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The Encore Entrepreneur



Group coaching versus one-to-one. Which is right for you? The answer is: It depends! There are many things to take into consideration.

A common question we get asked by new clients is should I offer one-to-one coaching, group coaching, or a membership? This is something new business owners and experienced business owners alike need to consider. 

As a new business owner starting a coaching business, it seems like it would be easier to start off with group coaching versus one-to-one coaching. This is especially true if you're still employed by someone else. It seems like, well, if I get a bunch of people, then I can leverage my time, right? 

Selling high-priced one-to-one offers might push new coaches out of their comfort zone, and that makes a group program at a lower cost seem like an easier sell. But Deirdre is going to explain why that isn't the case in a minute here. 

As an experienced business owner, you need to define your specific goal. What is it you want to accomplish with your offers? In order to reach the next level of income and growth, it's crucial to map out your strategy. There are different ways you can go. You can do an agency model, leverage one-to-many, build a membership, and host a mastermind. There are so many ways you can go, and this is where strategy comes into play when deciding between group coaching versus one-to-one coaching.

What Are The Main Differences Between Group Coaching Versus One-To-One Coaching?

[02:14] Deirdre Harter: So what we're going to start talking about at first is what are the main differences between all these different models and the ways that you can go? And some of the things that we want to consider is which one takes less time when comparing group coaching versus one-to-one coaching? And another consideration is what does your ideal client prefer and which one will provide the transformation they're looking for? And then we're going to talk about the revenue potential of each, because this is where people really get tripped up. 

So we're going to go through the pros and cons of different approaches for group coaching versus one-on-one coaching. And as Carmen mentioned, there are several different ways to go, especially if you're a more experienced business owner and you're looking for a way to get to your next level of revenue. When it comes to agency models, building a membership, and hosting a mastermind, these are all some really great ways to scale what you're already doing. And each one can take more or less time. 

Now, when we talk about time. It's not just about the front-facing time. Like we think, oh, if I am just building a membership, then it's all hands off, right? Like, I don't have to be in front of anybody, I don't have to schedule calls. But really, there's a lot more to it. And what you're doing basically is you're looking at what are the front-facing activities and what are the back-end activities that you're going to have to do. 

Typically, when you have less front-facing time, like with a membership, you're going to have a whole lot more time on the back end because you're getting content ready, you're putting all these things together. You're going to have to have the systems and operations that are going to support the kind of offering that you have. So when we think of which one takes less time, we have to factor in all these different pieces and parts. 

And then the question of what does your ideal client prefer? This is really important because we think, well, what do we prefer, right? That's kind of what we're thinking when we're like, oh, I've got to leverage my time. And that is a big part of it because we want you to be doing the thing that lights you up, the thing that works with your schedule, and we want you to have a life, right, where you're not working all the time. But we also have to consider what do our ideal clients prefer? 

Depending on what your business model is, what your expertise is, and who your ideal client is, sometimes a group coaching program really facilitates the transformation better than a one-to-one might. And then, in certain instances, maybe you need that private one-on-one time, and that's what your clients prefer. 

Along with that, which one's going to provide the transformation they're looking for? The way that we deliver is really a key part of the transformation that they're going to get because we have to make sure that we're delivering it in a way that's optimal for our clients so that they can get the transformation. I’ll give you a quick example of some of the things we've talked through with our clients. And a lot of times, one of the things that can prevent the transformation from happening is the amount of time somebody's in the program. So, for example, if you're doing a twelve-week program, whether it's membership-based or whether it's one-to-many or one-to-one, depending on what it is that you're going for, sometimes that transformation can't really happen in twelve weeks. 

It might seem like, oh, this is a nice short container, everybody says they don't have time, I'll do it in twelve weeks. But if this is something like a longer-term goal, like let's take a health coach, for example. If your goal is to help someone completely transform their health or their body composition, can it really be done in twelve weeks? So this is one thing we're looking at when we're trying to figure out what is the best way to offer this to our client. And then there's the revenue potential of each. And a lot of times, we think, okay, well, if I just do this one-to-many, I'm going to have all these people, and I'm going to make way more money. But oftentimes, as we go down, typically the less front-facing time you have with your clients or your customers, the price tends to go down, right?

