Coaching is a booming industry. People are hiring coaches for everything from relationships to careers to money to spirituality. And one of the styles of coaching business that’s growing is group coaching.
We’re seeing a growth in people interested in running and joining group coaching programs. And with an increase in awesome group coaching platforms, and the popularity of mastermind group coaching for business owners, the industry continues to boom.
So if you’re thinking about starting a group coaching business, you’re in luck. It’s a great time to do it, and group coaching has some unique advantages. In this article, we'll talk about how to structure a group coaching program. We'll also help you get clear on who your ideal members are and what to offer them.
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What is group coaching?
Group coaching is when a coach works with more than one person simultaneously. Unlike 1:1 coaching, group coaching sessions rarely have a coach alone with a client. Instead, group coaching uses the power of community to help coaching clients learn from each other, keep each other accountable, and grow together.
What are some advantages of group coaching?
- Meet and learn from people going through the same thing as you.
- You get accountability from other members.
- Group coaching can be offered at a lower cost than 1:1 coaching, yet still earn the coach more per session.
- The coach may take on more of a facilitator role than a direct coaching role.
- It's easier to scale group coaching into courses, communities, etc.
Pro tips for structuring your group coaching program
- Keep it time-bound. Having a coaching offer that's time bound creates a clear starting and stopping point, and helps your members focus on the process (e.g. “4 months coaching package”).
- Set clear goals. Understanding what your ideal members need to accomplish is vital.
- Use the group. Group coaching can't work if you are running a 1:1 coaching session with each member during group sessions. You have to change the way you approach coaching, relying more on the group to interact and learn from each other.
- Use software. Modern group coaching software will help you charge, organize your sessions, and create other offers like events and courses.
How to structure a group coaching program?
1. Create an Ideal Member
The first step in setting up most businesses is having an Ideal Member. Your Ideal Member is your perfect coaching client, the one who benefits the most from what you have to offer.
Finding your ideal coaching client usually means finding the intersection of your story and what someone else needs.
Here are some questions you can use to find your ideal client:
- Who are they? Where are they from? How old are they? (Demographics)
- What do they care about? What are they scared of? What do they hope for? (Psychographics)
- What is it in your story that will help people the most?
- What unique skills and talents do you bring to the table? What type of client do you most like to work with?
When you're finding your ideal client, try interviewing some people. There's nothing quite as good for your business as talking to 15 or 20 people who might be your coaching clients and figuring out what it is they actually want.
These same people might be some of your first group coaching clients once you create an offer.
Want a free training on finding your Ideal Member? You can find that in our free Mighty Community!
2. Design a Big Purpose
At Mighty, we like to use something we call a Big Purpose. A Big Purpose is the unique thing that your program offers to your ideal clients.
People join your group coaching program for some sort of transformation. If you know the transformation they want and how you can give it to them, you're ready to sell.
Here's what a big purpose statement looks like. You can fill it in for your own group coaching practice.
Psst... We have a FREE training on finding your Big Purpose in our Mighty Community!
3. Choose your delivery features
If you did the steps above, you've figured out the what and the who. Now to figure out the how.
When you think about group coaching, there's a good chance you imagine chairs in a circle–or virtual chairs in a virtual circle.
In reality, there are a bunch of different ways you can help your clients get to the transformation they seek. In thinking about how to structure a group coaching program, these are some of the things at your disposal:
a. Group sessions
Duh. Group sessions can be a part of group coaching. We probably all know that. If you want to host live group sessions, where people share their questions and concerns and get feedback from you and the group, it's a pretty common feature of a group coaching program.
- Learn from each other
- Help a bunch of people at once
- People don't get tailored help
- Not everyone gets as much time to talk and engage
b. 1:1 Sessions
"But wait, isn't this about group coaching?"
In reality, lots of coaches mix group coaching with 1:1 sessions. That way their clients get the best of both worlds. They can enjoy the friendship and accountability a group offers, with the privacy and focus of a one-on-one.
You might choose to structure your group coaching program by either including 1:1 sessions or adding them as an upsell.
