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What is Group Coaching and Is It Effective?

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Uncovering what type of coaching your organization and employees may benefit from can feel like an ambitious mission. With so many different types of coaching available and Google offering almost 2 billion results for the term “coaching”, it’s no wonder many leaders are left with more questions than answers.

In the following blog, you’ll find the answers to the most common questions on group coaching, which should help you make an informed decision regarding the next steps.



What is Group Coaching?

Group coaching, which can also be referred to as peer group coaching, brings together a group of employees for a specific purpose, or goal. For example, group coaching may bring together a group of new people leaders, a leadership team, or high-potentials. Unlike training where content develops competency in a given topic through lectures or activities, group coaching takes place in a collaborative environment. The coach facilitates discussions and runs structured activities for the peer group, in order to bring different viewpoints, insights, and knowledge to light that ultimately encourage learning, growth, and complex problem-solving. Ultimately, group coaching helps employees discover alternative viewpoints, provides an opportunity to give and receive feedback, and builds relationships that are based on trust and a shared experience, which extends long after the peer group coaching program or initiative concludes.

 

How is Group Coaching Different from Team Coaching?

The difference between peer group coaching and team coaching is goal achievement and the makeup of the group. In peer group coaching, the group may or may not work together daily and each member has a different goal they’re trying to achieve based on their functional role. Whereas in team coaching, it is an intact team that has the same goal they’re trying to achieve.

Learn more about professional coaching and if it's right for you or your  organization in this guide.What are the benefits of group coaching?

The benefits of group coaching include:

  • Provides an opportunity to work closely with others which may otherwise not exist
  • Expands one’s professional network, encourages relationship building, and breaks down internal silos
  • Develops communication skills, such as delivering and receiving feedback, coaching others, active listening, and asking probing questions
  • Fosters reflection and greater self-awareness through discussion and feedback
  • Promotes idea diversity, collaboration among employees, and learning from others as peer group work together to find innovative solutions to complex problems
  • Increases problem-solving, planning, and teamwork skills
  • Builds deeper relationships and connections through a common experience
  • Increases sense of accountability as the peer group and lead coach will be soliciting updates on problems being tackled, new ideas implemented, and milestones achieved against desired goals
  • Drives a sense of purpose in the work each peer group coaching participants is doing within their department 
  • Encourages independent continuous learning
  • Amplifies the likelihood of goal achievement for individuals, teams, and organization

Is group coaching effective?

The effectiveness of group coaching will depend on what success looks like for your organization, the audience participating, and the reasons for initiating group coaching. As with any initiative, it’s best to establish expectations and desired outcomes upfront so you can measure success as the group coaching program proceeds. 


For example, in a study of 45 newly graduated doctors who participated in group coaching, it was effective as, “Participants’ communication skills improved due to an increased awareness of other peoples’ perspectives and preferences. They realized the importance of good relations, saw how they could become active contributors in their departments, and began to practice leadership skills through e.g. involvement of the team, delegation of work, and negotiation of own obligations.”

How Much Does a Group Coaching Package Cost?

Peer group coaching is more economical and scalable than one-on-one coaching as a larger group has the opportunity to participate. The factors that will determine the pricing of a peer group coaching package include:

  • Length of the engagement
  • Number of participants and groups receiving coaching
  • Seniority level of participants
  • Additional considerations including assessments and training
  • The desired outcome from peer group coaching

How Do I Setup a Group Coaching Program?

To ensure your peer group coaching program produces the desired results and does not become another flavour of the month initiative, it is best to seek out the support of a professional peer group coach. A professional coach will apply best practices, facilitate discussions and bring structure and accountability to the members in peer group coaching. 

When seeking out a peer group coach, here are interview questions you should ask: 

  • Have you and your team received certification or training in support of group coaching?
  • Have you run successful peer group coaching sessions in the past? 
  • What were the outcomes of your previous peer coaching engagements?
  • Have you coached similar participants profiles that will be attending the peer group coaching sessions?
  • Do you have experience in our industry and understand the challenges and opportunities our organization faces?
  • What is your approach and style of coaching? 

conclusion: group coaching Produces Results

From skill development to a boost in employee engagement, and increased collaboration there are many benefits for both individuals and organizations that invest in peer group coaching. In an article by Harvard Business Review, it was said that “there is a sense of camaraderie and good feeling that comes when you have a positive impact as a coach on another person’s well-being, and peer coaches learn things about themselves both through the act of coaching others and, of course, by receiving coaching themselves.” Peer group coaching may be just what your organization has been looking to take its employee development efforts to the next level.

Download the guide to professional leadership coaching