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Go It Alone… Or Get Group Support?

April 19, 2012

As coaches, we sometimes forget one of the most powerful tools we have to help our individual clients — our other clients! 

But why would your client need group support when they already have individual coaching? Those who are going it alone may not think group support is necessary, because after all, they have your brilliance and experience to help them move forward!

However, the power of groups is something that should not be undervalued. This power lies in a community’s ability to provide additional support beyond what we alone can give to our clients- helping them to make those difficult-to-achieve and sustainable changes.

And after all, hasn’t community support, inspiration, and influence been a key factor in evolution since the beginning of time?

When you include the importance of community within your coaching offerings, your clients can receive even more support than you can offer single-handedly. Within a coaching group or teleclass continuity group, individuals get connected to other like-minded people who:

  1. Have similar goals (and similar challenges)
  2. Can give and receive support on a more frequent basis than you (as their coach) can
  3. Will empathize and encourage one another
  4. Can an be cheerleaders and provide shoulders to cry on
  5. Will grow with them, and whose progress they can take interest in

Group coaching is not just the poor stepchild of individual coaching! These groups can truly offer something unique and different, and can even be a preferable coaching method for many people. It’s a powerful way for your client to get support beyond what you, as one person, can humanly give.

Think of the ever-growing number of self-help support groups out there. Why are they so popular?  Why do people seek them out? These numbers wouldn’t be increasing if they didn’t have added benefit. They continue to grow because of the innate power in groups.

Part of the magical power of groups is this — the positive influence of other group members’ movement inspires the individual to stay on the road toward progress. Seeing other group members make positive changes further influences the individual to make her own. She gains the courage and perseverance to keep moving forward, no matter what raging currents of life are pulling her down.

And, sometimes people even process suggestions from peers more easily than from their coach.

A group also creates a “holding environment,” as it is called in psychology-speak. When a child goes to his parent when he is anxious or down, he is seeking a safe place to be held, accepted, and reassured. Adults, too, need this holding environment.

I share this from experience. Many times, clients have told members of my groups things like, “I thought about this group when I got up early every day this week to write for 15 minutes/call a challenging client to request payment/get in front of 100 people to speak even though I was scared to death.”

Imagine if your clients had their own community giving them that encouragement and inspiration?

So, what is standing in the way of your running a group for your clients?

You might be missing out on a valuable tool to catapult their progress.

Now, it’s time to share! When have you gotten community support that moved you forward in a way that individual support couldn’t? Have you experienced a time when going it alone wasn’t always the best way to go? Do you believe in the power of groups, and if so, why? And what about the importance of community? Please share in the comments below!

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