So this week, I’m sharing the lessons I’ve learned from my longest running group coaching program, 5 Weeks to Online Colour Expert.
I can’t believe that it’s now three years since I set up the program, and I’ve had so many incredible stylists join and work through it, taking their colour services online to help clients worldwide.
Why did I choose to set up a group coaching program?
There are several reasons:
1) It’s the fastest route for personal stylists to achieve time and financial freedom
The one-to-many coaching model frees up so much time; I use it for all my other programs now, too. I only need to be available for an hour every couple of weeks, my clients all join the same call (they can watch replays if they can’t join live), and we all learn together.
If you want to scale up your business by writing a book, setting up a podcast, creating other programs, or anything else, you need to free up time to do it.
Designing a group coaching program is the perfect solution because it means you can earn significant income without having to work all the time.
2) It helps me make more impact
I’ve got 60+ colour consultants in my 5 Weeks to Online Colour Expert program, and it would be impossible for me to support them all on a one-to-one basis but they get all the support they need, when they need it in my program support group, often many years after they have initially taken the course.
3) It suits my personality
I adore working with diverse groups of people and get so much energy from the different personalities. There’s so much positivity and sharing of ideas, tips and advice, and discussion around the training and expertise I provide. I thrive off the feeling of community and always come off calls buzzing with excitement.
I won’t lie, though. Before I took the plunge with group coaching, I was skeptical. I held some beliefs that made me reluctant to try it.
Six things I used to believe about group coaching that just aren’t true
1) Group coaching sessions are boring and difficult to manage
Initially, I just couldn’t see how they’d be as exciting and rewarding as one-to-one personal styling sessions. I was a traditionally trained stylist, so I was used to people coming to my studio where we’d have a chat over a cup of tea, and I’d work with them face to face. That’s how I’d worked for years, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything different. I was concerned that the personal touch would be lost when working with groups online.
I’d run some small group colour analysis sessions in the studio but found it hard to manage them because, you know, there’s always one person who’s more dominant than the others and sort of takes over. I couldn’t see how it would be possible to manage a bigger group without it getting unruly.
I needn’t have worried, though.
From the get-go, my first group of ladies were amazing! I’d done my work to nail my ideal client, which paid off in spades because they were all a perfect fit. They’d joined the group because they were committed to showing up and putting in the effort. The sessions were lively and dynamic, and everyone asked all the questions they wanted. I could build that all-important rapport just as well online as I did in person. It was wonderful.
And, rather than being a nightmare to manage, it was a doddle because I had so much more control. There were definitive start and end times for the sessions, which meant they weren’t as energetically exhausting as having a group descend on my studio. I would bring everything I had for the hour’s coaching session, and then at the end, I could just walk away and relax for the rest of the day if I wanted. No more having to make polite excuses to get stragglers to go home!
2) My clients won’t learn as much from group coaching sessions as they do from one-to-one training
This is another belief I quickly learned wasn’t true. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. My clients learn MORE from the group sessions because it’s not just me in there teaching. They pick up advice and tips from each other. The group format creates the space for conversations between like-minded people, which spark many ideas.
Another cool thing is that the group calls are recorded so that people can go back and rewatch them, taking notes and learning more at their own pace. They often come back to me and ask follow-up questions once they’ve rewatched the class, enabling them to learn even more.
There’s also the added benefit of lifetime membership in the support group that runs alongside the coaching calls, which I’ll tell you more about next.
3) I won’t have the energy to provide the support that everyone needs
Before launching into group coaching, I wasn’t convinced that I’d be able to support my clients well enough. The coaching calls were going to be supplemented by a Facebook group so that any time the participants had a client they struggled to colour code, they could bring them into the group, and the other ladies and I would help them make a diagnosis.
It would certainly add to the learning and value within the group, but I was scared I’d be overrun with requests for help. I thought I’d have to be in the group constantly, keeping an eye out for clients asking for support at all times of the day and night.
That hasn’t been a problem either! I set and communicated clear rules about when I would and wouldn’t be available to help. I also set rules around what my clients could and couldn’t discuss in the group. Other than a couple of tiny teething problems right at the beginning, there haven’t been any issues with running the support group.
I show up, just as you should in your groups, to lead, support and inspire, but to set boundaries so that it’s a safe and positive space for everyone to participate in, and it’s so easy to do online.
4) If my group coaching program doesn’t work, I’ll be stuck with it forever
This was a terrible fear that put me off for a long time. I thought that once it was up and running, there would be no way to change it because of people’s expectations when they signed up. It sounds irrational now because, of course, I can change things. It’s my business!
I’m not saying that you’d promise clients something to get them to sign up and then not deliver. Absolutely not. I mean that you can tweak the set-up if you need to over time to ensure that providing the sessions continues to work comfortably for you.
Over the years, I’ve made a few changes to the 5 Weeks to Online Colour Expert program. I’ve added new materials and changed the learning platform. I’m running a new live round at the moment because some of the software has changed, and I’ve also got new insights to share with my clients in the program because I’m three years down the road from when I first set it up.
You absolutely can change how you work in your group coaching programs as you go along. Things are not ever set in stone.
5) How would I ever fill my group coaching program when I struggled so much to get one-to-one clients?
The reality is that when you do less one-to-one work, you have more time to work on your marketing. I no longer had to tag my marketing activity onto the end of busy days with one-to-one clients when I was exhausted. I do my marketing first thing every day now, and because I’ve freed up time to devote to it, I’ve learnt how to do it well, and the clients steadily flow in now.
That’s negative belief #5 busted!
6) I won’t make the same deep connections with group coaching clients as I do with my one-to-one clients
I’ve only been reminded of this one recently following a conversation with a client who was reluctant to get into group coaching. You see, she has a connector personality, which means that she loves people, and was worried that she wouldn’t develop the same connections working with a group as she does with individuals.
Just as I reassured her, I can reassure you that I’ve got to know every single one of my group coaching clients so well. It’s not unusual to have clients having a good cry on group calls because we share so much about the trials and tribulations of running a business single-handed. Many say that being a business owner can be so lonely but being a part of the group, they have this camaraderie and feel understood and supported by people going through the same things.
Don’t forget; you can add some one-to-one time with your group coaching clients if you want to. Some parts of your program might actually be better-delivered one-to-one. Take my 6 Figure Stylist program, for instance. I have individual sessions with my 6 Figure clients so that we can create their business plans and nail their ideal client work. Both elements are very different for individual clients and need super-concentrated effort, so I chose to work on both on a one-to-one basis with each client.
So that’s it. Six unhelpful beliefs about group coaching officially busted!
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level with online group coaching programs, I invite you to book a strategy call with me to explore whether you’d be a good fit for my 6 Figure Stylist program. This is the program where I teach stylists how to create, market and sell high-ticket online group programs, so they generate consistent income without having to work all the time. Sound good? Click here to book your strategy call now.