#174: Starting a Group Coaching Program

Interested in starting a group coaching program but not sure where to begin? Listen to hear about your options and determine if your business is ready for a group program. After all…it could be a major income stream for 2022! Speaking of income streams, let’s make sure 2022 is profitable for you. Join Michelle’s free workshop at: HealthCoachPower.com/2022

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Hello health coaches. Today, we are talking about running a group coaching program. And the reason is because I keep hearing you guys ask, but what about group coaching? How do I run a group coaching program? I'd like to do some group coaching, Michelle. So I said, you know what? Let's talk about it. So if you're here live, say hello. I see Cindy's here and Kim and Herm and Kate and Laura and Lissie so, hey everybody, I'm glad you could join me today. Sometimes it's a really hectic week, right before Christmas. Then on the other hand, sometimes people have off work. So, if you are not usually able to join us on a Tuesday afternoon and you're here live all the more of a welcome to you. I'm gonna be a little honest. I am a little frazzled today. Yes, it is Christmas week. So, there is that, and I have all the presents to wrap, but I just got off a plane from Puerto Rico yesterday morning, and I just kinda hit the ground running with all the things that needed to be done.

And today my glass shower doors were installed and the guy told me you can't take a shower for 24 hours cause the silicone needs to dry. And I said, what? I haven't, I already haven't taken a shower in way too long. So if I appear unshowered, I am and that's okay. It's just another one of those benefits from, uh, you know, working from home, working for yourself and working from home. So we'll, we'll embrace it for today. Thank you for understanding if I'm a little bit outta sorts, but I noticed all these questions coming in about group coaching and I thought let's do this. If you're like group coaching sounds really good. I'm not sure how to go about it. I'm gonna give you some options. I also wanna talk about if group coaching is in fact the right thing for you at this point in your business.

Like if you should be looking towards 2022, thinking this is the next best move for me because it could be a really good income stream for you next year. Now, speaking of income streams for next year, I wanna remind you that we have our workshop coming up. It starts on the 26th, all about making 22, your most profitable year yet, or your first profitable year, if you're brand new to your business. So if you'd like to sign up for that and we have hundreds and hundreds of coaches already signed up, you can go to healthcoachpower.com/2022. Get yourself all registered. I got lots of great content coming your way starting next week. But for today, Cindy says, I look great. Thank you, Cindy kisses. Melissa's here and Kate's here, very good. Um, everybody is being very supportive of the fact that I do not have a working shower at the side note.

If you ever get your shower doors done and you had multiple showers in your house, don't do them all on the same day. Lesson learned. All right, here we go. Talking about group coaching. So let me know what questions you have as we go along, cause I know you're all sort of in a different place in your business and you know, it's gonna, there's so many different types kinds of group programs that you could run. I wanna be able to speak to whatever it is you're interested in, but the question that kind of tipped off today's whole topic is from Simone. Simone said I'm going to offer a group coaching session for weight loss in January. This will be my for group coaching experience. So I would love any resources or advice that anybody has. So let's start here. I don't know Simone. So, Simone, I don't know anything about your business, but I'm just gonna take some guesses, make a couple assumptions.

When we are new to coaching, we have a limited audience, right? I mean depending how much list building you've done. You've done depending if you've done workshops, how much you've gotten out into your community. You know how many people know about you? How many people are in your circle, right? Or another way to think about it is to just simply think how many people are on my mailing list. What I want you, my advice for you Simone is to look long and hard at that group and think, do I have enough people to support a group program? Now, even if you have a lot of people on your mailing list, the answer could be no, because maybe it's one of those mailing lists that are not engaged. Nobody's booking calls with you. It's just kind of crickets. Anytime that you throw anything there. If so there's some I would call it prework to do before you think about group coaching.

