Coaching Techniques

Group Coaching vs. Individual Coaching: What's the Difference?

Dive into the differences between group and individual coaching, their unique processes, and the ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching.

Coaching is one of the strongest tools we have for creating personal transformation, driving performance and achieving success. There’s a wide variety of opportunities to employ coaching – for the self, for other individuals and for teams or groups. Let’s take a closer look at how to apply coaching methodologies and techniques to groups. 

Teaching, Facilitation and Group Coaching

While they may seem similar, there’s many differences between teaching, facilitation, and group coaching – let’s dive into some definitions.

Teaching typically involves an expert giving knowledge or teaching hands-on skills to a person who doesn’t already know the information. The teacher controls and guides the rate and pace of learning, and the focus is on delivering information. 

Facilitation is the work of guiding a group through a process or a discussion, and it’s the facilitator’s job to make sure that everyone is heard, included and that the group eventually meets its goal. 

Group coaching is similar to both teaching and facilitation but focuses more on individual growth within the group. The coach helps create a positive environment for group members to have their own insights, and then helps group members apply those insights to reach their individual and joint goals.

What’s Individual Coaching?

Individual coaching is a highly personalized one-on-one partnership between a coach and a client. The coach and client work together to co-create an action plan for the future, with the coach asking powerful questions and the client deciding what they want to achieve. Such a close partnership allows for a strong bond and a concentrated ability for the client to grow and change. There’s many great things about one-on-one coaching, including highly personalized support and strong confidentiality.

What is Group Coaching?

Group coaching is a bit different and involves a coach working with a group of individuals together, at the same time. Each person in the group has their own goals, but they're working towards them within a group setting – often because this group of people has a similar ultimate goal. The process of working together in a group helps individuals learn from their peers, get different perspectives and share experiences. A strong group can create a powerful community with plenty of growth and transformation.

What’s the Process of Individual Coaching?

In one-on-one coaching, the emphasis is on the client's individual goals, action plans and progress. Coach and client work together to determine a plan of action, with the coach guiding the client with techniques and frameworks to help them make their own connections and breakthroughs. Confidentiality is important, and sessions are customized to whatever the client needs – client led and client directed. The coach gives their full attention to one client, focusing on their issues and helping with strategies for growth and development as well as motivation and accountability.

What is the Group Coaching Process?

Group coaching dynamics are different. Each person in the group has their own goals – and because there’s more people, the process is different, with more interaction, shared learning and collaboration. The goal of group coaching is to form an environment where everyone is supported and inspired, learning from and helping one another.

In the group environment, the coach helps manage the group dynamics and gives everyone a chance to be heard and seen if they so wish. Coaches help keep groups a safe and positive place for people to share their victories and challenges. The power of a group and the momentum of the shared experiences can help speed up learning, provide motivation and give a boost of accountability.

For more on Lumia's take on group coaching: How to Do Group Coaching.

The ICF Advanced Certification in Team Coaching

Group and team coaching has seen such a resurgence in recent years that the International Coach Federation (ICF) has launched the Advanced Certification in Team Coaching (ACTC). This certification is for those who are advanced and highly competent in working with teams.

This certification is designed for professional coaches who work with teams or groups in various organizations: private companies, government agencies and nonprofits.

Earning the ACTC showcases that a coach has met the ICF standards – validating their advanced skills, expertise, and experience, and proving they have the skills required to be effective.

For a coach to attain the ACTC, the ICF is looking for them to prove that they have the following skills for effective team coaching:

  • Distinguishing  team coaching from other team development modalities 
  • Managing the complex dynamics and patterns unique to teams 
  • Partnering with a variety of stakeholders to establish team coaching agreements 
  • Supporting teams in the development of effective communication and collaboration skills 
  • Partnering with teams to develop a sense of common identity and purpose 
  • Collaborating with teams to support conflict resolution  
  • Promoting a team’s autonomy and long-term sustainability 

Both individual and group coaching can provide outstanding opportunities for growth and development, both for the people participating and for you as a coach. Understanding how to do both one on one and group coaching means you have the tools and abilities to support your potential clients – those looking for personalized strategies or who want to learn from the journey of others. Coaching is powerful, whether it happens one on one or in a group setting – it’s all about inspiring change, creating space for personal and professional growth and giving us each the opportunity to discover what we’re capable of.

Ready to Explore Your Path to Group Coaching?

Group coaching is a growing new field that's constantly advancing. If you haven't yet obtained your coaching certification, now is the ideal time to start. Anchored in evidence-based methods, Lumia's ICF accredited coach training program boasts experienced instructors, a comprehensive curriculum, and a community of peers committed to changing the world.

[Free Guide] 6 Steps to Start Coaching Today

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