Group coaching beats 1-on-1 for accountability

Group accountabilityI’ve been thinking a lot about why accountability is so effective in groups.  I think the number one reason is that we care what others think of us.

We are social animals, and it matters to us what our status is in our “tribe.”  But there is a hierarchy of how much we care what others think, depending on who the others are and how well we know them.

We feel more accountable to people when we know them better, and also when they are more like us.  Being held accountable by someone with more “status” than us can start to feel like an exercise in being ashamed.  Sometimes it’s hard when you are the coach, to draw that fine line between, “I understand; you had a tough week” and “What excuse do you have this time?”

So let me sum this up.  Groups work for accountability better than individual coaching because:

  • We are social animals and we care what others think.
  • The more people who are paying attention to what we’re working on, the more powerful the accountability is.
  • There is no power imbalance among group members, so they are freer to question excuses.
  • Other group members are in the trenches with you, so have a more immediate understanding of the struggles
  • Each member becomes quite familiar with each others’ activities and goals, so there are more eyes on each person.  This multiplies the accountability effect.
  • Members grow to care how the others are doing, which make the accountability much strong.
  • Peer pressure and peer modeling is more powerful than just coach pressure and modeling, again because they are peers.

Groups still need leaders, so I’m not saying coaches are irrelevant!  But in planning your own practice or coaching business, keep in mind the power of groups in keeping your clients accountable and in helping them achieve.  They are cost effective, and they work! You can bring in more clients and impact more people.

What are your experiences with keeping people accountable in individual coaching and in groups?  What works and what doesn’t?


Facebook Groups don’t work for accountability

I often see coaches and trainers claim that accountability is a major focus in their groups or classes.

But when I look at what kind of accountability methods they are using, I’m never impressed.

The most common claim is: “In my program, you will be held accountable in our special Facebook Group.”

Unless you run a tiny group and you are ultra diligent, your Facebook Group will not make your clients feel accountable at all!

In a Facebook Group, the members don’t think, “Oh, I’d better do that thing today, because someone will notice if I don’t.” I don’t know about you, but when I know that nobody will notice I haven’t done something, I’m less likely to do it.

To keep them feeling accountable, you may create a post asking people to post what they’ve accomplished. BUT, a very small percent will post anything in response.

How does the coach remember each person’s commitment and goals?

If people do post their progress, it’s not easy for you to remember what they committed to do in the first place.  This is important, because people tend to drift and not stick to the more difficult actions that they want to consistently do.

In order to hold someone truly accountable, you need to constantly have their goal in mind, and the specific actions they committed to taking.

The other group members will certainly not remember, so their support of that person will be hit or miss.

There’s no way for group members to visually track their progress.  The awareness that they can’t keep track and neither can anyone else, makes it feel like nobody cares.

What if some group members dominate the airwaves?

A common problem in Facebook groups is that the people with the most “wins” dominate the posts. It is rare, although usually quite welcome, that somebody opens up about their struggles and failures in a Facebook Group.
I’ve been in countless private Facebook groups that were especially set up for a course or coaching program. They were helpful and fun, but they were very poor at accountability. Heck, I’ve run accountability groups on my Academic Ladder Blog, and I got a couple dozen sign ups, but no follow through!

To summarize what makes real accountability almost impossible to achieve in a Facebook group:

  • It lacks an easy way for the coach to track each client’s actions, connect them with their commitments, and comment or keep them accountable.
  • It also doesn’t have an easy way for group members to do the same, so they have a harder time supporting their peers
  • It doesn’t have a visual system for tracking their progress
  • Facebook groups are dominated by the people doing well. It’s not a system where it is easy to be vulnerable and open about problems.


What’s your opinion about Facebook Groups and how well they work for accountability?  Let me know in the comments below!

And please Pin, Like, Share and Tweet this post!

How FONK — Fear Of Not Knowing — is blocking your business success

Most coaches don’t succeed in growing a business. They don’t have enough clients, don’t make enough money, or don’t know how to expand from a practice to a business.

Why is this? What separates the successful from the less successful?
The answer is that the successful people take goal-oriented action, and the less successful don’t.
And here is a major reason that less successful people don’t take decisive action:


*Fear of Not Knowing

FONK results in the mistaken belief that if we only KNEW a little more, we’d DO a lot more.

It leads to:

  • The futile search for more important knowledge
  • The passive taking in of knowledge instead of more active goal-oriented steps
  • “Busy-Ness” instead of business-growth-oriented action


You just learned that by becoming a guest blogger, you will become better known and be able to add more people to your list.  Your first step would be to email or call the person that you’re hoping to blog for.
Suddenly, you’re not quite sure how to word the email. Also, you might not be a good match for this person, who might reject you.  
“Wait!” you exclaim. “Here’s another course on how to be a guest blogger! It’s bigger and more extensive than the last one I took! I don’t really know enough about doing guest blogs. I’m signing up right now!”


