Community Building
Instructions for Facilitators

Group Facilitators as Coaches

The role of the Project New Day facilitator is to facilitate groups and not to practice life coaching. However, understanding the basics of life coaching can be immensely helpful in the context of any interpersonal relationships. That is why all Project New Day group facilitators must take the Project New Day Coaching Fundamentals online course (six hours of video content). To provide newcomers with the basic life-coaching concepts, and to serve as a refresher to those who have taken the Coaching Fundamentals course, the full list of International Coaching Federation “Core Competencies” is included here.

A. Foundation
1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice Definition: Understands and consistently applies coaching ethics and standards of coaching including the following:
  1. Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with clients, sponsors, and relevant stakeholders.
  2. Is sensitive to clients’ identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs.
  3. Uses language appropriate and respectful to clients, sponsors, and relevant stakeholders.
  4. Abides by the ICF Code of Ethics and upholds the Core Values.
  5. Maintains confidentiality with client information per stakeholder agreements and pertinent laws.
  6. Maintains the distinctions between coaching, consulting, psychotherapy, and other support professions.
  7. Refers clients to other support professionals, as appropriate.
2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset

Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible and client-centered.

  1. Acknowledges that clients are responsible for their own choices.
  2. Engages in ongoing learning and development as a coach.
  3. Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching.
  4. Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others.
  5. Uses awareness of self and one’s intuition to benefit clients.
  6. Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions.
  7. Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions.
  8. Seeks help from outside sources when necessary.
B. Co-Creating the Relationship
3. Establishes and Maintains Agreements

Definition: Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to create clear agreements about the coaching relationship, process, plans and goals. Establishes agreements for the overall coaching engagement as well as those for each coaching session.

  1. Explains what coaching is and is not and describes the process to the client and relevant stakeholders.
  2. Reaches agreement about what is and is not appropriate in the relationship, what is and is not being offered, and the responsibilities of the client and relevant stakeholders.
  3. Reaches agreement about the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship such as logistics, fees, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality and inclusion of others.
  4. Partners with the client and relevant stakeholders to establish an overall coaching plan and goals.
  5. Partners with the client to determine client-coach compatibility.
  6. Partners with the client to identify or reconfirm what they want to accomplish in the session.
  7. Partners with the client to define what the client believes they need to address or resolve to achieve what they want to accomplish in the session.
  8. Partners with the client to define or reconfirm measures of success for what the client wants to accomplish in the coaching engagement or individual session.
  9. Partners with the client to manage the time and focus of the session.
  10. Continues coaching in the direction of the client’s desired outcome unless the client indicates otherwise.
  11. Partners with the client to end the coaching relationship in a way that honors the experience.
4. Cultivates Trust and Safety

Definition: Partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.

  1. Seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs.
  2. Demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style and language and adapts one’s coaching to the client.
  3. Acknowledges and respects the client’s unique talents, insights and work in the coaching process.
  4. Shows support, empathy and concern for the client.
  5. Acknowledges and supports the client’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, beliefs and suggestions.
  6. Demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client.
5. Maintains Presence

Definition: Is fully conscious and present with the client, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded and confident

  1. Remains focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the client.
  2. Demonstrates curiosity during the coaching process.
  3. Manages one’s emotions to stay present with the client.
  4. Demonstrates confidence in working with strong client emotions during the coaching process.
  5. Is comfortable working in a space of not knowing.
  6. Creates or allows space for silence, pause or reflection.
C. Communicating Effectively
6. Listens Actively

Definition: Focuses on what the client is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated in the context of the client systems and to support client self-expression

  1. Considers the client’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what the client is communicating.
  2. Reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure clarity and understanding.
  3. Recognizes and inquires when there is more to what the client is communicating.
  4. Notices, acknowledges and explores the client’s emotions, energy shifts, non-verbal cues or other behaviors.
  5. Integrates the client’s words, tone of voice and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated.
  6. Notices trends in the client’s behaviors and emotions across sessions to discern themes and patterns.
7. Evokes Awareness

Definition: Facilitates client insight and learning by using tools and techniques such as powerful questioning, silence, metaphor or analogy

  1. Considers client experience when deciding what might be most useful.
  2. Challenges the client as a way to evoke awareness or insight.
  3. Asks questions about the client, such as their way of thinking, values, needs, wants and beliefs.
  4. Asks questions that help the client explore beyond current thinking.
  5. Invites the client to share more about their experience in the moment.
  6. Notices what is working to enhance client progress.
  7. Adjusts the coaching approach in response to the client’s needs.
  8. Helps the client identify factors that influence current and future patterns of behavior, thinking or emotion.
  9. Invites the client to generate ideas about how they can move forward and what they are willing or able to do.
  10. Supports the client in reframing perspectives.
  11. Shares observations, insights and feelings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the client.
D. Cultivating Learning and Growth
8. Facilitates Client Growth

Definition: Partners with the client to transform learning and insight into action. Promotes client autonomy in the coaching process.

