Virtual peer group coaching works. We have been running a beta test for almost 18 months with peer-based accountability groups, Pro-circles. These groups consist of up to seven participants, a facilitator/coach and in some cases, a scribe. These meetings are run through a cloud-based video conference solution and range from industry specific, general, mid-level management training to internal management training. These tests have ranged from 30 minutes once a week to 3 hours once a month. The topics that are taught are adjusted to the group for the desired outcome, however the core components are always the same. These components are, confidentiality, accountability, teaching, and problem-solving.
It is my strongly held belief that as we become more “connected” as a society, the less we are being open with letting people see the areas where we really need help. With many of the social platforms we are only seeing the “highlight” reel of other peoples’ lives. We see the great vacations, awards, meals, clothes…blah, blah, blah. Yet, when we are frustrated with a coworker or boss, feeling incompetent, or out of our depth, we never say it on social media. Candidly, there are more and more people who have no place to turn for this sort of dialogue. As a result, we keep it bottled up and only see everyone else’s “highlight” reel.
As a member of the business group, Entrepreneurs Organization, I have learned much about this style of communication and meetings. The forum experience in this organization is known as a place where you confidentially celebrate the best 5% and openly discuss the worst 5% of things that happen in your life. As a result, you learn that you are not alone in what you may be feeling, good or bad– there are others in similar predicaments and it is all 100% confidential.
As we have moved down the road with these Pro-Circles, I initially thought this would primarily be an affordable way for people to engage in group coaching. Unlike my wife who runs group counseling sessions, this was intended to be more of a group-coaching and accountability model. What I am finding, is that people join for the coaching, get value from being held accountable, and keep coming because it provides a confidential environment for problem solving.
In this series of blogs, I will outline the types of Pro-Circles we are running and why people are getting value. Perhaps one of these could work for your organization.
Do you know someone who could value an accountability group? Do you need some support and community?