Resource Guides

How to Launch Your Own Group Coaching Program

Group coaching is a powerful way to facilitate personal growth, professional development, and transformative learning.

How to Launch Your Own Group Coaching Program

While many people may become professional coaches out of a desire to work with people one-on-one – there are many ways to be a coach and many ways to use coaching skills.

Group coaching is one such powerful way to facilitate personal growth, professional development, and transformative learning. As a professional life coach, venturing into leading group coaching sessions can be a great way to expand your reach and enrich your coaching practice. 

However, this format brings its own set of interesting challenges and nuances compared to one-on-one or other types of coaching. Let’s explore the essential steps of setting up a group coaching program, running it effectively, and understanding how it differs from individual coaching.

Setting Up Your Group Coaching Program

Define Your Objective and Audience

Perhaps you have a great idea for a group coaching program at the ready, pulled from your own experiences. Maybe it’s right within your area of expertise and you are itching to get started. Before launching into promotions for your brand new group, it’s important to clearly define the purpose of your group coaching sessions and put your concept to the test:

What idea, concept or topic do I want (or need!) to run a group on?
Why is a group the best vehicle for this process?
What specific outcomes do I want to achieve?
Who is my target audience? 

The answers to these questions will begin to guide the structure of your sessions, the coaching exercises you choose, and how you market the program.

Get familiar with your ideal group member. Whether you’re targeting mid-career professionals, entrepreneurs, or individuals seeking personal development, your program should cater specifically to the needs and challenges of your audience.

How to Structure Your Group Coaching Program

Decide on the size and duration of your program. Smaller groups (around 8-12 participants) often create a deeper sense of connection for the members, and allow for more personalized attention from the leader. Larger groups might require more help from other co-facilitators to keep things moving in the right direction. 

The length of the program can vary from a few intensive sessions to a longer course spanning several months. Tailor your program length according to the outcomes you’re trying to achieve. Consider the time of year or season. Change is gradual, and there can be an immense benefit to taking one’s time to learn and grow in a group, but scheduling across many months can be difficult for busy members or during peak travel times.

Choose the Right Tools and Venue

Do your research on how you want your group to operate – talk to other coaches to get an idea of what worked for them. Include a mix of structured activities and open, guided discussions to maintain engagement and cater to different learning styles.

For in-person sessions, select a venue that is welcoming and can help you facilitate open communication and interaction. If your program includes smaller breakout sessions or physical movement, make sure there’s plenty of room for what you have in mind.

For virtual sessions, choose a reliable platform that supports video conferencing and offers functionalities like breakout rooms, polls, and file sharing. Ensure all participants have access to the necessary technology and are comfortable using it.

Don’t Get Lost in the Details

Yes, you need to plan your group to make it a worthwhile experience. But too many coaches can spend most of their time planning their group rather than actually making it happen. This leads to disappointment and frustration for you! 

Set deadlines and find an accountability buddy (perhaps another coach!) to make sure your group comes together as planned. Done is better than perfect, after all – plus, you’ll learn plenty from “doing” that you can use to inform your next group program.

Market Your Program

To effectively market your group coaching program, highlight what makes it special – maybe it's your unique approach or the specific transformations participants can expect. Spread the word amongst your real world connections – depending on your topic, everybody may know someone who can benefit from the group.

Share success stories and testimonials from other clients to build trust. Create content that speaks directly to your audience's needs, like helpful tips or insightful articles, and use platforms like social media and email to spread the word. The goal is to connect genuinely with potential members and show them exactly how your program can help them achieve their goals.

More Resources:
Podcast: How to Do Group Coaching

Blog: Group Coaching vs. Individual Coaching: What’s the Difference?

How to Run an Effective Group Coaching Session

Establish Group Agreements

Establish ground rules early on, such as confidentiality, respect for differing viewpoints, and active participation. This sets the stage and lets everyone know how they can gain the most from the sessions.

Facilitate, Don’t Dictate

The role of a coach in a group setting is to facilitate discussion and learning rather than to lead it authoritatively. As a coach, you’re a guide, a facilitator, and you’re there to help your members unlock their own insights and share with one another – not impart your own wisdom or give advice.

Manage Group Dynamics

Encourage participation from all members, and ensure that each voice is heard, if they want to be heard. Use questions that provoke thought and discussion, and be adept at steering conversations constructively.

Be prepared to manage diverse personalities and dynamics that may arise in a group setting – this can often change quickly! Be vigilant and ready to mediate in the event of conflicts or dominant personalities overshadowing quieter group members.

Track Progress

Set clear, measurable goals at the beginning and keep track of progress throughout the sessions. 

This not only motivates participants but also helps them see the tangible benefits of their participation. Provide feedback and encourage group members to share their insights and progress with each other, which can enhance the collective learning experience.

How is Group Coaching Different From Other Forms of Coaching?

Unlike one-on-one coaching, group coaching leverages the collective energy and wisdom of the group. Participants benefit not only from the coach's guidance but also from the different perspectives of their peers. This can lead to richer insights and more creative solutions to problems, as well as a genuine sense of belonging.

Group coaching allows you to work with several individuals at once, making it a cost-effective and time-efficient method for clients. For coaches, it offers the opportunity to use elements of their own experiences in a new way and increase earning potential while reaching a broader audience.

What Skills Are Needed to Coach Groups?

Group coaching requires a different set of skills compared to individual coaching. The ability to manage group dynamics, facilitate discussions, and maintain engagement is critical. These skills often develop with experience and education, and can significantly enhance your effectiveness as a coach.

Group coaching is very rewarding, and can significantly impact the lives of many. By setting up your group carefully, facilitating effectively, and understanding the unique challenges of group dynamics, you’ll be sure of a successful and impactful coaching experience. 

It’s a unique opportunity to create a shared space of care, to foster a collaborative and supportive environment where individuals can grow together. Think of it as another way to make a real impact – group coaching might just be the next valuable addition to your coaching practice!

Want to learn how to run your own group coaching sessions?

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