Building The Framework for Your Group Coaching Program
Now that you've chosen the theme for your program, you're ready to think about the group coaching framework -- program length and delivery.
There are no precise guidelines on how long (or short) your group coaching program should be, but here's a good rule of thumb...
It's better to go with a program that's too long rather than too short.
And here's why...
Coaching groups is not an exact science so don't make the mistake of creating a compact or super short program that doesn't give members enough room to do the work, take action, and start seeing results.
Think about creating a group program that's at least 3 months long. Most group coaching programs are 6 months long and many are even a year-long or more.
You should also consider how you want to deliver your group coaching program.
For instance, you might want to try a subscription model where clients pay a monthly fee to continue coaching with you in your group program.
If this sounds good to you, think about offering a yearly fee at an attractive price point to motivate potential clients to commit for longer time frames.
A yearly fee in a subscription model is great for 2 reasons:
- You get to receive payment upfront for the whole year and this is an effective way to stabilize revenue in your business.
- Your clients recognize they've paid a significant amount upfront. This is a powerful motivational tool and they'll be far more likely to actually do the work so they don't feel like it's money down the drain.
The subscription group coaching model is not the only model that works so go ahead and experiment.
I have clients who achieved great success using the "cycle method" where they open up their group coaching program to new people every 6 weeks.
There are coaches who create success by totally ignoring the "long over short" rule of thumb, I mentioned earlier...
They offer very short or month-long programs. The constant churn and turnover of fresh new faces in the group keeps them excited and energized so they can continue to serve at the highest level.
You should also consider your theme when planning your delivery method and program length.
For instance, group programs on weight loss will work better over a longer time frame, at least 6 months, so members have time to implement the techniques you teach and see results.
A productivity program might work best in a shorter time frame where you want clients to learn and take fast action so they can quickly improve their productivity.
Use your experience, gut instinct, and your sense of what works for your audience and client base to create the ideal framework for your program.
This exercise doesn't have to be your final decision, but it's good to reflect on these questions before moving on to the next chapter:
- Do you prefer working with people over a longer period of time or do you like working with fresh faces as often as possible?
- Have you experienced group coaching as a client? If yes, what was the timeframe? Did you think it was too short, too long or just right? Why?
- Based on your group coaching theme (the one you chose in Chapter 1), how long should your program be for members to start seeing results? (tip: don't overthink this... go with your gut)
- Would a subscription model work for you and your business?
Accelerated Goal-Achievement In Coaching Groups
When it comes to group coaching programs, I've been around the block more than a few times.
I've created programs from scratch for myself and for my clients.
I've designed frameworks, created sales funnels, put together lead-in offerings to group programs, been a guest on other people's programs...
And yes, I've also joined group coaching and mentorship programs as a participant.
Here's what I've observed and experienced over time...
There's a success ingredient that's in all great group coaching programs: Accountability.
This is when members officially or unofficially "report" their progress to you and other members in the group as they work through the tasks and projects that will get them to their big goal.
Accountability works as a solid support system for your group members to:
Continue feeling motivated and creatively inspired throughout the time you have together.
Complete coaching activities, worksheets, audio or video lessons or any other element you share in your program.
Hit milestones and see measurable results as they progress toward their big goal.
When a group coaching program is missing those 3 key elements, members feel demotivated, bored, and uninspired.
They'll hit a wall.
When your clients don't feel they're making progress, they check out mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
MENTAL CHECK OUT:
A mental check out is when a participant attends calls or appears to engage in the community space, but doesn't do any of the work you've set for them. They don't take action or make progress towards their goals.
EMOTIONAL CHECK OUT:
An emotional check out is when they feel like they've invested time, energy and money, but they're not seeing the changes they'd like, so they take on an "I don't care" approach and start disconnecting themselves from the program.
PHYSICAL CHECK OUT:
A physical check out is usually a combination of a mental and an emotional check out. The client stops showing up, attending calls and participating in the community space, altogether. They officially "drop out" of the program.
You know people are starting to check out in your group program when you see attendance to your live coaching calls and engagement in your community space take a nosedive.
And once that happens, it's very difficult to earn their trust again and get them back on board. So it's crucial to have a solid group coaching model engagement plan.
Which is why you must create deep accountability. Accountability resolves all these issues.
Some studies show accountability can boost goal-achievement from 70% to up to an epic 95%.
This means accountability is the most powerful aspect of successful goal-achievement when it comes to coaching groups.
Here are some ways you can introduce and maintain accountability in your group:
Just in case you're wondering...
None of this takes the coach - that means you - out of the equation.
As the coach, your job is to regularly step in, check on progress and offer expert input, insights, coaching and guidance when members feel stuck or challenged as they progress toward their milestones and big goals.
Spare some time to think of ways to enhance accountability in your group program by answering these questions:
- Which accountability model speaks to you? Is it small breakout groups of 3 to 5 people? Partnerships with 2 people? Each member reporting to the entire group? If none of these sound good, what other ways can you creatively include accountability in your group?
- How do you plan to stay involved? Do you want to check in on individual breakout groups and partnerships every couple of days, once a week, a couple of times a month?
- List out any other ideas you have around creating accountability in your group.