Because it’s always scary to take that next big step, and because you have Resistance to taking a risk (after all it could flop and make you feel like a fool), you never feel ready.

Never feeling ready leads to you seek ways to get ready, and to a belief that you just don’t know enough. If you only knew more, you could do a perfect job.



But as we all know, you learn more by taking imperfect action and making mistakes, than you do by learning and thinking and planning.  None of those things are bad, but they are NOT the same as taking action.

Mind you, I’m not against courses; after all, I teach courses and I’ve taken plenty of excellent courses!

But there’s a problem:  Most people never take a step unless the next step is to take a course.

The problem is, it doesn’t matter how much you have learned, if you never take action on what you learned.



If you think about it, most of us are saturated with too much information. We’re so overwhelmed with knowledge that it’s hard to think clearly!

That’s why I believe that

In other words, the most useful and valuable courses provide (wait for it)…. COACHING.

Real coaching involves discussing the plan with the client, and then the client goes out and implements.  Whether s/he learns from their action or not, it is reported to the coach so that further coaching can happen. Without action, there is no coaching.



That’s why I always provide coaching (through Finish Agent’s online accountability system) with my classes.

It’s also why I follow people like Danny Iny, of Course Builders Laboratories, who I will tell you more about later in the week. He teaches you how to create courses that work, and he provides coaching in his courses. As a matter of fact, his ebook, “Teach and Grow Rich” is available for FREE for 5 days starting Jan. 26, 2017.

I urge you to consider upping the coaching element in your own courses, and to take goal-oriented action in your own life.



How do you add more coaching to your courses?

I could write a book on this, but let me give you some ideas:

  • Do more spoon feeding of tiny action steps
  • Break down all the steps into small and smaller steps
  • Make sure that ALL your students take those steps
  • Find out why any of them didn’t take the steps and teach around that.
  • Offer daily support and accountability

How do you take action yourself when you take a course?

  • Only take courses that help you get it done/implement
  • Make sure you focus on action steps
  • If you are not sure what the next action step is, ask.
  • Write down the reasons that you are not taking action.
  • Think back to why you took the course in the beginning. Are you achieving your goal?


Do you have FONK? Have you taken more classes than you needed, and have you implemented them far less than you intended? Would some coaching along with these courses have made a difference? How do you get yourself to take business-growing action.

Tell us about your experiences or observations below!


Get Rich Slowly and You’ll Get There Faster

A lot of innovative and highly effective ideas begin by turning ideas on their head.

Here is one of my favorites. Turn this:

  • “Get High End Clients and Make Big Money Fast!”

Into this:

  • “Offer Medium Price, High Value Services and Get Rich Slowly

Of course, everybody wants to get rich fast. But there is no free lunch. The “get rich slowly” route, is slow, but predictable, and leads to recurring income that can take you to retirement and beyond.

And what do I mean by “slowly?” I mean not overnight or next month, in some magical win-the-lottery way. I mean by building your business and over the months, adding more and more happy clients who stay with you. So within a couple of years, you can have significant predictable, recurring income.

Why shouldn’t we all try to get high-end clients?

  • It usually does NOT lead to success. I don’t know about you, but I have met many, many entrepreneurs who have gone the “high-end-client-big-money-fast” route, and who have given up.
  • They are hard to find and harder to contact. It’s hard to get high-end clients.
  • This is not an ideal market for an unknown. It’s certainly more difficult to sell to them when you’re new.
  • Your reach is limited. Fewer people hear your message and get results from your work.
  • This model doesn’t lead to predictable income. Your income usually sways way up or way down.

What if, instead, you could base your business on groups of clients all taking small daily steps towards their goals?

I know – it’s not flashy and it’s not sexy. And it may only attract savvy coaches who aren’t swayed by big promises that lead to disappointment.

But what is sexy is results! When your clients get actual results, they:

  1. Shout their happiness to the world. In my program, The Online Group Success System (TOGSS), in which clients work on their goals in Finish Agent (FA), a client recently wrote:

“I feel really good about getting so much done today. My practice is feeding me, writing is motivating me, this format and the group is supporting my goals. So, yes, it feels amazing to take small, yet massive steps each day.”

