Group Coaching: What It Is, and Why It Works

Group Coaching: What It Is, and Why It Works

A lot of high-profile celebrities have raved about the impact that coaching has had on their personal and professional lives. So it is hardly surprising that so many people in America are now turning to life coaches for support. 

A coach can help you identify your personal goals and overcome obstacles. But did you know that one-on-one coaching isn’t the only way to do this? 

In fact, group coaching programs have been bringing people together for years to help them learn and progress toward their life goals. So how do coaching groups work, and what are the benefits of group life coaching?

If you are interested in getting support from a group coach, you need to know what to expect and how each session will work. In that case, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out about the unique benefits of coaching a group.

What Is Group Coaching?

Like one-on-one coaching, group coaching helps you focus on specific goals in your life and identify your personal obstacles. It also helps you find ways of overcoming these obstacles in daily life so that you can reach your objectives.

You can hire a coach to work on a whole range of different objectives. These might include your:

  • Career goals 
  • Approach to personal and romantic relationships 
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Addiction or substance abuse issues 
  • Public speaking 
  • Communication skills 
  • Self-esteem 

You can work on a combination of these topics or come to the sessions with a specific objective in mind. 

Each session facilitates learning so that you can approach your goals in a productive and effective way. So your life coach won’t just lecture you and give you life hacks. This is about exploring new perspectives and finding different ways to achieve your goals.

Group life coaching offers a number of additional, valuable goals. This includes:

  • Discovering different points of view
  • Sharing feedback and reflections within the group 
  • Building relationships of trust within the group

In some coaching sessions, such as team coaching, the sessions will focus specifically on the group dynamic.

How Does Group Life Coaching Work? 

There are some similarities between coaching groups and one-on-one sessions. For example, sessions will happen on a regular basis. So you may meet up with the group once a week or attend an intensive workshop day.

During your sessions, you will work together to:

  • Establish your group objectives 
  • Understand ways to approach these through different exercises and assessments 
  • Share feedback and reflections 
  • Identify future goals to work towards 
  • Support and explore different channels of learning 

Of course, in a group session, your life coach will work with multiple clients at a time. Group members will have the chance to share their reflections and participate in group exercises.

You may also do individual exercises that you then discuss in more depth as a group. This gives people time to work independently and bond with the group. 

In one-on-one sessions, you can dictate the goals that you want to focus on. However, in group work, coaches will often design different programs to focus on specific areas of life coaching.

For example, your coach might run sessions to help the group understand and achieve their career goals. Or you might join a program to help you create healthy boundaries in your relationships. 

This doesn’t mean that the other areas of life coaching are totally off-limits. In fact, every group member will bring their own experiences to your sessions. So you may end up exploring a lot of different coaching areas within each session. 

However, finding a program that focuses on your objectives will help you find sessions that suit you. This is extremely important for your progress and the progress of the rest of the group.

Different Models for Coaching a Group 

Coaching groups does require quite a lot of logistical planning. Coaches have to liaise with more clients, find a bigger space to meet in, and stay on top of their schedules. 

Coaches use different coaching models to suit their programs. These will dictate when clients can join the program and how long it runs. So it is good to be aware of the different group coaching models that life coaches use.

Let’s take a closer look at three common group coaching models.

Cohort Model

Cohort model coaching involves a group of individuals coming together to start a course or workshop on a specific day. This means that the whole group experiences each step of the program together.

This is great if a group wants to work towards one specific goal or focus on a particular issue. Cohort models also work for short courses and single-day workshops.

To join this type of program, you will need to sign up in advance and be available for the set program dates. So this requires plenty of organization and doesn’t leave a lot of room for flexibility. 

However, it also means that you will be working with people who are all at the same stage of the program. This can mean that the work you do in each session is more focused, which is great for your personal progress.

Program Model 

Program coaching sessions tend to run for a set period of time (usually between eight and twelve weeks.) However, they do not have a set start date. 

This means that people can sign up for the program at any point during this time.

You work through the coaching program in the same order as the rest of the group. So, overall, everyone on the course gets the same amount of coaching time. However, members will be at different stages of the program in each session.

These programs tend to run continuously. So this also means that you can join a course when it suits you and don’t have to panic about missing the start date of a great program.