  1. Works with the client to integrate new awareness, insight or learning into their worldview and behaviors.
  2. Partners with the client to design goals, actions and accountability measures that integrate and expand new learning
  3. Acknowledges and supports client autonomy in the design of goals, actions and methods of accountability
  4. Supports the client in identifying potential results or learning from identified action steps
  5. Invites the client to consider how to move forward, including resources, support and potential barriers
  6. Partners with the client to summarize learning and insight within or between sessions
  7. Celebrates the client’s progress and successes
  8. Partners with the client to close the session

Group Facilitation Skills

As part of the Project New Day training, group facilitators are required to obtain a certificate in the Project New Day online course titled, “Group Facilitation Skills.” This course comprises four videos developed by Ken Kinter, MA, LPC, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Inpatient Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Rutgers University. Professor Kinter has worked with people with mental illness and addictions throughout his 30-year career. This includes 25 years working in psychiatric emergency settings, partial care programs, and in a county jail.

Ken Kinter, MA, LPC,

“Group facilitation can be very challenging. But at the same time, it can be a lot of fun. When it works, it’s fantastic! And when it doesn’t work, it’s very educational.”

The text in this “Group Facilitation Skills” section is paraphrased with permission from that video series.

Types of Groups

The seven types of groups are:

  • educational
  • discussion
  • task
  • growth/experiential
  • counseling / therapy
  • support
  • self-help

These group types are not that clearly delineated. But knowing which of these your group resembles can tell what your role is as a facilitator. …

The Project New Day Community Group types are part educational, part growth and experiential, and part counseling and therapy.
  • Educational groups are just groups where we’re here to learn. The group facilitator is the one who brings that information. And that’s pretty much it.
  • With discussion groups, the facilitator doesn’t have to bring the information. The purpose is to just talk about current events or whatever topic the facilitator brings – or maybe not even that. So it’s very similar to an educational group except there is a less active role by the facilitator.
  • Task groups, and very often these are called focus groups, are put together for one purpose. And as soon as that purpose is accomplished, the group disbands. You see these in the working world all the time. The facilitator’s role in task groups is to keep the group on task and keep the process moving forward while keeping the group from getting distracted.
  • Growth and experiential groups are like training groups. The purpose is to develop personal goals, experience growth, and demonstrate change. The facilitator’s job is to supply activities that encourage growth.
  • With counseling therapy groups, the facilitator is more like a group counselor. The material used in the group is the personal material of its individuals. The facilitator encourages discussions about each other’s personal issues.
  • The members of support groups have a common thing that has brought them together. Usually, the groups will be run by a trained professional. The facilitator doesn’t necessarily share, but instead, the facilitator encourages the members to share and help each other.
  • In self-help groups, there really is no difference between the facilitator and the other group members. Individual members take on leadership responsibilities so you don’t need a professional in the room. Leadership can even rotate between members. The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step model may be an example of this.
So you can see there is an overlap between the different types of groups. You can have elements of a group that are part of one type and part of another. But understanding what type of group, or types of groups, you have can give you:
  • A good head start in understanding your job as the facilitator.
  • An understanding of how active you should be.
  • Knowledge as to how similar your role is to the other people in the group.

