Every client is a unique puzzle. A coaching method that works well for one person may be unsuccessful for another — it’s our job, as coaches, to tailor our services to each person we serve. And that might mean expanding on the types of coaching we offer.
Some clients’ needs are best met in an individual coaching setting. For others, group coaching is the recipe for success. So which should you practice?
It’s important to make an informed decision when choosing whether to focus your services on one-on-one or group mentoring. You could even do a bit of both — it all depends on your skills and clientele. Whether you’re just entering the industry or a seasoned professional, you can always learn something new, so don’t become hung up on defining your work by the services you currently offer.
Let’s explore the differences between group coaching and individual coaching and who you can best help with each.
Comparing group and individual coaching
At its foundations, group coaching works well with people who have similar goals, such as implementing professional time management skills or improving their relationship with exercise. On the other hand, individual coaching is designed for people with unique and very personal goals who need a tailored plan to reach them.
But there’s more to each of these methods than meets the eye. Before deciding which practice will enhance your coaching, it’s essential to understand exactly how one-on-one and group coaching are alike — and how they’re different.
Both individual and group programs focus on goal-setting. Coaches help their clients set achievable, measurable, time-bound goals and develop action items to tick off on the route to success.
These coaches also help clients build life-changing habits, equipping those they mentor with the skills and support they need to reach the finish line. And even after a client achieves their goal, they’re left with the tools to live or work better.
The most significant difference between one-on-one and group coaching is that, in a shared space, clients must open up in front of one another. Some people may feel uncomfortable sharing their innermost fears until they’ve established trust, while others may find relief in talking things through with their peers — it depends on the client.
Because of the number of clients, group coaching is naturally less focused on the individual. Clients typically work toward similar goals, and while the coach will check in with individuals, they can’t unpack each person's needs and challenges as they might in one-to-one coaching programs.
But depending on the type of coaching, this common goal can be beneficial. Group coaching is an excellent scalable option for people looking to obtain the same skills and habits. This is a popular type of coaching in the workplace because a coach can work with teams to implement a general skillset.
Benefits of group coaching
Group coaching services are scalable, which means coaches can change multiple lives at once. If new clients approach you in need of help, you can transform a coaching plan for two into one for five. In other words, you have to turn fewer people away.
The scalability of this model also makes it more profitable. Even if a coach charges less per session when coaching groups, they can still make good money helping several people at once. This is particularly valuable for coaches whose practice is a part-time side hustle — with group coaching, you can see more clients in less time.
Some coaches also prefer the group model because it lessens some of the responsibility they shoulder, as group members rely on one another as well as the coach for support. This isn’t to say you don’t act as a mentor — it simply means the responsibility of holding clients accountable is divided between you and the group. Plus, the support system in group sessions is more extensive, and group members may benefit from feeling seen and understood by their peers.
Benefits of one-on-one coaching
The individual coaching model is more customizable than group coaching. You have more opportunities to learn about your client’s goals, needs, and challenges to craft a plan unique to them. And with just one client per coaching session, it’s easier for coaches to see the client changing in real-time and adapt their plan as needed.
The privacy of individual coaching is another significant upside. One-on-one coaches foster a deep connection with clients in “closed-door” sessions, and clients may be more inclined to share outside of a group. Depending on the client, this honesty may be the cornerstone of progress.
Individual coaching also allows for more flexible scheduling. If you’ve ever tried to move a group event, you know it can be messy. Setting a schedule and staying on top of time-bound action items is easier when coordinating with just one client at a time.
What type of coaching is right for you?
Only you can decide whether group or individual coaching is best for your practice. When making your decision, it’s crucial to balance your needs with the needs of your clients. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you weigh the pros and cons of each:
- How much time do I have to dedicate to coaching sessions? If you’re a part-time coach, group coaching may allow you to balance your work with another job.
- Who are my clients, and what do they need? A business coach whose services focus on building leadership skills can translate their practice into a group coaching plan. Meanwhile, a health coach who helps clients meet unique nutrition goals is better suited to one-on-one sessions.
- What type of coaching aligns with my interests? It’s important to feel passionate about your work. If one type of coaching piques your interest more than the other, it could be a sign. After all, you do your best work when you’re excited.
No matter which style of coaching you choose, we can shift some of the administrative work off your shoulders so you have more time to dedicate to clients. At Practice, we understand the importance of coaching and want to help run your business effectively. Our customer relationship management (CRM) platform is specifically designed with coaches in mind, allowing you to store confidential documents, message clients, and receive payments safely and securely.