Over the last few years, we’ve seen a shift towards collective learning in leadership development. Here at The Roundtable, we are huge proponents of group coaching. It’s something we’ve been banging the drum about since the start of the company. While there will always be a place for one-to-one coaching, the benefits of group coaching are so rich and compelling, and I wanted to share my top three.
One of the things about a coaching approach and why executive coaching has been so popular and has been gaining momentum with senior executives since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s is that it’s agile; it’s adapted to the needs of the individual. Group coaching is exactly the same. It allows groups to go where they need to go but at the same time provides a degree of structure. In a world that is changing very very quickly (where, frankly, by the time you’ve written your learning objectives for a typical training program they probably need updating) the cadence of group coaching allows you to really change and adapt as the needs of the business as well as the cohort evolves.
L&D pros know that the big question is always this: “How do you sustain the learning?” Whether it’s a two-day workshop or a one-week retreat, when leaders go back into the organization they are confronted with the reality of their day-to-day fires. That ongoing workday pressure is not going anywhere soon, so splitting learning into smaller coaching-type bursts done over time is necessary for behaviour change. We simply cannot shift behaviours in a day or two.
Group coaching is a major tool for supporting organizational change. We sometimes get calls from businesses that want a workshop on collaboration or empathy-building or on how to break down silos. Instead, what these companies really need is a group coaching approach that brings leaders together. When people learn collectively, you are naturally cultivating an environment that builds empathy, and creates a psychological safe space where people can be vulnerable. This environment is inherent in a strong group coaching program. And, at the same time you’re teaching your leaders how to cascade that into their own teams. It’s a ripple effect that can really shift organizational culture for the better.
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