Because what I see happen is sometimes our businesses are not in the right place. And then we announce we're gonna do some program. We're gonna have this group coaching thing. And then it's like, why isn't anybody signing up? And it's either because you don't have enough people to sell to or the people that you're selling, they're out to lunch. They're not listening to what you have to say. They're just the wrong people to be on your list. So we wanna make sure we have an audience to sell to. Now another litmus test for you would be this, are you already booking calls for private coaching? And are you fine that while you're signing, some of them, many of them are saying, I can't afford it. I'd really like to do this, but I can't afford it. Now sometimes that's just an excuse. But you, I, I think I can usually tell when somebody is disinterested in using an excuse or they legitimately really wanna do the work.

They can't afford it because if you are consist booking calls and signing private clients, that means that you have an audience that is ripe, right? And then if you have a lot of people who would like to sign up with you when they do either through private coaching or they don't because they can't afford it, that's really the best position to be in. If you're going to launch a group coaching program, because then you're able to say, well, I also have this other option, right? Or even when you're pitching your services in the first place, instead of pitching one on one, you can just pitch your group program. I have a group program coming up. It starts in February. Let me share the details with you, right? So that's, that's my litmus test because it's much harder to get a group together than it is to sign a single client.

Because if you're just signing one client and they can book their calls whenever they want that fits their schedule. Right? That's so easy. But when you have a group, let's say you have six people, seven people, 10 people, 15 people, whenever it is you, everyone has to agree on a certain day and time if you're going to be having live meetings. So just scheduling alone is going to preclude some people from participating. So you need enough people and you need enough interest that if you were to offer a group, there's a likelihood that people are all able to make it on the same day. Okay. So Simone, that's my first piece of advice for you is to make sure that this is the right move for your business right now. And if you're not there yet, that's okay. Instead, you're gonna wanna focus on selling one-to-one services until you get to the point that you have enough of an audience that it makes sense to offer a group.

Other thing let's see, Simone says, I'm going to offer a group coaching session for weight loss in January. I don't know Simone, what you're envisioning here. You're saying a group coaching session. And that might mean just like a one-time meeting, but I think you mean a group that meets several times. So that leads us into thinking, well, how do you structure a group coaching program for anybody that's here live? Have you ever held a group coaching program? Something a small group. Like I said, six people, eight people, 10 people, something like that. And if so, how did you structure it? If you have no clue, I'm gonna give you the same advice I would give you when it comes to, to one on one coaching. And that is this, how long would it reasonably take someone in your group to see a positive result?

So for Simone, she has this weight loss thing going on in January. We all know that people, unless you're doing something really drastic are not going to lose weight in like two weeks, three weeks for right. So even, um, a month, even two months, right? It may take 3, 4, 5 months for somebody to see measurable weight loss. So Simone, you might wanna think about that in terms of how long the program should be. Um, it doesn't need to necessarily be like as long as it's gonna take the person to reach their ultimate weight loss goals, but you would want, want them to get a sense that the weight is shifting by the end of the program, that way they got what they came for. And that's going to be the perfect length for your program within that, you can run a small group like this, very similar to how you do one-on-one coaching.

Where most of us I think are meeting with our, our clients every other week, you can do the same exact thing and it can be as structured or as unstructured as you like. So I know when I work with my private clients, I know what goal we're shooting for, but on any given day, I don't know what we're gonna talk about that day. It's not like I get on the phone with a private client and I'm like, today, we're gonna talk about whole grains. Cause no, because she has something very specific going on in her life. I just had a client call this week and my client had just recently had this tremendous flare up with her autoimmune disease, which is a great segue into us talking about stress and boundaries, right? So, you have to be able to respond to people in real time.

You can do the same thing in a group. It's just that each person's going to get less time spent on them. It's your job as the, the host of the group to split your time between all the different people in your group. Um, alternatively, you may want to have some of your sessions be more structured like this week is about whole grains or whatever the week is gonna be. This week is about stress and stress relief, where, and then have other sessions that are more free form that is up to you and what you intend to deliver. Melissa's saying, if I don't have much interest garnered from my list in a group coaching program, would an online course be an alternative route. I don't know. The point is that if you don't have enough scale, you know, like these programs where you have a group, whether it's an online course or it's a small group coaching, um, course it's meant to scale your business.

