Coaching can be an effective tool for organizations to develop the next cohort of leaders. Companies across verticals are including group coaching as a way to accelerate and enhance leadership development.
What is Group Coaching?
Coaching programs focus on accountability and goals to create an organizational culture that supports greater awareness, continuous learning, and identifying actions for emerging, new, and seasoned leaders. Group coaching can be an integral part of the overall leadership development programs.
Group coaching programs bring small peer groups into ongoing conversations. These can be either online or in-person and often include conversations between a group of people ranging between four and eight participants. The maximum number of participants as per the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is 15 for in-person programs.
Benefits of group coaching
- Applying and integrating new leadership concepts and skills
- Building new relationships and networks with other leaders within the organizations
- Developing and improving self-awareness
- Providing focus on participants’ leadership objectives and development opportunities
How does group coaching enhance leadership development?
- Extending the conversations and learnings adapting to existing curriculum and training programs
- Creating standalone group training programs where participants are regularly encouraged to engage in conversations
- Embedding group sessions in leadership development programs to offer a more focused space for participants to discuss their learnings and integrate new insights and skills
Different group coaching approaches for effective leadership development
There is no single approach that can be effective for leadership development across different organizations. It is also highly inappropriate to think that one method can meet the diverse requirements of groups and companies for effective leadership development.
Some approaches for leadership group coaching training programs include:
- Collaborative approach
Group coaching does not have to focus on an individual leader. Every group shapes its own culture and a collaborative approach focused on peer sharing may be an effective method to develop leadership qualities and skills.
- Laser coaching in groups
In this team coaching training approach, one participant receives a short laser-like one-on-one session with the coach while other participants observe this discussion. These conversations are often of short durations and may focus on the specific requirement of every participant and may relate to their current opportunity or challenge.
- Regular theme or focus-based approach
A thematic leadership group coaching training approach provides an opportunity to include different questions and processes in the group program. Some examples include working around values required in leaders using a checklist or participants sharing their peak experiences with the group. The coaches and organizations can develop several actions and have multiple options to make this approach highly effective for leadership development.
Common topics included in Group Coaching
An important aspect of group coaching is the focus between the coach and the participants. In addition to an individual’s learning goals and plans, the group training must explore different topics to make the discussions more effective to bring in more learning.
Some common topics include:
- Leadership styles
Every individual exhibits a unique leadership style. Participants are encouraged to determine their styles, how their styles impact and support their teams, and how they may cause hindrance to other team members.
Most participants in leadership development programs are eager to explore and develop their visions. This may be their personal vision, their team’s vision, or even the overall organizational vision. Coaches adopt different approaches and tools to help participants identify and work towards the vision.
Not every leader is aware of their strengths. Coaches must encourage participants to explore their strengths by asking questions like how they use their strengths, what strengths are over-leveraged, and how they enable their team members to use their strengths.
Values are important and participants must understand which are critical to them to become effective leaders. They must identify values that are important for their teams individually and collectively.
Several organizations develop their own leadership competency models. Group coaching offers an opportunity for participants to explore different competencies in more depth and understand how to use these to improve their leadership skills.
Having understood how group coaching helps in leadership development, organizations need to take the next step to develop the next generation of leaders.