How to Offer Group Coaching: The Everything You Need To Know Guide

how to offer group coaching

You landed here because you’re ready to scale up your coaching business, right? 

Maybe you’ve heard about group coaching and its efficiency, affordability, and high-impact results. Maybe you’re not sure it’s right for your coaching business, and you want to learn more. Maybe you’re looking for a group coaching template to kick-start your journey with group life coaching.

If that sounds like you, you came to the right place! 

But wait—what is group coaching, and how does it work?

If you’ve got questions about group coaching, we’ve got answers. In this guide, you’ll learn the answers to these questions:

  • What is group coaching?
  • How does one create their first group coaching program?
  • What are the benefits of group coaching for clients?
  • What are the benefits of group coaching for coaches?
  • How should one structure a group coaching program?
  • How can one deliver an online group coaching session?

Let’s get into how you can leverage group coaching to offer your clientele optimal value and results.

What is group coaching?

In the simplest terms, group coaching is exactly what it sounds like: coaching in a group format.  A coach works with a group who want to overcome similar challenges to achieve their goals. The coach can share their knowledge with multiple people at once, and the group can hold each other accountable, challenge and help one another. It’s a great way to learn from others going through the same as you, help you with decision making, and answer questions about their shared experiences.

What are the goals of group coaching?

how to run group coaching sessions

When you’re a coach who runs a group coaching program, the aims are a little different from when you work with individual coaching clients.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to do with your clients who are part of your group coaching program:

  • Identify each client’s personal goal and describe it in a clear, measurable, and attainable way
  • Provide clients with the support, encouragement, and motivation to achieve their goals
  • Use the group’s wisdom to lead each client to a solution and strategy that will help them achieve their goal
  • Use the group support system to enforce accountability for each individual

If you offer any of the following kinds of coaching, you and your clients could benefit from group coaching:

  • Executive coaching
  • Leadership coaching
  • Career coaching
  • Business coaching
  • Life coaching 

What’s the difference between group coaching and team coaching?

If you’re familiar with team coaching, you might believe it to be the same as group coaching. In reality, there’s a subtle difference between the two. Which you use depends on the identities of your clients and their personal goals.

The main feature of team coaching is that all the individual members are working towards a like goal or project. 

In a business setting, this could be a particular sales goal, the launch of a new marketing initiative, or the formation of a new business unit. In life or career coaching, a team coaching format might look like a group of individuals looking to achieve the same specific goal.

In contrast, group coaching can involve a group of people with varied goals. The key is that all the group members should have a common interest, even if their specific goals are unique. 

For example, in an executive group program, every executive may share the goal of improved leadership, but each will have a unique outcome towards which they will apply their improved leadership skills.

What’s the difference between group coaching and one-on-one coaching?

When you think of coaching, your mind probably jumps to the one-on-one coaching program model. You might think of group coaching as less personalized and in-depth, since your attention must be divvied up between the group members.

In a way, you’re right! With one-on-one coaching, your client receives your full and undivided attention. The session can be personalized to your client’s unique needs. 

There is also greater flexibility with one-on-one coaching. When it’s only you and your client, there’s less need for structure to keep the session on track.

Yet, as a coach, there’s only so much wisdom you can impart to your clients. (Not saying you’re not brilliant, because you are.) With group coaching, on the other hand, each client receives the expertise of a diverse group of people.

You know what they say—two (or five, or ten) brains are better than one!

Ultimately, which coaching style you choose, whether one-on-one, team, or group coaching, will depend on your needs as a coach and the needs of your clientele.

The benefits of group coaching for coaches

When you run group sessions in your coaching business, some of the work is taken off your plate. You are no longer the sole voice offering your clients value.

Far and away, the biggest benefit of group coaching for you will be the cost and time efficiency. 

Think about it: the same time you might use to coach one person can be used to coach three, five, ten, or even more. That’s three, five, ten, or more times more pay for you, all in the same amount of time!

Of course, as a coach with integrity, you’re after more than just making a quick buck. You want to deliver your clients the highest value and best results for their money. Group coaching offers clients value they wouldn’t find with one-on-one coaching. 

Speaking of the benefits of group coaching for clients…

The benefits of group coaching for clients

Benefits of group coaching for clients

While the group coaching model is great for coaches, it may be even better for your clients. Here are just a few of the perks clients can expect from an effective group coaching program:

1. Team building

Being able to work collaboratively, compromise, and resolve problems with others is crucial for success in all aspects of life. 

