If you’ve been wondering how you can support more people in your coaching business and branch out from just working with clients 1:1, I’m guessing that running a group coaching program is something you’re considering.
In this post I’m going to be sharing everything you need to know about creating and structuring a group coaching program. I’ve run several group programs both as a health coach and as a business coach and many of these tips are based on my experiences.
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What is a group coaching program?
A group coaching program is a way of working with more than one person who all share some common goals and outcomes they’d like to achieve. There’s many different formats a group coaching program can take, but it’s likely it will include some form of live group coaching calls over a certain period of time.
What are the benefits of running a group coaching program
The benefits for your business can be huge! Running a group program means you support more than one client at a time, which is a form of scaling your coaching business – basically breaking the direct link between hours and dollars. Rather than your income being linked to your time, you can work with more people per hour which maximises the profitability of your time. However, depending on the way you structure the program, there’s probably still a cap on how many people you can support at once, more on that soon.
When it comes to your clients there are multiple benefits for them as well. Often group coaching is more affordable than 1:1 so they get to access your support at a more accessible price. Some clients also find a great deal of value being in a group and learning from the experiences of others. In some ways group programs can actually be just as valuable, if not more so that 1:1 because of that added benefit which can’t be replicated in a 1:1 coaching package.
When is the right time to consider starting a group coaching program?
While you can run a group program with a very small cohort, usually a group program is best run with several participants and for that reason it might be worth waiting until your business has the audience / community size needed to fill a program to a reasonable level.
It’s also probably worth looking at a group program after you’ve spent some time coaching people 1:1 and built up some confidence in your coaching first.
Group coaching program models
There are several different ways you can approach your group program in terms of pricing and level of support offered. These are just options and suggestions but it’s important that you make it work for you, your business and your clients.
One option is to go for a high ticket / lower cohort and higher touch option – basically you charge a higher price for a smaller group of people where you’re much more hands on and everyone gets more support.
Another option is to do a lower cost, larger cohort and lower touch group.
Something to consider when it comes to designing your program is how it fits with your other offers. Group programs at the higher touch / higher price end can be run in a way that is similar to a mastermind and on the flipside a lower cost / lower touch one can be close to an online course.
The key thing is to make sure that there’s some differentiation between outcomes across your offerings.
Of course when it comes to pricing ‘low ticket’ and ‘high ticket’ are all relative depending on your business and the rest of your offers. While some business coaches might suggest a price range here, I always think pricing is highly individual to your business so take some time to consider what price is going to work for you.
Creating the client journey
Once you have a sense of the kind of model you’re going to use it’s time to start and put together the client journey – how you’re going to facilitate the transformation or shift you want to create with your program.
This might include the number of live coaching calls, resources and training and other elements.
In my group coaching program Wholehearted Business I also offer Voxer voice and text note support for my clients and discounts on one off 1:1 calls as well.
You’ll also need to decide how long the group will run for, what period of time is going to help facilitate the shift you want to help your clients create, and what’s doable for you too.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be running the program with a single cohort at one time where everyone progresses through the program together over a single time period or if you’ll have the program open and running on a constant basis. This would mean people could join at any time and each member works through the program in their own time frame. The choice here is yours, there are pros and cons to each option that are worth considering depending on your business model and how you want to market and sell your group program.
Other useful questions to ask yourself around structure and delivery of the program are:
- What’s the starting point and endpoint of the people this is here to support?
- How structured does it need to be?
- What resources / training / materials do people need to facilitate the transformation or shift? How will you deliver those materials (do you need a course area or can it all be sent over via email?)
- How much time do people need?
- What kind of live support will help people move through the programme and get results?
- How will you onboard people into the programme?
- Ideally how many people would you like in the programme?
- How does the programme fit into your business and into your lifestyle and how you want to show up?
Running group coaching sessions
A central element of any group program is the group calls. For online programs these tend to be run online using a tool such as Zoom or Whereby.
Facilitating and leading a group coaching session is different to 1:1 as you’ll need to manage a group of people and support them in feeling comfortable and sharing questions and getting involved in the group.
It could be that you have a theme for each of the coaching sessions, particularly ones at the start of a program to encourage engagement. If you don’t have a theme it could be useful to have some coaching questions handy that you can use that will also encourage engagement in the conversation.
I always find that asking people to share a win, share a challenge or share a question is a good way to kick off a more general call.
It will be important to keep calls to time and to manage the flow of the conversation so that no one member of the group dominates either. It might be that you have a ‘hot seat’ if you have a large group where 2-5 people get to sit in the hot seat in each session and be laser coached rather than trying to get through questions from the whole group.
Encouraging Engagement in the program
A common issue in any program that isn’t 1:1 is supporting your clients to engage with the process and take action so that they get results. A group program is no different!
Particularly for business to consumer coaches like health and life coaches, we need to be mindful that our clients aren’t likely to be familiar with a lot of the tech that’s common in the coaching world. Even having people login to a course platform can be an added step that prevents them from fully engaging with training and resources so we need to make everything as easy and simple for them as possible.
Having group calls at convenient times is also going to support people to engage with the program. Of course it’s impossible to please everyone, and the times of calls have to work for you too, but considering when might be the best time for your particular ideal client is going to help. Depending on where your clients are located you may also want to consider different time zones too.
So there we have it, a run down of what you need to consider when it comes to structuring a successful group program! Let me know in the comments which of these tips was the most helpful!
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