Of course, this also means that you will be working with people who are at different stages of their personal journeys. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. 

This can be great because group members who are further along the program can support newer members.

However, it also means that the sessions have to accommodate different stages of growth. This might mean you end up doing exercises that don’t always feel in line with the reflections you’ve been working on.

That said, this can encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and push your progress further in a shorter space of time. To get the most out of your program, you should be prepared to put in some independent work as well. 

Membership Model 

Membership models don’t involve a specific start or program end date. Instead, they give you access to reoccurring coaching sessions throughout your membership. 

This model brings together elements of cohort and program models. The group comes together to discuss and work on the same content at the same time. However, people can join the group at any time.

This means that you have slightly less control over when you work on specific objectives or exercises. Some people view this as a downside to membership models.

However, like program models, this can encourage you to work on objectives or obstacles that are out of your comfort zone.

Your coach will, of course, always be respectful of your boundaries and won’t ask you to do work that you don’t feel comfortable with yet. You will still have the opportunity to do all of the work you want to. And trying out new exercises can help you progress faster.

Your coach may offer you different membership options. So you can find one that works for you.

For example, coaches might offer 3- or 6-month memberships that give clients unlimited access to their classes. Or you may have a set number of classes per month that you can book flexibly. Other membership models simply guarantee you the same spot in a coaching session each week.

Coaches still have control of when the classes happen. And they regulate the size of each group session by offering a limited number of places. These are usually available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

What Is the Best Size for a Coaching Group?

Speaking of the size of your coaching group, this can greatly impact what you achieve. 

Working with larger groups gives you access to more perspectives and lets you work with a wider variety of people in one go. That said, it is easier to do more focused work with a smaller group.

There are several things you should consider when choosing the size of your coaching group. For example, you should look at the kind of exercises on offer and how much time you want to spend doing focused work with your coach.

Independent or partner exercises can work well with big groups. However, having too many people in each session will make sharing reflections difficult. 

Because of this, small group coaching tends to be the most effective. The ideal size for group coaching is around six or eight participants. This gives you time and space to really get to work with your coach during each session. 

If you would like to hire a coach to work with a bigger group, there are plenty of ways to make this work. Here are some of the ways that coaches manage larger group coaching programs.

Group Coaches May Divide Large Groups Into Smaller Groups 

Large group coaching programs need to be well-organized. This is because working with a large group takes up more time in each coaching session. 

A lot of coaches adapt their exercises and discussions to make sure their clients still get a lot out of these sessions. This may involve dividing the group into smaller groups of two or three.

Each small group will work on activities or exercises together. Within your group, you will then share your reflections and discuss the work that you’ve done. This gives everyone a chance to share their reflections. 

Your coach will provide questions or topics to focus on to help guide these conversations. They will also move throughout the groups so everyone gets a chance to work closely with them.

The coach may also switch up the smaller groups between activities. This means that you get to work with and learn from a variety of people throughout the day. 

This is a great option if you want to hire a coach to work with a large team within your company. It ensures that as many people as possible benefit from working with a group life coach.

People With Experience in Coaching Groups Will Encourage Reflections Between Your Sessions

Reflecting between each session is important for one-on-one coaching and life coaching groups. This helps you progress toward your objectives more quickly. So it is always good to encourage this. 

When it comes to group coaching, reflecting between your sessions can also save you a lot of time.

Your coach will ask you to reflect on specific areas or questions at the end of each session. This means that you will come to their next session ready to engage with these topics. 

Having group topics to reflect on also helps you connect with the other people in your coaching group. As you share your thoughts and reflections, this will build trust within the group.

Coaches Will Upload Resources in Advance

You may want to hire a coach to give a coaching seminar on a specific topic. This can happen online or in person and might not involve a lot of client interaction.

However, coaches will help you get the most out of your seminar by sharing resources with you before and after the session.

For example, coaches may share resources to get you thinking about the session material in advance. They can also distribute reflection questions and exercises for the group to try after your seminar. 

This helps to get you thinking about the work you are going to do and provides support for you after the session. Coming to your sessions well-prepared and reflecting on the work you have done afterward will help you get the most out of your seminar.

This also gives you space to connect with your coach outside of the session. If you found the work helpful, you can use this information to join another coaching program or organize some one-on-one sessions.

