One of the changes I made to my coworking consulting work last year was introducing group coaching.
Until last year, I only did 1:1 private consulting. It allowed me to charge premium rates, work with just one or two handfuls of clients, and still earn a solid income.
And then COVID hit.
More than half of my business is in the coworking industry, so I was worried that companies would not be so able to afford my rates 1:1 since they were so heavily impacted by COVID for the first few months of the pandemic.
I turned out to be wrong.
There was a surge of demand for consulting during a challenging year like 2020. People couldn’t afford not to get their marketing in order.
But by the time all the demand kicked in, I had already rolled out a group coaching program. I spent the rest of the year booked solid.
Now, I’m rolling out a second group coaching program for members of Mindshare, my private membership for marketing consultants.
My experience so far with group coaching has shown me some benefits that are obvious as well as not-so-obvious.
So what are some of the benefits?
1. Forces you to create training, which then becomes a reusable asset
In the style of group coaching I do, I generally offer at least one or two training workshops in addition to small group Q&A calls.
This has forced me to create more content I can repurpose or sell in the future. It also makes each engagement more efficient, as I have a starting point to work from in later cohorts.
2. Members help each other with their ideas and experiences
Being in a small group setting (five or fewer people) allows members to get to know one another’s situation.
They see the challenges and progress each person makes, and it lets members offer new ideas and perspectives to their situations.
It’s my job to then validate good ideas and speak caution to certain advice that gets passed around, but ultimately it’s a been net positive to have multiple vantage points at the table.
3. A bond gets formed which keeps retention high
One of the other unique things I noticed is the bond that gets created among members. Since they tend to start off in similar (albeit unique) situations, people grow and evolve as a group.
The vulnerability of sharing your challenges in a small group setting and the support you get in return makes it hard for members to want to leave. Sure, there is turnover. But retention has been surprisingly good.
Members of my Propeller Program even started calling each other Propellerheads, which is a sign of just that bond.
Retention has been high.
4. You can charge less per person but still earn more per month
Group coaching has the dual benefit of being lower cost for those who seek to join than private consulting, and yet you can earn just as much or more than 1:1 consulting.
Group coaching clients need to implement the ideas fairly independently. It’s not the same as consulting where you tend to be far more involved in the intricacies of their situation, especially around implementation.
My experience in terms of work vs. income is that I can earn the same or more with group coaching while making it easier for people to join who might not otherwise be able to afford to work with you.
A win for everyone.
5. It spreads out my revenue risk among more people
My private consulting work maxes out between 8-10 clients. Group coaching could theoretically handle 30+ people if I replaced each 1:1 client with a small group.
Admittedly, it’s still too early to determine how this will play out in terms of actual lifetime value of each group. My bigger clients tend to have trickier needs which have much higher stakes, hence low turnover.
But in terms of straight numbers, there’s similar revenue across more people, reducing a “key client risk”.
That said, it’s more relationships to manage, so for now it seems wise to keep doing both.
6. It was easier to find group coaching clients than my private consulting work
This might also be too small a sample size, but when I announced the group coaching to my list, I had 10 people immediately reach out. Even more trickled in after.
Since then, it’s been easier to garner interest, although I haven’t sold enough cohorts to come to a full conclusion on that.
Anecdotally, it seems easier to sell than even my lower-cost memberships. It seems many people want more than an intro membership but less than my high-ticket consulting.
Something I will be paying attention to.
The net result
The net result is that group coaching is more affordable to the client, has been easier for me to deliver, forces me to create more training (which becomes an asset), is easier to sell, and generally spreads my risk a bit more than solely doing 1:1 consulting.
It’s also a lot of fun!
The key to group coaching, in my opinion, is serving a niche vertical (like an industry or profession). That way, everyone in the group is speaking the same language and have similar challenges and goals.
So those are my learnings so far in a little under a year doing group coaching.
I’ll share more as I learn more.