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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?


4 thoughts on “Group coaching beats 1-on-1 for accountability

  1. Gina, what a timely topic. I absolutely agree that group programs help create more accountability for the reasons you mentioned. I am still connected with my accountability buddy from a program we took a few years ago. We still have accountability calls.

    We are social creatures (even if we think we aren’t). I also think leading group coaching programs is a way to reach more people.

    Tandy Elisala recently posted..52 Weeks of Happiness: Week Five-My Best Life Decisions To DateMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how many of the successful service-based entrepreneurs that I know do have accountability partners. I”m sure that is causation and not just correlation; in other words, the accountability helps with the success!
      gjhiatt recently posted..Facebook Groups don’t work for accountabilityMy Profile

    • That’s fantastic Stephanie, that you’ve found a reliable partner who shares your commitment to talking. I’ve found that accountability buddies are a great idea, IF you have two equally committed and compatible people. I’ll never forget when I was assigned an accountability buddy who promptly left for a 3-week vacation!
      gjhiatt recently posted..How FONK — Fear Of Not Knowing — is blocking your business successMy Profile

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