Many coaches believe that doing one-on-one work with a few clients is enough to create an easy transition into group coaching.
This is a huge mistake.
One-on-one coaching is significantly different from group coaching in many important ways and surprisingly, very few certification and training programs focus on these differences.
This leaves many coaches unprepared for group work.
Here are critical essentials you can immediately start to implement in order to navigate group coaching like a pro…
Even if it’s your very first time!
Create a Safe Space
Being coached and opening up to a coach is an incredibly personal, vulnerable experience, which is why you must create a safe, supportive space for your group.
If members are wary or cautious with you and with each other, your entire group coaching experience will turn into little more than meaningless “chat” time.
So, the first thing to do when you’re coaching a group? Inspire trust.
And it’s not just trust between you, the coach and every group member. You must aim to inspire trust between members of the group as well.
A great way to do this is by organizing a couple of bonus “get to know you” sessions at the start of your coaching program, where team members can introduce themselves to you and to each other. Have them talk about their goals, their purpose and a little bit about their lives, during these sessions.
You can also establish a common goal or theme for your group. A shared goal is a powerful way to bring the group together. For instance, if you’re a business coach, you could establish a collective group goal, such as achieving at least one $10k month, by the end of the coaching program.
If your group coaching sessions are held exclusively online, organize live meetups or retreats where members have a chance to communicate and connect on a much deeper level so trust starts to flow naturally.
Set the Rules
If you want to create an effective, results-driven group coaching environment, set the rules from the start.
How long will each group session last? How do you plan to work with the group? Are you going to ask for volunteers to speak up or are you going to call on them as you go? Do group members get to talk about their key challenge at the moment or do you have coaching themes and topics planned out in advance for each call?
These are critical details that will keep your sessions on point, focused and most importantly – effective. When you don’t set the rules, sessions can quickly turn into a nightmare of chaos and confusion.
This can lead to all sorts of problems including unfulfilled expectations, disappointed clients, and a damaged reputation for you, the coach.
Dig into The Dynamics
Every group has its own dynamics. In this context, dynamics refers to the fundamental way group members cooperate, communicate and connect with you, the coach and with other members.
When you start to pay attention, you’ll clearly see these dynamics at play.
For instance, you may notice specific members who are comfortable stepping into the spotlight. They’re the ones who don’t think twice about asking lots of questions or raising their hand when you ask a question.
There are also “wall flowers” or introverted types who don’t say much but who are great observers. They have clear opinions and ideas on everything. They just don’t share what’s going on in their minds.
Group dynamics like this play a major role in your ability to coach each member at the highest level. So, when you’re working with a group always ask yourself the following:
What does the group need?
What are individual members looking for?
When you’re aware of the answers to these questions, you’ll never make the mistake of unconsciously excluding individual group members in a coaching session and you’ll be able to stay focused on what’s good for each member and for the group as a whole.
Group coaching allows you to reach more people and create greater impact as a coach compared to one on one sessions but make no mistake…
It’s not an easy transition.
Group coaching will stretch your coaching skills, especially the first few times.
But don’t give up.
With practice, any dedicated coach can become pro at group coaching in a very short time.
And when you see the positive changes and transformations you can create with more than one person at a time, you’ll realize that it’s worth every moment of your time and effort