- Dedicated and personal
- Private. People feel safe
- No accountability or friendship
- It's not a scalable coaching model. You run out of hours
c. Pre-recorded Course
A lot of coaches will choose to add a prerecorded (asynchronous) course as part of their group coaching structure. A pre-recorded course can feel like a big value add for your members. But once it's made, it's not much work to keep giving people access to it again and again.
You can use the pre-recorded course to structure your group discussions, making a weekly theme that corresponds to a course section that people can watch on their own time. Or, just let people loose with it.
- Super scalable
- People can do the course on their own time
- It gives you things to discuss and check in on in your group sessions
- It can be a value add for a group coaching package
- People may not do it
- You're asking people to devote more time
- You need to take the time to create it
A community and group coaching go together like fish and chips. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly… you get the idea.
A group coaching session is already a community of sorts. People coming together, sharing their hopes and dreams and struggles, making friends and connecting. It's only natural to let the connection go beyond your sessions.
Adding in an online community lets you keep the discussion going. Members can create posts, ask questions, run polls, find and message other members, and chat.
And you can use your community platform to sell your coaching packages, adding in features like courses and live events. Honestly, a good community platform will let you run your entire coaching business.
- Keep the conversation going
- People can connect, but it doesn't have to be in real time
- Thanks to user-generated content your clients get even more value
- Um… crickets
e. Cohort course
If you like the idea of teaching a course, but want interaction to go with it, you can try a cohort course. A cohort course (synchronous course) is a course that's taught live, in front of an audience. It's the model for traditional education, but usually we see cohort courses done on virtual course platforms.
Teaching a cohort course fixes a lot of the problems that students in traditional online courses can face. In a pre-recorded online course, students lack accountability, they can't get help if they're stuck, and they go through it alone.
With a cohort course, you go through the course with a group of like-minded people and you can stick your hand up and ask a question if you have one.
- Live instruction
- Students can make friends and have accountability
- You can answer questions
- You can adapt the material based on what people need and want
- It can be more time consuming
- Need to align schedules
f. Live streams
Another option for structuring your group coaching program is to include live streams. Unlike coaching sessions, live streams are more one directional. Usually, it consists of you talking. But audience members can chat and ask questions too.
A live stream can be part of your offering, for example, "I go live every Monday at 10:00 with tips and a challenge for the week ahead."
Or, it can be more spontaneous.
- Excitement and spontaneity
- You control the content completely in a live stream
- A live stream isn't as interactive as a full group session.
g. Other goodies
If you're figuring out how to structure a group coaching program, the things we mentioned above are common goodies. But you're not limited to these.
Bottom line, figure out how you like to give your clients the most value. Do you like to send out a daily or weekly email blast? Do that. Do you love using a text messaging service? Do that.
As you build out your group coaching offering, don't be afraid to lean into the things you know will help them reach their goals.
4. Build with goals in mind
As you're designing your group coaching program, make sure not to include features just because you can. All of the above options are great.
But for each feature you consider, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Does it fit with my personal brand?
- Can I provide a lot of value this way?
- Is it going to help my clients reach their goals?
5. Adapt and learn as you go
One of the great things about group coaching is that you can adapt and learn as you go. The above things might help you create a really solid package. But ultimately, structuring your group coaching program will also be about listening to your clients and figuring out what works.
And don't forget, you'll get better at this as time goes on. With each time you offer your group coaching program, you'll have a better idea of what works and what doesn't. That's why it's important to keep your program time bound and look beyond the first one to create a recurring business that will provide clients value for years to come.
We hope this short article has given you some clarity on how to structure your group coaching program, and hopefully you're excited! Remember, there's no one right way to do this. All that matters is that you give your ideal ideal members the transformation they're looking for – any structure that helps you do that is fine.
If you're looking for a place to build your group coaching program, come build on Mighty! We are a cultural software platform that lets you bring together your coaching with community, courses, content, and commerce. Our flexible Spaces let you mix in live events, live streaming, discussion boards, every type of content you can imagine, and member profiles. You can create group coaching packages and charge in 135 different currencies or even monetize with token-gating. Come see what you can build!