AS someone who usually has half a dozen groups occurring at any one time, I often get asked "What are the secrets to running multiple groups at a time?". Beyond marketing (which would be the focus of a handful of posts on this same topic), from a programmatic standpoint there are several things which are important to keep an eye on:
1. Pay attention to the systems you have built in your work - and if you haven't got them, build them as you go. Administrative pieces can take up a huge amount of time, especially if you have multiple groups running at any given time. You'll want to consider how do you streamline:
- Distribution of materials for each week's session (Distribution of PDFs if virtual by email? LMS? Photocopying if in person? Other?)
- Scheduling of 1-1 time with groups
- Keeping in touch with group members, supporting them to feel connected
- Tracking attendance (especially if any of your programs are approved for professional development certifications)
2. Consider what's going to work best to stay connected with your group members. My personal philosophy is one that is very high touch, and verbal. Most of my programs include a short 15 minute laser call with each participant. This is in contrast to other approaches which might include private Facebook connections or other written channels. Consider who your group members are and what they value. For example, if you work with a client group who are inundated by email and are trying to disconnect, will they want more communication online or not? What are the connection modes people will value and engage in?
3. Always keep an eye on marketing - Even if you are "busy" working with groups and have a full slate, remember that these experiences will come to a close. Consider how to build in time even while running a group to plan for, promote and fill the next group.
4. Schedule in time to keep incorporating current feedback you are receiving for the next group. Your clients will provide you with invaluable feedback about what works, what doesn't and what they want next. Build time into your schedule to incorporate this regularly. Once programs are well established you may want to flag certain programs or products for a "Refresh/Rebrand/Replatform"
5. Remember that relationships are key. As coaches, relationships are the fabric of our business. The deep connection we are able to form with participants, even in a group setting, requires attention and focus. What are you doing to stay connected? To give back to your participants/alumni? What are you doing to keep the conversation alive? What are they looking for next from you?
Together each one of these strategies forms an important part of being able to sustainably run mulitple groups at once.
Have a great week,
Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC, CPT
GroupCoachingEssentials.com | Potentials Realized
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013)
Two programs starting later this week - The Advanced Group Coaching Practicum - designed for those who want to get practice and feedback around group coaching in-action (Thursdays 1:30 - 2:45 pm ET Jan 29 -end of March) OR the Mentor Coaching Groups (for ACC Renewal and ACC/PCC portfolio routes) starting Friday January 30th at 9 am ET.