There are definite advantages and disadvantages of individual coaching versus group coaching. Keep in mind that some group coaching and training can incorporate online services as well. Perhaps not suitable for a PT, but definitely workable for a business service. So if you are running a business coaching business, this will likely interest you.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of Individual Coaching or Group Coaching:
Group Coaching – Advantages
- Leveraging your time is great; train 20 or if operating online, train 200. Time is money and with groups you will have the capacity for more clients and more income. Just be sure to ensure the value remains constant and clients don’t ‘fall between the cracks’.
- Face to Face (F2F) groups offer the added value of leveraging everyone else’s experience and thoughts. Mastermind groups where you have a room of experienced business owners are particular value-adding to participants.
- Groups (depending on format) often get the opportunity to get to know each other – and network (F2F or online) with each other and possibly form strategic alliances.
- An online service means you create it once and then deliver. You would (in my opinion) want to incorporate some personal contact and absolutely be updating and refreshing it, but once the big job is done, it’s done.
- An online setting allows your participants to access when they want, at whatever time of the day that suits them offering extreme flexibility. The F2F group session is more rigid and would be at a set day and time. Remember, you can’t please all the people all the time, so it won’t work for everyone.
Group Coaching – Disadvantages
- Group, particularly online, only becomes viable once you have better numbers. Until the volume and numbers are there, you may well be running at a loss.
- People are sheep. In groups, particularly where all can see how many are there, those joining may hold off if numbers are initially low … because of that sheep mentality. They perceive if numbers are low, then maybe it’s not that good. You will need to have your sales hat on tight initially to sell an empty room.
- If you have multiple people from a single industry, then some will not be open and honest. In fact, this can often happen even if it’s limited to one person per industry; people won’t be completely honest and open in front of a group. This, in turn, means they are not necessarily receiving best value.
- In F2F settings you get strong personalities who will try to ‘take over’ the room, talk over others, ‘hog’ the floor and generally outshine others who may be a little quieter or reserved. Whilst the quieter participants in the room may not mind being quiet, you need to ensure they are getting value from being there.
- Getting everyone together at one time and one place. Even those booked and paid will miss sessions and therefore not get best value. If you are constantly doing ‘make up’ sessions (as a group or individual) then that is chewing into your profit levels.
Individual Coaching – Advantages
- You meet the individual needs of each client personally. You can adapt your content and solutions to meet their individual and specific needs. For the client, in my opinion, this represents greatest value. Privately in a 1-on-1 situation, people are more comfortable sharing their problems, challenges, concerns or questions. The more they share, the greater your opportunity as a business coach to help them find solutions.
- You get to know the client better, their business better and then can really deliver the best service possible. For example, I specialise in professionals, medicos and tradies. The challenges an accounting practice have are often quite different from those of an electrical contractor. You can focus your coaching on that client’s direct needs.
- Individual services can allow you to be more flexible and fluent in your delivery and offers a greater level of variety. You don’t have to be rigid, or keep to an Agenda. I am in no way saying to not have a plan, but deviating from that plan is easy and if it’s for the benefit of the client, then I see no reason to not deviate away.
- It is easier to keep up accountability with individual people. Although there is no reason you cannot incorporate accountability in a group setting, those not completing homework will find it often easier to ‘hide’ their lack of action whereas with individual accountability, if ‘homework’ hasn’t been done, then as their coach you will know.
- For your personality and teaching style, you may be far more comfortable not presenting and managing large groups, particularly if you are more comfortable talking 1-on-1. If you are a newer coach, or public speaking isn’t your joy zone, then large groups won’t be initially where you want to shine.
Individual Coaching – Disadvantages
- For this to be cost-effective for the experienced coach, a certain price must be charged so it can be expensive for the individual. The pricing may make the service exclusive to the less financial businesses who simply cannot afford it. For this reason, often budget orientated clients will seek the group setting as it is more affordable.
- As a coach, your time is You have to sleep a number of hours a day, do the admin of your business (or manage the staff who do so), eat, maybe spend family time … leaving you to set a ceiling on the number of clients you can service and potentially a ceiling on your income.
- You lose the opportunity to leverage numbers and therefore grow your income substantially unless your per person pricing rises substantially.
At the end of the day, once you weigh it up, you need to do what works for you. As more and more business coaches move towards group or online services, it is sometimes good to be different and offer what others do not. If you are going against trends, then your marketing needs to be very clear and your education about the benefits of your services succinct and clear. In my Coach the Coach ™ programs I work with business coaches (and other coaches) on how to best set up their service offering and deliver same to their clients. We work on strategy, marketing and practical implementation to give you a coaching, consulting or training business you will love. To find out more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.