Valerie Sorrentino
The Simple Art of Manifesting

2. Continue to spend money on you! Yes, Client Retention is the new black! It’s quietly sexy, and results in collecting money without you having to constantly look for new prospects (of course, you do, but you’re not desperate). Here is an example:

o  I just gave a 6- week course for $997, in which 29 people participated. Starting Week 2, they logged their daily progress in Finish Agent.

o  At the end of Week 5, I offered a $97 per 4-week session continuity session.

o  Guess how many people, out of 29 participants, are now in my Finish Agent accountability, with automatic recurring payments every 4 weeks?

o  Enter your guess here: ____________________

o  Here’s the answer: 20! Yes, 2/3 of the participants signed up!

o  That’s almost $2000 in additional recurring monthly income. In the future, I can hire coaches (we already have 10 ready to be trained) to run these groups, and they can become ongoing sources of passive income.

This is all from just one course!

In subsequent posts, I’m going to give you more information about the Get Rich Slowly method, and how it will actually get you there faster.

“Change One Thing” Guest Blog Post by Kim Clausen

Note from Gina:  I love Kim Clausen’s description of why “one tiny step at a time” can make all the difference in the world.  We teach people to know what their goal is, but to concentrate on the next thing that they can do to move towards that goal.

Change One Thing

By Kim Clausen

Sometimes it seems like nothing works the way it should. If you’re a human, you have probably hit that point where work is no fun, relationship is a struggle and you don’t even feel comfortable in your body.

At times like these, changing your life can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to do…where do you even start?

It’s quite simple, really…just change ONE thing.

Change one small thing

Read a magazine article you would never typically even consider. Try a new type of restaurant. Take a different route to work. Any simple change of scenery can shift your perspective, and has the potential to drastically transform your life.

It’s like a ship at sea…if it changes course even one degree, 100 miles later it’s in completely new waters.

Of course, the most profound shifts are the ones you make on the inside. Annoyance can easily be turned into fascination. Frustration can be flipped to become gratitude. Even anger can be transformed if you simply turn it into a song.

You don’t have to tackle the whole enchilada, just make one simple shift.

And the best part is…it’s all experimentation. If you don’t like your new perspective, you can always go back to your old one.

What “one-degree” shift can YOU make TODAY?

3 Personal Reasons I’m a Group Coaching Guru

Group PhotoIt’s weird.  I’m an introvert in some respects.  Receptions and cocktail parties make me want to hide and curl up with a good book.

The other strange thing is that I have had terrible experiences in groups that were run poorly.

So why am I a group coaching guru; promoting, teaching and running groups for 30 years?  Here I am, about to host the biggest summit on group coaching that the world has ever seen!

Oh, the link to register for the First Annual Group Coaching Megasummit is  
Sign up now; it’s F*R*E`E!

First reason I’m a group coaching guru
As a child, I was lonely a lot.  Our family lived on 3 acres in the woods, and in order to play with someone else, I had to be driven.  

I remember the intense longing I had to belong to something.  I have such a thrilling feeling when I remember joining two things – an after school club at a church, and the Brownies.

Second reason I’m a group coaching guru
The second reason that I like groups is… my mother.  This is a woman who wants to do so much.  She talks about it, she plans, then she does…nothing.  She is now 86, perfectly capable of driving, but refuses to join the senior center that is 5 minutes away.

I grew up with this frustration that she wanted to do more but never did.  I always tried to connect her with groups because, ironically, she came to life when she was in a group.

So seeing my mother transform when she was in a group created a drive in me to see others be transformed in groups.

Third reason I’m a group coaching guru
The third reason is my own experience running groups.  You’ll hear more about that in my talk in the First Annual Group Coaching Megasummit (  Let’s just say that I have run groups for 5-year-old boys and for tenured professors who feel blocked from writing their second book.

I see the group magic unfold time and time again.  It’s exciting, inspiring, and truly transformational.  What better motivation could I have to want all coaches who can possibly do so to run groups?

If you’re shy or afraid of running groups, or you’ve had bad experiences yourself in groups, please listen in as these experts reveal their “why’s” and “how’s” of running groups that work and that make them tons of money.  You will be convinced that you, too, can run a wonderful, effective, revenue-generating group!

Sign up now:

See you there!


Seth Godin — Get Big Things Done by Climbing Molehills

Get things done one molehill at a timeSeth Godin’s blog post, “The Simple Power of One a Day,” is perfect for those of us who want to get important things done, but are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of our big projects.  Molehill climbing is important skill for coaches to teach their clients.  Just as our licensees do when their clients use our our Finish Agent software, he reminds us to climb small mountains (molehills) each day, so that it adds up to a tremendous outcome (mountain) eventually.