When Is Group Life Coaching Particularly Helpful? 

Group life coaching can be used to address a whole range of issues. To understand this more, here are some great examples of group coaching in action.

Team Building Workshops 

When it comes to team building, group and team coaching is definitely the way to go. After all, this gives you the chance to work on your team’s dynamics from the ground up. 

Often team building workshops focus on communication skills, leadership skills, job satisfaction, and conflict resolution. If a particular issue has arisen in your workplace, you can also hire a group life coach to focus on this.

Support Groups

Team building coaching sessions tend to bring together people who already know one another. In contrast, support groups can bring together strangers with a shared interest or goal.

Often these groups create a space to share and understand a specific experience or challenge. Each client will have their own experiences and obstacles to work through. However, their objectives and goals may be similar, even if they are at different stages of their personal journeys. 

Rehabilitation groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, are a good example of these groups. Although these sessions are free for everyone, they use a membership model. They run continuously and allow members to join at any time.

School Workshops 

School workshops tend to focus on career goals, peer relationships, or health and wellbeing. 

This creates time for students to engage with these topics outside of the classroom at key developmental stages. Getting an outside expert to work with the students on these particular topics can also be helpful. 

They will have plenty of experience talking about these different topics sensitively and managing the group dynamics. For example, they will come to each session with a range of interesting activities designed to keep the group focused. 

Benefits of Group Coaching

The right style of coaching depends a lot on your personality and coaching objectives.  So why do some people prefer group coaching over one-on-one sessions?

Well, there are some unique benefits that come from group coaching. Let’s take a closer look at these.

Group Coaching Sessions Create a Sense of Community 

Coaches can provide valuable support for you and the rest of their clients. However, it is easy to become overly dependent on this support. 

This might mean that if you become stuck on something outside of your sessions, you decide to wait until your next session to work on this. While your coach can help you think about this obstacle, only working within your session can really slow down your progress. 

Group work can help you recognize that your coach is not the only person with the answers.

During your sessions, you will get to witness other people’s journeys and perspectives. This helps you feel less isolated on your journey and encourages you to connect with the people around you.

Importantly, it shows you that the people around you will be able to empathize with your experiences and concerns. So it can help you reach out for support from other places when you need it.

Group Coaching Provides Accountability and Encourages Progress

A lot of people use their coaches to provide accountability in their lives. This shows that they are committed to learning and working towards their objectives. 

However, working in a group can heighten this. You will have to share your reflections and progress with a whole group of people. So you are more likely to put in independent work outside of your sessions.

Understanding the work that you do in your coaching sessions can be fairly straightforward. However, putting this into practice in daily life can be a lot more challenging.

This is where working in a group can really make a difference.

During your sessions, you will learn habits and ways to introduce your learning into your life from the other group members. This might be through hearing tips that they found helpful or discussing what you have found most challenging.

Discussing this openly and seeing one another’s progress can have a huge impact on your motivation. 

Seeing each other’s positive progress can help to motivate other group members to continue working. Similarly, sharing challenges with one another reminds everyone to be kind and patient with themselves during this journey.

Group Sessions Support Self-Reflection

As we’ve already mentioned, reflection is an integral part of any coaching situation. And it isn’t hard to see how group work can support this. 

Group work offers more feedback on each reflection and this helps you explore your experiences in more depth. This might be about tackling a specific obstacle or helping you identify your goals in life. 

There are two ways that group work can help you reflect and progress on your journey.

Other group members may encourage you to reflect by sharing their feedback or asking useful questions. Listening to their experiences might also prompt you to think more about your own goals.

Before starting group work, most coaches will create some ground rules for sharing reflections. This helps to foster an environment of trust and support within the room.

For example, they might ask everyone to agree that: 

  • Things discussed within the group must stay within the group 
  • No one has to contribute unless they feel comfortable doing so 
  • All group members should use sensitive language
  • Group members should not interrupt one another
  • The role of the group is to listen and support not judge

This helps to create healthy boundaries so that everyone in the group feels comfortable.

When drawing up these rules, feel free to discuss them and contribute rules yourself. This starts the process off in a collaborative and supportive way. 

