Thursday, May 12, 2011

Group Coaching Benefits - For Clients/Group Members

Group Coaching Benefits for Clients/Group Members
By Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC. Copyright 2011.

What exactly are the benefits for clients or group members of group coaching? In my book, Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) and an article published in the recent edition of Choice Magazine, I share six group coaching benefits as identified in the research I undertook in 2009 when I was writing the book. We often hear about the benefit of group coaching often being available at a lower price point, and what else is a benefit for clients/group members?

Here are six benefits for clients/group members of agroup coaching experience:

1. Collective wisdom - Group Coaching taps into the collective wisdom of peers and other members of the group. i would assert that in a group coaching process, members learn as much, if not more, from the stories and insights of their peers, than the coach.

2. Less Didactic - Unlike the back and forth volley of question and answer, question/answer, question/answer some individual coaching conversations can emerge as, group coaching leaves more space for clients to reflect and think before responding, perhaps deferring to another group member first for their insights.

3. May have more time to reflect - For people who process more slowly, like to have more time before articulating their thoughts, having more time to reflect can be very important for their learning and development. Coaches should consider what the unique needs are for each member and each group that they work with. How much time for reflection will work well? Which group members need more time to articulate? What would be the benefit of providing time for everyone to write out their thoughts before responding?

4. Less on the spot - I find that it is quite common for group members to become "sparked" or "inspired" by hearing others' perspectives, goals, successes, challenges and stories. For some clients the feeling of being less on the spot can make coaching more meaningful.

5. Enables people to connect across geographic and industry boundaries. Often groups are drawn together by common themes (i.e. enhancing work life balance, becoming a better leader, building their business more quickly) which can pull in a wide geographic and industry focus. In fact, for some programs the diversity becomes a real strength, enabling people to open up more fully, particularly if they are concerned about competition (as in the case of businesses) or issues becoming too personal and well-known (if they are in a small tightknit group/community/organization).

As you move forward with your own group coaching work, note what benefits your clients/group members are indicating. Incorporate and build onto these into your future program designs, marketing and implementation.

Please feel free to share these benefits with other coaches, organizations or clients themselves, using the social media links below.

Warm regards

Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010) - Note Chapter 2 on the Business and Learning Case for Group Coaching
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