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Should You Put Out an Online Coaching course or Run a Coaching Program?

May 03, 2019

In the online coaching space there's two main ways to serve your clients. You can either put together a course and have them work their way through it by themselves at their own pace, or you can work them and offer guidance while they are on their journey. More specifically I’m going to be comparing putting out an online coaching course vs running a group program. Most view group programs as a course that is delivered with self study videos, a few coaching calls, and lasts about the span of 6 - 8 weeks.  What most don't know is that group programs can be so much more than that. Group program can be very high end programs

There are two types of group programs. High end programs, and Low end programs.  When I say low end I mean lower investment and a shorter time frame.  Group programs can be very high end.  

We have people in our program that spend $20,000.

How I Came to the Decision to do Group Coaching

In the past I had put together courses and found out that the course model was not for me. There were a few big reasons that allowed me to come to this conclusion. 

  • People self paced themselves, and most of the time they went much slower.  
  • Some wouldn’t go through material, at all. 
  • Others would only apply things here or there and weren’t consistent in their efforts.  
  • But the biggest thing I noticed during the run of my courses was that the commitment level wasn't there.

To add the cherry on top of the cake I found out that 97% of students dropout of online courses.  

Here I was getting down because I thought my consumption and application rate was really bad.  But actually they were pretty good compared to everyone else.

I realized that this was not how I wanted to show up for my clients. I didn’t want to just take their money and leave. I couldn't just sit by and watch them fend for themselves. I wanted to actually get them results.

So ask yourself: What is the intention of your business and where are you going? Your course or program should be in alignment with that. 

Know that there is no right answer, and it's not one or the other either. This is definitely going to be an iterative process. 

You can start off with a course where it's self paced and all self study. Maybe you have a group program as a next step.  This can weed out the individuals that aren't committed to doing the work sooner rather than later.

The fact that I run group programs myself might be a little bit biased, but they do have some perks when compared to an online course.

The Hidden Benefits of Group Coaching Programs

Through personal experience i’ve noticed after switching you to a group coaching program after running courses was that with the courses you get very little repeat buyers or referrals.  

Repeat buyers and referrals mean more money in your pocket. With group programs people are with you. They have experience with you, so of course they want to buy from you again. 

We have had clients call others up on their phone and refer them to programs.  They were not paid for this and didn't receive any type of benefit for it. They did that all on their own after working with us. 

People will buy from you again, which means as coaches when you build your own program you don’t want to include lifetime access.

When you allow them access anytime they want defeats other benefits of having a group program as well as adding a whole new set of problems.

The Easiest Way to Enable Collaborative Learning

When you decide to go with a group coaching program you are able to facilitate collaborative learning for your clients. Collaborative learning is when two or more people try to learn something together.  

This trumps learning individually in the sense that each participant can utilize each other to further their learning.

Lifetime access only serves to inhibit collaborative learning because now you have people showing up late to the program.

Someone who bought your program six months ago can come in and suddenly decide they want to do the work then and there.  They’re asking questions that you probably already answered in a previous lesson.  It ultimately costs you more time and resources to keep up with the late comers.

An added problem of people coming late to the program also means that in the back of their mind they think they have all the time in the world to go through the program and as a result aren’t as committed to getting the work done. 

When you remove lifetime access it creates a sense of urgency for them.  Something magical happens when you say “We have 9 weeks to get this project done. Let's do it”. People get to work. 

Group programs have changed my business and my life. 

Even though I was “living the dream” by having the freedom of working from home, I was barely able to keep it together and as a result became burnout and bitter inside. Because of this I wasn’t able to be the mom that I wanted to be for my kids.

I want to ensure that your own group program launches without a hitch, so I’ve compiled a checklist to do just that.  Don’t make the same mistake I did. The ultimate checklist for launching your own group program. 10 things you need to do: Get the Ultimate Group Coaching Launch Checklist Here.