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7 Elements That Make or Break a Group Coaching Program

Studies on group coaching in the workplace have shown that group coaching supports growth in a number of crucial areas – for example, listening, communication, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. However, not all group coaching programs are created equally.

Luckily, there are steps organizations can follow to maximize success in any group coaching program, such as selecting the right participants and maximizing engagement. Let’s dive into the other factors that make or break a group coaching program.

Participant selection

Because participants work collaboratively in group coaching, creating a healthy environment and mix of people is crucial. Participant selection can significantly impact program engagement, which is a key factor in the program’s success. Here are some important questions to consider before selecting participants for a group coaching program:

  1. What do potential group members have in common? Groups are more effective when their members have challenges, skill gaps, or social identities in common. For example, aspiring women leaders or first-time managers.
  2. Are any potential group members close colleagues or members of the same team? While familiarity can be a benefit in some cases, a group with too much pre-existing closeness can make establishing rapport among all members more challenging. On top of that, having members of the same team together can cause group conversation to get lopsided in favor of issues specific to the unit/team that is over-represented.
  3. Are potential group members interested & committed to learning new skills, and willing to support their colleagues in learning new skills? Because strong rapport forms the backbone of a successful group coaching experience, it is critical to choose participants who are excited to learn in this context, support their peers, and commit to attending the majority of group coaching sessions.
  4. Do group members have similar job levels? Selecting group members with similar job levels eliminates power dynamics that could negatively impact coaching outcomes. It also increases the likelihood that group members view the group as a safe space where they can be honest and vulnerable.

Additional factors that contribute to a successful group coaching program

  1. Scheduling: Attendance and availability are a must when it comes to creating a successful group experience. Specifically, no participant should be assigned to a group if they cannot attend that group’s first meeting, which is a critical moment in the development of rapport between participants and the coach.
  2. Coach consistency: Instead of holding all group sessions at the same time with different coaches, it’s better to assign the same coach to all groups within a program. This provides consistency within different cohorts, and ensures that participants are growing in alignment with each other and the organization.
  3. Engagement: Successful group coaching programs are only possible if group members are engaged. Organizations can encourage engagement in group coaching programs by removing obstacles employees may face in attending sessions – for example, ensuring managers are on board with employees attending sessions. At Torch, we also help sustain engagement by giving participants additional resources to support their growth via the Torch platform.


When designed well, group coaching can be highly impactful for both organizations and their employees. By taking a mindful approach to participant selection, coach consistency, and maximizing engagement, organizations can maximize the power of group coaching and create positive outcomes for the business. To learn more about how you can offer group coaching at your organization and what it looks like in other organizations, check out the recording of our conversation with Samera Edwards, at Waymo, or schedule a call with us here.