By Alvin Codner
Before we get into group coaching, let us clarify first what group life coaching is. Firstly, a life coach is a person counsels and or motivates others in the achievement of personal objectives such as choosing or changing careers, improving or enhancing relationship skills, setting and planning out goals, determining priorities, and simply one whose job is to enhance the quality of his or her client’s life by offering skills and action steps on professional and personal matters. A traditional coaching session setting would be a one on one environment between having one coach and one coachee. A group coaching session would be of the same coach and coachee environment, but it may be multiple life coaches as the facilitators or one life coach as the facilitator and as well as multiple coaches as members of the group. According to (Britton, 2010, pg. 6) there are two definitions for group coaching, which are the following:
A small group process throughout which there is the application of coaching principles for the purposes of personal or professional development, the achievement of goals, or greater self-awareness, along thematic or non-thematic lines.
A facilitated group process that is led by a professional coach and formed with the intention of maximizing the combined energy, experience, and wisdom of individuals who chose to join in order to achieve organizational objectives and/or individual goals.
Regardless of which group coaching definition you chose to use, you can assure group coaching can have a positive impact in this world. Group coaching has everything just as life coaches have to offer, but also gives more and different perspectives throughout the coaching sessions. Group coaching is a very diverse practice. Clients have the option to do coaching sessions in person (which most life coaching statistically is done in) or via telecommunications such as phone, webinars, etc. With group coaching being diverse, potential clients are more liable to lean towards coaching services because it is able to tend their needs and or preferences. Some people are not so much of a people person so they would rather do sessions over the phone and some people are more so visual learners and would rather in person. Also those who are visual learners but are not able to come into office, there are also the virtual option of webinars on specific internet programs. Here are a few objectives you can expect from the different type of group coaching programs and approaches based off (Britton, 2010, Chapter 1) and after I will breakdown how beneficial each one can be:
A one hour drop-in session with different participants each week, where clients are coached on specific themes or topics
A six-hour program delivered over the course of several weeks or months in smaller modules (i.e., one-hour sessions) to the same participants
An evening group coaching program
A one- to five-day intensive group coaching program
A one-off group call
A monthly group call held with the same participants each month (1 to 1 and a half hours per session)
A six-week program delivered weekly by phone (one hour) to a group of eight participants around a common theme
A twelve-week program which meets every other week with assigned work in between
A ninety-day program, delivered as both group calls and email support
A blended program of two group calls per month and one individual coaching call between sessions.
A group that may consist of individual members who are initially strangers to each other.
Getting more employees involved and have the potential for greater impact.
Build internal capacity
Shaping and changing corporate culture
Provides employees with opportunity to share experiences and learn together, the new collective wisdom created by corporate cross-functional, multi-disciplinary groups giving the potential to effect significant change within organizations and industries.
In reality, these different group coaching programs has more to offer than what was just stated before. Let us start off with the in-person programs. The in-person program approach can be used in school, corporate, athletics/sport and community based environments. Here are a few examples of how each area can benefit from group coaching services:
Group coaching can build students team working skills as they get more involved with the group each week.
Having a one-hour drop in session with different students each week can benefit a school by having all of the students in the school involved in coaching sessions, instead of having just a select few.
One-hour sessions for different participants can also increase the knowledge of group coaching and life coaching throughout the public school system and the parents of the students due to the fact every week different students will be going home telling their parents what they learned or did in their group coaching session. Once parents are aware of it that will potentially give them the idea to actually seek out private life coaching practices in the community for their children or even themselves and others.
One-hour sessions during school days can be beneficial if they are done in the first hour of their school day. If the themes or topics are based on productivity, encouragement to finish schoolwork, future career and educational goals, various ways to learn, best ways of studying, ways to remain focus, avoidance of distraction, and themes of that manner, they would most likely have a more positivity, proactive, and productive throughout their school day.
One-hour sessions during school days can also be beneficial to students if the sessions proceed in one of the last hours of the day. Reason being is because students will be able to reflect on their class work throughout school hours as well as get positive feedback to uplift their day and or any negative emotions gathered throughput the school day.
A six-hour program delivered over the course of several months in smaller modules to the same participants can benefit the specific students in a school who tend to have low school grades and or score low on state test.
The fact that most school semesters last 4 to 5 months the six-hour programs can be done twice (one for each semester) or three times (if the school has quarters or trimesters) and that will be equivalent to seeing consistent support towards a specific amount a students who need help in focusing, studying, test taking skills, self-confidence, and things of that manner.
A six-hour group program delivered throughout several months also can benefit who tend to have bad behavior in school throughout the school year. Within group sessions, it may be common problems or issues that are similar to others and since it is the same participants, the members of the group will learn different skills and solutions to have good behavior throughout the school year and or learn based off whichever theme or topic they as a group chose to be coached on
An evening coaching program can benefit those students who do have extra-curricular activities throughout the school year. Some students have obligations after school such as sports practice, clubs and organizations, meetings, detention, tutoring, athletic and intramural games, and many more. With these obligations happening after school, some students won’t have the time to go to a life coaching session on their own, so as group, these students can go to an evening session. These students who are proactive and tend to usually be constantly busy, majority of the time are stressing out because they rarely have time to relax and or disorganized in some other area in their life because they consistently have something going on. Group coaching sessions based on the themes and topics of time management, self-care, productivity, relaxation, mindfulness, awareness, focusing, and prioritizing can be beneficial to these types of students.
A one to five day intensive program can be impactful to students may not need coaching but actually want it. In other words, for the fact that one to five days out of a whole school year is not a lot of time, the theme or goal to be reached by members/students of this group would be a more so temporary issue than and long term issue. An issue such as a test they have to pass in the incoming week and even though they have good studying skills already, they just want to get coached on how to enhance them more.
One-hour sessions for sports team such as football, soccer, hockey, and other sports that involve teamwork can benefit from group coaching throughout the sports seasons.
Each team usually has multiple different positions. So the fact that the one-hour sessions are of different participants, each session’s theme and or topic can be based off specifically what their positions are and how they can enhance their performance.
These one hour sessions ca