His post also jibes with my emphasis on DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY, and not weekly or monthly.  We have to take those molehills one per day, not all of them on Sunday night.

My free webinar coming up soon, called “The 3 Top Reasons Your Coaching Groups Are Getting Blah Results, and What You Can Do About It,” is going to teach you how to use online groups to define and climb those tiny little molehills on a daily basis.  Sign up now, and you will learn what simple steps you can take to turn your teleseminar series, coaching groups, masterminds, or trainings programs that everyone is talking about, because your clients get RESULTS.  The biggest thing that we all want is to go into action and get things done.  So learn how to help you clients do just that.

Thanks, Seth Godin, for helping us get through another mountain of a day.

Help Your Clients Stop Procrastinating with Daily Goal Setting

As change agents, we must make it a top priority to motivate our clients to take action on their major goals every day. (OK, we’ll let them take the weekend off!)

Perhaps your client has drafted up a huge idea for a long-term goal or project and declared it a top priority. That’s fantastic! But long-term goal setting is just the beginning.

In order for your clients to successfully achieve their long-term goals, they must set daily goals.


How to Set Daily Goals


You can help your clients stop procrastinating and start taking action by teaching them these tactics for daily goal setting.

  1. At the beginning of each week, write down what you want to accomplish for that week.
  2. Be realistic in your goal setting. Let me repeat that: Be realistic in your goal setting. Many people think that setting hard-to-reach goals will motivate them, when actually the opposite is true. Setting unrealistic goals often leads to crashing and burning.
  3. Break the weekly goal into smaller chunks. Then, disperse those chunks over the number of days that you will do the work to create daily actions.  The daily actions can be defined by what you want to accomplish, or by the amount of time you spend working on it. (Setting aside small, specific periods of time daily is my personal preference.) For example:


    • Accomplishment-based daily goal: Your client wants you to write two blog posts this week. You want to work four out of the five work days. You decide to research and draft on Monday and Tuesday, and revise and edit on Wednesday and Thursday.
    • Time-based daily goal: You’re building a bookcase. You don’t know whether you can cut, sand, and install two shelves each day. But you do know how much time is available for you to do the work. So you might decide to work for one hour, 6 days a week. (Or 30 minutes, or even 15 minutes, daily!)


  4. Every night, write down your specific plans for the next day. Getting crystal-clear on your goals for the next day is crucial for motivation. That’s why the question, “What are your specific plans for tomorrow?” is asked daily in my Academic Writing Club. That is also why I train Finish Agent licensees to use this as the last question that their client answers daily.

    Then, write that daily goal into your task planner. A great task planner that I suggest is the Opus Domini for Mac. I use it both as a task planner and long-range goal setting and tracking tool, and I love it

  5. At the start of the day, look at your task planner and review your goal. PROCRASTINATION BUSTER TIP: Do that task first, before you read your email! I know… the pain! The humanity! But you can do it!

Reward Yourself – don’t “Pre-ward” yourself!

Start with the hard stuff. Don’t “warm up” by reading your email! That’s what members of my Writing Club call “pre-warding” instead of rewarding. Knock the harder tasks off of your list first, and then reward yourself with the easy tasks, like reading email.

Another wonderful reward of using this tactic is how great you will feel. Take it from a commenter on THIS Pick the Brain blog post: “By making sure you take action on your project at the start of the day, not [only] have you reinforced its importance by giving it first priority, but you have that wonderful feeling throughout the rest of your day because you did something that was important and meaningful to you.”

These incredibly simple ideas can help your clients stop procrastinating, move them from long-term goal setting to action-oriented daily goal setting, and reward them with actual results.

How do you make sure that you take actions toward your long-term goals daily? What are your favorite methods you use to teach clients how to set goals? Please share by leaving a comment!

Getting “It” Done

What is the “It” that you need to get done?

“It” might be a cherished, long-term goal that you need to accomplish for yourself- for your own personal and/or career fulfillment.

Perhaps “it” is that book you want to write, or the business you long to build while you keep your current job. Maybe it’s the practice you want to grow, or the completion of those big long-term projects that you may have started in fits and spurts. The weight loss; the exercise…

“It” can’t be done in a day, a week, or a month, because it builds slowly.

Even though facing “It” and taking steps toward working on “It” is quite scary, you might not even be experiencing fear or anxiety. Rather, just when you think about sitting down and getting to work on your “It”, you may find yourself suddenly feeling the urge to clean out that drawer in the kitchen with all the loose twist ties. Oh, and you have to call Aunt Martha! (You really don’t call her enough, do you?) It’s just about then that you remember you’re also extremely behind in organizing your inbox.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, focuses on how to get things done. In this book, he suggests keeping an all-inclusive list, prioritizing each to-do, and then focusing on completing the most important items on your list. But usually, the items that end up on your to-do list are those daily tasks: call the doctor, clean the kitchen, write the report due tomorrow.

