We help groups and individuals achieve their goals through effective facilitation, one-on-one coaching and the design of mentorship programs.
Our facilitation services extend beyond the realm of strategic planning. There may be many reasons why clients want to bring together a group of people to provide input on important topics. For example, we have designed and facilitated the following types of meetings:
- Senior leadership discussions about a privately-held company’s purpose and values
- Sessions with senior government officials to advance horizontal government initiatives
- Province-wide consultations with owners of tourist accommodations in anticipation of legislative changes
- The identification of priorities with the board of a trade association
- Forum meetings/retreats through the Young Presidents’ Organization, Inc. (YPO, Inc.)
Our President, Maureen Reid, has a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education. She is a very experienced facilitator. Clients describe her skills as follows:
Our team has a high degree of trust and confidence in Maureen. She works with the CFO and me to design the planning sessions. She then facilitates them in a way that allows everyone the opportunity to participate. She is effective at creating opportunities for folks who like to talk while they think but also for those who like to think first and then talk. She is very respectful towards everyone in the room and makes each person feel like his/her input is valued. She listens very keenly to what is being said and captures it in real time on her computer/screen. This provides additional validation to participants that they are being heard and understood. Maureen is not afraid to challenge or ask clarifying questions to help the group think critically and clearly about ideas or perspectives being offered. Her ability to summarize and articulate a consensus is exceptional. We also rely upon her superior writing abilities to draft strategic plans that reflect the input of the team.
Maureen demonstrates effective discipline when it comes to keeping the groups focused, on task and accomplishing their objectives within the time available. However, she is flexible in her approach and can “weave and bob” during the course of a session while always having an eye to what the desired outcomes are at the end of the day.
Donnie Clow, Chief Executive Officer, Crombie REIT
Maureen works hard to design retreat experiences that give participants with different styles and personalities the opportunity to contribute equally. She mixes up the small discussion groups to expose participants to different people throughout the day. She also uses a variety of group exercises to give people the opportunity to think before they speak and to build their confidence gradually by starting small and working into larger group contexts. Maureen demonstrates flexibility and adaptability during the course of a retreat – she is able to rework the agenda quickly and easily if particular segments have warranted additional time and attention.
As a facilitator, she is very respectful of each person’s contributions and strives to validate the feedback in some way – either by thanking the person offering it, commenting on what a nice insight was just offered or linking it to something someone else said and stretching it beyond.
Maureen maintains effective group discipline, particularly regarding start/end times, return from breaks, etc. She has a nice but firm way of getting everyone back on track.
Her ability to facilitate and capture the participants’ input in real time on a visible screen really adds value to a planning retreat. Participants feel heard, the text can be manipulated until a consensus emerges and people can see that their time and efforts are yielding productive outcomes.
If dissenters emerge, Maureen gives them the courtesy of hearing them out. She then trusts the “will of the group” to emerge by inviting other perspectives on the issue. If there is a way to reconcile perspectives, she is able to connect the dots and summarize a position that has the potential to resolve conflicts.
Michael Kontak, Former Chair, CAA Maritimes/Atlantic Board of Directors
If you have an important meeting or series of consultations coming up, we invite you give us a call to help you design, facilitate and document the session(s).
Coaching is a process that supports an individual’s personal or professional growth and development. Jenny Rogers, in Coaching Skills – A Handbook (3 rd edition) defines it as follows:
“Coaching is a partnership of equals whose aim is to achieve speedy, increased and sustainable effectiveness through focused learning in every aspect of the client’s life. Coaching raises self-awareness and identifies choices. Working to the client’s agenda, the coach and the client have the sole aim of closing the gaps between potential and performance.”
Coaching offers clients:
- Time and space to think and talk about issues of importance to them
- A confidential, supportive and non-judgmental sounding board
- Access to effective question-posing designed to help them gain clarity on specific issues
- The opportunity to generate and evaluate options
- Support in designing follow-up actions to advance particular objectives
- An accountability mechanism that allows the client to set the pace of progress
At BoardWorks, the focus of our coaching practice is on senior executives who are looking to enhance their working relationship with their board and on board members/leaders who are looking to have more impact around the boardroom table.
Having said this, we have the coaching skills and experience to serve the professional development needs of a much broader range of clients.
BoardWorks helps clients design, implement and evaluate formal mentoring programs.
In order to be successful, a mentoring program needs to:
- Have clear objectives
- Be well-designed to meet those objectives
- Include effective program promotion, mentor recruitment and training
- Have a good process for matching mentors and mentees
- Support the mentoring relationships through education and helpful resources
- Evaluate its impact at individual and organizational levels
BoardWorks has the skills and experience to support your organization’s development of an effective mentorship program.