1-on-1 or Group Coaching – Which is Better? (ep. 28)

Episode 28: 1-on-1 or Group Coaching – Which is Better?

Sometimes it seems like group coaching is the ‘holy grail,’ because you serve lots of people in record time. But what’s best for your business, and for your clients, will depend on where you are. In this week’s episode of ‘A Profitable Impact,’ Pamela shares how to structure a coaching or expert business using a 1-on-1 or group style.

In this episode, you will:

  • Discover the criteria for knowing when to use 1-on-1 and when to use group coaching.
  • The keys to making either system work – they’re not what you think!
  • How to market & sell both with their distinct advantages, so you can effectively offer what’s right for you, and for your clients.

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Timecode Guide:

01:45: Let’s talk about the criteria for when to use one-on-one and when to use group coaching.
05:17: Get the answer to your burning question, “What are the keys to making either system work?”
07:17: Discover how to market and sell the advantages of these two offer types to make the biggest impact on your business growth.

Resources Mentioned

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online? We’d Love To Chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.

Podcast Transcription

Episode 28: 1-on-1 or Group Coaching – Which is Better?

Welcome to the Episode All Coaches Need

Intro (00:00):
You’re listening to ‘A Profitable Impact.’

Pamela (00:02):
Often group coaching is seen as the holy grail of a coaching business – you get to serve lots of people in record time. But what’s actually best for you to offer in your business, and what’s best for your clients, will depend on where you are and what you do.

Gene (00:17):
Welcome to ‘A Profitable Impact,’ where every single week we help experts like coaches, healers, course creators, and other online professionals to expand their reach, increase their impact in the world, and be well-paid for their extraordinary skills and talents.
My name is Gene Monterastelli, I am the lead coach in Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator coaching program. And now please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner. How are you doing today, Pamela?

Pamela (00:46):
I’m doing great, Gene! And I love talking about the difference between one-on-one and group coaching because I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about those. Often people think that group coaching is sort of the holy grail – you get to serve lots of people in record time, but what’s best for your business is going to depend on where you are.
So, in this episode, we’re going to go over the criteria for knowing when to use one-on-one or group coaching, the keys to making either system work, and how to market and sell them with their distinct advantages so you can do whichever one is right for you and your ideal client.

Gene (01:18):
So, as you are listening to this conversation today, and you were wondering which of the many strategies out there will serve you and your business at this particular moment in time, we really encourage you to reach out and sign up for a free coaching session with one of our coaches. All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, and you can get in the calendar with one of our coaches to make sure that you’re implementing the tactic and strategy that makes the most sense for you right now.

How to Know When You Should Use 1-on-1 or Group Coaching

Pamela (01:45):
Let’s talk about the criteria for when to use one-on-one and when to use group coaching. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Oh, just start off your expert practice or your group practice with group coaching,” and that can be very effective when you have a group of people, or a following, that is already paying attention to you.

So, maybe you’ve already got a significant email list, or maybe you’ve got, you know, 500, or 1,000, or 5,000 followers on Instagram, or Facebook, or something like that. And if that’s the case, you could start with group.

But most of the people that we talk to don’t have that kind of exposure, that kind of circle.

Pamela (02:29):
So starting with one-on-one is much easier. Because if you try to start with a group, it may seem easier because it’s like, “Oh, but I can price the group at a lower point,” or, “I can charge less and that’s going to make it easier for me to get started with people.”
But you’re taking a system, presumably that you just created, and you’re taking a whole bunch of people through it all at once. That’s a good way to find out, rather dramatically, if something isn’t quite right about the system, if something is a little broken.
If you take through it one-on-one at the beginning, you can always scale to group later. You can always change the way that it’s offered. But you actually get to vet your system with your first couple of clients. So selling something one-on-one can be very useful.

Pamela (03:14):
Now, one of the things that we teach in our Impact Accelerator program, and in fact, in all of the coaching offerings we have, is this idea of creating a Signature System. So I’m not suggesting to anybody that you do single sessions or that you say, “A month of coaching has three sessions in it,” that’s actually, I think, a very poor way to set up a coaching or expert practice, and it’s actually a way to get very poorly paid. But if you’re saying, “Do I set up a group coaching system or do I set up a one-on-one system?” I would say, set up a Signature System, include some one-on-one coaching in it at first, and then you can vet your system as you take your first couple of clients through it.

Interested in Pamela’s Impact Accelerator program? Learn more about it by booking a call now!

Gene (03:50):
And I think the other thing inside of that, Pamela, I think something that’s really useful to recognize as you’re saying that is how nimble we can be when we’re working with one person, to just kind of reiterate what you’re saying.