Where does “It” – the long-term goal so close to your heart – fit in on today’s to-do list?

The problem is, it doesn’t. “It” becomes the one thing that you will always do “tomorrow”.

But guess what? Now is the time to finish what you started – or to start finishing it!

“But how will I ever finish it, when I don’t even have time to hang up my clothes?”

I’m going to tackle the answer to the question of how you can get it done when you’re so dang busy; but I’m going to go at it a little at a time. First, I want to focus on one littlemyth that you must purge from your brain.

MYTH:  You can’t work on something big and important in short work sessions.

TRUTH: Just 15 minutes a day can move you forward in a meaningful way!

Face it, if you’ve been procrastinating and not getting “It” done at all, then 15 minutes daily will get you an hour’s worth of work on this long-term goal after just 4 days. That’s better than nothing, right?

And actually, research shows that tending to “It” daily gives you more than just accumulated time spent on the project. By tackling your project in this manner, your brain becomes more creative, more alive to the project, more excited, and consequently thinks about that wonderful “It” more often! When you return to something on a daily basis, it’s infinitely easier to finish what you start.

“But I’m working on something difficult/creative/artistic/time-consuming!” Trust me; it doesn’t matter! Try tackling it in short, daily sessions, and you’ll see that you do move forward.

“But if I start today, I’ll do a crappy job!” Good! The crappier the better. You’ll get better and can change it and fix it as you go.

“I’m not ready! I don’t know enough! I haven’t done enough research!” Look, you could research this thing to death and still not be ready. Just start doing something and the experience of showing up daily will increase productivity by miles in a shorter time span. You can fill in your knowledge gaps as you go.

How short is a short session of working on “It”? Short enough that you’ll do it! If you decide that you’ll spend 30 minutes on it, and you don’t, then make the allotted time shorter. Try 20. If you still don’t do it, then plan for 15 or even 10.

Get yourself started. That’s Step #1 towards getting “It” done.


Do you agree with the idea that you can do short sessions on your “It” and make useful progress? For many, it’s a new idea – what’s been your experience?

Why Online Forums Don’t Work to Build Accountability and Community

Have you ever been a part of an online forum where you didn’t feel connected to anyone else? You are excited to join and can’t wait to post your latest success or challenge, but when you do… no one responds.

Or, maybe you have been a member of an empty forum. You know the type- those online forums that are filled with categories and/or questions, but are missing posts and responses from actual users. Perhaps there are a few participants, but the posts are few and far between.

It’s like someone threw a party, and no one showed up!

Many coaches, trainers, and mastermind leaders use online forums as a method of building community and providing accountability. Facebook forums are an example of one of the most popular online forums being used today. These group forums don’t use categories or questions- just running lists of threads.

The idea is that the forum will help members bond with each other between classes, and those members will hold each other accountable in order to get things done. I have belonged to membership sites and business masterminds that depend on online forums, such as Moodle, Ning, WishList, php, or Facebook forums.

Guess what? Forums don’t work! At least, not well enough to provide adequate community and accountability.

Here are some of the reasons that online forums don’t work:

  • The site owners depend on their clients to create the content (the posts) for them. And if that doesn’t happen, the forum is an empty, depressing place not conducive to building community.
  • It is easy for people to “disappear,” and stop posting altogether on the forum.
  • Nobody notices when you’re gone.
  • If they do notice, there’s no easy mechanism for them to contact you.
  • Often, the most able, active, and successful people post on the forum the most frequently. (And of course, those who could benefit most from receiving feedback post less frequently.)
  • There isn’t encouragement to post, even when you’re struggling.
  • It’s easy to get lost in a large group, which makes it difficult to find your own small group within it.
  • You aren’t actually held accountable, because nobody notices if you didn’t do what you said you would.
  • When you do post your success or problem, oftentimes, no one responds.

Another huge issue is that the leaders don’t notice or do anything about any of this happening. This is in part due to the fact that it is difficult to scroll down the forum and find out who responded to whom, who is participating, etc.

Now that I’ve shared my experiences with online forums, I’m curious to hear about yours (as part of a class series, ongoing training, group coaching program, or mastermind)!  Have you been part of a Facebook group forum? Have you run such forums? What has worked well and what hasn’t?  Have the online forums helped with accountability for getting things done?  Have they created a community that stays active?

Please share your experience in the comments below!