One question we often get is how do you coach a group? Is it like being a public speaker?
Actually, Group Coaching is much easier than speaking.
In speaking, the speaker is expected to be charming, informative, and entertaining every minute that they are onstage. This is because the audience is in a passive position.
Group Coaching is completely different. We don’t have an audience. We have participants. Participants aren’t passive. They come to Group Coaching because they want to be active.
This makes your job much easier.
It means that, in any given Group Coaching session, the Group Coach doesn’t have to talk for more than 5-10 minutes in the beginning. Then the group starts and runs on it’s own energy!
Let’s talk about what it looks like when a coaching group assembles for the first time. The Group Coach takes a few minutes to greet everybody, then introduces the first Group Coaching exercise. The exercise is where the real work gets done. For instance, the Group Coach may start with a Partner Work Exercise. Each person gets a partner, and they follow the exercise.
The partners get to know each other very quickly! When the exercise is over (5-20 minutes) the group reconvenes. Individual participants raise their hands and share what they discovered and experienced during the exercise, speaking to the coach. The Group Coach doesn’t have to “know the answers.” It’s not about being right or wrong. Instead, you hold the space for the participants to share. This sets an example of elevation, encouragement, and respect – and sets up the culture of this community you’re creating.
The participants see that their sharing is welcome. And we experience Group Learning – human beings are great from learning from one another.
Because the Group Coach is ready to work with each participant, participants develop trust for the coach, and through that, they develop trust for the group. They recognize that this is a place where their perspective will be respected.
As the session proceeds, a network of relationships forms within the group. It looks like this:
Within this network of relationships, participants relax, knowing they can help and be helped. This in itself is healing.
Do you see how different this is from being a Speaker trying to entertain an audience?
Do you see how little “public speaking” the Group Coach has to do?
Instead, the Group Coach utilizes the energy of the participants, who want to be an active part of the process.
Most importantly, the Group Coach has a Group Coaching Session Plan which guides the entire session.
The Coach can relax, observe, and hold the space for the group.