Group Coaching - Collective Power
Realising the collective and individual power that Group Coaching can generate, I work with charities and social purpose organisations to develop Group Coaching programmes that support the growth, empowerment and wellbeing of their people.
In this article I explore the benefits of group coaching to both the individual and the organisations they work with.
What is Group Coaching?
Group Coaching comes in many shapes and forms, with numbers of participants and content ranging greatly. The number of participants and nature of their connection or shared challenge will impact the approach used. Here I explore Group Coaching in a small group setting within an organisation where participants share a common challenge or life situation (e.g. parents or those representing a specific project or area of work).
While 1:1 coaching has its power and huge value in creating space to work through personal issues or mindset challenges, there are situations where group coaching comes into its own.
Group coaching brings the nature and spirit of a coaching conversation into a group context to provide a framework and approach to enable the generation of collective, empathetic and shared support amongst people experiencing a similar challenge or situation.
The benefits of group coaching to the participants
Those who experience being part of a group coaching programme will feel the following benefits:
Peer Learning and Support: In an organisation setting, group coaching opens up communication and learning amongst people across the organisation with a shared challenge or issue, creating a valuable network and an empathetic space to explore shared problems and to encourage long-term change. Participants find solutions and support to challenges that affect them personally or that are impacting their ability to get on with their jobs in an effective and satisfactory manner.
A Sense of Community: A realisation that you are not alone creates optimism and opens your mind to seeing problems in a new light. A non-judgmental and safe space to share, bond and challenge one another enables participants to connect with the bigger picture and make appropriate choices of action.
Collective Wisdom and Voice: Group coaching creates an environment where the job role status of participants is equalised allowing the cross-fertilisation and development of ideas and solutions. This can be powerful in helping the broader organisation understand and support the group's challenges and incite change.
An Embedded, Solution Focused, Group Structure: The group coaching structure and approach is learned and embedded through the coaching programme leading to a sustainable self-coaching entity that can continue to be effective beyond the programme.
Higher Volumes of People Engaged: Group coaching reaches a greater number of people in a confined time than 1:1 coaching so the benefits can be offered to employees at greater scale.
The benefits of Group Coaching for the organisation
Organisations supporting group coaching will reap the following benefits:
Happy, Confident People: Participants feel supported and understood, not judged and penalised - enabling them to get on with their jobs in an effective and efficient manner.
Increased Productivity: Being able to manage work and life’s priorities and commitments in a healthy and agile way means a clearer, undistracted, less anxious focus on work commitments.
Committed, Engaged and Loyal Staff who aspire to grow and develop within the organisation and Retention of Talent who can drive forward the vision of the organisation.
Collaborative problem solving, supporting participants to think in different ways and to hear different perspectives so that they can collectively come to the most informed and effective solutions.
An Embedded Culture of Understanding and Support and a reputation for being a great place to work - therefore attracting even more talent and loyalty.
Cost Saving: Group coaching generally creates a cost savings per participant for the organisation.
The role of the coach in a Group Coaching setting
The coach creates and facilitates a learning and exploratory space between the members of the group. The coach will introduce frameworks and approaches to drive the effective generation of ideas, shared wisdom, collaborative support, solutions and actions.
The coach maintains and nurtures the space by building trust, hearing the unspoken, holding a safe space, choosing the right process for the desired outcomes and using questioning techniques that broaden thinking, deepen exploration and create learning. The coach’s role is non-advisory and participants are responsible for any decisions made.
Ali McNab is a Transformational Coach helping people to have confidence, self-belief and self-understanding to experience a fulfilled, balanced and happy life. As well as working directly with individuals, Ali works with charities and social purpose organisations supporting their approaches to staff development, empowerment and wellbeing. www.alimcnab.com