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How to Organize Group Coaching Sessions

Sep 22, 2020

Many coaches believe that they can easily transition from 1:1 work with a few clients into group coaching. This is not entirely true. But it’s totally possible with the right information. 1:1 coaching is considerably different from group coaching and surprisingly, very few training programs focus on how to organize group coaching sessions...

And that's precisely what I’m going to share with you here. 

So the first thing to think about is the format of your program. 

Group Coaching Format

When deciding on the perfect group coaching format for your program, consider these things:

  • What are your personal strengths as a coach, as a teacher and as a leader, 
  • How are you going to sell and fill your group program
  • How do you plan to meet the needs of your client? 

This will determine which format will suit your program the best. 

Now let’s quickly take a look at the 5 most common group coaching formats.

#1 The Live Workshop.

The live workshop is like a class where you are the teacher. You're probably going to have some slides to visually illustrate the concepts that you're teaching, and then at the end, you usually open up for a Q&A or for coaching. In the live workshop, everybody is learning together and going through that cohort together. 

The limitation to this format is being able to fill the program before the official start date. So if three people want to join and you're already halfway through, you're not going to be able to give them the same experience as if they came in from day one. 

#2 The Application Medley. 

This is where you are doing teaching and coaching on recorded video as a course and your clients apply the concepts they learn.  

So it's similar to a course, except you have hot seat coaching after where the coaching is done in an effort to get the participants to apply the material of the course. 

The cool thing about this format is that it is not time bound. People can start the video course at any time and still come to the hot seat. 

#3 The Private and Group Combination. 

As the name suggests, this is private coaching combined with a group format. In my program, the impact formula, each client gets four private calls with me per year, one per quarter, and then there's a coach that I have hired to work with them on a month to month basis to make sure they're on track with their project plan, with implementing and what they need help with. 

The option is there for them to be in the group coaching week to week, but they also have the space where they can get all the support they need in a private setting and really talk about their private situation. 

#4 The Mastermind

In the mastermind you don't really provide a lot of formal teaching. It's more about the members of the group being there for each other, and you're creating a supportive space for them to help each other out. In a mastermind, everyone is at a pretty high level.

I love this because it creates the synergy and a higher level conversation that is impossible in a coach/coachee type of scenario.

#5 Your own unique format. 

You can obviously combine any of these formats to make it work for you and really get the most out of your program and how you want to structure it and set it up. 

You can listen to my podcast episode on The 5 Types Of Group Programs if you want more information about each of these formats. 

Structure of a group coaching program

Before the first call 

Before getting on that first call with a client, you should do an assessment with an intake form or onboarding process to understand exactly where they are and what they are struggling with. 

You won't be able to get through their entire business on one call, but you can let them set the pace for themselves and what they want to accomplish by the end of that call. 

So by the time you get on call, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re working on. 

And once you have that, you know where to guide them so that you can stay on track during the call, instead of opening a whole can of worms that can’t be dealt with in the time frame of the call. 

Recurring patterns  

When you are doing group coaching calls you will quickly begin to notice certain patterns.

You will often find participants struggling with the same problem over and over, but in a different flavor or underlying cause. 

So you can tie things together and lecture on those specific problems a tiny bit more to make sure you're reiterating the point.

For example: Let's say Sally, Julie and Sarah all came to the hot seat call with different problems, but with the same flavor to it. Say they’re all struggling with trusting themselves, but it’s manifesting completely different in their business.

What I’ll do is point back to that point a few times over and say, look, this is where you’re not trusting ourselves, this is where you're not following your intuition. 

This allows them to connect the dots on what they're seeing other people go through.

When they see a problem in someone else, it is so much easier to accept and notice that they’re possibly going through it as well without you directly pointing it out. 

Coaching in a virtual environment

Call or Video chat?

When coaching in a virtual environment, Some people prefer to go on call and others prefer to go on video chat. How do you decide what’s right for you?

Personally, I’m an auditory processor, so I prefer calls. When I’m on call I'm thinking and taking notes and really listening. I listen differently over the phone than on video.

Unfortunately not everyone likes that style. So I have had to adapt and practice to be better at being on video while coaching, 

Some coaching companies are strict about having everybody on video so that they can read body language and pick up on cues. 

I know some people who feel like they don't get the rapport if the person is not on camera. 

At the end of the day it’s totally up to you and your personal preference. There's no right or wrong. Try them both and see what works best for you and your audience. 

Create a Virtual Support group

One thing that is really important for a virtual environment is offering a support group beyond just the one call. 

A community of people with the same goals is very powerful and brings with it many collaboration opportunities when you go above and beyond to provide additional support and space for your clients to interact together.

People can rally behind each other, provide support, share posts, do shout outs, do interviews and provide those additional layers of support that you alone cannot provide in a one on one setting.

The Importance of Group Coaching Exercises 

You want to end your calls with the key takeaways from the training as well as exercises, steps, or actions that they must implement in their business so that they can hold themselves accountable for the work they have done with you.

This allows them to take action and measure the results that they get from the call. If the program was successful, you’ll most likely have recurring clients coming back for help when they hit another snag.  

Summary of How to organize group coaching sessions

The first step to organizing your group coaching is to decide which of the 5 formats you are going to follow and the best way to do this is to look at your personal strengths, how you’re going to sell, and how you will meet the needs of your clients.

During sessions, focus on the patterns that come up in the groups and reiterate on those problems so that your clients can identify them within themselves. 

Virtual support groups are great for creating communities of people with the same goals where they can collaborate and provide support for each other outside of the group program. 

Remember to always end your group programs with exercises or activities that the participants must do so that they can hold themselves accountable and see measurable progress. 

If you’ve been holding out on starting your group program out of fear of not having it all ready, Download the free Ultimate group coaching Checklist and get that program rolling out so that you can see the money rolling in! 

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