Written by: Kimberly Viera, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Group coaching is a powerful and highly effective way to help people overcome the challenges they face. You can use it to grow your audience, earn money, or simply help others with your unique expertise.
It takes a bit of work and planning to set up your first group coaching course, but once it’s up and running, it’s relatively easy to do. Here, you’ll learn the basic steps you need to take to get your first course ready.
What is group coaching?
Coaching helps people make changes in their personal and professional lives. As a coach, you aren’t a teacher instructing clients and then testing them after each session. You’re a facilitator who puts clients in the driver’s seat, providing support and resources to help them get results.
Group coaching means coaching 2 or more people at one time. It is similar to 1-on-1 coaching, with some key differences. In a group setting, clients not only receive support from the coach, they also enjoy the support of their peers. They are accountable to each other, not just their coach. This raises the stakes and can help bring about powerful change. When you work with a 1-on-1 client, you focus on helping them reach one goal at a time. The clients in a group may have different goals they’re working toward. Although they have different goals, the course is focused on a shared common interest or theme.
Your clients may not know each other, so group coaching requires a bit more planning and management. Part of your role is to make sure the course is meeting each participant’s diverse needs. Most importantly, the key to group coaching success is connection and communication, not just your coaching. This is one of the main reasons people choose this option rather than 1-on-1.
The benefits of group coaching
The main benefit of group coaching for you is that you can scale up and earn more for your time. Coaching is trading your time for money and there’s an upper limit to how much you can earn 1-on-1. With groups, you can break through the earning ceiling. For your clients, there are major benefits as well. They can leverage other participants and learn from each other. Each client can benefit from the collective wisdom of the group. They can hold each other accountable.
Group coaching offers an excellent networking opportunity for all involved. Your clients get to know each other and you get to know everyone. It also helps to solidify your reputation as an expert in your field.
Finally, group coaching gives you the opportunity to help more people achieve their full potential, which is the aim of every coach.
Step 1. Get to know your market
The first step to launching group coaching is learning about your target market. Identify what they need to learn and discover how you can facilitate change. Pay especially close attention to pain points, or areas where they’re struggling, as this is where you can provide the most help. Start by talking to current customers and clients. If you’re coaching now, ask your clients if they’d be interested in group sessions and get their feedback. Put a call out to followers and contacts on social media.
You can also do some market research. See what topics your target market is discussing as these are areas where you could help. It’s also useful to check out the competition. See what other programs are being offered. If you have time, join one to get some ideas.
Step 2. Choose your program model
Before you get started creating your program, you should decide what type of program you’re going to offer.
There are 3 types of group coaching programs:
The cohort model. All clients start at the same time and the course is a set length with a definite end date. You guide them through the course together.
This is the simplest model to run, especially if you’re just getting started. It’s relatively easy to set up because everyone is on the same page.
The program model. The program model is similar in that there’s a set course, but the dates are flexible. Participants can join any time they want.
The advantage of the Program Model is that you can scale up. Participants are staggered, so you can allow more to sign up than you would with the Cohort Model. For this model, you might automate some course content, reserving sessions for sharing progress and getting feedback and support.
The membership model. The Membership Model is the most flexible and scalable. A coach might run the program multiple times a year with great flexibility regarding when participants can join.
This type of program takes the least amount of work for you to run, but you really need to be experienced with group coaching. In addition to program type, you should decide how many clients you’ll take on and the format for the sessions.
Step 3. Identify one problem and one solution
Take one of the problems or issues you’ve identified among your target audience and offer a solution. Clearly state the results they will get out of group coaching. Figure out what they will be able to DO once the program is completed.
You need to pick just one because you can’t solve everything. You have to focus on something specific to get results. If the program is all over the place, people might feel like they’ve made some progress, but they won’t feel a sense of accomplishment. If you have several issues your target market faces that you’d like to help them solve, focus on one for the first round of group coaching and save the other ideas for future courses.
Step 4. Prepare your program content
Start with the outcome you’ve identified and work your way backward, planning what content your participants will need along the way. Also decide how it will be delivered. In a group coaching program, sessions offer the most value to participants. Any educational content is solely designed to supplement the sessions and provide information that will help clients achieve the stated goal.
Examples of content include eBooks, reports, checklists, action guides, worksheets, templates, video tutorials, planners, and calendars. You don’t want to overwhelm your participants with too much content, but offer anything that will help and provide value.
Content creation takes a great deal of time, so start by looking over old content to see if there’s anything you can repurpose. Update and edit as necessary to make it relevant to the course. You may also want to offer value-add content items. These are not essential to the program and its aims, but offer extra value for participants that they might find useful. Examples of add-on content include additional reports, free access to a membership site, access to software, swipe files, interviews with experts in this topic, and anything else your participants might enjoy.
Step 5. Set up your tech
The technical requirements of your group coaching program should be simple. You don’t need anything complicated. The main thing you need is a platform to host the sessions. Most group coaching is now done online. You can either use a coaching platform like Teachable, CoachAccountable, or Satori, or you can use any communication platform where people can gather such as Facebook or Zoom.
Coaching platforms offer more robust features. They’re designed for group coaching. But the advantage of social media and other common platforms is that they’re easy to use. If you choose something like Facebook or Zoom, there’s a good chance your participants are already using them. This makes it easy for them to join and participate.
Choose your platform based on what’s easiest for you and your participants. As you plan out your program, you might find that other tools would help. These might include an email autoresponder to communicate with clients, project management software like Basecamp for keeping people on track, or Google Drive for sharing content with your participants.
Getting started with your group coaching program
Now, you’re ready to get started. The next step is to start marketing your course and run it. You’ll learn a great deal through trial and error, so focus on learning as much as you can from your first program, which you can then use to improve future programs. Be sure to collect feedback from your clients so you can offer even more value.
Throughout the process of planning and running your group coaching program, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Imagine if you were them. What would help you overcome the problems you’re facing and get results? Use this question to guide future decisions when creating and running your program.
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Kimberly Viera, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Kimberly Viera is on a mission to help every woman become financially independent and gain control over her life by starting an online business. As the founder of JoinTheEveolution, she helps women build transformational coaching and wellness businesses that earn them a sustainable living within a year while giving them the time and lifestyle freedom they've been dreaming of. Stop Letting Things Happen. Start Making Them Happen. Join the Evolution.