Seeking to build a trusted community, grow collaboration, and improve your practice? We’ve got you!

Become a
Critical Friends Group® Coach
this school year!

Critical Friends Group work epitomizes Learning Mindsets
recognized by Scholars Mindset Network.

♦ Growth Mindset  ♦  Belonging Mindset  ♦  Purpose & Relevance Mindset

Complete this training and learn how to:

  • Build and maintain a sense of trust between colleagues (belonging), in order to
  • Improve our practice (growth) and address dilemmas that have stumped us, all while
  • Increasing student achievement and our own job satisfaction (purpose and relevance).

Since 1998, NSRF has trained and certified thousands of educators and others to become CFG Coaches. Since spring 2020, with the arrival of pandemic times, we’ve learned how to translate that training into the Zoom environment with fidelity. In times when educators feel even more stressed and isolated, this training can help you help yourself and your colleagues feel more connected, supporting one another to solve problems together.

Expect to collaborate and participate!

From the safety and comfort of your own home, join us via Zoom for virtual coaches’ trainings split into eight days.

This is not a “webinar”! Expect to be on-camera and on-task, and the results will be worth it! This is an NSRF professional learning EXPERIENCE in which each participant will bring samples of their work product — materials to be improved, issues for brainstorming, data for review, etc. — and a professional dilemma around which they hope to gain insights. The experience of training is wrapped around the experience of having built trust together and then gaining the value of a trusted CFG community.
Completing 26 hours of training and about five hours of homework in-between sessions will earn you certification as a Virtual CFG Coach, empowered to create and coach Critical Friends Group communities, as well as lead our protocols and activities outside that structure.

First on the agenda is learning a number of activities that will encourage colleagues to look at and value one another in new ways, to de-personalize the effects of unskillful interactions and learn better strategies for giving feedback.  These tools which help provide equity of voice in meetings, provide structure that helps “quiet people” build up to speaking in the full group, and teach people who commonly monopolize conversations why that’s not a great idea for anybody.

New and familiar protocols, activities, and techniques shared here build upon 25+ years of successful NSRF work around tables, incorporating aspects of Zoom (or other virtual environment) that enhance rather than destroy connection.

The pair of NSRF Facilitators leading your training will transparently share facilitation details of these activities that help us overcome (as much as possible) the separation we all feel due to physical distancing.

You’ll learn protocols to help you:

  • Improve existing materials so they better accomplish your goals
  • Address dilemmas that seem to have no positive next steps
  • Look at data in new ways, reducing the fears that often arise when reviewing data
  • Review and learn from texts and other media, constructing meaning together
  • and much more!

If you have previously participated in our protocols and CFG communities, we’ll share how “old familiar” materials were skillfully adjusted to work better within virtual environments, a process which is not always as straightforward as it may seem!

Experience and learn new and familiar protocols!

In this “hands-on and brains on” training, you’ll experience (and learn to lead) more than a dozen protocols and activities to support you and your colleagues in professional learning and collaboration. Many of these are variations on materials designed originally for our in-person CFG Coaches’ trainings, and others are new, designed specifically for Zoom.

Anyone can join this training!

Designed for people with limited- to no experience with NSRF protocols, we’ll also welcome others who’ve used NSRF protocols or been a part of a CFG community. Even if you’re already a Critical Friends Group Coach OR a Building Belonging Coach, there’s plenty for you to learn — NEW materials and strategies for maximizing connection and productivity via Zoom! And everyone will experience the real power of Critical Friends Group work, even done virtually. You will leave with great tools to take into your own meetings with colleagues, classrooms, and maybe even Zoom gatherings with your extended family!

Testimonial from a few of our newest CFG Coaches!

“Not only did the training offer relevant opportunities to practice the NSRF/CFG protocols, it also allowed participants to join a diverse and vibrant group of educators from a range of contexts.”

Sarah Lundy

Director, Sonoma County Office of Education

“This training will give you an invaluable set of tools to feel more confident when facilitating group work.  No matter your role in your community, you will find protocols and practices shared in this training that will open your mind to new perspectives on how to best engage those you collaborate with, whether as a school leader, as a teacher, as a mentor or as a colleague.”

Carmen Welton

Spanish Department Head, Concord Academy

“This is the most practical professional development I have undertaken in 20 years of teaching.”

Teresa Ball

Teacher, Blessington Community College, Ireland

Time well spent!

Your investment to attend this virtual Open CFG Coaches’ Training, equivalent of a 33-hour in-person training, is $999. Leave with clear action steps to use within your school community to help everyone through this unprecedented time of change. Receive PDF copies of the materials used in the training for your future use.


(We ask you to please respect our copyright and do not share the materials broadly — We trust that you will use them with care and regard.)

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Bonus for inviting a friend!

If you invite a friend or colleague to join you for this training, each of you will receive a $75 discount (limit one discount per organization). We have learned that having another person in your working environment who has completed the same training will help both of you in moving this work forward — You can support each other in meetings, taking turn being the lead coach, which also helps you bring your own work to the group.

Participants who complete the full training will be certified as Critical Friends Group® Virtual Coaches, receiving a PDF certificate citing the number of hours spent in the training.

Certificate Thumbnail Image

Open Training options are best if you would like to train single participants or small groups. If you have a large number of people to be trained with this content, contact us at to discuss pricing and scheduling that will meet your needs.

Refund Policy

NSRF works hard to keep the costs of our trainings low and only accepts a limited number of participants per cohort, which makes it an especially high-value training opportunity. Because of the limited number of seats and the low margin, full refunds are only available with cancellations at least two weeks before this event. If you find you cannot attend, please try to find a colleague who can take your seat and contact us with the information so we can correct the Zoom link for that person.  By submitting your registration you are agreeing to these terms.


If you have any questions about CFG trainings in general, or about purchasing and registering for this NSRF® Open Training, please email us at We are here to help!

New dates for additional trainings will be on our calendar soon! Check out all that we have to offer on our OPEN TRAININGS page.

If you would like to read more about learning mindsets, we recommend the Mindset Scholars Network.