Your group coaching clients will learn the rewards of forming relationships and problem-solving with others. That’s an appreciation they’ll carry with them to their personal and professional lives.

Plus, working on a team can be more fun! Sharing a sense of community with like-minded souls with the same problems and goals is a fulfilling experience your clients will enjoy.

2. Solving complex problems

A group coaching program can be super helpful for solving complex problems. Your clients will have access to more diverse insight than they would in a one-on-one coaching session.

Think about it: with group coaching, your clients reap the benefits of your wisdom and the wisdom of the group.

3. Accountability

Sometimes, the solutions to problems involve hard work and dedication. It can be tempting to “half-ass” it or throw in the towel altogether. Clients with challenging goals need accountability. But when it’s only you and your client, there’s only so much you can do to hold them accountable. 

Sometimes, a little peer pressure can be a good thing! The more minds and hearts a person has rooting for their success, the harder they will try to succeed.

4. Networking

Networking is useful for those looking to enhance their personal and professional lives. If a client is pursuing coaching, they’re likely interested in levelling up personally and professionally. 

Group coaching gives clients the chance to meet like-minded individuals with similar goals. This gives your clients the perfect environment to make connections that will benefit them for a long time to come.

5. Ongoing support

When we’re faced with obstacles on the path to achieving our goals, support is vital. Accountability is one thing, but to succeed, we need more than to be kept from giving up. We need cheerleading, repeated reassurance, and (when we achieve our goals) celebration! 

Of course, one-on-one coaching can offer all of these benefits, but to a far lesser degree. If you think about it, group settings provide the benefits of a one-on-one coaching setting, multiplied by however many are in the group.

How to create your first group coaching program

So, you’ve decided group coaching is the route for you! You’ve realized that group coaching will save you time and help you earn more, all while offering your clients optimal value and a streamlined path to achieving their goals. 

You’re ready to create your first group coaching session and program.

How do you start? 

Remember when we discussed the perks of group coaching for coaches? Well, there are a couple of catches, too. 

A big one is that it’s harder to find a group of ideal clients than it is to find one. That means a need for heavier and smarter marketing of your services. 

Tap into your network. Create an email marketing campaign. Advertise through word-of-mouth. You can do it! Check this blog post for more ideas on how to sell your online group coaching program.

How to deliver your group coaching program

Once you’ve found clientele for your group coaching program, you’ll be tasked with managing those clients—that means recording sign-ups, accepting payments, reminding (and re-reminding) late payers, keeping track of who’s paid you and who hasn’t… The list goes on.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t fret! Don’t let the hassle of bookkeeping deter you from pursuing this high-value form of coaching. Paperbell’s got you covered!

With Paperbell, you can keep track of your coaching schedule with our easy-to-use scheduling software. Time-block your client sessions, then sync your sessions to your Google Calendar so you’ll never accidentally overlook them. 

Get your bookings right

Worried about time zones? Last-minute bookings? Bookings years in advance? Too many bookings to handle? We thought of all those problems, too. With Paperbell, you won’t have to think about them again.

Automate payments

When it comes time to get paid, Paperbell’s simplified billing software has you covered there, too. Say goodbye to awkward overdue payment conversations and scouring emails for records of payment. If you have a payment problem, chances are, Paperbell’s got a solution.

Find a video conference software that works for you

A few popular services include Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom.

Practice crystal-clear communication

Blurry lenses, unclear audio, and limited body language make clear communication doubly important. Use communication skills like bottom-lining and laser speak to convey ideas effectively.

How to structure a group coaching program

How to structure a group coaching program

One thing is non-negotiable: coaching sessions for a group require structure.

Remember: you may or may not have a niche or specific expertise, but you must be an expert at coaching. And if you want to be an expert coach for groups, you must be an expert in structure. 

You should know what coaching structures effectively guide clients in finding a plan that works for their goals. If you’re unsure about how to structure your group program, use a group coaching framework to get you started with planning.

Each coach’s structure for their group coaching program will be unique, but here are some guidelines to consider when creating your group coaching model and structure:

1. Set a common goal or focus

The single most critical quality of your group coaching structure is a shared goal or focus

If your program will meet on multiple occasions, create an overarching goal for all meetings as well as a specific goal for each meeting.

Ask yourself:

  • What does every group member have in common?
  • What brought them to this session?
  • What do they want to focus on?

Then, communicate your plan to your group members. Create an agenda for each session and share it with the group.

