If you’ve followed me for a long time, you know that I’ve not only participated in MANY group coaching programs, but also offer them as an aspect of my business model and services.
I love group coaching. After all, as a retired Training & Development/Performance Management/Curriculum Designer – it was not just my education, it was my career… and I LOVED my career! It has dramatically contributed to my business planning and is woven into my profit model. It’s one of my sweet spots, and I’m passionate about the experiences I’ve had not just hosting, but participating in others’ programs as well.
Group Coaching is a wonderful investment – especially if you’re just entering into the coaching space. If you’ve never invested in private coaching and want to save some money, I highly suggest finding someone you admire, and joining one of their programs.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your group coaching experiences.
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Many group coaching programs include some type of online curriculum. Whether it consists of video training, on-line documentation, templates, audios or more interactive components, my best advice is DIVE IN and DON’T WAIT! Get started as soon as you can with the materials you are provided. One of the first coaching programs in which I invested more than $10,000, I dragged my feet to get started. Of course, my excuse was ‘I’m too busy to make time for this… I’ll do it soon…” (Since you’re reading my blog, I’m sure you’re familiar with this excuse too 😉 After all, when you make such a significant investment in something, one of the most difficult parts is actually deciding to opt in and say yes. And, after all the thinking, pondering and anguish over that decision – the purchase is made, and there is a sudden sense of calm… whether it’s the feeling that you’ve just solved your problem, or rescued yourself – or the certainty that you’ll now have some support – whatever it is, there is a sense that you are taking a giant step toward solving your pain and moving forward.
SO, there is sometimes a tendency to ride that wave. But most programs are on a time-limit. And the longer you wait – the less time you’ll have to consider the materials and implement all the juicy content! So, my best advice is to get started as soon as you can. Even if it means reshuffling your schedule.
Presence and Immersion
There is no replacement for relationships. Build them by being present in all group aspects. If there are live components (whether in person or virtual) you will only be memorable if you make moments and build bridges with others. Whether you’re an excitable extrovert or an introvert who’s more comfortable in smaller settings – make your way and find others with whom you resonate. Reach out your hand, meet and greet. Seek to be interested first vs. being interesting. Ask about other’s businesses before sharing about your own. Find out why they’re there, what their biggest draw was and what their biggest business struggle is. Take the time to truly BE in the space that has been provided for you. Relationships are what last well-beyond the curriculum and well beyond the limits of the program. As I advise my own clients – total immersion is the best recipe! START NOW, no, YESTERDAY… the faster you start engaging with the program through listening and participating – the stronger bonds you’ll make and the faster the results will show up.
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Do The Homework
Here’s a big hint – The curriculum in these programs has a purpose. Although it’s ‘more work’ on your ‘already full plate’ – try to shift your mindset about it. Typically, the trainings that have been assembled for you have been brought together for a reason… to help you move through what you need to get where you’re going.
Part of the power of longer term group programs is that they work for any learning modality. Whether you’re a verbal processor or a visual learner, there are typically materials and aspects that will help you. Much of group work has to do with collective experience helping to shape your cognitive connections. Trainings and homework offer you the unique opportunity (really it’s a gift) to THINK about your business. Your investment helps you to shift your perspective and work ON your business rather than working IN your business. So, listen to the recordings, print and work on the templates and tools – and work through all the modules to keep up with them.
Participate With Accountability
Accountability – Whew! That’s a deep subject! Many programs offer accountability aspects: Check-ins, Masterminding opportunities, partners or teams are great (if you get the right one!). Remember to participate, but be cautious of your need to take care of another business owner who may need more help than you. The accountability quotient is awesome when you’re well-matched with another, but if you’re unfortunately matched with someone who is more needy than you, this aspect can be a real drag. (It’s happened to me on more than a few occasions). It’s important for you to figure out your boundaries and hold onto them.
Some accountability partnerships meet daily (in fact I’ve even heard of some who’ve met twice daily…) to me, that’s always been too big of a commitment. I’ve opted for weekly check ins most often. But others have been wildly successful with daily check ins. It’s just really important for you to figure out what you want and need in an accountability partnership and then stay true to that. Revisit your meeting schedule if it starts to feel like too much.
I’ve had some really great accountability partners and some that were not great at all. Mostly because they were in a totally different business development phase than I was. It was way too time consuming and felt less like shared accountability and more like a burden to check in with them. BUT, I had some learning to do. I really loved feeling needed…. and so I would jump in and try to rescue, save and help. Now that I’ve put my super hero cape away, I’ve freed myself from that burden and sense of responsibility. And bottom line, with accountability, you need to get your needs met too. So, if you’re going to meet, put some structure to your meetings so you can get the accountability piece without feeling responsible for helping or coaching or training. The accountability aspect should help you both equally. It should not feel like a new unpaid coaching client that lands in your lap.
Upgrade to VIP status every time it is offered. VIP packages can be a few hundred dollars more… But what you’ll receive is more convenience, more personal attention, more access, better seating, more serious players, and often food, a cocktail party, and sometimes an additional coaching day. The extra money will totally pay off in relationships, aspects, fun and the enhanced experience.
Create An Offer
Whatever you have to offer in the way of services or coaching for entrepreneurs, create a way to make an offer to people in the room, because likely they are your ideal clients too. When you hear gurus promise that you’ll make your investment in their program back in 4-6 months, and have proof of those who do, it’s the people who come to the gatherings with a ready-made offer in hand. They sell it first to the people in the group who need what they’re offering.
Even if you don’t think your services are a match to what they need, try harder! Something you offer will be valuable to someone in the room. So do your best to get out of your own way, and create a low-cost opt in for those in the room to say yes to you!
Another way to get the most out of these engagements is to take advantage of the opportunity you have for market research for your own business. Often group coaching events attract MANY people who could easily be converted into your own clients. In fact, some of my best programs like the Planapaloozah, and the Business Marketing Makeover Group Coaching Program were designed from the market research I did as a group program participant.
While you’re there, get out in front of others, ask what they need most, and let them help encourage and motivate you to produce valuable content…. Whether you walk away with some new clients, raging fans, joint partnerships or some new free or fee-based content, make sure you use the time to generate offers. If you’re a part of an in person group you may even consider creating something to sell them when you’re back in your office. A content-packed recording from a great webinar or telecall can easily turn into an offer or a freebie for your list and start generating your emails.
Trust The Process
Realize that an investment in group coaching is a process… sometimes it’s not as quick and easy for everyone. You’ll see people who are in the group completely scrap their businesses and head off in a new direction, you’ll meet people in the earliest stages of startup who don’t even have a clue yet – much less a website or an offer, and you’ll see people who’ve been doing the same ol’ same old for years… looking for a shot of kickapoo joy juice to light up their business and passion again. There will be all kinds, and never compare another person’s finished product to your work in progress… it’s not fair, it’s bad karma, and will pull you right out of the vortex of success and abundance!
Often it takes time and investing in more things to meet your goals. You may uncover that you need a better accounting system, or a better crm, or you may finally decide to invest in a much-needed ‘extra pair of hands’ to help you with some administrative tasks that are bogging you down. So, often your participation will lead you to deeper investing in other things to make your life easier and business more successful in the long run. Don’t be shocked. Just realize that you’re moving yourself forward – and think of it as you future business looking back at you – and lending a hand to pull you forward and make you more successful and profitable.
You are drawn to participating in a program for a reason, and all of the programs I’ve invested in have been incredibly valuable. Knowing some of these insider secrets will make your experience worth its weight in gold and help you make the most of your time and the money invested.
Share Your Sanity Strategies
What experiences have you had in group coaching programs that you can share with our readers? Please share them below!