It’s kind of like if I’m going to dinner with one person and something comes up, making new plans is an easy thing. If I’m going to dinner with 12 people and I need to make new plans, that becomes a really difficult thing for us to manage. And so, when we’re doing something new, that we’re not super-competent in, that nimbleness makes it so much easier for us to find good footing.

Pamela (04:20):
Absolutely. And part of that nimbleness is, if you find that you need a little extra information or somebody needs a little extra help, you’re able to include an extra session or create an extra document without missing a step along the way. It’s much easier to do that with one-on-one than it is for group. So great, great example.

Gene (04:42):
And my favorite phrase in that particular circumstance is, “Is it okay if I do something extra that is going to serve you better?” And so, not only am I offering something to help them to respond to what is going on as we continue to strengthen our program – we’re doing it in a way where we get to pitch it as real value to them.

Pamela (04:58):
That’s right. Because even though you’re vetting your initial program, you don’t have to position it as a mistake that you’re fixing, as opposed to, as you did, Gene, that’s a beautiful phrase, as an extra that you are gifting them. Love, love, love that.

The Keys to Make Both Systems Work

The Key for 1-on-1 Coaching Success

Pamela (05:17):
So, what are the keys to making either system work? Well, as I said, we don’t recommend that you do one single session or a month of coaching with just three sessions in it. Basically, if you’re doing a model like that, you’re exchanging dollars for hours. So, I believe the best combination of a system with one-on-one coaching is a combination of information and transformation. So, you’re giving them PDF handouts, or videos, or audios, and then you’re supplementing that and you’re helping them to achieve the transformation by taking them through one-on-one interactions with you. So it’s great when you’re one-on-one as part of a system.

The 2-Part Formula for Successful Group Coaching

Pamela (05:59):
Now, group is a little different. I believe that group works well when one of two things is true. One is that all of your group is learning the same thing at the same time. So if you have a six-week, or three-month, or six-month program, you start it at the same time and all of the people go in, lockstep together, learning the same thing at the same time. So, everybody’s on module one together, everybody’s on module two together, et cetera. That can work very well with group, because then when you are interacting with the group, they’re asking you questions based on exactly where everybody is.

Pamela (06:36):
Now, the other way that group works well is if the people in your group are learning, not one thing that they’re going through at different times, but they’re learning varied skillsets, and a whole bunch of skill sets that they need to learn, not just from you, but they will learn from each other, and that’s a really great opportunity to give with a group set up. And you can build your group around the idea that, somebody may be working on one thing. For example, in our program, one person may be working on their brand, another on their Signature System, another on their marketing, another on their sales, but all of those conversations are useful to all the other members in a group scenario.

How to Market and Sell the Advantages Both Structures Possess

Pamela (07:17):
Now let’s talk about how to market and sell the advantages of each of these. Because whatever is right for you, you want to be able to confidently say, “This is what I offer, and this is why it’s important to you, and this is what it’s going to do for you.”

Pamela (07:36):
The first question I get asked when someone talks about marketing and selling a group vs. a one-on-one system is, “Well, how do I price them?”
And I believe that a group program should be priced at approximately 20%, maybe 25%, of your one-on-one work. One of the reasons for this is, what that means is if you put five people in a group, you are being paid the same thing as if you took one person through one-on-one. For example, a $5,000 one-on-one offering would be a $1,000 group program. And the truth is there are always potential clients for either category.
Now, the funny thing is, most people don’t even care whether what you are offering is one-on-one or a group, they will be less aware of the difference than you will. Unless they’re a coach, or your transformation is around a very sensitive private topic and they kind of want the privacy, and in that case, rather than Zoom video, which is what all of the world is showing up on right now, you might want to run audio calls, or you might want to run video calls with the video off.

Gene (08:45):
And so, as you share that, Pamela, I want to loop back to something that you said at the beginning that comes through really clear here. You know, when you were doing the math on the group program and why group programs are desirable, I’m only charging $1,000 vs. $5,000 one-on-one that can seem really, really super enticing. Unless you get into a circumstance where you get two people to sign up for your group program, it’s taking you as much time to fulfill that program one-on-one. You’re serving two people and you’re only making $2,000 as you do that.

Gene (09:14):
And so, when we are doing a group program, like you said at the beginning, the math is really desirable because it feels like we’re offering something that is less price and it’s easier for people to say “yes.” But with a group program, like you were saying, as people need to go into lockstep, they all have to start at the exact same time.
And so, all of a sudden, we put a sales challenge in front of ourselves of having to put significantly more people into it. And so when you say most people don’t care whether they’re in a group program or a one-on-one program, then it makes a lot of sense, particularly in the beginning, for us who want to lead to that one-on-one, because as we are offering something new, we might be less experienced with that particular sales piece of it. And it could be setting yourself up for a real challenge of having to put enough people in the group program to be worth your time and attention for what you’re being compensated for.

