We offer a lot of specifics for how to do this in our Coaching Textbook, but we will cover the basics next week.