And if you're not ready to scale, then the groups don't make sense. The online course doesn't really make sense. You know, the reason you would wanna put something like this together is because you have too much interest in private coaching and you can't service them. All right? So then you have to create some sort of group or some sort of scalable option or, or you have a lot of people interested in working with you, but they can't afford it. So if neither of those two things are happening, I wouldn't jump to an online course. I don't think it's gonna sell any better than a group coaching situation because audience is just not there. The audience is not ready, willing, and able. So that would be the focus. Um, if, if I were you, that would be where to focus. Kim says she has done a small group, six people for several weeks.

I met once a week via zoom. Okay. So Kim met with her group once a week and that's also totally fine. There's nothing wrong with that. I noticed the last time I did small group coaching that if you have a group, let's say you have a group of 10 people. You can guarantee that at least like two of them, at least aren't gonna make any given meeting or, maybe, you know, even three or four of them, aren't going to make any given, meeting something ha comes up with work or their family, or they get sick or they're traveling. So, whatever size group you have, if you're having live meetings, make sure it's big enough that if a couple of So, them can't make it, you still have a reasonable size group. You're also gonna have to make a decision whether or not your live sessions are recorded.

Now, if they are, that brings in this other layer of now you're recording people, talking about their, their health and their personal life. You're gonna wanna make sure that you have the right kind of contract, that everybody signs it would be different from private coaching, especially if you're gonna be recording them and providing that recording to, to those who missed. So I'm not a legal expert, but I do know that Lisa Fraley has those types of contracts available for group coaching. So if you need that, you can get it at healthcoachpower.com/legal. Okay? So that was a lot of information, but I think the big thing that just came up through all those words that I just said was we can do small group coaching. That's very similar to private coaching or a group program could be more of an online course where you have a group that they don't necessarily meet each other.

You're not necessarily having live meetings where everybody is face to face, but you could still have a group signed up for something. And they're all doing the same thing together, minus the meetings. Right. And that, so I would put that more in like an online course category. So as you're considering, is it time for my business to scale consider which way you wanna go? Um, what I will say about group coaching, you don't have to really create any materials. It's exactly like your one-on-one coaching. You don't have to make videos. You don't even need handouts or anything at all. It's just your presence, right? That's the value is in your presence. And in the case of group coaching their presence with each other, that's what it's, that's what they're paying for, right? Like they're getting a result with all of this personal attention. It's not about modules or lessons or downloads or anything like that.

That would be an online course. Um, which takes more time to prepare, to map out, to record the videos. If you're going to have videos to write up whatever you're gonna write up, you have materials ahead of time that people can access on their own schedule. So, if you wanna get something going, let's say for January, I would suggest going with small group coaching, cause that's something you can just do. You know, you can show up meeting number one, what's new and good everybody and have a conversation. You don't really need to have much more planned than that. Okay? If you have any questions, let me know.

I'm gonna move on to the next one that I have here. This one is from Caitlin. Caitlin said I had such a successful five day group detox that they are all asking for me to do it monthly now. So my question is, if anyone here runs monthly group detoxes, my concern is that it's basically the same info I like to educate, but if I rerun the same detox, even if I had different recipes, the actual information and everything would be the same, any ideas on how to make this happen, I think I'd need to offer a monthly subscription rate, but creating new content monthly would be a bit difficult considering it's essentially the same program. So, Caitlin, it's interesting cause I've been in this situation. I think a lot of health coaches have where we offer something and it's a big hit and people start asking, when are you gonna do the next one? When are you gonna do the next one? And so it feels like the people are asking for it. So I'm gonna do it again next month. And I'm gonna, you know, maybe I'm gonna do it monthly.

It's gonna Peter out. Like I can guarantee it unless you have an audience of millions, it's going to be very, everyone's gonna be very excited in the beginning. And then some people are gonna sign up again and then it's gonna be less and then it's gonna be less. And then it's gonna be less. Meanwhile, you're putting forth the same, an amount of energy, every time to run your program, whatever it is in this case, it's a five day group detox. So, and I told Caitlyn this already in our Facebook group, I think the sweet spot with something like this, where people are excited and they wanna do it again with you is to hold it like once per quarter, maybe three times a year, four times a year, something like that. And know more, that way you take advantage of everybody's excitement. They all sign up and then if they wanna do it again, they can, but they're gonna have to wait until a couple months from now, which isn't terribly long and then they just wanna do it even more.