Pamela (10:02):
Yeah, exactly. You know, I’ve had a number of clients come to me who wanted to start with a group program. And some of them, as I said earlier, had a following, they had an email list, they had some kind of network that they could access for their first group program. The interesting challenge is that even if you successfully sell your first group program – so, you’ve got 200 people on an email list, and you email them, and you talk to people, and you manage to put five people, six people, eight people in your first group program. You’ve probably blown out that email list. So you will not be able to enroll your next group program unless you go out and you build another platform, you build another network, you expand the network you currently have.

Pamela (10:45):
So if you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, you know what? I just want to do group programs. It’s going to be so much easier to sell the lower-ticket offering,” I would encourage you to consider offering a high-ticket one-on-one at the beginning, then vetting the system, getting some great testimonials, getting the revenue in that’s going to allow you to scale your business is a great way to do it.
Even when you start offering a group offering, you’re still probably going to have a few people who want one-on-one, and you want to make sure that you can confidently sell that offering at that price point. It’s non-negotiable to be able to sell a high-ticket one-on-one offering, even if later down the road, you decide you do not want to do the one-on-one.

Gene (11:29):
I think another thing that’s important to add, Pamela, when we’re just eyes wide open going into group programming is, oftentimes we think doing a group program means we’re serving more people means and I’m having to spend less time to do that. And the reality is that when we have a group program, the management of that group program can take a significant amount of time. I’m not communicating with one person, I’m communicating with seven, or 10, or 12 people. And I’m dealing with, “Do they have the technology to be able to get online and join the program,” and doing all of that, and so I turned into administrative support for a large group of people. Now, obviously, when we get large groups and we’re able to leverage our time, that math starts to make a lot of sense. But even if we’re talking about a small group of people joining, we’re in a circumstance that additionally takes a fair amount of management time. It’s not just, “Oh, I have these group calls I can show up and just do my thing,” it’s making sure we’re taking the community when we’re doing that. And so that is another thing to consider when we’re looking at a group.

Pamela (12:30):
Exactly, and as we said earlier, there’s always going to be somebody who wants the one-on-one. And the truth is, not only is there more just general administrative dealings with a group program, but in general, the more people pay you the better they will treat you.
So if you’re thinking it would be easier to run a group program, or it will be easier to price things low, remember you will get better quality clients when you go for that higher ticket one-on-one.

Summary and Suggestions to Help You Grow Your Business

Pamela (13:01):
So, to summarize all of this: Offer one-on-one when you are beginning. Create your high-ticket Signature System. Offer it one-on-one to people. Have that one-on-one component in it. Vet it. Test it. Make sure that it does everything you want, and it does everything the client wants. And then as you’re doing that, as you are being well-paid for your one-on-one, then look at, “How can I leverage this? What is the group version of this? And how can I build a platform so that when I feel ready to go out and look at how do I enroll a group? I have a lot of people to go talk to,” and that I believe is the best way to start a coaching, healing, or expert business.

Gene (13:44):
And so, if you’re in a circumstance, as you’re hearing this conversation and there’s a part of you that might want to do one-on-one, a part of you wants to do group, or you’re not exactly sure the order and the structure of these things, we would love for you to have a free conversation with one of our coaches to help you navigate this to create the right fit that is for your business so you’re spending your time and attention in the way that you’re having the biggest impact and it’s making it the most profitable for you.
All you need to do to have one of those conversations is simply go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, that’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. Get on the calendar of one of our coaches. They would love to help you out to figure out the best way for you to be moving forward at this point in your business.

Gene (14:23):
If you enjoyed the conversation that Pamela and I had today, and you know, someone else in your life who is a coach, a healer, a course creator that would enjoy this conversation. Please pass it along. Don’t spam your inbox. But if you know one or two people who could really use this conversation that’ll make a difference in their business, please be our ambassador. If you have a question, a comment, a topic you’d like Pamela and I to cover on a future episode, we would love to hear from you. All you need to do is go to AttractClientsOnline.com, click on that ‘Contact’ link, and send us an email.

Gene (14:53):
If you haven’t done so already, you can find ‘A Profitable Impact’ everywhere you find audio, just search ‘A Profitable Impact’ in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music. Make sure you click Subscribe and turn on those Notifications, so when a new episode comes out, you know right away. For ‘A Profitable Impact,’ I am Gene Monterastelli. Until next time, I hope you have an impactful week.


Pamela Bruner - Attract Clients Online Blueprint

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