The more face time you have, the higher the price is going to be for that offer. So we really have to run our numbers, and you really have to know your numbers and work out what that forecast looks like and how many clients or customers you are going to have to have in that particular model in order to reach your revenue goals. We want to make sure that we are running this out and forecasting before we ever decide how I want to deliver this offer.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Group Coaching?

[06:52] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Exactly. So let's talk about the pros and cons of group coaching. Online groups are convenient to facilitate, but they might not create the connection that you want. In-person groups require a facility and more work, but they would create the connection. We know that to help increase that know, like, and trust factor, the relationship comes first. 

We've heard it said, and I love this saying that business is built at the speed of relationships. And that's so true. So we have to think about that. Online groups do facilitate relationships. They facilitate it with the whole entire group. But is that what you're going for? You have to think about what it is, and that all goes back to what the transformation is. What is your topic? Group sessions work best when there's a common goal. But if each person is wanting a different transformation, they aren't a good choice. It's going to be really difficult to facilitate a group of people going for different outcomes. That doesn't really gel. 

Depending on the size of your group, you may need to hire team members, which could be a pro or a con, depending on your stage of business and where you want to take it. How big is your group? When we're talking about a membership, let's use a membership as an example. It's not really group coaching, but let's look at that for a minute. Because if you're talking about a membership and you're bringing in all kinds of people at a low price like Deirdre talked about, the less face-time, the lower the price. So that means the more people you need. 

Well, you're going to need more people to facilitate. And that goes for group coaching as well. If you're bringing in people in group coaching and your price is lower, well, maybe you're bringing in more people, and you might need help. You might not be able to do it all on your own. So you'll need to decide whether or not to use a cohort model. Does everyone need to start at the same time based on your content and how you give people the transformation they're looking for? If so, you're going to want to enroll in cohorts. This can be challenging with a large number of warm prospects. Some people might not be ready right when you are. They might have to skip a cohort, and that might delay them saying yes. There are two sides to everything that we're considering here that we have to look at before we make a final decision. 

The pros and cons of group coaching are very similar to the pros and cons of hosting a membership. The main difference is that with a membership, you're on the hook for pushing out new content on a monthly basis or whatever your time frame is. Monthly is what I've seen. I don't know if there are memberships out there where they push out new content on a quarterly basis, maybe. But the point is that when people are signing up for a membership, like, let's look at a subscription box. Those are all the rage, right? I see them on TV all the time. Join the subscription, and you get a new box every month. Some people like that to have new things come in their mailbox, and they've got their gift for the month or whatever, but the company has to come up with… they have to curate a new box every month. Well, as a membership host, you also have to curate new content every month. So you've got to be really strong in your content plan and strategy and in executing it because they're paying for what you are selling, which you deliver through your content. 

This is easier done by a seasoned entrepreneur with a team than a brand new person starting a membership. We see this a lot with new entrepreneurs who think, well, I'll start a membership because it'll be easier, I'll get more people in, and they'll get to know me. But it really doesn’t work that way, and it's kind of a situation of they don't know what they don't know. 

You'll also need to factor in that you'll have a higher churn rate with a membership model. No one thinks about that, right? Like when we're thinking about, I'm going to start a new thing we don't think about, well, how quickly are people going to come through and leave? And in a membership model, the churn rate is much higher because people typically join, and then they leave, and then they join. Sometimes people join, and they forget they're in the membership. So they're paying you the money, but are they getting the result? There are so many things to memberships. If you're really passionate about making sure that your clients get a result, you're going to want to do something that's more hands-on than a membership. 

So on the flip side, Deirdre is going to share the benefits of one-to-one sessions.

What Are The Pros and Cons of One-to-One Coaching?

