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Group Coaching Is NOT The Right Model … Or Is it? by Terri Levine

by | In the Magazine, Terri Levine

In 1996, I started business coaching primarily focused on large corporations, associations, and organizations.

The market of business coaches

Within a few years, I began helping smaller companies and realized that sometimes you choose the market, and other times the market chooses you. The market of business coaches was calling me to help them.

I had quickly grown my business with thirty clients in thirty days and had built an entire coaching company with a team of coaches in a few short months when other coaches were reaching out to me and asking me to help them build their businesses.

I decided I would help these coaches. I began to train coaches and established a coach training school and later a business consulting institute. Over the decades of helping coaches and consultants build their businesses while I grew my own coaching and consulting company, I watched the industry carefully.

I noticed the successful coaches like me, making seven and eight figures and took note of the things we did. I also watched those coaches who were not able to make a decent living, and I realized why some people were able to skyrocket their income and revenue, and others were not. I am going to share what I discovered and what I have observed having now mentored over 5,000 other coaches so that I can pass my knowledge forward to create more successful coaches. I hope that learning from this article you will have more success as a business coach.    

I am guessing, you, like me, would like not only to make great revenue with your coaching, I am confident that you would also like to create impact and assist your coaching clients in getting real results and outcomes. The good news is you don’t have to build a giant email list, have a huge social media following or spend a lot of money on ads or even do a lot of networking to grow a coaching business. What you do need is a solid coaching program that will get your clients to their goals, and you do need to begin with personalized one-to-one coaching.

Surprising News!

Even though I have many programs teaching business coaches to design premium group signature coaching programs and I advocate group programs for leveraging and optimizing time and energy, I do not suggest this is where or how to begin your coaching business. When I launched my business twenty-three years ago, I started with one-to-one coaching and only had 400 email subscribers back then and quickly did over almost $500,000 in revenue my very first year.

I grew my list over that year to close to 5,000 engaged subscribers by really listening to what my ideal prospective clients wanted and providing those results for them and offering exactly the coaching programs they told me they wanted. I offered what they asked for, and they purchased. I didn’t have to look for clients, and I didn’t have to convince or sell because I knew what they wanted and they bought what they told me they wanted. I still suggest today that is where and how every coach begins.

Because I took the time to find out the result that my prospective clients wanted I built my business with a clear understanding of my clients. I knew their dreams, their values, their desires, their goals, and what was in their way of achieving the results they wanted in their businesses. I had the knowledge and had researched my prospective clients that allowed me to go to them with exactly what would help them. I understood their struggles and could relate to them, and I was able to connect with them instantly. Since I had done my research on my ideal target clients, we connected quickly, and they typically elected to work with me before I even asked if they were interested.

Once they became a client (I refer to my clients as “Client Family Members”), I provided highly-personalized and customized coaching support in my program, and they did not get cookie-cutter coaching. I gave my all to them, and guaranteed results, and they got the results and outcomes they hired me for. I received rave reviews and testimonials, and very quickly my business grew, and I became a by referral business, and I needed to bring on many other business coaches to handle the amount of business that was coming in. I went from being a solo business coach to a coaching company in a few months with many coaches on my team.  Once the testimonials came in, I had the credibility that grew demand for the coaching process and program I had built.

Understand I am a huge advocate of moving to a group coaching model once you are earning $100,000 or more. One-to-one coaching comes first. Then once you get to the $100,000 level, you optimize and leverage your business and move to groups for sure. I do believe that to generate the demand, get the results and build your credibility and to truly get to know your target audience, starting with one-to-one coaching is where you want to spend your time and energy.  How do you get to that $100,000 level?

$100,000 Game Plan

Ask your niche what the exact result or outcome is that they are looking for.

Don’t guess at this. You want to find a unique angle to set yourself apart from all other business coaches. You don’t want to say, “I increase your leads.” Any business coach can say that. If you find your target audience is dentists and the one result they want is to have more patients who need crowns, then you state this, “I help dentists find more dental patients who need crowns and have the funds to pay for crowns – guaranteed.” Now that is specific and sets you apart, and you are stating an exact and very specific result.  Don’t just jump in and start hunting for clients as most business coaches do. Find out the exact result your niche wants and needs and think about how you can differentiate your offering and your results. 

Decide how you will offer your coaching.

