This is a guest post by Jennifer Britton.
Organizations are increasingly looking to expand opportunities for learning and development within their ranks. No longer reserved for the C-Suite, coaching is now becoming available for larger numbers of employees, often as part of a group coaching process. This post explores group coaching – what it is, what it can look like, and the benefits for organizations and individuals alike. It is hoped that you will consider how you can leverage group coaching for your team, or yourself.
Examples of group coaching include:
- A group of new leaders from across an organization who meet in order to explore their leadership strengths and ramp up into their role more quickly
- A quarterly program for sales professionals, focusing on accelerating their results
- A group coaching program geared for women transitioning back to the workplace after maternity leave
Group coaching is a series of ongoing conversations around themes agreed upon by the group. Themes provide a useful anchor and point of focus for all group members. Groups generally tend to meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for conversation, and check in around their goals.
Group coaching is not a therapy group, workshop, or counselling. Each group member identifies the goals they want to be working around. Exploration, dialogue and accountability in the peer environment often helps to expedite results. The focus in a group coaching conversation is on each person’s strengths and perspectives, on what is possible rather than what doesn’t work.
What are the benefits of group coaching in an organization?
In group coaching, peer learning is a key benefit. The experience, best practices and lessons that are shared during a group coaching conversation become a powerful tool for culture change in organizations, as well as a relationship builder across organizational silos. These are some of the most important benefits group coaching can offer, which are not always actualized in an individual coaching engagement.
Other group coaching benefits identified by organizations include the ability to provide coaching to more employees at a lower price point, the scalability of the approach, and the impact over time of these enhanced relationships, common language and shared best practices. What benefits would you see in your organization?
Group coaching can also be positioned as a follow-on to existing training initiatives in an organization. Learning is often left in the room and does not translate back to the workplace. Group coaching conversations can sustain the focus on these new skills and support focus while group members are applying these skills, and learning and adjusting from them.
Group coaching provides an excellent opportunity to expand the coaching conversation to more professionals in your organization, while building key relationships across the silos.
Just as group coaching is useful in building and strengthening peer connection, as well as sharing and evolving best practices across an organization, it can also be useful to bring the coaching conversation into the team level. A future post will explore team coaching, and how leaders and their teams can benefit from a team coaching focus.
Jennifer Britton, MES, PCC, CPCC is the author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2014). She is the founder of Potentials Realized, a Canadian performance improvement company focusing on teamwork, leadership and performance issues. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Masters in Environmental Studies, and has completed post-graduate studies in Human Resources. She holds credentials in the areas of coaching, performance improvement and human resources. She blogs regularly about team leadership and group coaching.