#133: 3 Kinds of Group Coaching Programs You Can Run

One aspect of succeeding financially as a health coach is reaching more people with less of your time. Private coaching is GREAT but you can only physically fit so many 1:1 sessions into your calendar. In this episode, Michelle describes the 3 main kinds of group coaching programs…and has a free resource to go along with each one:

👉 For semi-private groups, get Michelle’s outlines: HealthCoachPower.com/outlines

👉 To learn how to run a more structure online program, like a cleanse: HealthCoachPower.com/cleanse

👉 For mapping out a free 5-day challenge: HealthCoachPower.com/5dayplanner

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Hey there, health coaches. Thanks for tuning again... Tuning in again, for another episode of the show, I hope your year is off to an amazing start. It's like weeks into the new year. I hope it's feeling like a different vibe than 2020 entirely. We'll see how it goes. But what I do know for sure every year, right around this time is when those tax forms start to come in, right? You get those 10-99s in the mail. And if you have any contractors working for you, and if you don't now you very well might in the future, then you will have to actually send out tax forms to them. It's all very exciting. But what I think happens is you start seeing these numbers on paper and it puts a fine point on the idea of exactly how much money am I making in my health coaching business.

You know, you got to pause and think about it when you start seeing those numbers in black and white. So one way to increase your financial success in 2021. And this, this is just... it's always, always going to be true. Is this idea of reaching more people with less of your time. And I think we're all taught this even in health coaching school, right? Private coaching is great for a lot of reasons, but at a certain point you can only physically fit so many one-on-one sessions into your calendar. And that's why I think so many of you have been talking about and asking about group programs lately. So today, first of all, if you have any questions about group programs and you're here with me live, go ahead and put those into the comments now so that I see them. But today what I thought I would do is give you a big picture and talk about the three main categories or the main kinds of group coaching programs.

And I have a free resource to go along with each one, because I'm all about helping you actually take action. So let's do that also, like in thinking about this, I had to go through the files of my brain and all 12 years of my health coaching business had to sort of be sorted through. And I thought, well, I ran a program like this one time. Well then I ran a program like that one time. And I realized I have really tried all the things kind of like been there, done that. So my hope is that I can make it easier for you to succeed based on all the things I've tried, all the things that have failed and everything that I've learned along the way. So, let's do that first.

I want to say a thank you to Allie who left this five-star review on Apple podcasts. She wrote, I can't get enough. I'm new to the health coach world. And this podcast has been everything to me. I've been binge listening to episodes ever since I came across it and can't get enough of her advice, expertise, tips, tricks, and energy. Every time I feel overwhelmed thinking about starting a new business and career, listening to her podcast, reinvigorate me and I get more excited about diving in. I'm also enrolling in Healthy Profit University, because like I said, I can't get enough. So thank you, Michelle, for being so generous with your time and knowledge, you are a gift to the health coaching community, especially for a new coach like me. Thanks Allie. We are thrilled to have you inside HPU by the way. And you are the bomb for taking time to leave a review. Please send me your mailing address, send it to support@healthcoachpower.com.

We want to send a little thank you, gift your way. I love reading podcast reviews on the air. You guys, if you haven't already head over to Apple podcasts and let other health coaches know why you listen and what they can expect from the show, that's it. It's pretty easy. Thank you in advance for that.

Okay. So, before we get into the three kinds of group programs, first, I want to say there's really like a zillion different types of group programs. I'm running something right now that is super duper bare bones. I don't think I've ever done something. This bare bones before. It's a little bit of an experiment. I've also done groups totally on the other end of the spectrum with videos, with live calls, with handouts and meal plans and this and that. I've done them with live meetings in person. I've done the virtual meetings and sometimes no meetings at all.

So again, even though we're just talking about three categories today of group coaching programs, I've tried to, uh, you know, bucket lots of different ideas into these three categories and you of course can come up with any combination. You can offer anything that your heart desires don't. Let me tell you that there's only three ways to do this. So this whole, um, question or topic came from some questions that I saw in the group this week. The first one is from Kelly. Kelly said, I'm wondering how people do online group coaching with zoom meetings. Do you just talk and then ask questions and wait for one person at a time to talk. I've never done group coaching outside of Facebook groups. So I'm curious if anyone has success with it. So yeah, Kelly, what I think you're talking about, and this is going to be a group coaching type number 1 is what I would call a semi-private group.

