Virtual Group Art Based Coaching – my top 5 tips

In my last blog I shared my top 5 tips for art based one to one coaching within a virtual space. In this blog I want to expand on those tips and share my learning from working with virtual groups. The tips from one to one coaching equally apply here so I am not going to repeat those but build on them with new ones for virtual art based groups. I hope you find them useful and if you have other tips that are working for you it would be great to hear from you. Please add them to the comments below or email me and I can share in future blogs.

Tip 1 – Send through guidance on how your clients can prepare for their group coaching space

In addition to the tips for one for one to one coaching you may also want to include in your guidance how the art based group session will run. This would include introductions, how you are going to contract together and manage the time, as well as setting out your process for art-based coaching in the session. This all helps to manage group expectations and raise early questions and concerns.

Tip 2 – Agree at the beginning how you are going to manage the virtual space together

With group coaching the time you spend together is much longer and, in addition to the one to one coaching tips, you may also want to include the following as part of your contracting together:

  • Managing incidental noises through asking group members to mute themselves whilst they are not talking. This will also stop people being talked over as there can be lags on the internet
  • Agreeing how participants can join the conversation by, for example, putting their hands up and then unmuting when you invite them to join
  • Agreeing how interruptions will be managed with, for example, using mute and turning off video
  • What a member can do if their connection is lost or what will happen if your connection as host is lost
  • Agreeing how you are all going to manage time, including allotting time for each person to explore their image and coaching issue, comfort breaks and space for feedback at the end

Tip 3 – Reminding everyone to be fully present for each other

One of the things I have noticed whilst working with virtual groups is some people seem to forget that they are in a group and can start to fidget, move around and do other things. I have found it helpful to remind people about working together as a group, active listening and being fully present.

Tip 4 – Running an inclusive mindful imaging process

The imaging process is the same virtually as it is if you were all working together in the same room together. However, virtual working can give different kinds of distractions. Therefore, in addition to the tips for one to one coaching, I would also recommend that at the start of the mindful imaging process ensuring everyone has muted themselves and suggest they turn away from the screen so they are not distracted by other people if they do not close their eyes.

When running the mindful imaging process, it is important that your narrative for creating the image in the minds eye is generic enough to encompass everyone’s area they have brought into the group for exploration. For example, ‘…allow an image to emerge of the issue you have brought to us today’. As a group you may be working on an area of common ground, for example leading teams, and your narrative may be ‘…allow an image to emerge of the area of focus that is arising for you when leading your team’.

Once the group members have completed the creation of their image invite them to raise their cameras so you can see them, letting you know who in the group has completed their image. Then sharing and exploring images is the same as Tip 4 for one to one coaching 

Tip 5 – Feedback and reflection

As with the one to one coaching, my final tip is to always, at the end of the session, seek feedback from your group and for you to take time to reflect on the practice.

I hope this has helped you with your practice and please do read the Virtual 1:1 Art Based Coaching – my top 5 tips in conjunction with the tips above.

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