[11:11] Deirdre Harter: And just like Carmen said, right, we have two sides of the coin. There's a yin and a yang to everything. So there are pros and cons to having that one-to-one model. And when you're having one-to-one sessions with your clients, one of the great things about it is that individual coaching sessions are more intimate. They can create a deeper connection with your clients. This can facilitate the transformation. And this is why, with one-to-ones, we don't typically connect them with a churn rate like Carmen just talked about with memberships. Because that relationship and that connection you have with your clients actually keeps them going. And that's really hard to replicate inside of a membership type of model. 

However, when you have a client who turns out to be non-ideal...So anyone out there ever had a client who turned out that they were not your ideal client? It can be an awkward situation. I know Carmen and I have experienced this ourselves, where we're now in this long-term coaching situation with someone, and they turned out not to be ideal. And it does make it very awkward, and it at points in time can be stressful to get through that. And everyone's going to experience a non-ideal client at some point. 

Typically, individual sessions provide better results more quickly, but it does take up more of the coach's time, right? I mean, it stands to reason that it takes more time that goes back to that front-facing time versus the back-end time. And some clients don't focus on their growth between coaching sessions, and this can make getting the transformation take longer. So that’s the two sides of it, right? 

By working with you individually, they can get their results more quickly. That works for every single model. When you are working with someone hand in hand, side by side, and you've got someone right there with you, you're going to get the result more quickly, no matter what it is that you're trying to do. But then again, there are some clients who kind of rely on that coaching session. And most of the time, we can't do everything in a coaching session, right? There's work to be done in between. No matter what it is, there is always work to do in between. And sometimes the clients don't do that. And that can make this take longer, and it can be a little bit frustrating as well. 

Now, when it's a new offer, this model, this one-on-one model, allows you to get direct feedback and validate the effectiveness of your approach very quickly. This is why Carmen and I almost always tell our clients, those who are newer in their business, that they really want to get that one-on-one client, and they want to work with their clients one-to-one in the very beginning. We can always add on and change the model as we go, but that one-on-one in the beginning really helps the validation process. It's so effective in doing this, and that way, you know that what you're doing is effective and your clients are getting the result. That is then, in turn, what brings referrals in. It allows you to have really powerful client testimonials. 

And when you're serving on a one-on-one basis, you don't need as many online coaching tools such as learning platforms, video hosting, invoicing subscription systems, et cetera. So it is a faster way to get started, and you don't waste a whole lot of time setting up all these systems. When you're starting with one of the other models, with group coaching or membership and even an agency model, a lot of times the tech part of this and the systems are going to have to be much more robust right from the beginning.

Different Marketing Strategies For Different Business Models

[14:58] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: And then let's talk about the different marketing strategies for the group coaching versus one-to-one coaching models. There's less time marketing for one-to-one, or I should say it depends on what your ramp-up is. So when I talk about time, we typically want a longer ramp-up period when we are offering a higher-priced thing. And we're also able to, more often than not, charge more for one-on-one because, as Deirdre mentioned, it's more front-facing time. It takes more of your time, and so you're able to charge more. So the marketing is, I should say it's easier instead of less time because we want to have enough of a ramp-up that people understand what we're doing. We use our content to do the heavy lifting we get on calls; we do all this kind of stuff. 

There's always marketing with each one. But the marketing is more simplified when it's one-on-one. It's easier to get three higher-ticket clients than it is to get twenty low-ticket clients. So if you can charge enough in your one-on-one, that three clients a month is all you need; well, that's a lot easier to do, especially when you start out. 

A larger audience is required for groups and memberships. Audience building comes before marketing and then selling, and that's what makes this take longer. You have got to have a large audience before you're going to be able to get enough people into your lower-cost membership or group program to earn the money that you need to make. And this is where people get tripped up on the revenue, and they think, well if I have 100 people in my thing, it's going to be great. Well, what if your thing is only $30, right? So that's $3,000 a month. Well, is that enough? I don't know. And that's if you can get 100 people in there, and how many do you need to reach to get that 100 they're willing to buy? 