A semi-private group is, um, a lot like private coaching, except that there's more than one person. It's kind of like when you get personal training, you can get private or even like Pilates lessons, you can do privates or you can do semi-private. And that usually means a small group. So maybe it's like three people, four people, I think a small group, like this could work up to about six people, something like that is where you're going to max out. Cause you really are going to be asking open-ended questions, letting them talk, do everything that you would do in a private session, but you can be doing it in a group format. So each member of the group just simply gets a little bit or less time to talk. And that makes it sound like it's less valuable, right?

Because everyone's getting less time. And when you get a semi-private like Pilates lesson, those are less expensive than a private. So a common way that people go about this. And by people, I mean health coaches, as we charge about 50% of what we would charge for private coaching for the semi privates. Okay. So that's a fair place to begin if you're not sure how to charge, but I want you to consider something else. Even though each individual in the group is going to have less time to talk. Obviously if there's four people, then maybe they each get 10 to 15 minutes, but the group itself forms another layer of value and support. So if it's just me having a conversation with a client, you know, we build a rapport, there's accountability, there's all sorts of good stuff going on between us. That's great. Now you can think of it as multiplying that by like a whole room full of people.

It can actually be more beneficial to be part of a group, especially if you consider your target market. Like, are they a group of military spouses who are home with their kids and their spouse has been off for a year, right? Like they may really value community over one-on-one coaching. So I'm going to challenge you to not necessarily discount your semi-private groups to half of what you would do for private. There may even be occasions that you can charge more, but I will leave that to you. Here's some pros and cons. Just a fact of doing semi privates, I guess you could consider this a pro or a con is that there are a limited number of participants. That's going to ensure that like everyone has time and you're able to really develop a relationship with each person. Everyone has space to be heard.

However, from a business perspective, it's not as scalable. So yes, you can earn more money for that one hour than you would with one person as a client, but you can't multiply it by a hundred or a thousand, right? It's only so scalable. So you're going to have, say four people, five people, six people tops, these types of groups can be done. And I see this as a pro for sure, online, which is great right now, they can also be done in person. It could be a mix of the two, right? You can be creative with that. But again, this is basically just like private coaching except done in a small group. And if you're not sure how exactly to structure something like that, I actually have outlines for you. I think the way I set it up is assuming a three-month program, but you can certainly extend it.

If you were going, do something longer or shorten it. If you were going to do something shorter anyway, you can grab those outlines. So you know exactly what to start off with. It's the beginning of your session, what to do in the middle of the session, what kind of topics to cover, et cetera, grab those outlines at healthcoachpower.com/outlines. That is my free gift for you. If you are considering doing this type of small group coaching and I'll drop that link right here in the chat again, it's health coach power.com/outlines. So again, the best part of semi-private is that it's easy. It requires no handouts, no materials, not a lot of advanced preparation, just your presence and your coaching skills. You don't need a member site. You don't need anything fancy. You just need a place online or off to meet.

And I do want to just raise a red flag here. That what I think the worst or the most challenging part is, it's the show up rate. People are going to miss meetings. They're going to have a doctor appointment. Something's going to happen at work. Something's going to happen with their kid, whatever, you know what happens. And since it's not a private session, even if they know about it in advance, it's not like you can reschedule the meeting. So you end up with people missing meetings. That's why I wouldn't run a small group with like less than four people because of like one person misses and another person isn't there. You still want it to feel like a group. You don't want it to be down to just one or two people. Cool. So that can be the most challenging part.

Sarah's saying, I'm setting up a small group for AIP diet in the spring, because that's of interest to over half of my population. I finished a certification to teach as well hoping some of it in person, but I don't know with COVID. I know it really is lovely to do it in person if you can. I was actually thinking about this earlier, Sarah. I was thinking if I ran a program like this today, given what's going on in the world, I think I might run it. Maybe I might run it audio only because I think people have such zoom fatigue. And the last thing anyone wants to do is sit there and stare at a screen of like six other faces, you know, especially that's what they've been doing all day for work. And I was like, I wonder if it would actually work better if they could just listen and they could be folding their laundry or whatever they needed to do while they're on the call. It's fine.