Your Role as Group Facilitator Based on Group Type

  • If you’re running education groups, as with a college class, it’s your job to bring the information.
  • With discussion groups, you want to be energetic and keep the group members involved in the discussions.
  • With task groups, you want to keep the group focused, on task, and moving toward solutions.
  • Your challenge with growth and experiential groups is to manage the different relationships between people. The members may form different groups based on some commonality. This might result in splits, so it’s the facilitator’s job to prevent subgroups from splitting off.
  • You should have a counseling or therapy background to facilitate counseling / therapy groups. You are essentially counseling several people at one time.
  • In support groups, you want to keep the emphasis on support. People are there to help each other. It’s not like an education or discussion group where people are there just to talk about something. There’s much more of an emotional component. You want to reinforce that everybody’s in the struggle together and we can all help each other get better.
  • Self-help groups are not completely leaderless, but it is similar to that. The job of the facilitator is to take the group through its normal daily routine. It may be as simple as suggesting a topic to discuss or it may be just keeping people on task and making sure the group responsibilities happen. In many cases, it’s helpful if the facilitator role is rotated so it isn’t just on one person time and time again. This is very similar to the 12-step model. If you have any questions about self-help groups, you can attend an “open” 12-step group. “Open,” meaning you don’t have to have an addiction to participate in the group. It’s worth seeing to see how those groups are facilitated and run. AA groups are probably the most common type of group going, so it’s good to know how they operate in case you want to refer someone to one.

Modeling Group Behavior

It is preferable to think of yourself as a group facilitator instead of a group leader. These terms are often used interchangeably, but often people do not want to be “led.” One of the main roles of the facilitator is to model the group behavior. The facilitator:
  • should be on time.
  • should end the meeting on time.
  • handles what’s called the balance between content and process. Content is the written material that goes into the group. Process is the interaction between people.
  • should have a caring, open, warm, and flexible manner.
  • should have his/her own issues in check.
  • must be able to be the referee when there is conflict between members.
  • must be able to deal with people who have serious deficits in their ability to interact with others.

Observing Group Processes

Facilitating can be very challenging. But at the same time, it can be both fun and rewarding. When it works it’s fantastic. When it doesn’t work, it’s very educational and even the bad sessions will help you learn to do your job better. The same group never happens the same way twice and that’s part of the fun. Running a group successfully can depend on you noticing when your group isn’t working well. It might be
  • the group skipping around, which is called “drifting”
  • from an outside perspective, you can’t really tell what the group is about
  • the facilitator is doing most of the talking
  • the facilitator is just reading to the people in the group
  • the session does not seem like it is going anywhere
  • there’s no interaction or it is too quiet
The therapeutic aspect of a group is that members want to belong. They want to feel like they belong to a group and are not against each other. Whenever people get together there’s always a hierarchy being formed and part of your job is to show that everyone has equal value.

Controllable Aspects of Group Facilitation

There are some aspects of group sessions that cannot be controlled. But here are some aspects the facilitator can control:
  • Clarity of purpose – why are we here, what does this group offer?
  • Group size – 5 to 8 for people who have serious difficulties; otherwise, 8 to 12 is OK; once you get above 12, you’re starting to get on the thin ice; there you can still run an effective group, but it becomes more difficult.
  • Session length – for people who have serious difficulties, 20 minutes may be the maximum; for medium difficulties, 45 minutes may be appropriate; otherwise, 60 minutes or more may be fine.
  • Session frequency – if groups meet less often than once a week, people may forget what they learned and it’s really going to go nowhere; you really want a minimum of once a week, and with an in-patient setting, perhaps two and three times a week.
  • Meeting time – this can be critical, and the first thing in the morning may be the best time; right after lunch, everybody’s sleepy.
  • Meeting day – earlier in the week is usually better than on Friday when people are tired from work.
  • The facilitator’s attitude is one of the most important forces; does the facilitator come into the session with the attitude, “I really don’t want to be here,” or does the facilitator bring energy and enthusiasm to the session?

Open versus Closed Groups

“Open” and “closed” groups have two different definitions. In the traditional group literature, “open” means new people are coming into the group at all times, so every group could be a first group for someone. “Closed” means the membership does not change from session to session. In AA groups, the terminology is different. In AA, a closed meeting means you have to admit that you have an alcohol problem to be in the room.

Group Purpose

A group’s purpose is important because that’s what drives the group forward. If the purpose of a group is to be able to cope with bipolar disorder, then every session should tie into that. A good question is, “Can a group have more than one purpose?” If so, then the purposes should be made clear. The group’s purpose should also be somewhat shared where the facilitator is getting input from the group because they’re the ones who are trying to get somewhere. So the facilitator’s job is to help them get there. The group’s purpose can change over time and a good facilitator must be judicious with that flexibility. The facilitator must be clear so that the members can be clear. Related to purpose is the concept of a “standalone group.” That is, even if a group meeting is just one of a long series, and even if someone shows up to just one meeting, they get something out of it. An analogy is that with some TV shows, you have to watch the series from the beginning, otherwise you don’t know what is going on. But then there are other series where you can drop in anywhere and it makes sense.

