Group Coaching and How to Market it
There is quite a bit of information out there about Group Coaching, but arguably not enough. And maybe not the right sort of information.
If you are interested in starting your own group as a coach, read on. You will learn the difference between coaching groups, running workshops, and team coaching… not the same things. You will also learn how to tackle pricing around group coaching, and start thinking about WHY you might like to build a group coaching product — again, not the obvious answer.
On the Better Bolder Braver Monday Masterclass this week, we had the privilege of speaking with Ana Paula Nacif — an expert in Group Coaching. I first heard Ana talking about the power of group work at an Association for Coaching event and was struck by her passion for — and deep knowledge of — the power of working in a group as a coach.
Ana painted a picture of how group coaching can be successfully delivered in a range of settings and is a creative and rewarding way that coaches can expand their practice. She described to us how impactful group coaching can be — in terms of personal change-making, wellbeing and a sense of inclusion. She gave powerful examples of how — in the workplace — group coaching can really facilitate some significant shifts for participants. She also spoke about what it is like (rather than to be ‘commissioned’ to run a group in a corporate setting) to build, price, market and maintain one’s own group, and to the feelings that come up when you are responsible for facilitating a bunch of people who have never met before — both whilst the group is running and in mind of what happens to them once it’s all over.
Ana is able to offer so much insight into the power of the group, not only for the participant, but for the coach/facilitator as well. She says,
“My favourite groups are those that seem to run themselves”.
Her experience and her candid honesty around all things group coaching speaks to many important practical questions that ought to be considered:
- Are you experienced as a participant in a coaching or psychoanalytic group?
- Are you clear on how a coaching group differs from a workshop or from coaching a team and on the power of interpersonal dynamics?
- How many numbers is just the right amount of people? How many is too few? Too many?
- How does it feel to be marketing group coaching? What do you do if you have less sign ups than you think you want or need?
- Can / should you give away or offer for a discounted rate places in your group when you want to fill seats?
- How can you reflect on an experience in running a coaching group?
In having designed Better Bolder Braver, we join Ana in believing that group work can be a cost-effective and scalable way to create big change for individuals. But for us — like Ana — it is critically important first to consider why you might like to start a group and then to learn how best to market it, and not the other way round.
What came up rather unexpectedly for me, was how group coaching relates to niching: When we have considered who our niche audience is, we have thought about who we are best placed to serve, or want to focus on serving now. We can articulate what unifies our audience. Without having done the niching work, we can expect to attract a variety of people. So, building a group will need to take a different approach in terms of building a safe, inclusive space.
And if diversity is something that is important in your group, then that’s great too — but the invitation from Ana is to really take time to think about how you will foster a sense of ease, inclusivity and openness in a group.
Ana was generous in sharing her thoughts around how to price group coaching. She shared her thoughts about better ways to come to a price for group coaching that are not based on the maths of how many people x how many sessions. Her approach is similar to what Simon and I suggest: Price by outcome and not be time. She also spoke to being nuanced in your pricing according to what future business might come your way, and how referrals are another currency of value to consider.
Ana answered questions in the chat concerning the creativity to be employed when running online group coaching, and she talked us through the benefits of digital as opposed to running groups in real life. But she also outlined its limitations — attention spans, intensive eye contact, the ease with which participants can become distracted… all of these points serve to illustrate why just building a group coaching offering that incorporates happenings with a number of different people wanting to be coached is not enough. It’s as much about the contracting as it is about the numbers…
Ana also answered the question of what else one can do, as well as being an experienced 121 coach, to deliver good group coaching. You can hear her suggestions for upskilling by listening to the recording, but suffice to say that we should look forward to Ana’s proposed book about the subject, as there seems to be a big gap on the bookshelf right now!
I also asked Ana about supervision as a group coach. Again, there doesn’t seem to be a specific provision for this as much as there is in the psychoanalytic world. However, Ana believes that any good coaching supervisor should also be able to supervise group work. She herself offers supervision and would be happy to hear from anyone interested.
Simon and I have designed the Better Bolder Braver community for coaches to change the marketing conversation — we subscribe to the ethical move — because “how we sell matters”… We want to help coaches move away from the toxic practices of “10 X your income” and away from “experts” telling people how to sell more to more, build communities to max your followers and employ loads of scary tactics that both leave a customer feeling used and a coach feeling more than just a little uncomfortable.
If it’s all about the energy that can come from the beauty of conversation, then — for me — group coaching is a great metaphor for what we think good marketing looks like: asking great questions, listening, trust in emergence, inclusivity alongside clear framing, and safety and enjoying what emerges.
If you would like to hear more from us about changing the marketing conversation for coaches, we would like to share further musings with you via your inbox — thank you in advance for having us.
To listen back to our conversation with Ana and / or to sign up for our future, free Monday Masterclasses, join us here. So far we have had wonderful conversations about:
- Why a coaching community matters
- Ethical marketing
- Life after coaching training
- The funny side of marketing for coaches
- Cutting the marketing b*llshit
- The Better Bolder Braver Marketing Journey for Coaches
- Happiness as a niche
Creating your group coaching product
If you’re looking for some clarity or inspiration with creating your group coaching product then we have a whole chapter on creating coaching products within our Coaches Marketing Journey. It’s also part of our self-service course which guide you step by step through the 6 Chapters with 50 video lessons and exercises it has everything you need to build a better coaching business.
You’ll also join our community of brave, visionary coaches — like-minded people on a similar journey. You’ll be able to share ideas and reflect with each other about how marketing is making you feel and feel supported, inspired and energised to keep going.
Become a community member and purchase access to the course today.
Ana Paula Nacif is an experienced executive and group coach, consultant and facilitator, who works with individuals and organisations interested in improving wellbeing and leadership capabilities. She has over a decade of coaching experience, having worked with a range of clients in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Anna is an EMCC master coach, a coach supervisor and has completed a professional doctorate in coaching and mentoring. She is also a part-time lecturer at the University of East London.