When it is handled properly, this whole process encourages everyone to expand their perspectives. It helps you look outwards to learn from others and develop new approaches to your goals.

Group Coaching Programs Encourage Creative Problem Solving 

Often, people reach out to coaches for help tackling a specific goal or obstacle that they have been struggling with. You may do this when you’ve become frustrated because your own approach isn’t yielding any results.

It can be easy to get tunnel vision in this situation. When this happens, it can help to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective.

Group sharing encourages you to think about new ways to approach your goals or obstacles. This can have a huge impact on your progress. 

This might come from the group talking about their habits or approaches to their goals. Or it might involve one group member opening up about a struggle and the group exploring ways to approach this. 

However you approach these challenges, a group will be able to come up with and explore a whole range of solutions in a short space of time. After all, six brains are better than one!

Group Sessions Help You Build Your Networks

As we have already mentioned, group coaching can really create a sense of community. This can help each group member feel like part of a bigger picture, which renews their sense of purpose. 

Group coaching can also help you build your networks both in and outside of coaching.

For example, you might stay in touch with other group members and support one another outside of your coaching sessions. This helps you create a new support network to use after your program has ended.

However, coaching can also boost your confidence when it comes to networking for the rest of your life.

15 million people in America experience social anxiety and this, along with low self-esteem, can have a huge impact on your ability to connect with others. Feeling nervous about interacting with others can create big issues in your personal and professional life.

Your coaching sessions will help you see the benefits of working and sharing with others. They can also teach you valuable communication and listening skills that will help you throughout life. 

As a result, you will feel more comfortable creating professional and social networks throughout your life.

Group Coaches Have a Wider Variety of Skills 

Most coaches will have plenty of one-on-one coaching under their belts and this is a valuable experience. However, people with experience coaching a group tend to have a wider range of coaching skills. 

This is because group coaching exposes them to different learning styles and exercises. It also encourages them to explore different program models. 

As a result, group coaches tend to be more adaptable and have experience managing a variety of group dynamics. This means that they can create programs to suit your journey. 

They also have to be incredibly organized. This means that they tend to use online platforms to: 

  • Create coaching schedules 
  • Liaise with their clients 
  • Share useful resources 
  • Help clients track their progress
  • Track their payments 

As a result, they offer a seamless logistical experience so you will always be up-to-date on the latest program details.

Group Coaches Offer High-Quality Programs Based on a Wide Range of Feedback 

When it comes to professional development, feedback is incredibly important for coaches. This helps them figure out:

  • Which program models work best 
  • The most effective exercises
  • How to lead and facilitate group discussions 
  • How to approach different learning styles 
  • Ways to make their sessions more accessible

Because of this, all life coaches will welcome feedback from their clients. 

However, group coaches work with more people so therefore get a lot more feedback in a short space of time. This means that they can adapt and improve their coaching skills and programs much faster.

They may also have worked as a group life coach assistant before managing their own groups. So they will have had plenty of time to hone and develop their skills.

As a result, group coaches offer high-quality programs based on a wide variety of client feedback.

Group Coaching Tends to Be Cheaper Than One-on-One Coaching 

The life coaching industry is currently worth more than $2.85 billions and some coaches will charge a lot for one-on-one sessions. This can put people off seeking support from a life coach.

However, group coaching offers you access to professional expertise at a more reasonable price.

Most life coaches will charge less per person when coaching a group than they do in one-on-one coaching. This is because there are more people in the session to divide their expenses between.

For example, high-end coaches can charge around $200 per hour upwards, for their one-on-one sessions. In a group session, you can expect to pay around half that price and you get all of the additional benefits of working with a group! They may also offer companies and schools discounts for large group or day bookings.

If you are looking for a coach but have a limited budget, group coaching is a great option to explore.

Find a Brilliant Group Coach Today

As you can see, finding a life coach with experience in coaching groups offers you access to all the benefits of life coaching. Plus, you get to enjoy all of the additional benefits of group coaching as well. 

A group coach allows you to work on your objectives and encourages you to connect with and learn from others. This will help you build networks and explore different viewpoints. So everyone is a winner in group life coaching! 

Are you looking for someone with experience coaching a group to help you reach your life goals? Then get in touch today to learn more from an experienced life coach. I’m happy to help!

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