Executive coaching is becoming more accepted as a professional development tool.  Because of the relative expense of customized one-on-one coaching, it is typically offered to only senior members of an organization.  But the benefits of coaching can reach all professional levels in a company and be cost effective if offered in group and team formats.  Here is an overview of applications for both group and team coaching.

Group coaching is an excellent way to be introduced to the power of coaching.  In group coaching, participants may or may not be from related entities.  A group could consist of managers from different departments, a collection of small business owners, a group of women who share common workplace challenges, a minority group, or a selection of employees from across an enterprise that may have been identified at top talent.

In group coaching, every participant has their own set of goals that they hope to achieve.  The coach’s job is to hold the agenda in place so that every member of the group can contribute.  The group benefits by experiencing each other being coached, sharing observations and offering challenges, and holding each other accountable for action.  The coach serves as both coach and facilitator and must establish a climate of trust and confidentiality for each member of the group to maximize the benefit of this format.

An ideal group size would be 6 participants or less, and groups typically meet an hour each week.  Telephonic or web-based meetings are very effective in maximizing time and allowing the groups to be geographically dispersed.  The cost of group coaching is less per person than individual coaching as each member of the group shares the cost of the coach’s time.  Many organizations are turning to group coaching as a way to develop talent in their lower management ranks or even those who aspire to management but have yet to reach that level.

Team coaching is a powerful way to accelerate team performance.  The “team” could be one that is already established, newly created with the intention of long term development, or a short-term project team created from within a matrixed organization.  All members of the team share a common goal and through team coaching, they can create innovative and ambitious action plans to achieve the outcomes that typically have a direct return on investment for the company.

Team coaching is a great application for sales teams looking to increase revenue and wanting to stretch performance, a management team going through reorganization, or even a marketing team looking to set a new strategic course for a product or service.  In team coaching, the coach serves multiple roles by providing support and coaching for the team leader, keeping the coaching process in place for the team, holding the team accountable for results and communication, and insuring that all team members are enrolled and participating in the process.

Two articles published in Choice, The Magazine of Professional Coaching , provide more detailed discussions on group and team coaching.  Master Certified Coaches Ginger Cockerham and DJ Mitsch talk about the benefits of team and group coaching in the issue and DJ expands the benefits of group coaching in the most recent issue of Choice. Consider these approaches to employing the power of coaching in your organization.