Cause it's been a while and my goodness, you get rest in between and you're kinda optimizing on how many people are gonna sign up by consolidating the groups and doing it four times a year or three times a year, instead of trying to do it every single month. And I agree with you that something like this, if you're giving out recipes or whatever, you can refresh the recipes, but everything else could stay exactly the same. Let's say you were gonna run it four times a year. You could sell them individually and you could also sell them as a package. So if somebody signs up for all four at once, that's great for you. They get some sort of discount or a bonus as an incentive to do that. That could do really good things for your business. So those are some different ways to go about it.

But I would say anything that we are offer repeatedly, the more you do it, the more fatigued your audience gets, even something like, you know, something like every, you know, week you're doing a Facebook live in your Facebook group. Well, if the audience isn't big enough, those same five people are gonna get tired of showing up to your Facebook live. You know, it it's just like you need numbers to make that make sense. So if you know, uh, you have an audience of like 100 people on your mailing list and we know about 5% of them are gonna sign up for your detox or whatever it is. That's great. Give it a rest. So they don't get fatigued by your offer. And then do it again. Even if you were doing something for free, like I know coaches who do five-day challenges like once a month and they're like, gosh, nobody ever signs up to become a client.
I keep doing these free five day challenges. And it's like, yeah, no, one's gonna sign up to become your client cause they know every single month you're offering this stuff for free. So that's what they expect from you. Free stuff all the time. It's okay to do free stuff. In fact, I want you to plan to do some free list builders in 2022. That's one of the things we're gonna be talking about in next week's workshop, but not every month, got to let them rest in between. You gotta make them want it when it comes back. Um, okay. Melissa's asking what is the hybrid model I heard about? So, Melissa and I, yes, we were talking about doing a hybrid model that could really mean anything when it comes to a group program.

I think the way we were got to discussing it Melissa was you could have a small group of women let's say that are meeting every week or every other week. And it's sort of a free form conversation, just like one-on-one coaching would be, but hybrid could mean that you also provide them with a video lesson once per month, right? So it's hybrid in person coaching and online course, right? You can mix and match elements. One reason to do that might be, if you find you're doing quite a bit of educating with your private clients, like maybe you spend half your session teaching them about a topic that they need to know about. And then the other half is more of a conversation. Well, once you have six or seven or eight people in the room and you're having conversation, you know, each person is only gonna get like two minutes if you do it that way.

So instead you might wanna provide the educational piece ahead of time in like a video form or some other format and it could be audio, it could be text whatever. And then when they come to the group, that's where the discussion happens. So that would be an example of a hybrid model. Um, what else would be a hybrid model? You could do something where you are offering the one on one PO or I'm sorry, group coaching in like an intimate discussion setting. And they also get a couple private sessions with you. So that would be hybrid one-on-one group coaching. And as you could imagine, that would raise the value or whatever you could charge for your group because now they're getting that one-on-one time with you as well. So for example, maybe it's every, every week they have support from you. But on the fir... You know, week a is a private session week B is a group session week C is a private session week D is a group session, right?

So it could alternate like that. That would give them the best of both worlds if they got value from being part of a group, but also get tremendous value from the one on one time. And then you can be charging quite a bit higher for that. Um, Melissa's also asking about using Voxer as a tool to keep participants engaged with each other. You know, that's not something that I have personally done with a group before. Not because it's a bad idea. I just don't personally have experience doing that. I've always used a Facebook group, but this was a while ago. I could totally see doing a Voxer chat for those of you that don't know what Voxer is. It's an app, it's a free app. I use it with all my private clients and I use it on my team members as well. It's a great way to connect with people and you could add everybody to a Voxer chat and that way they can continue to chat throughout the week between your meetings.