They could be out walking. Maybe that's it. Oh my God. Great idea. You guys run a program as soon as it's not quite so cold out. Everybody walks during the call. How great would that be? Anyway, those are just my thoughts. But yes, if you can do it in person one day, someday, we'll be back to doing things in person. All right. So let's move on to the second kind of group program that I want you to think about. Um, an example of this. And there are so many different examples, but an example would be running a cleanse or a detox program, something like that. So for this pricing can really range from like very, very inexpensive 25 bucks, something like that to thousands and thousands. It could be way more than whatever you might charge for your private coaching. So as always, I want you to think about pricing in terms of the transformation that you are providing, what is going to happen to this person who follows your program?

What transformation are they going to receive and what is that worth to them? So if it's a simple program they're going to maybe get a little bit more energy, lose a little bit of weight, you know, you'd price it lower. It'd be, you know, I don't know, 80 bucks, 90 bucks, something like that. But if it's sort of some sort of structured online group program, that's going to help a woman with Hashimoto's get rid of her symptoms that have been dragging her down. You know, that is the more specialized, those are bigger problems to solve. You know, she may have been struggling for many years and gone to many doctors before this. So if you could solve that for her, you could be charging a thousand dollars, $2,000, $5,000, whatever you want to charge, basically. So, don't get hung up on thinking that there's like one set price point for these three different coaching models.

It always has to do with the transformation that somebody is going to receive. Okay. So when you're doing some sort of online group program, typically everyone is kind of doing the same thing at the same time, um, everyone's going through the same material. Everyone is looking at the same, either video lessons or audio lessons or they're downloading worksheets, or there are recipes, you know, whatever the program includes. There's usually materials that you need to prepare in advance and they're going to get access to those materials once they sign up for your program. So in order to do that may not necessarily, but it may require some kind of member portal where all of the, especially if it's videos, right, you need somewhere that all those videos are going to be held. Um, if it's more like some sort of PDF packet that you're just going to give them in the beginning, then you do not need a member portal.

You can just send them the PDF and be done with it. Okay. So don't, don't go overkill on the technology here. When you're doing some sort of structured online group program, there's usually a group component in the form of, and it's really up to you, but maybe you do a couple of live calls. Maybe there's an online forum, like a Facebook group. You could even do something like a Voxer chat or I don't know, you know, there's so many different mediums where we can connect. I want you to think outside the box and think specifically, what's going to work for the type of person that I want in this program for their lifestyle. What do they need? And then choose a format and choose technology. That's going to work for them. Okay. So, when you're doing some sort of online group program like this, the best part is that it's scalable.

Yes. And we love that when you can have an unlimited number of participants and your work more or less stays the same, right? You could have 10 people or you could have a hundred people or a thousand people, and you are pretty much doing the same amount of work. And it takes you about the same amount of time. That is a wonderful thing, because then you can scale, scale, scale, scale, scale. From there, the worst part of running an online program like this is anyone want to guess it's the fall off rate truth be told, right? When we join an online program. And I don't know if you've done anything like this, you sign up, you're excited. You watch the first lesson and then, you never look at it again. That happens. There's an extreme drop-off rate with this type of course. So, what I want to encourage you to do is keep it short.

That's one way to solve the problem. If somebody knows that they're going to be doing this for the next five days, they're going to be enthusiastic for those five days and they're going to get it done and they're going to leave feeling good, right? Or if it's a longer program and it needs to be a longer program, what I would encourage you to do is design your program with some sort of incentive for them to keep going dangle a carrot. You know, maybe it's like always letting them know that you're going to be giving something new to them the following week or that you're going to throw in some sort of bonus. But only once they get to X point in the program, that way they stay with you, that's really for their benefit. You know, once they sign up and they've paid, you know, if you had no morals, you could say, well, who cares, right?

But to serve your clients, help them stay with you. Give them a reason to keep coming back and keep them engaged week after week. Now, if you're interested in running an online group program, like I'm talking about something with more structure, something that is entirely scalable, I would suggest that you join me for this. Week's free training. If you haven't already signed up, we are going to be teaching you how to run a cleanse. I'm doing this with my friend, Julia Sarver, and this is free. It's happening this week at healthcoachpower.com/cleanse. If you're listening or watching later, that event may be over, but we do it usually about once a year. But anyway, the idea is that you can learn how to run a program like this because there may be a little bit of a learning curve in the beginning so that you can create a system, a product thing that you sell at scale.