It's said that only 3% of your market is ready to buy at any time. So that's a very high number of people that you have to reach before people are going to be willing to come into your membership. The reach has to be larger. You may need to resort to things such as paid ads to get the word out. All those things can eat away at your profit if you are having to put money in to get people into your membership. Now, as you grow, perhaps things will work, and people will come in from referrals and all of that. But typically, it's going to always require a large audience because of all the churn and getting all the people in and enabling you to make the monthly amount that you need to make to survive and be profitable.

[17:32] Deirdre Harter: Yeah, and one more thought on that. When it comes to what kind of revenue, because it does sound like, well, gosh, wouldn't it be easier to have someone decide to spend $20 a month than to spend $1,000 a month, right? It seems logical. The difference is when you're selling the higher ticket; you're building a relationship. You're building the know, like, and trust factor, and you're usually having a conversation with that person. They know what it's like to work with you.

We all value things differently. And typically, the less we pay for something, the less we value it. At first, it's like, oh yeah, that's a no-brainer, that's $10, no big deal. Yeah, I'll jump in. But over time, we tend to not value like, oh, that's just that $10 thing, right? So unless we are self-accountable and really getting in and diving into all the content that's out there, we're like, oh, it's easy come, easy go, basically. And that's why this larger audience is required because only a very small percentage of your audience is going to buy through marketing. Only, a small percentage will buy based on an email that you sent or based on a post that they see. But when we get into one-on-one conversations, the percentage of people that will work with you is much higher because they're getting to know you. And so that is where the real difference is between the two. And you don't have time to do one on one calls when you need 200 people inside of your group or your membership. 

Best Practices For Delivering Your Service

Now let's talk about some best practices for delivering your service because these are some other things we want to think about when it comes to deciding between the group coaching versus one-to-one model.  Let's talk about business coaches versus consumer coaches. Whether you're B2B or you’re B2C. There is a difference between these two. 

Now something that everyone needs, regardless of which kind of coaching you're doing. Everyone needs a contract and a way to collect payment as a baseline for running their business. Now remember a minute ago we said it's so much easier, there's a lot less tech, there are a lot fewer systems, and it's a lot faster to get up and running when you're doing the one-to-one because this is truly all that you need. If you have a contract and a way to collect your payment, and a way to talk to the person that you're wanting to work with, that's pretty much all that you need to get going. 

Aside from that, there are several differences when it comes to offering group coaching versus one-to-one coaching. So, in general, B2B business coaching doesn't carry the same privacy concerns that consumer coaching can. So here are some things to consider. Does what you help with require private coaching? 

In the business world, business is business, right? Certain things are confidential that people don't want to talk about inside a group, but they’re few and far between. We're talking about general business practices for the most part. If we're talking about someone who's in the business-to-consumer space, this could be something about their emotions. It could be about their family. It could be about their health. And a lot of times, people are more hesitant to talk about that kind of thing in a group setting. They may, or they may not be comfortable with that. So, for anyone who's dealing with sensitive topics, you might need to offer one-on-one exclusively or at least give the option to have the one-on-one for those who are not comfortable in the group. 

And whenever privacy is a main concern, ensure your marketing and onboarding speak to that. Because we're assuming that they know that we're going to maintain their privacy, right? Because we know that that's what we're supposed to do as the professional, as the expert. But they may not know that that's just standard procedure or that everyone does it. And so that's something we need to address. That can actually be a really good selling point in your marketing and to ensure that they know that at onboarding that whatever they say is confidential and it's not going to be shared with anyone else. 

And if you're facilitating a group, how will you ensure that it's a safe space? A couple of best practices are there should be no sharing of conversations or screenshots outside of the group. This is one way that we can help create a safe environment. Now this can be, again, it's more prevalent in the business-to-consumer type of offers, but it can also be true for business-to-business. I know there are certain things we don't share—conversations and screenshots outside of what we're doing with our clients. We don't want to share that with the public. And with more people, there's more need for quality control and maintaining privacy. So again, the bigger the group is, then you're going to have to have some quality control things put into place. 