So I think that could work quite nicely or you could use a Facebook group to the same effect. So everybody who's in your group has that connection to each other. And what I've noticed when I've done groups is that their relationships to each other sometimes are the most valuable aspect. And it's not about me so much anymore, right? I just I'm creating the container for the healing. I'm creating the container for the relationships, right? And it's very, very gratifying to watch that happen, to see what happens with the group members and be between. So, I love that idea now on the topic of pricing, I have another question here from Erica, cause that's the next thing we're thinking, right? How much do I charge for my group? And I think that's a really good question. Um, just like right off the top of my head, a very standard thing that you might wanna think about is if you charge, let's just use round numbers for the ease of math.

If your private coaching package is $2,000 and you're going to run a small group coaching program with five to 10 participants, the typical thing would be to charge half. So now each one of those people are paying you $1,000. But since you're meeting with like seven of them at a time, you know, you are making much more per hour and they're paying less, that's like baseline math to start, but that does not mean that you have to charge less for a group than you do for one-on-one coaching. That doesn't mean anything. Like just take that for what it is. Just a baseline place for you to wrap your brain around how much you could be charging. In some cases, a group is so much more valuable than one on one. So let's say you are working with a group of people. And I think I use this example a lot, cause I just love this example.

Um, let's say your target market are military spouses, military spouses. You know, they move, they move, they move, they move. They never quite get to settle down and, and put down roots and meet people. So they are always trying to connect with each other. And I think the group aspect, if, if this was your target market would outweigh the benefit of working with you one on one, like, or it could be considered equal. So I wouldn't even charge less for a group. I think you might even charge more cause they're gonna get so much more value out of it, meeting each other, having the chance to build ongoing relationships that way. Um, but I just wanted to suggest some different pricing options as always, no matter what you're selling, you always want to price based on what the transformation is worth to the client. Say that again, you wanna price based on what the transformation is worth to the client.

So if they're going to the transformation is they're going to lose weight, fine. What's that worth to them? The is that they're going to learn how to ferment vegetables. Great. What is that worth to them? The transformation is they're going to put their autoimmune disease into remission. What is that worth to them? You can see that some of those would be priced higher than others based on the transformation. So here's a question from Erica. She said, I'd love have to know how you target clients that fit the price range of your coaching packages. Is that even possible? I've been getting people who think my rate is crazy expensive, as well as people who say they would've paid two or three times the rate, do I just put my pricing out there on my website? I would rather not since I'm gradually increasing my rate. So, her question's not exactly about group coaching, but it fits with this whole topic because like I said, one good reason to offer group coaching is if you have a lot of people who are excited to work with you and then they say they can't afford it, that would be a perfect way of accommodating those who are just like, I point blank, do not have this money in my bank account, but maybe I could swing half that.

So that would be a really good way, Erica of not changing your prices, uh, and not even necessarily change who you're targeting, but have an alternative for those who fit into that category. I agree. And there's a lot of controversy here, so feel free to with me, but I agree with not putting your pricing on your website for so many reasons, but here's a very good one that Erica pointed out. If you were planning to gradually increase your rates, you wouldn't want someone to say, well, I saw your rate on your website, said whatever last month, why are you telling me it's this this month? Can I, I get the old rate? Ugh, what a nightmare, better to only share your rates with somebody. Once you're on the phone with them, you're having a conversation. You decide they're a good fit for your program, whatever you're selling your group program or, or private, and then tell them what the rate is.

I'm not gonna be able to compare it to what they saw on your website before or what they saw on somebody else's site or yada yada, yada. I think that's a very, very good point, Erica. What's the other thing that I wanted to say about this? Oh yes. How do we target clients that fit into a price range? Right? Like if we wanted to sell something to the masses like Walmart, you know, you should look at other businesses and see how they market themselves. There's going to be a lot of like price slashing and like discount. And there's going to be a sense that this is for families or that this is for, you know, communities that generally are not of a higher paying demographic. Versus if you look at ads for like Gucci or, you know, you flip open Vogue magazine or something like that, everything's very sleek.

