“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African Proverb
It’s really a nice place to start – Africa. Remember what we learnt in our history and social science
lessons in our 6 th standard. When we connect with a tribe of people with similar values and beliefs,
people in that tribe would want to see us succeed — amazing things can happen. Which means that we
always require a tribe for our success.
Some people may argue that there is a lot of loss in terms of privacy for a gain called success. I
remember the famous dialogue of Shahrukh in the movie DDLJ “Bade bade deshon mein aaisi choti choti
baatein … hoti rehti hai” I think one must focus on the good and better parts and not to sit and crib
about the negatives. No road is smooth and straight – curves and puddles are there and we must travel
our journey through this. Think for a moment that the ones before us have travelled in a much worse
path than what we have.
That is why I feel that group coaching for leaders is the best format available today or since a long time back. Most of you would be wondering what does group coaching mean and why is it that I am so
confident that it is the best. Let us look at what it is first and then come back to the latter question.
Logically group coaching means to coach a set of people. As its heart, group coaching is basically all
about creating actions, decisions, self-realization within the group. So what does that mean now? In
traditional coaching it was always a powerful and direct relationship between the coach and the client
and the coach plays the primary role whereas in group coaching the coach does not have the primary
role. The main duty of the coach here is to provide and encourage an exploratory and learning space
between all the members of the group. (Looks more like Kamal Hasan talking, let me put it in plain
Let us look at it like this, imagine that each member of the group has within themselves a number of
wells such as questions, knowledge, wisdom, concerns, strengths, capabilities etc. Normally, during the
first session or the ice breaker each of them brings their private wells which are now water-tight and
well protected by guarding walls. The main aim of the coach is to bring down these walls so that all the water in the individual wells are now combined where all of them have access to the central pool. Yes for once we can say that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole [Pun intended]. Once the walls are breached, then the central pool is governed by what each member in the group is willing to share. This type of coaching cannot be done in one session and requires more number of interactions. The more the better. Some of them say that this is similar to an agile group – self formed and self-facilitated but in Agile they already have a well-defined goal and mission while in group coaching they need to be decided by the group. It is purely an open session from the beginning.
I accept that when it comes to group coaching, individual members have their own agenda which they
may or may not spill out in the open. Since each member has their own goals, it's important to identify the overarching theme for your group coaching program. This step is what decides if the group coaching would be successful or not. You cannot decide on any theme based on your interest, expertise,
experience, and niche as a coach. The theme needs to resonate with all the group members. For
example if the group is comprising of young entrepreneurs then a theme like building your business
from Zero to 6-figures would be a good topic.
Once the topic is decided, as a coach you need to have a framework for it. Remember in coaching which
is not science and involves more of human, it is prone to errors. Never try to arrive at a concrete
framework where changes are not easily adaptable. It is always better to have a program which is long
and gets a result than a short one with nothing.
Once the session has started remember that even a group coaching is similar to a normal 1:1 coaching. It requires that each session has a goal, has some targets, definite time period and to get some actions to it. Many of the detractors would say that It is really impossible to get something out of a group. I agree with them.
Working with a group and moving them to a common goal is really impossible but it has been
empirically and statistically observed that a key to a successful group program – is a key ingredient. That ingredient is called “Accountability”.
Accountability works as a solid support system for your group members to:
● Continue feeling motivated
● Continue to share information to others
● Hit their own milestones plus others if possible
When accountability is lost not only a group coaching session fails, even a traditional 1:1 coaching
session will also fail. Assume that when accountability is lost in the group – then we find that the
members sign out from 3 things – they sign out mentally, emotionally and physically (In the same order)
So creating deep accountability is the foundation that needs to be laid and no better than a coach can
do it for the group. Studies have shown that accountability can boost goal-achievement from 70% to up
to an epic 95%.
Having said about accountability the next element which cannot be overshadowed is the safe space.
Trust is the most important element in any coaching activity and in group sessions it needs to be very
high on the agenda. The group should be formed such that each person in the group has a proper and
safe space to get the most experience out of the session. We all know that trust is only built over time
and hence group session’s needs to evolve around this space at least during the initial few meetings.
While you build trust – it always works only in in-person mode. Virtual and distributed angles do not
work and is very tough with a new audience.
Finally, like Agile methodology group coaching also requires high engagement and high energy. If one of
these 2 factors go down, the session will not yield much value. As a coach we need to fine tune our
moderation capability to see that we have enough tools to maintain high energy and engagement.
For better engagement and energy it solely depends on the value that is on offer and the transformation
possibility and experience. It also means that we as coaches should not undersell to get these
With all the things spoken about group coaching, here is what we can expect out of it for leaders:
● Increases team functioning and maturity
● Develops leadership and management capability
● Encourages peer consultation and collaboration
● Fosters a culture of ongoing learning
● Promote systems and strategic thinking
● Build proficiency in reflection, reframing, questioning, problem-solving planning, and time
● Deepen trust and collaboration among peers and across departments
● Optimizes goal accomplishment at the personal, group, and organization levels
● Positively impacts the bottom-line
What are the possible themes that we can approach when going for group coaching especially for
● Laser coaching in groups
● Weekly themed or focus shaped sessions
● Collaborative activities
● Enhance Vision
● Leadership styles and enhancement
● Growth mindset
● Building network inside/outside organization
Now having said a lot about what it is- do you still think I need to spend time on why it is a necessity. I think it is a no-brainer now that you know what group coaching is why it is a must for leaders post pandemic situation.
If some feels that they still are not clear, please reach out to me and for those who are clear please
reach out to me to enhancing our coaching skills.