I told you to begin with one-to-one coaching. Now you decide if this will be on-site at the client location or your office, or by phone or by Zoom or another such web conferencing service. How many sessions will it take to get the result you are telling your client you will get them? You told them you are going to get them a specific result and now it is your job to be sure you can and will get them the result, and you need to make giving clients that result the entire focus of your business.

If you have at least 100 email subscribers, you can skip this step.

If not, pay attention. Despite what many people say about email being dead, for certain it is not. Email is still very much necessary as well as effective sales and marketing tool, and many of your subscribers will buy from you. The best way to get people to subscribe is to have a webpage  notice I didn’t say website. Just a simple opt-in page like I have here: so people can go and opt into something that will address their problems and give them actual education and solutions without selling them. They will see you understand their issues and can help them and that you have credibility in relating to their frustrations and challenges. 

I provide a free educational webinar; you can have a checklist, special report, template, video, e-book, or anything else. I do suggest a webinar as this has been the most effective for my coaching students and me. Whatever you give, make sure it has huge value and is not a sales pitch in disguise. After my educational webinar, you will see we provide a valuable report and offer qualified people a customized HEART® plan as well. The opt-in is about providing service, value, and content.

Once you create your opt-in share it on social media on personal pages, business pages and in groups (if you have your own) and on other groups anywhere you have permission to post links to free gifts. 

After you have asked what the one result/outcome is your target audience wants, put together your one-to-one coaching program.

You must know precisely what your program will look like. How many calls or webinars or in-person meetings? Where or how will the coaching meetings be held? How long will each coaching session be? How many sessions will it take to get clients results? Do not charge an hourly fee for your time. Your program needs to be designed with a fixed cost and fixed time frame to achieve the desired result. Will you provide any supplementary materials? 

For example, my one-to-one client family members work with me for a full day where I map out their entire business and marketing plan, then they get an entire year of small group consulting and coaching, they get my online mentoring in my private Facebook community, tickets to my live coaching events, and they get walkie-talkie access to me Monday through Friday through a shared app we use for regular consulting and coaching communication so I can assist them in meeting their goals.  I also give them my templates, checklists, special reports, resources, emails, and other files and proprietary resources necessary for their guaranteed success to achieve their outcomes in the program.

I suggest you start getting your one-to-one clients and create supplemental materials once they come on board. You can fine tune and add on as you go along. Get clients in the door now and begin making money right now by solving client problems and helping them get results fast.  Enhance your programs over time.  You want clients, income, results, and testimonials now.

Make your offer to your email list. 

Now that you know the one result your audience wants, using their exact words, offer your email list a session with you helping them take a step to get the result they want. When I did this, I provided a business breakthrough session helping business owners get their next client. I told them on the session they would walk away with a clear strategy to bring on their next client guaranteed.

I made the offer to my email list, and I had 20 sessions booked instantly.  My email list had told me the one result they wanted was to get new clients. All I did was offer the exact result they told me they wanted.  I got on the phone with each person, and I gave them value. I delivered on my promise and gave them an exact strategy customized to what I heard on the call.

If they seemed like someone I wanted to work with and believed I could help further I offered them my one-to-one coaching program. My program, at that time, was only $1,000, and I did offer payment plans. I had five new clients the first day I offered the breakthrough sessions!  Don’t forget I only had 400 people on my list, and this was 1999 when $1,000 for coaching was considered a LOT of money!

Within a few months, I moved up my fees based on my client family member testimonials and also on the fact that I had more confidence and was doing a lot of hours of coaching and was now a much better coach and could get better results for my client family members. Instead of enrolling fewer people into my coaching program, I enrolled more!  This was when I moved from being a solo business coach to being a coaching company with other coaches being brought on board and doing the coaching along with me. 

Send out this email regularly and also post on social media.

I use the same email offering whenever we want more client family members and have room in our schedules. I also make the same post on social media. Just last week, I posted on social media about having an opening for a few breakthrough sessions. We filled the seven spots my team had open for sessions and enrolled five people into our program the next day.  This works perfectly as long as you know the exact outcomes your niche wants, and you can, for certain deliver those results.

Once you have built your business coaching based on one-to-one coaching, then scale your business with group coaching.

I believe you start one-to-one to get hours of experience, learn your niche, get confidence, receive testimonials and referrals, gain credibility, to become the known expert in your area, and then you optimize and leverage and move to groups.

 About Terri Levine

Dr. Levine has more than 30 years of business, sales, and marketing experience encompassing work with over 5,000 business owners. She is also a best-selling author of over 30 titles and a very popular keynote speaker.

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