I've recently seen the positive impact a move from 1:1 coaching to group coaching can have on the growth of coaching businesses.
In one particular example a coach was able to double and then double again the revenue they were earning from 1:1 coaching when they moved to a group coaching model.
In turn this created more time to work on the business than compared to having days full of 1:1 coaching sessions and individual client programming. More time to work on growth. Instead of treading water, she's now cycling through growth.
For progressive and ambitious running, triathlon and endurance coaching businesses, group coaching should be the next evolution. Coaches should start to make a move from a predominantly 1:1 coaching business toward a more group focused model.
Disclaimer: Before we go any further, group coaching isn't for everyone and regardless of the reasons below some coaches just aren't interested in group coaching. That's totally fine, you have to build the business based on how you want to spend your time. One thing to consider though, group coaching could free you up to be more selective and more in depth with with a smaller number of 1:1 coaching clients.
But for those focused more on growth and development of their business I believe group coaching is the best path to take to build a sustainable and progressive business long term.
The diagram below shows how a day packed with individual programming and 1:1 sessions can be replaced with group coaching and in turn releasing more time to work on growing the business.
What's Wrong With 1:1 Coaching?
There is nothing wrong with 1:1 coaching if that's what you love.
However from an impact and business perspective it is very limiting.
The nature of 1:1 coaching means you will be limited to a relatively small number of clients at any one time. You will also be limited to how much you can charge per client. This results in a formula you can use to calculate your maximum revenue you can ever earn with this business model alone.
It's a simple formula.
Maximum no. of clients X maximum price you can realistically charge per customer = Your "revenue ceiling"
The diagram below shows how a 1:1 coaching business grows and then hits a ceiling. A group coaching business can continue to grow because each new client added to the group does not add to the time it takes to coach the group.
The numbers I've used are arbitrary and are just used to provide an easy to calculate example. Actual pricing will vary based on your business, expertise and target market.
Now you could argue that you could hire more coaches to take on more clients, but realistically this is not a scalable business model. You'll increase revenue by bringing on additional coaches but you'll also significantly increase costs and overall profit will only marginally improve.
Here Are 8 Reasons Why You Should Move From One On One Coaching To Group Coaching.
1. More Impact
There are many benefits to group coaching in terms of the impact you can make.
First, you have the potential to make more impact. Simply by working with a larger group of clients you have the opportunity to help more people successfully achieve the goals.
Second, group coaching can help you develop and improve your skills as a coach. By working with a group, you can learn more rapidly how to best support and encourage clients while also raising awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses. As a result, you become a better coach not only for the individuals in your group but also for other groups that you may join in the future.
2. Better Value
Group coaching is much better value for the client. Prices for group coaching could be 75% less than you would pay for 1:1 one coaching, but the results the client will get will not be 75% worse that 1:1 coaching. Even if you argued that 1:1 coaching will get you significantly better results (and I'm not convinced of that) at the price differential group coaching will always be better value to your clients.
3. Scalable Growth
Not all growth is created equally, for example if your revenue grows but your expenses grow equally then you won't increase your profit. Some times of growth is capped by how much a business can handle. Below are a few concepts to consider when comparing growth between 1:1 and group coaching models.
Most of the coaches I have spoken to, contend that word of mouth is their biggest driver of growth. However, because of the nature of 1:1 coaching you are limited to only being able to take on a small number of clients at any one time. This means that word of mouth is also limited. Even if word of mouth was still effective, it's not always possible to take advantage if you don't have the capacity to take on new clients.
The more people you help become successful the bigger the "network effect" effect will be. More people means more experiences shared and that begins a cycle of word of mouth that is impossible to replicate with 1:1 coaching.
Unlike 1:1 coaching you are not limited to small numbers of clients. Group coaching is essentially exponentially more scalable.
What is scalability?
"A scalable business model can service exponentially more and more people without incurring the same exponential rate of cost increase"
In simpler terms you can add more clients to your coaching groups without incurring more cost.
There is only a very small percentage of recreational endurance athletes that are willing to hire a 1:1 coach. It's limited to those that can both afford it and want the personalized training that only 1:1 coaching provides. There is a significantly larger group of people that would pay to be part of better value coaching group that they perceive would give them similar results at much less cost.
Moving to group coaching will mean you will have access to a much larger group of potential clients and in turn access to more revenue.
Better Use Of Technology
Group coaching allows you to make the most of the technology you are probably already paying for.
Online coaching tools like Training Tilt, TrainingPeaks or Google docs or whatever you are using to share your training with your current 1:1 clients are powerful tools that enable you to share resources with a virtually unlimited number of people at a relatively low cost.
Tools like Zoom, Skype or Facebook or Instagram live video allow you to get in front of large groups of people at the press of a few buttons.
Most of the tools you are already using can be used just as well to coach a group of people as they can to coach clients 1:1. But, even if you aren't using these tools yet, because of technological advances over the last 10-15 years the cost of these tools is very low.
4. Better Communication
With group coaching, the communication can be more effective and more constant.
Because a coach does not need to communicate individually with each client the communication can be more regular and more constant. Much of the work a coach does with individual clients is similar across their group of clients. Although every client is unique, people are more the same than they are different. The coach can share the same information with the group all at the same time instead of having to share the same or similar information for each of their clients one at a time. This means that groups sessions can be more regular than individual coaching sessions and if executed well can lead to better results for clients.
More People More Communication
Communities are very powerful. Within a coaching group overall their will be more communication. This is because communication will be between members of the group not just between the coach and an individual client. More information will be shared and circulated. High ranking members of the community will appear and will begin to naturally enhance the development of other members of the group. With careful management of the dynamics in the group, members will begin to share the responsibility that would normally fall to the coach.
5. More Expertise
With group coaching, you get the benefit of more expertise and knowledge. It's much easier to bring in the expertise of other coaches and specialists in a group scenario than it is with 1:1 coaching. External coaches could easily be brought in to host a specific group session on topics like nutrition, strength training or injury prevention.
6. More Fun
With group coaching, you and your clients can have more fun in a supportive and interactive environment. Even with 1:1 coaching many clients enjoy interacting with a coaches other clients in a social environment. This becomes even more powerful and enjoyable when clients are able to interact with each other on a much more regular basis. There will be a range of different personalities in a group that will keep things fresh and entertaining for everyone.
7. Better Results With Less Effort
From a coaches perspective you can get better results for more clients with less effort within a group coaching environment. This is due to the synergistic effect of a group or a community.
Community And Accountability
The community aspect of group coaching motivates athletes to push themselves harder since there are others in the group who are also working hard. The levels of accountability can be much higher within a group than with individual coaching.
Because of the nature of group coaching the coach will have more time to focus on their craft and develop their own skills.
Coaches will also be able to garner more experience from coaching many more clients with different attributes. A coach can learn a lot more from hundreds of different clients than they can from a handful.
8. You Can Still do 1:1 Coaching
Just because the focus of your business and growth model changes to group coaching doesn't mean you can't do 1:1 coaching. 1:1 can still be a focal part of your business but improving the efficiency of your revenue will mean you will have more time to do more things and be much more descerning. Your 1:1 coaching can be more focused and more effective with a smaller number of clients.
Group coaching is a much more scalable way for a coaching business to be sustainable and more profitable long term. But, it is also a way to create a more enjoyable and valuable environment where both clients and coaches can develop and achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.
If growth and development of your business is your main goal then a move from a 1:1 focused business to a group coaching focus is something you should seriously consider.
Training Tilt has all the tools you need to run your 1:1 coaching business or to help you make the move toward a group coaching approach.
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