Group Planning

“Failing to plan is planning to fail! If one of the cornerstones of group facilitation is purpose, another is planning. You must plan the meeting content in advance so you don’t get surprised. And then begin the session with, “This is what I think we are going to work on today.” But always have a backup plan. Think ahead about how you will handle the group if the members will be tired (Friday afternoon) or if they will have current events on their minds. Also, consider how you will handle different personalities and what your boundaries will be with regard to disruptive behaviors. Questions to ask yourself before your next meeting:
  • What content are you going to cover?
  • How much time for each topic?
  • In what order?
  • How much time for Intro and Wrap-up?
Consider filling out the planning form, below, before each meeting. This is the end of the “Group Facilitation Skills” section. But only the beginning of the content presented in Ken Kinter’s video series, a requirement for all Project New Day Community Group Facilitators.

Facilitating a Meeting

This section contains a planning form and a template for Project New Day Community Group sessions. It may be helpful to fill in the following form before each meeting. Then follow it, and the template, during the course of the meeting.

Project New Day Group Meeting Planning Form


Descriptive heading.


Importance of this topic.

Anticipated Outcomes

Changes in knowledge from this meeting.

Entrance Criteria

Description of participants who will benefit.


Facilitator expertise needed, supplies needed, teaching techniques to be used.

Exit Criteria

How will the leader know when participants have attained sufficient knowledge about this topic?


WHAT – are we learning today?
WHY – benefits of participation.
HOW – method.


How will you teach the topic?
If a skill, incorporate tell/show/do:
TELL – the steps of the skill.
SHOW – a demonstration.
DO – allow group members to do and practice the skill.


Summarize main points of discussion.
If a skill was taught, then restate the steps of the skill.
Ask the participants how they will use the new information or skill outside of the group.


How many minutes should be reserved for the introduction, each topic, and the wrap-up?

Project New Day Meeting Group Meeting Template

Items in parentheses are instructions and are not to be read.

1. Good (morning, evening, afternoon) ladies and gentlemen. This is the weekly Zoom session meeting for the Project New Day community. My name is _____, and I will be your facilitator.

2. Before moving to today’s topic, I would like to share a few comments about privacy.

3. If you are concerned about your full name being shown—or your photo—you can right-click on the video and select “Rename.” A dialog box will appear allowing you to change your name.

4. You can disable your video by clicking the video icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.

5. If you are in a public setting, please turn off your video and use your headphones so others can’t hear the meeting. If anyone interrupts the meeting, the host will mute everyone and remove that person so we can resume the meeting quickly.

6. Community sessions will not be recorded by the instructor. Participants are prohibited from recording of any kind, including photographing, screen captures of discussions, and chat exchanges except when permitted by the instructor or meeting chair when advance notice is provided.

7. During video sessions, there is a chat function that permits participants to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the class or meeting proceeding.


8. If you desire to remain anonymous when you join a Zoom meeting, you will see a window prompting you to “Join a Meeting,” and a box with your name in it. You can change your name in the box before joining a meeting so that you maintain anonymity.

9. Ultimately, your privacy is your responsibility.

10. Please treat this online meeting as you would an in-person meeting and refrain from activities that could be distracting to others. To minimize background noise, please keep your microphone muted except when you are speaking to the group.

11. Do we have anyone attending this meeting for the first time? (If so, ask the participant(s) to introduce themself (themselves).

12. Today the meeting topic will be _____.

13. (Choice #1) We will introduce this topic by watching a short video, followed by an open discussion.

14. (Choice #2) This topic will be addressed by our guest speaker. After his/her presentation we will have an open discussion. It is my pleasure to introduce our speaker _________. Thank you, ____________ (speaker’s name).

15. (After the video or guest speaker presentation) We have reached the discussion portion of our meeting. If you’d like to share, please unmute and introduce yourself before sharing.

16. (At the end of the hour) That is all the time we have. I’d like to recognize and thank a number of people:

17. We wish to welcome newcomers. Please keep coming back!

18. (If applicable) Please join me in a special thank you to our speaker __________ for sharing with us today!

19. Please remember: Who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here.

20. Thank you, everyone!