Group Coaching Vs. Individual Coaching


Today’s organizational environments are more fluid and faster paced than ever before. And, adding to the complexity, there’s more pressure to stay lean and agile. So, how do you help your organization meet its strategic imperatives without burning people out?

One-to-one leadership coaching can be powerful, but it’s only one part of the puzzle. Knowledge sharing is —all too often — the most overlooked and untapped resource available to companies today.

And, in fact, that’s the question I hear the most: When do you use group coaching vs. individual coaching? Learning and development professionals want to know what’s better for their leaders.

But first, let’s get clear on what is meant by group coaching and individual coaching.

Group Leadership Coaching Defined

A collaborative approach to leadership coaching often between a small group (6-10) of cross-functional leaders to address situational challenges and facilitate personal and professional development.

Individual Leadership Coaching Defined

Tailored leadership development by an external coach for senior executives, other leaders and high potentials.


Both are types of coaching, so hallmarks of good coaching, like accountability, follow-ups and goal-setting all common to both group and individual coaching.

When to Use Group or Individual Coaching

Typically, organizations find group coaching beneficial:

  • To support leadership development during times of growth
  • To build resilience and strengthen corporate culture after a merger or acquisition
  • To help new leaders quickly adapt to their roles
  • To build networks and create a climate of inclusion

One-to-one individual coaching, on the other hand, is used:

  • To broaden leadership skills
  • To change behaviours
  • To work on specific goals and challenges.

In a one-to-one situation, you can enable a leader to get very intense, very quickly on their most needed development opportunity. It’s a way to get a singular person extremely focused.

With group coaching, we still have those goals and skills-development focus, but now we are putting them in a group with other leaders, each with their individual goals. What adds power to the group experience is that it builds collective leadership.

The biggest difference for me, is some of the things you can extract from a group coaching environment, that you simply cannot from one-to-one coaching. It provides insights at a macro-level as leaders share strategies and stories from the front lines. There are now entire conversations around collective behaviour. This is something that every L&D person is trying to move the needle on in terms of company culture – to have leaders that are aware of their individual actions as well as a bigger, broader change mandate.

Because of its very nature, a group coaching program helps break down silos and get managers and leaders out of their own little boxes – both in terms of reducing friction between departments as well as supporting diversity and inclusion efforts.

Be sure to download this handy PDF download to help you decide which one is right for you.