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Group coaching – What is it, and why is it beneficial?

“Group coaching is a facilitative process that leverages the resources and knowledge of a group of individuals working on a common theme but having different individual performance goals.” (TPC Leadership)

As coaching continues to push into mainstream awareness, the research continues to expand and the different forms of coaching become more popularised.

From executive coaching to emotional coaching, there’s no shortage of options that are all crafted to suit a number of environments, ambitions and objectives.

Group coaching, however, is still relatively steady by comparison in terms of awareness and research.

Unlike team coaching, group coaching doesn’t require each individual to achieve common objectives, and is more about building a process along a natural path (though this doesn’t mean it lacks structure) and collaboration.

So, now you have the lowdown on what group coaching is, how is it beneficial?

The benefits of group coaching aren’t just exclusive to the group as a whole, but also the individuals, and especially their organisations.

Let’s break it down into these categories, then!

What are the group coaching benefits for clients?

  • The process of peer learning

A collaborative group environment can be extremely beneficial for learning, as each individual can contribute differently due to the variety of lived experience and insights.

Combined with an individual clients own reflective ability, it gives the brilliant opportunity to ‘workshop’ problems, only helping their problem-solving ability in the long-term.

Britton (2010) emphasised the benefit for introverts in this environment, as the peer learning process is less ‘on the spot’ and gives more time for articulation of their thoughts and a period of reflection.

 

  • Lower costs

Yes, money isn’t the be all and end all – but who says no to a cheaper, but equally beneficial, alternative?

The cost for a group coaching session is often considerably lower than attempting to seek individual coaching sessions, and combined with the advantages of the group environment, this can be a very influential factor in seeking group coaching.

Plus, in the case of organisations seeking out group coaching on behalf of teams in specific departments/roles, the cost is either considerably less or non-existent!

 

  • Interpersonal communication

In group coaching, all members are equal.

Individuals are far more comfortable speaking freely and openly about their experiences at work because of this.

According to McNicoll (2015), the blame-free, shame-free, consequence-free exchanges that occur when taking managers out of the mix ensures that the conversations that will make the most difference take place.

The extra comfort of knowing you aren’t alone in your feelings also helps you to do some of your best thinking and problem solving, all with the help of others in a safe environment!

This makes the conversations in group coaching high in both relevance and empathy due to the deep shared understanding of the context, and the appreciation of each other’s work (McNicoll, 2015).

Group coaching

What are the group coaching benefits for organisations?

  • It’s malleable

Whether a business has an established culture of coaching or a wellbeing focus, group coaching offers the unique ability to be scaled up or down depending on preference.

Departmental focus, managerial focus or even entry-level focus are all options, because group coaching has the distinctive advantage of being adaptable to each level of an organisation.

(Plus, it can even be used after in-house training to give time for extended discussions).

 

  • It supports change

In a regular working environment, no matter the business, there is often a divide between employees based on seniority in terms of communication.

Group coaching offers the unique ability to have communication across these channels, between groups that traditionally have minimal communication – thus, improving cultural change in the long-term.

Each group can bring something unique to the table, and plays into the usefulness for individuals due to the range of experience and creativity.

 

  • Lower cost (again)

Instead of seeking out individual coaching sessions of any variety, group coaching can be the cheaper, but no less effective, option.

The lower price per individual is a huge benefit as well when considering how group coaching can be utilised alongside existing training to enhance the learning experience.

Plus, the coaching really does pay for itself.

Conclusions

Group coaching still, for now, seems to be in the shadows when compared to other forms of individual coaching, but things are slowly changing.

Factoring in the fact it is a lower cost option that benefits the internal communication between teams, enhances creativity and problem-solving abilities and can be used at every level – group coaching is a great choice for many businesses.

If you’d be interested in finding out more about the group coaching Dark Coffee can offer your business or team, we’d love for you to email us at talk@darkcoffee.co.uk 

(Or, if you’d be interested in other services such as workshops, you can look at our services here.


References:

  • Britton, J. J. (2010). Effective Group Coaching: Tried and tested tools and resources for optimum coaching results. London: John Wiley & Sons
  • McNicoll, A. (2015). Peer group coaching-Collective intelligence in action. Training & Development, 42(5), 14
  • TPC Leadership article – Group coaching definition

 

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