At the onset of the program, establish a “contract” of sorts with your clients. What is and is not expected of group members? What will and will not be tolerated? What is the overarching endgame for this program?

2. Let every voice be heard

A potential drawback of group coaching is there is one (or two, or three) too many voices. Reserved clients may find themselves talked over by the more outgoing. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to prevent that. Do all you can to let every voice be equally heard!

Why? Everyone has valuable insights. If only one or two voices are dominating the session, the value of the session diminishes. If everyone has a chance to offer their insight, the value of the session multiplies. 

3. Hold one another accountable

Accountability is one of the top perks of group sessions. 

Let it be known that the progress achieved in each session does not end when clients walk out the door! Be specific about action items clients are to work on after each session.

Many coaches suggest online journaling tools and Facebook groups for members to stay in touch and hold one another accountable.

Mistakes to avoid with group coaching

When you design your group coaching program, there are some considerations to keep in mind to ensure you deliver your best work.

1. Don’t accept everyone on the program

As much as you will want to say yes to everyone who wants to apply to your group coaching program, you will need to be selective about who you accept. Your clients need to get as much as possible from the program, which means they need to be able to bond with or have something in common with the rest of the program cohort.

Don’t say yes to someone because you see dollar signs. Vetting applicants before they can join is a crucial part of the group program process.

2. Remember that you’re leading the session

It may be easy or more convenient to let the group carry the session when there are a lot of participants. This is especially true in an online group session. Be sure to set boundaries, give clear rules about asking questions and participating and show your clients you’re in control and in charge.

This will also help to keep the live group coaching sessions focused on the goal and avoid them going off on a tangent. You want your clients to leave your sessions feeling like they got the most out of it as they possibly could.

3. Don’t forget a key theme or goal for each session

If you want your group program to be a success, you’ll need a plan and some structure. Plan a key theme or talking point for each session and make sure you stick to it. In a one-to-one setting, it’s much easier to just go with the flow and see where a session takes you, but this doesn’t work when there are multiple people in the session.

Tell your group what the goals of the session are, let them share their insights at designated times, and give everyone the floor to talk about their experiences. That way, everyone will feel like they have received value from your session and that they were listened to. The last thing you want is someone leaving the session feeling like they were ignored in favor of a louder member of the group.

Use Paperbell to deliver your online group coaching program

Group coaching can be difficult to manage, but with Paperbell, it’s easy. Paperbell is an everything-you-need online software that manages and delivers your group coaching programs. Here are some of the features that make Paperbell’s group coaching tool so unique:

Paperbell features

  • Online Checkout for Group Coaching Programs: Allow clients to pay online via credit card without the hassle of payment requests or invoices. You can also create payment plans to allow your clients to pay over time.
  • Integrate Other Channels like Facebook Groups or Voxer: If you have a private Facebook group, Voxer access, etc, included in your group coaching, no problem! You can easily include these in your program.
  • Create Landing Pages: No more struggling with site builders and trying to link up a payment system – Paperbell automatically includes landing pages where people can buy your group coaching packages without ever speaking to you! 
  • Set a Maximum Amount of Participants: With Paperbell, you won’t need to frantically check your email while trying to time exactly when to shut down your landing page. Just set your group coaching package to automatically close when you reach your desired number of participants.
  • Automatic Calendar Invites for Each Session: Every participant will automatically be sent calendar invitations with all the details they need for each session. No manual work is required. Enjoy easy, automatic calendar invites
  • Automated Messaging For Your Group Participants: Paperbell allows you to automate emails that go out to each participant upon purchase and before and after every call.
  • Create Custom Client Questionnaires: Automatically collect everything you need to know about each client, stored and organized in your Paperbell system.
  • Automatically Close Registration: Automatically set your packages to expire at a certain day or time so that you don’t have to scramble to take a page down at midnight!

Key takeaways

  • Group coaching is just that—coaching in a group setting!
  • Group coaching offers clients networking opportunities, greater accountability, and ongoing support.
  • Structure is essential for successful group coaching sessions. 
  • Delivering online coaching is doable, but you’ll need to practice crystal-clear communication.

Start developing your group coaching model

As you’ve learned from this post, everyone’s approach to group coaching will vary depending on their strengths and expertise. You’ll need to make it work for you and your niche if you want to become a successful group coach.

Use some of the tips in this post, get your structure in place, and start developing your group offer.

Using Paperbell will take the headache out of all the admin processes involved with coaching.

Sign up for your free account here.

group coaching

By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
May 5, 2023

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