Most people think of coaching as a one-on-one personalized experience, but many clients prefer the company of others like themselves while working with a coach. Group coaching allows individuals to collaborate and work toward a common objective.
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate group coaching into your business, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this style of coaching.
What are group coaching programs?
A group coaching session brings together a set of people with common goals. In this setting, group members rely on each other for support to accomplish common goals through trust and teamwork.
A coaching program can sometimes be daunting for clients looking to reach their goals. Having like-minded people for company can be reassuring. Such clients would be more comfortable working with a coach in a group setting where they know others are going through the same self-improvement process.
While we generally consider one-on-one coaching the standard, coaches can offer support in many ways based on their client's needs and preferences.
Benefits of group coaching
Group coaching lets multiple participants benefit from the guidance of a coach at the same time.
A group environment allows members to learn from, motivate, and encourage each other.
Here are a few more benefits of this style of coaching:
1. It encourages collaborative learning
In a group program, people work together on common problems. Rather than solely depending on their coach, clients can measure their success and progress against each other’s and enjoy different perspectives.
In a professional setting, group coaching allows employees to find solutions to problems collectively. This encourages collaboration and empowers members to become more involved in their own professional development.
2. It builds friendships
When people work together toward a common objective, they often encounter similar roadblocks. Nothing bonds people like going through hardship together, where they often forge deep, meaningful friendships.
3. It fosters empathy and awareness
When a group works together, it tends to share responsibilities and delegate tasks. This is most effective when all members know their strengths and weaknesses and understand their counterparts well.
In group coaching sessions, members are a sounding board for each other. They give each other feedback. This encourages reflection and empowers individuals to identify and tackle areas of improvement in themselves.
4. It hones communication skills
Communication skills are essential in any group setting. People must share information to work well together — in an office, a classroom, or a group coaching program. A small group is ideal for introverted members to practice communicating effectively. They also give and receive feedback. Such an arrangement provides a low-pressure environment for members to learn and grow.
5. It strengthens problem-solving skills
More people bring more ideas. A huge benefit of the group coaching model is the wealth of individual perspectives and viewpoints. When people brainstorm together to solve problems, they tend to see more areas of opportunity and come up with creative methods for dealing with roadblocks.
6. It improves teamwork
While multiple perspectives are great for creative problem-solving, they can also lead to disagreements. When this happens, individuals in a group coaching session are forced to manage conflict.
Group members with particularly strong social skills may even become facilitators and lead discussions within their groups.
Group coaching is exciting and quite different from personal coaching. While the techniques may largely be the same, in a group setting, coaches need to be adaptable and quick on their feet to meet the challenges of managing multiple clients simultaneously.
Group coaching or individual coaching?
Coaching people on various platforms can test our professional prowess, especially if we’re used to a particular model. But it pays to try out new ways of coaching, especially if our clients — and our business — will benefit from it.
For clients, this gives more options. Group coaching tends to be cheaper than individual sessions, so online group coaching and webinars may be attractive to clients for pricing, flexibility, and social reasons. Whatever our clients’ preferences, it’s most effective to offer a variety of membership and program models, and coaching tools to best suit their needs.
How to coach a group
We’re familiar with the standard coaching best practices, but how can we take group coaching to the next level? Keep these four tips in mind when planning your first group coaching session:
- Identify a theme for your group: Does everyone in the group have the same or similar goals? If so, narrow down the topics on which everyone will work together. Use your coaching skills and expertise to select an appropriate theme based on assessments of group strengths, weaknesses, and individual goals.
- Choose a structure for sessions: Consider how you want to set up the sessions. Take into account your clients’ preferences or try different methods to see what works best. For example, you could have a theme for each session or mix individual exercises with collaborative tasks.
- Keep the group size limited: The more clients you’re in charge of, the less time you have for each individual. Don’t let people feel they’re not getting enough attention. Keep the group sizes manageable. Also, disagreements are easier to work through with smaller groups. A crowd can easily fall into chaos.
- Get to know your group: Before the first group session, get to know each group member briefly. This will help you recognize them within a group and let you be well-prepared for the session. Think of groups as a collection of individual clients with similar goals. Ensure that each group member feels heard and receives adequate support from you.
Enjoy a successful group coaching practice
Coaching in a group has obvious benefits, but it works best for clients who are at ease in a casual social setting. As a coach, tailor your approach based on your clients’ needs and your business goals.
Consider what services you can offer clients and how you can set yourself apart from the competition.
Looking to give clients personalized attention in group coaching sessions? Try Practice’s all-in-one client management app today to ensure all your client relationships are in order.