Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

Understand the Pros and Cons of Group Coaching – BEFORE You Commit

Which approach to take when it comes to coaching, and life coaching in particular, will depend on your goals and what you’re looking to get out of it, as well as your personal preferences and style. If you’re considering whether to join a group coaching program, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons. Having a clear understanding of the drawbacks, as well as the benefits, will help you make the right decision to fit your needs and work out best for you in the long run. Before exploring the pros and cons let’s get a clear idea of what group coaching is.

What is group coaching?

Group coaching is when a coach leads a group of people through a program, usually with the intention of helping them improve in some way. The coach will lead the group through discussion and exercises designed to help them achieve their goals. Often there is an element of education within the sessions.

Group sizes can vary considerably from 8 people to several hundred for some online programs. Often programs will have a rolling intake. That means that new people can join the program at any time, so the group size may increase considerably during your program.

Is group life coaching effective?

If you’re thinking about joining a group coaching program, you might be wondering if it’s effective. After all, signing up for group sessions will give you the same results as individual coaching right? Well, not necessarily. While group coaching can have some advantages, it also has some very distinct disadvantages when compared to individual coaching. So let’s take an indepth look at the pros and cons of group coaching.

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The pros of group coaching

Well-run group coaching programs can offer a number of benefits including:

  • Financially – while group programs can seem expensive for what you get there is no cost for other group members if one person chooses to quit the group.

  • Group coaches tend to take the role of educator and mentor. They will often provide an education slot, which may run for between 20% and 100% of the session. Time allowing, they may be able to coach several people in-depth, or more people at a shallower level.

  • A skilled coach may be able to coach multiple people at once.

  • Group coaching offers an opportunity for support from others who are going through similar experiences.
  • Members of a group will often get honest feedback from each other on topics, if they feel comfortable enough within the group to raise them.

  • Online group coaching sessions may include a group chat which, while it can be distracting, can allow for a feeling of camaraderie.


So, if you’re looking for education and the support of a group of people then group coaching may be an option for you. However, it is important to understand the drawbacks of group coaching.

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Ten biggest disadvantages of group coaching

In many cases, group coaching sessions are not what their name implies. Rather than providing coaching they often resemble Q&A sessions with an element of education. In addition to keeping this in mind here are ten disadvantages of group coaching that you should be aware of before committing to a program:

  • One of the biggest drawbacks of group coaching is that you will not receive the same individual, personalised attention that you would in one-on-one coaching.
  • The other members of your group may not be at the same level as you, which can make it difficult to get the most out of the sessions.
  • The group dynamics can be challenging, and if there is conflict within the group, it can detract from the quality of the coaching.
  • Group members may feel pressure to conform in order to fit in with the rest of the group. They can also have the potential for feelings of competition or comparison. This can be challenging if you are struggling with confidence or self-esteem issues, or if you get uncomfortable in conflict or competitive situations.
  • Groups can be distracting, and it can be difficult to stay focused when others are talking (or using a chat box).
  • You may not have enough time to share your own issues and concerns if the group is large.
  • The other members of your group may not be working on similar goals, which can make it difficult to stay motivated and focused.
  • Group members may have different expectations about what type of issues, goals or actions they want to work on. Differing expectations, goals and outcomes can make it difficult for everyone to benefit equally from the same course of action.
  • You may not get the results you want if the program is not well-run or doesn’t have enough flexibility to address your unique needs.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that some people thrive in groups while others do better with one-on-one attention; there is no right or wrong answer, so it’s important to choose what will work best for you.

Group VS Individual Coaching – how do they compare?

In many ways, group coaching is the opposite of individual coaching. Instead of having a one-on-one relationship with a coach, you’re working with a group of people. This can be both good and bad. On the plus side, a group with participant interaction will allow you to bounce ideas off of other people and get feedback from multiple perspectives. However, you also have to share the spotlight (and the coach’s attention) with other people.

