Group coaching program 101 - How to start?
Want to start a group coaching program but don’t know how? Here are some of its benefits over 1:1 coaching and steps on how to get started.
How to structure a group coaching program in 2023?
Thinking of setting up a group coaching program?
It is a powerful and effective way to help individuals achieve their goals through the support of a group dynamic.
But, where do you start?
In this piece, we discuss what group coaching is, when to go for it, and how to structure a group coaching program in simple steps.
What is group coaching?
Before diving into how to structure a group coaching program, let’s understand what it is.
Group coaching is a unique and effective approach to teaching that involves working with multiple students simultaneously in a group setting.
This method allows for greater flexibility and customization, as well as the opportunity to build a supportive community of like-minded individuals.
The goal of this type of coaching is to help you deliver lessons strategically to get repeatable and reliable results over time.
Group Coaching vs 1:1 Coaching - what's the difference?
When you think of coaching, your mind probably jumps to 1:1 or one-on-one coaching.
But, now that you are thinking of starting with group coaching (or else you wouldn't have clicked on this article!), let’s see how it is different from 1:1 or one-on-one coaching.
- With 1:1 coaching, your client receives all of their attention from you. This means that there's no need for structure in order to keep the session on track and continue moving forward with what needs to work most urgently at any given time
- On the other hand, group classes provide greater flexibility because each person can receive personalized help based on individual issues or goals without feeling like they're alone against an undefeated opponent (the teacher).
- Group classes also allow more people access to different types of learning opportunities from multiple individuals than would otherwise exist in 1:1 coaching where a student only gets to learn from the teacher.
- Another key difference between group coaching and other forms of coaching is how the program is structured.
- With traditional 1:1 coaching, a coach will typically meet with their client on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to provide support and guidance as they work towards their goals. However, group coaching programs are often designed to run for a set period of time - such as 6 or 12 weeks - with participants meeting together at regular intervals over this period.
Now, you might say group coaching is less personal and in-depth because they have everyone together.
But there are some great benefits too! I have discussed those in detail later in this blog.
But, first, you need to decide if opting for group coaching is the right thing to do for now.
When to pick group coaching over 1:1 coaching?
There is no ‘ideal’ time to start group coaching.
However, considering the following factors may help you determine when group coaching might be the right choice for your needs.
These include -
- How much time do you have available
- How much support do you need
- How much flexibility do you require in terms of scheduling and content?
Generally, group coaching allows you to teach more people in one go, thus saving you time.
Additionally, group programs often cost less than 1:1 coaching, making them an ideal option for those on a budget.
As a general rule, conduct at least three 1:1 coaching sessions as a warm-up exercise. This will help you get a fair idea of the general concerns of students and how to tackle them, so you can head into a group coaching session with more confidence.
Benefits of group coaching
A group coaching program has several advantages both for online creators or coaches as well as for students or group members.
Let’s see what the benefits are -
1. For creators
a). Business scaling:
Group coaching is a great solution if you want to scale your business and accelerate your social proof. By bringing together a group of like-minded individuals, you can create a supportive community that helps each member grow and thrive
b). Expanding customer base
As a by-product of its previous benefit, this type of coaching allows you to quickly build your customer base.
When you have a lot of people in your program, you can tap into a wider range of networks and reach new audiences. This can help increase visibility for your business and drive more sales or signups.
c). Refining your skills
Another advantage of group coaching is that it provides an opportunity for accelerated learning.
Through collaboration with fellow creatives, you, as a creator, can also gain insights and feedback that will help refine your coaching skills and improve the quality of your work. Also, being surrounded by people who care can boost your student's confidence and give them the drive they need to succeed.
2. For course students
Group coaching can help your students complete their online courses a lot faster.
How do you ask?
Well, look at the resources they can get -
This coaching program offers a chance for people to learn how they can be more successful by working with others.
They'll get the rewards of forming relationships, co-ordinating and resolving problems together - all skills that are necessary for life!
Plus team-building is always enjoyable because you share common goals while working on an issue or project at hand.
A lot of people are looking for an edge in their personal and professional lives, which group coaching can provide access to - whether they're pursuing training to conduct successful group coaching themselves or just want some advice on how best to use one already!
Your students can get access to various professionals who are all on the same page when pursuing their own passions - this is almost like having family members in every city around the world because they share common goals with each other too.
c). Solving complex problems
Group coaching sessions are a great way to get your stakeholders on board with solving complex problems.
With this type of coaching, students will have access to a diverse range of perspectives on how best to approach any given problem.
In this setting, they'll have access not only to you but also to other members of their team who can offer diverse insights.
Plus, because there will always be someone knowledgeable within each group ready and willing to provide accountable feedback during these types of meetings - no matter how large it gets - students feel more confident in taking bold steps forward towards resolving tough issues without getting stuck!
All group members participate equally so everyone has a chance at solving problems together as well which builds trust among those working towards the same goal.
We all face obstacles on the path to achieving our goals, but it is important to have people who will not give up on us.
Accountability and cheerleading can help keep someone going when they are faced with an obstacle or two.
However, in order for them to reach their full potential, they also need celebration!
This is where group coaching provides the community support that falls short in 1:1 coaching. It keeps the competitive spirit alive while making students proud of their milestones along the way!
Things to decide before creating an online group coaching program
Once you have decided that you want to go ahead with a group coaching program, make a note of a few factors.
The primary ones are the number of members you want in the group and the type of content that you will share with the group.
Now, ask yourself the following questions (and their possible answers) -
How to attract high-quality students?
To attract the best clients and community, you should focus more on the quality of group coaching memberships rather than just quantity.
This is because only a small percentage will actually stick around for your site or business, which means that it's important to find people who are willing participants in what they're doing as opposed to collectors of an experience without any real investment from them.
