Group Coaching Vs. Individual Coaching: Which Is Best?


Is there a difference between individual and group coaching?


Definitely. I will explain the main differences between the two, and how to choose the right option for your needs. But first, let's look at the impact that coaching (with a professional coach) can have on your life.


The Positive Impact of Coaching

Research conducted by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) describes numerous personal and professional benefits, including:

  • Fresh perspectives on personal challenges

  • Enhanced decision making skills

  • Improvement in productivity

  • Improved satisfaction with life and work

  • Attainment of relevant goals

  • Maximised personal and professional potential


And their research numbers give a clear, positive picture:

  • 80% of people undertaking professional coaching reported improved self confidence

  • 73% described improved relationships

  • 72% felt they had more effective communication skills

  • 67% reported improved life/work balance

  • 70% improved their performance at work

  • 61% improved business management

  • 57% improved their time management

  • 51% improved team effectiveness

  • 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching

  • 98% would repeat the experience

I have experienced many of these benefits myself through working with a coach, and I still undertake regular coaching and professional supervision now. Personally, I have found that simply having a dedicated time and space to talk about and reflect on your life can transform the way you think about problems, and open your mind to new possibilities and options.


Coaching helps you be the person you want to be, do the work you dream of doing, and live the life you want to live.



The Benefits of One-to-One Coaching

One-to-one, or individual 'personal' or 'executive' coaching, is the option that most coaches offer. It is usually focused on developing a skill, improving mindset, achieving goals or creating change. In addition to the outcomes listed above, it has several practical benefits:


  • The approach is closely tailored to your individual needs and goals.

  • Sessions can be adapted depending on what comes up for you to ensure a close focus on your goal.

  • The timing of sessions is usually flexible and they can be booked to fit around your schedule.

  • It allows you to open up in a confidential, non-judgmental space and express your fears, frustrations and dreams.

  • It allows you to build a stronger, more trusting relationship with your coach, which increases the effectiveness of your sessions.

  • It is easier for your coach to hold you accountable and challenge specific setbacks more effectively.

  • It is a highly effective process for creating positive transformation in your life.


There are a couple of disadvantages:

  • One-to-one sessions tend to cost more, as you pay for the exclusive time with your coach.

  • When the focus is entirely on you, it can feel uncomfortable; which is why finding the right coach and developing a trusting coaching relationship is so important.


The Benefits of Group Coaching

Group coaching is growing in popularity and is an effective, usually more affordable alternative to individual coaching. It usually involves any group of individuals, whose needs and aims may differ, and who are looking to improve their health, wellbeing, personal strengths, self-efficacy, and leadership qualities, among other things.


Group coaching can be distinguished from team coaching as the latter usually involves individuals working closely together as a single entity toward a clear and shared goal (often for the same organisation).


During the sessions, the coach acts as a facilitator for deep discussions around personal goals, obstacles It has many similarities with one-to-one coaching and some unique advantages too, including:

  • Shared accountability, as you are not only accountable to your coach, but also to the peers in your group.

  • You will share in other people's life experiences, broadening your own perspective, curiosity and understanding.

  • Support is available, not just from your coach, but also from the other people in your coaching group; often facilitated through a private Facebook or WhatsApp group.

  • It can improve leadership as it encourages deep, empathetic listening, curiosity and better questioning, as you hold people accountable when discussing their progress.

  • It can improve problem solving and creativity, as you draw on the wisdom of the group

  • Increased positive social connection by being part of a group on a similar 'journey'.

  • Encouraging collaboration and fostering a culture of learning and reflection.

  • Fixed timings that are easier to plan your life around.

Some of the challenges of this approach include:

  • Participant self-consciousness when discussing personal feelings or situations with others - a totally understandable reaction and one that a good coach can help you overcome.

  • Questions over trust and confidentiality - which can be managed with all parties signing up to confidentiality agreement.

  • One person dominating a discussion - something an experienced professional coach is able to handle sensitively and firmly, to all all participants the opportunity to share.

  • Session timings are fixed, so if you miss a session you miss out. Recording sessions is not always appropriate depending on what is being discussed, but some coaches offer additional 1:1 sessions at a discount for group coaching participants.


Conclusion

Both group and individual coaching options are powerful tools to help you create positive change in your personal of professional life. They each come with a range of advantages and disadvantages over the other, which means you should consider your needs and preferred way of working when deciding which approach to try.


If you are a sociable, empathic person who thrives in a group and loves engaging with others and listening to new perspectives, then you might want to try the group approach. Or you might have had enough of listening to other people and want some one-on-one time to talk about yourself.


A quieter person might think they would benefit from individual coaching, as they fear speaking up in a group. But, sometimes being the sole focus of the session is harder, and be able to take a less active, but still engaged, role in a bigger group is easier and more comfortable.


If you aren't sure which approach would suit you, get in touch here and book a free coaching discovery call. I am happy to chat about what you are looking to achieve and help you work out which one will unlock your potential.



 

If you are interested in experiencing group coaching, you might be interested in my new program 'RISE & Thrive!'


This 6 week group coaching program will help you develop your Resilience, improve your self-awareness and reconnect with your Intuition, build your inner Strength, and Empower you to create positive change - so you can RISE & Thrive!


You can find out more about the program by clicking the button below to visit my RISE & Thrive! page.


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