Some people work well in a group environment, but others feel more comfortable with one-on-one coaching than in a group setting. If you want an alternative that offers many of the benefits of group coaching without any disadvantages, then individual life coaching may be a good option for you.

So, how do you know if group coaching is right for you? Partly it depends on what your goals are. If you need accountability or want to meet like-minded people, group coaching might be suitable for you. But if you want someone to provide individualised feedback or plan your life path in detail, an individual life coach might be the best coach for you.

Is group coaching or individual coaching best for me?

To help figure out which type of program is best for you, ask yourself these questions

  1. What are my main reasons for wanting to join a group coaching program?
  2. How much time do I have available each week to devote to this kind of program?
  3. Will I miss the flexibility to change the day and time I attend if something comes up?
  4. Do I feel confident enough in my abilities that I’m not worried about sharing information in front of, and with, others?
  5. Am I looking for more personalised accountability than a group can provide? Such as individual support when sticking to new habits or programs?
  6. And, how much am I willing to run with the pack, or would I prefer something I can control, that is more tailored to my needs?

Why it’s important to have a private coach even if you attend group coaching

While group coaching can have its appeal, there are also several reasons why having a private coach is important.

Firstly, a private coach will give you the individualised attention you need to help you reach your specific goals.

Secondly, your private coaching program can be run at your pace, to your specific level, so you can go as fast, or slow as you like. You control the speed and the direction your coaching sessions go in

Thirdly, individual coaching sessions are incredibly flexible and can address your unique needs. A good coach will adapt your program and individual sessions to meet your current needs. You won’t be bound by the restrictions of a program and going at the pace of the slowest member

Finally because you will be dictating the pace and focus of the sessions you will be able to gain maximum value from each session.

Many people who attend a number of group coaching programs at the same time opt to have an individual coach to help keep them on track. This can be beneficial if the group programs are focused on a specific skill or career/professional development areas. Your individual coach can help you maximise your investment in the group programs while helping you with your personal goals and challenges.

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How to know if your coach is the best coach for you?

To know if a coach is the best coach for you it’s important to make sure that they’re the right fit for what you need. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them! Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a life coach.

  1. Coaching is an investment, possibly the best investment you’ll ever make, so it’s important to do your research. Ideally, speak to the coach for 45 minutes to an hour on the phone to ascertain if they are a good fit for you. After all, this is someone you’ll be working with closely to help you reach your goals so you need to know you get on.
  2. When selecting a life coach, it’s important to keep in mind your goals, what you want to achieve. Go into your first discussion with them with a clear idea of the kind of results you’d like to create in your life or business.
  3. Make a list of what you’re looking for in a coach. For example, are you looking for accountability? A sounding board? Clarity? Help with growing your business? Career direction? Emotional freedom? Growth in confidence or communication skills? Identifying what areas or issues you would like help with, and how you would like to be supported will help you to work out in one phone call if a coach is a good fit for your needs.

Finally, think about the coach themselves and find out the answers to these questions

  • What experience does your potential coach have?
  • How long have they been coaching?
  • Do they specialise in your desired field?
  • Can they hold the same time for you each week?
  • How flexible are they if you need to change your session time?
  • Do they offer options for fortnightly coaching?
  • Will you have personal access to your coach outside of business hours?
  • Does your prospective coach use technology like e-mail, texts and WhatsApp to stay in touch with clients?
  • Do they have plenty of high quality reviews or testimonials on trusted sources like Google or WordofMouth?

Hopefully you now have a good idea of the pros and cons of group coaching and how to work out what approach or combination of approaches work best for you. If you’d like to know more or have any questions please do reach out to me or pop a comment in the comments section below.

To find out more about personalised coaching for life, or mindset coaching for business, and whether it is a good option for you, book a free 60 minutes Clarity Call by clicking this link.

For an interesting article on what coaches can do for you can also check out the Harvard Business Review

Fione Spence Black Belt Mindset Coach

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