It can be a really beautiful thing. Okay. I got another question here from Buffy and Buffy says for short online group programs and experiences, when do you charge and when do you choose to offer it for free? I'm running a seven day one pan meal program with some daily involvement from me. I decided to charge $45, but I could see offering something similar for five days for free too. You're absolutely right. Buffy. So first of all, I would love to know how the seven day one pan meal program goes. For some reason, I'm having trouble saying that seven day one pan meal program. But anyway, um, cause that sounds like a pretty cool idea. A 1 pot dinner, something or other for the busy mom or anyway, I love that idea. And so I wanted to talk about a third kind of group program. And this is something that I would consider doing on the regular, especially when the goal is to build your list.

When you look at your business right now, I mean, we all want more clients. That's always something that everybody says, well, what do you need? I need more clients. Yes. But in order to get more clients in order to increase your bottom line, what's the priority right now. And if it's list building, I want you to think about running a free program, but I do not want you to do one of the first two types of programs we talked about and simply put a $0 price tag on it. So here's an example, like Buffy, you could be running a one pan meal, a five day challenge, for example, or I've seen people do like an eat your greens a five day program, something like that. You want it to be very simple when you're doing it for free and that's for your benefit, of course, because that means that you're not pouring hours and hours and hours and hours of yourself into it.

But it's also for your participants benefit because if they're not invested, they haven't paid any money to be part of this program. It's very easy for them to fall off. Remember how I said, people fall off anyway, they fall off right away. Like they don't even look the first thing if it's free because they aren't going to lose out on anything. They didn't pay any money. So I think the best way to get people going is you make it feel like they can absolutely do it. It's going to take them no time at all. You give them something to do every day and you keep it so simple that they can't help, but stick with it. Um, so that's really important. They're not going to stick with it if it's not simple. And I want you to know that even though you will be putting in work to do this, your free programs can absolutely lead to paying clients.

And they often do one thing I would definitely recommend, even though it's free is to include some form of support during a program like this, like an online forum, because the whole idea is for them to get a sense of what you're all about. And they won't be able to do that. If it's just something that's like handed to them here, follow this program, you want them to actually interact with you. If possible, during the program, they're going to be more likely to say, huh, I think this person can really help me. I should hire this health coach. See what I'm saying? So the best part about running a free program is building that list. And I see health coaches, gaining confidence that they didn't have before, because I've never run any sort of group program. Maybe they haven't really done much of anything. And suddenly, whoa, they're hosting this whole event and people are participating and people are having good results and the confidence level goes up, up, up.

So that's the best part. The worst part can be, like I said, giving away a lot of your time for free. So to mitigate that, make it worthwhile by making sure you're creating some sort of free program that your target market wants to participate in specifically. So the people that sign up are people you are best suited to work with in your private coaching or in your higher paid coaching programs, right? You don't want to do something like so broad that everybody and their mother joins and you just get this mish mash of people on your mailing list. Do something really targeted. That's going to lead to private clients and you can start to talk about your services during the program. You can certainly offer your services at the end, my favorite way to do a free program like this is with a five-day challenge.

And if you would like help planning something like that, you can go to health coach power.com/five day planner. And then you can see how I lay out content for five days when I run a challenge like this, again, that is health coach power.com/five day planner. Okay. Let's see. I have a question here from Nycci and Nycci says, can you offer suggestions on how, or if that type of free program without a Facebook group, how can you do a free program without a Facebook group? Is the question. Well, you know what, even if you run a free program and you have a Facebook group, you're always going to have people that say, I'm not on Facebook. I got off Facebook. So, you're always kind of dealing with them anyway. Um, I have seen coaches run a free program. And instead of using a Facebook group, they've used an Instagram.

There's two ways to do an Instagram hashtag where you're asking people to hashtag stuff. And then you're following that hashtag and everybody can comment on each other's things. That's one way to do it. I've also seen people open up an entirely new Instagram account. And so then people follow you there. You only let them follow you if they're a member of the group and everybody congregates there. So it's another way to do it. You can use whatever people are using these days. My goodness, back in the day, I use a Yahoo group for my online programs. So, I suppose you could do that, but that seems a little antiquated.

Okay, if you guys have any other questions about running small groups, please ask inside of our Facebook group. That's what we're here for. So I want to thank you for joining me today and head on over to healthcoachpowercommunity.com. You can join for free. And this is the place where you can ask your questions, get some answers. Find partners, ask about tools, all kinds of support that I wish I had when I was just starting out in my health coaching business. We are here for you. We'll see you there and I'll see you next week. Take care everybody.