One way to do so is to ask for favors from others already established in the niche.
For example, if you want to hold a session about baking, you can use your network to ask a few professional bakers to join you.
How to get members to contribute?
A common mistake that most online creators make is making the group coaching session a lecture session.
Understand that you should not be the only contributor in this coaching setup.
That defeats the entire purpose.
Group coaching works best when people share their knowledge with each other and learn from each other's experiences at the moment, rather than just being fed abstract information.
So, promote better communication between participants, encourage them to talk among themselves, create challenges, promote peer review, and let them share the story of their journey.
How to add variety to sessions?
If you want better engagement with every session, then you have to give your students something interesting to look forward to.
And variety is the spice of life!
So, spice it up by -
- Changing your community theme or group coaching program template yearly or bi-yearly
- Hosting impromptu live-streaming events and other interesting group coaching activities
- Asking industry experts to host occasional sessions as guests
How to make everyone feel included?
Group coaching has many potential advantages, but it also has a major drawback.
If you have too many voices talking over one another in your group sessions, clients may feel like their opinions aren't being heard.
Because of this lack of empathy from people who were there mostly out of curiosity and not because they had to, they will end up leaving early or skipping future appointments.
This means less revenue for coaches as well!
So, do everything possible to take care that no student feels unheard or dominated by other voices in a session, while still learning new things during these events together
How to start a group coaching program - Ultimate Guide
1. Set a common goal
Setting common goals and keeping everyone focused on the same thing is key to success.
In order for your program or group coaching session, you need a shared goal that will guide all of its meetings towards accomplishing something specific by meeting periodically over time.
- What does every person in this room have coming together?
- What brings them here today?
Then communicate it clearly with those present so they know what we're aiming at achieving as well-or better yet write down these answers beforehand!
If there are any expectations from one another make sure those are clarified in advance.
2. Pick Your Secret Sauce
"You need to know what makes you special before starting a program."
Until you know what makes your business unique, it will be very difficult to convey the skills and assistance that you offer potential clients.
You may also have trouble determining which material is appropriate for different audiences or how much time should actually go into each session with a client because of this uncertainty in content strategy.
When preparing for this, ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I helping?
- Which clients can benefit from my services?
- Why should they choose me over other coaches in the niche who may provide similar help?
Once you have these answers, come up with some materials that will resonate only with your audience.
For example, if I were to work as a relationship coach, my niche would be working with couples on the verge of separation rather than newlyweds.
So, my sessions should be able to provide some guidance around making decisions like leaving or staying, etc.
3. Choose a course model
The first thing you need to decide when structuring a group coaching program is the group coaching model you will follow.
Generally, there are 3 types you can choose from -
a). The Cohort Model:
The cohort model is basically the virtual sister of traditional coaching classes. Here, you can let your students sign up for a class in advance, and then all of them can start attending the sessions on the same date.
b). The Program Model
The program model is a limited-time offer. Here, members can sign up at any time during the enrollment session and then you drip-feed the content to them strategically over the course of time.
c). The Membership model
This is the most popular model for coaching programs. It has no distinct start date or end date and students can sign up for it at any time. This also means that the community discussions, although relevant to the subject, are not focused on a sequential order of lessons.
After you are done picking a model, come up with group coaching program names that best fit your purpose.
d). Decide a Frequency & Duration
How often and for how long you are coaching clients is an aspect that needs careful consideration.
But it's also something we should take into account when thinking about what works best with our students as well!
If they're busy or traveling frequently then short programs may work better than longer ones because less time between meetings means there won't necessarily be any gaps where those ideas could get lost
Whereas, if a student has more free days available each month - say from owning their own business- having two separate sessions every week might make sense.
Or, if a student is very busy with other obligations such as work or family life then it might be difficult for them to attend weekly meetings - however long sessions may do the job here because there is so much material covered in one go!
Regardless, I recommend that you think about the client's desired frequency and length of the program when making these decisions.
Remembering both your content goals while also considering convenience will help ensure success from the beginning through the end game.
e). Figure out what your Coaching Program Delivery Method will be
Can't make up your mind about whether to offer coaching in person or virtual training?
The choice is entirely yours.
There are benefits for each method, but they differ greatly depending on how you plan on meeting with clients—whether it's through face-to-face meetings at their location (physical) versus online interactions over video chat software such as Skype/Google+ Hangouts Meet, etc...
When deciding on virtual group coaching, consider the materials you will need to stream your group coaching sessions.
Also, consider the home video setup and facilities to make your training sessions and resources available to your students seamlessly.
f). Outline and Create Your Coaching Methods
You can't start a coaching program without thinking about what techniques to use.
There are plenty of different models and methodologies out there, but you should plan your conversations around these in advance so they feel meaningful for participants as well!
- Decide the coaching methodologies (such as CLEAR or GROW) you will adopt to help your students solve their problems.
- Zero in on the coaching techniques you will use to train your students’ brains.
- Make use of assignments and worksheets to help your students further refine their learnings - as we know, practice makes perfect!
g). Zero in on the pricing
It can be difficult to price your coaching program right from the start because you need a balance between attracting clients and making money.
For starters, you don't want your pricing to be too low; this will decrease the perceived value of service for customers, reducing credibility as well.
If setting high enough prices isn’t an option either or doesn't seem like it would work out in favor financially then look at what other similar coaches are charging first (and where they leave their marks).
Use these numbers as guides!
Consider how best to convey your offer's worth, while also keeping your services affordable!
Communicate that message through marketing channels like your website, e-mails, and social media.
More than 12,000 creators offer group coaching with Freshlearn. Our creators have earned more than $20M in the past 3 years. Freshlearn is an all-in-one platform to offer group coaching or 1-1 coaching for free. Start for free here
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