What Is Group Coaching And Facilitation?
But what does that mean in practice?
In traditional one-to-one coaching, there is a direct and powerful relationship between the coach and the client in which the coach creates a space for a direct conversation to take place and learning to take place.
In group coaching this is no longer the primary role of the coach. The power of the coaching does not reside in the questions the coach asks which create learning, discovery and curiosity. The power resides in the learning and exploratory space that the coach creates between the members of the group.
We can think of it this way:
Imagine that each person in the group carries with them a private well of knowledge and wisdom, of questions and concerns, and of capability and strength.
When first the group comes together, each person brings their well in to the room but it is initially walled off and watertight.
Group coaching aims to break down the walls of the wells so that they become a pool from which the group can access the combined wisdom, ideas, passion and knowledge in the room.
Yet it also respects that the wells are private and so only requires the individual to give as much or as little as they want to.
The wonderful thing is that group coaching can only ever replenish and fill the well and not drain it!
The coach’s role then is not about asking powerful questions or challenging an individual, but rather creating, maintaining and nurturing the space that allows the group to function as a self-coaching entity.
As we will explore in the next chapter, the coach is less concerned with the specific content of the session and more with the process by which he or she manages the group’s interaction.
It is a different skill set from coaching that requires a fine ear for incongruence, limiting beliefs, faulty thinking. Instead, it’s about holding the space, facilitating participation, managing dynamics, knowing where the line is between a group learning experience and someone feeling picked upon.
Probably one of the biggest challenges for coaches in undertaking group coaching and facilitation is their relative invisibility and seeming passivity in the process and outcomes.
Great trainers, teachers and workshop leaders create learning through their knowledge and skills. Great speakers inspire, entertain and engross their audience. Great group coaches are like the best sports referees – unseen but in control!
If you’re interested in training as a group coach, head along to our course page at: Group Coaching & FacilitationFiled Under From the Director's Chair
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