It's sophisticated, it's modern. So you wanna think about how you show up? What clothes you when you're on camera? Um, it's so funny because it doesn't have to be like, well, you know, I like to wear jeans and a t-shirt and then, you know, my I'm gonna get on a, my live or do whatever I do for my marketing. I'm gonna show up in that same jeans in a t-shirt cause that's who I am. It it's the, you wanna appeal to the person who you're marketing to. So like for example, I know that the women that I work with, even though I work from home and some days like today I have not showered. Right? I am not like walking around in designer clothing all day long on the regular. That's not who I am, but a lot of my clients are like that. So, I don't change who I am.

I don't get a whole different, you know, wardrobe, but you know what, that one time that I bought a fancy handbag, you better believe that I talked about it and showed it off a little bit because I knew that would get them excited. you know, when I talk to them about things, I try to talk about the parts of my life that they are gonna resonate with and I might leave out the other stuff. Right. So anyway, that's you wanna look at how different brands and businesses market to different demographics and appeal to the person that you're trying to reach that are, those are my thoughts for you, Erica, but thank you for asking cause when it comes to pricing, it can get very confusing. So, let's just recap that first of all, you wanna base your pricing on how much the transformation is to the client.

We wanna consider the difference between one on one coaching and group, which one is actually more valuable. And how do those two prices compare? And if you don't put pricing on any piece of printed, anything or your website, you are free to change your pricing at any time without any whatsoever. Okay. Here's a question for Michelle. She says, I'm thinking of doing a wellness book club where we discuss a book in a group, but provide individual sessions as well. Is this okay to use someone else's content for discussion? Totally, what you wouldn't be able to do is, you know, buy the book and photocopy off a bunch of the pages and give it to everybody. You wanna make sure everyone has to buy their own copy of the book or you buy a copy of the book for everybody in terms of discussing a book.

This is no problem. In some, some cases that can actually be helpful. So I'll give you an example. I'm working with a client who has a possible thyroid situation going on now. I to stay within my scope of practice, even though I know well that she has Hashimoto's disease. I can't tell... I can't say that. I can't diagnose her. Right? I have to inform her of the facts and what goes along with Hashimoto's disease and encourage her to speak to her doctor. So what did I do? I shared with her a book by Aviva Romm inside Aviva's book. She has a chart showing what different lab values should be to be an optimal range. Maybe some of you are familiar with this book. It's the adrenal thyroid revolution him. I shared that with my client and now she's armed with that information from a book published by a doctor and she can go talk to her doctor about it.

If it were me just saying those lab values look kind of high, that's not where I wanna be as a health coach. So anyway, my point is that referencing a book, referencing someone else's content can actually work in your favor and I wouldn't worry about doing that at all. So I think that's an interesting speaking of hybrids, it would be an interesting hybrid between a book club and then also offering individual sessions. I'm not sure how you're gonna structure that, but I imagine you could offer it at two price points. You offer people to just join the book club for whatever amount that costs. And then at a higher price point, they get the book club plus these sessions with you. So that way, if they don't wanna do the sessions, they could still join the book club and you could still earn a certain amount from them.

And for those that want more great, maybe someone attends book club two or three times and decides, man, I'd really like to talk to you one on one about this. So different ways of structuring there with everything you do feel free to iterate. You know, the first time that I held, like some of my groups, I did it one way. The next time I ran it, I changed some things based on what I learned the next time I changed a little bit it more so if you're not sure how long, how many sessions, how you should split up the content, et cetera, et cetera, just do something. See how it goes and then you'll know what to do next time. That's it? There's no magic. There's no perfect answer. It's just experience. Learn from the experience and do it better the next time.

All right, you guys, that is all for today. But remember next week we are going to be starting building a plan for your 2022 to make sure that you earn the income that you want to be earning. It's the same exact method that I use in my own coaching practice so that every year my revenue goes up and up and up. And if you wanna learn how to do that for yourself and your business, you can register to join me at healthcoachpower.com/2022. Ah! Okay. I'll see you there everybody. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas and I'll talk to you next week. Bye.