It's kind of like we have our Facebook group, the Empire of Unstoppable Women. Well, back when we had a couple of hundred people in it, it was super easy to watch all the conversations, right? We could very easily control the quality of what was being talked about. Now we're almost at 3000, and it is much more challenging in order to really have that quality control. We don't want people putting things in there that are inappropriate. We don't want people spamming the group. Now we're talking about a free group. And there's even more going on in your paid groups, right? So this is just something to think about: How are you going to maintain that quality control and make sure everything stays private? 

So you need to have some things in place and to let your members know that you have these things in place so that they feel safe. Now, another option is to build a hybrid model. And this is a great way to leverage the positive aspects of both group coaching and one-to-one coaching. And at Encore Empire, we have developed a fabulous hybrid model that our clients absolutely love. It's basically bringing in the best of both models, and it really mitigates some of those not-so-ideal parts of each of the different business models. So we've blended it in a way that we're getting the best of all of it. And so this is something for you to consider as well, that you can actually do a hybrid so that you are also giving the best of both worlds to your clients.

What Is The Best Business Model For You?

[24:02] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Whether you choose group coaching versus one-to-one coaching comes down to the needs of your clients and the stage of business you're in. What we're talking about today can make or break your business now and in the future. 

We had a client who came to us, and she had an existing membership. She had built this membership thinking it was going to be passive income for her and that it was going to be a breeze, right? It's going to be like a second income stream. But what actually happened was that as it grew, it ended up occupying a ton of her time, trying to figure out the entire model, trying to figure out how she was going to serve these people, trying to make sure that the people were engaged. Because, as Deirdre mentioned before, when it's a lower ticket offer like a membership, it's easy come, easy go, right? They don't even pay attention to the fact that this amount is going out of their account every month. They just kind of forget that the membership is there. 

So then it was getting difficult for this gal when new people came in because it almost felt like a ghost town. This is another thing that can happen. So she ended up using a lot of her virtual assistant's time to try to work through this. But things weren't set up strategically from the beginning, so they were doing a lot of backtracking and trying to figure things out, and it just didn't work. She got so overwhelmed that she pulled the plug without thinking through the ramifications of that or the long-term strategy, and she did not seek guidance before she did that. So that set her revenue back so far that it was very difficult for her to recover. 

We were then left scrambling as her coaches at the time to put a plan in place to generate revenue quickly. And in the end, she was able to realize a 40% increase in revenue from the time she started working with us till the time she was finished. But it was quite an adventure for all of us. So it ended up working out okay, but she would have been able to achieve much more growth and stabilize her business had she been proactive instead of reactive. 

That's the biggest thing we want to bring to the table with this episode is sometimes these things sound easy, right? If I do a membership and it only costs $20, how hard can that be? Some people are introverts, and they don't want to be front-facing to people, so they think this is a great way to be hands-off, and I can give people value and all this stuff. But it's really a case of you don't know what you don't know. And then when you get into it and you get far enough, sometimes you've painted yourself into a corner, and you're dealing with things you never even realized you'd have to deal with. 

We really want you to be able to take time and consider what it is that you're trying to help your clients do. What is the transformation, and how best can you deliver that transformation? What is the vehicle or the method that you can use? And then, depending on what stage of business you're in, this really plays a part. Your stage of business makes a difference when deciding between group coaching versus one-to-one coaching, too.

A seasoned business owner with a large following is much more able to start a membership or a mastermind or something like that because she's got the people behind her already. A brand-new business owner is going to have a really hard time, and we do not recommend it at all. We recommend as Deirdre mentioned, one-to-one. It allows you to validate and build that know-like-trust factor. And it also allows you to really get in there and do the kind of research that you need to fully understand what each of your clients is struggling with and how to get them over that. Once you start understanding. Through your work, how to deliver the transformation in an effective, efficient way, then we can talk about scaling and doing something different. 

There's so much to consider when deciding whether to go with group coaching versus one-to-one, and helping our clients through decisions like this, as well as building out their business strategy, is what we specialize in. So if you'd like to learn more, you're invited to apply to get on a call with us, where we will decide whether or not the fit is good on both sides and how we can help you, and what's the best way to go. And at the very least, you'll walk away with the next steps to take to get you to where you want to be. So head over to encoreempire.com/apply and schedule your call today.

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