Advice from Past Squad Mods

Curious what makes a great Squad Mod? We asked some of our top-rated Squad Mods from 2017 to share their secrets. You can also re-watch the: Squad Mod Do’s and Dont’s Webinar

Do’s: 

"My advice is that I felt it was my responsibility to set the tone. Having the first spotlight on me, I was vulnerable.  I left it all out there. From hearing the squad they said that really set the tone that we had to trust each other and this was a safe space. There was one member who I think felt she was “under qualified” to be in the squad.  After her spotlight session I reached out to her individually and told her how much I learned from her, and how I know there are great things she can do. " - Melissa Best

"Get to know your squad and actively listen to whatever they have to say.  When we were doing our introductions and when each participant had their own Hot Seats, I took notes and read them after each session and then right before the next session to make sure that I was prepared for the next call.  I made my team important and did my best to make every meeting on the scheduled time and not be late, but of course once in a while we had technical issues - all good, we got past them with a laugh!" - Esma Deljanin

"One thing that helped was asking the women to write up a short bio and explain the items they would like to discuss in their hot seat prior to their hot seat. This helped the other women prepare for the conversation and gather advice.  It also saved time, by not having to go through their entire story and questions, we cut right to the issues and made the conversations more productive. Also, be FLEXIBLE :)" - Melissa Turk

"All I did was let the group's talents and gifts guide the conversations. I also got them engaged early and often. I kicked off the first call with questions like "Why was it important for you to sign up for a squad?" and "What do you want to get out of it?" " - Liz Kitchell

"The one piece of advice I would give is to be welcoming and express a team mentality. There were plenty of times I delegated the leading of the call, even when I was on it! We had a group that was really supportive in all directions so when one person needed time, space, grace even - everyone else stepped up and allowed for that. I think that is what made our group work so well, and the mod can really set that tone from Day 1." - Rachael Bosch

Rachel also recommends watching Jen Farrer's Jam Session on How to Have Coaching Conversations

"I had a blast being the squad mod, and it is a privilege to lead my group of women. It was very important for me to be highly engaged and listening as people took on their Hot Seat.  I wanted to be armed with a couple clarifying questions, to make certain the discussion would flow.  I would also jot down a couple questions I could ask Squad members in case it was quiet. It helped to get the ball rolling." - Hillary Higgins

Read More: First Time Facilitator?

"Be a moderator who is engaging and host-like - one that isn't afraid to take charge in a friendly, outgoing way to keep the conversation going. Awkward silences are never good. So in order to prevent them, have a list of follow up questions you can ask (whether written out or simply mentally prepped questions) that can engage the other members to add insight into the others members' quandary.  It's crucial to stay interactive." - Shira Benedetto

"Also, never be afraid to have a squad member visualize and speak through their own business value/proposition statements to get feedback. Sometimes recognition of where you might be falling short will allow the squad members to step up and give you a boost of very insightful and helpful feedback. " - Shira Benedetto

"If I was to single out one thing that helped us create positive and inclusive environment for our squad, I would highlight the importance of deep listening, and asking clarifying questions. As a moderator, and a professional coach, I leveraged core coaching competencies to facilitate insights and discovery from a non-leading perspective. Deep listening is very critical to creating and holding space for exploration, inquiry, and self-discovery. This single principle allowed our Squad to form strong respectful and evenly levered peer-to-peer support between its members." - Svetlana Dimovski

Curious what not to do? Here are some cautionary tales from past participants:

“My Squad Mod was very unsure of her career path and used most of the early sessions to talk about herself. She never monitored time, frequently went over, and could not keep track of everyone who was in the meeting, resulting in people being cut off from participating.”

“My Mod called me out in a very unprofessional manner. I obviously felt bad and apologized multiple times, but she made it personal and attacked my character until I literally was in tears.”