While there are certainly similarities between group coaching and team coaching, there are also some fundamental differences, both in terms of the skill set required for facilitating the coaching, and the results the coaching program is designed to produce.
However, since group coaching and team coaching sound the same, we find that the differences between team and group coaches are often confusing, and clients are unsure which approach they should invest in.
The Biggest Differences Between Team and Group Coaching
The biggest difference between group and team coaching is that group coaching is a facilitation process that uses the resources and knowledge of a group of people working on a common theme but with different personal goals.
Group coaching also differs from team coaching in that group coaching is typically used with a smaller number of people, whereas team coaching is typically used with a larger number of people. Group coaching can be helpful for improving areas such as personal strengths, well-being, and relationships, whereas team coaching can be helpful for improving leadership and team building.
Team coaching or leadership teams coaching may be defined as a direct interaction to help members use collective resources together and to build relationships, communication, and getting work done relating to the specific team.
The Role of the Coach
The role of the coach primarily consists of providing facilitation, structure, support and empowerment, whether in a team or in a group setting.
Again in a group coaching setting, the group may or may not work together on a daily basis, each member has different goals, and what they are trying to achieve depends on their functional role. In group coaching the members do not need to achieve their interdependent shared goals, they just have a common theme or skill that everyone wants to develop individually.
From a business coaching perspective, a team in a team coaching setting may be defined as individuals who have complementary skills and are committed to a specific goal with shared responsibility.
The simple explanation is that team coaches help team members achieve team goals in a team environment, while group coaches help people achieve individual goals but also in a group setting.
Both group and team coaching sessions are designed to create a strengths-based approach that allows for teaching or learning, coaching, participant feedback with interaction and transformative experiences.
How Team and Group Coaching Helps Coaches
Group and team coaching provide coaches with the opportunity to expand their services and support that are usually exclusive to individuals to a greater audience. The difference here is that these coaching engagements support personal growth through the coaching approach whether or not it is in the form of an individual or group setting. The team or group program covers how to apply existing personal coaching methods into building high-performing teams.
Team Coaching Helps to Set Team Goals
Historically, team coaching began with an intense day or two of work, followed by bi-weekly or monthly meetings around topics such as strengths, vision, values, roles, and perspectives.
Team coaching helps teams and their leaders:
- To clarify their goals as a team unit.
- Helps with building trust among members.
- Helps to define the team’s decision-making process.
- And drive everyone toward a common goal with a shared vision forward.
It’s also true that team and group coaches can be catalysts for individual and leader development throughout an organization. Quoting Aristotle in a new way, one could say a team is greater than the sum of its parts. Team and group coaching both provide professional development but with different approaches.
Group Coaching Supports Leadership Development
We need group coaching when we want people from different teams or departments to share challenges and best practices in the service of cross-cutting development goals. For example, group coaching can bring together a group of new leaders, executives, or people with high potential. New executives may come together to learn effective leadership, even though they may not work together and each person has their own end goal to which these new coaching learning can be applied to.
The phrase that should be emphasized is “maximizing their personal and professional potential” as this applies to both the work coaches do in a team setting and the work coaches do with individuals in groups settings.
Share Your Success from Coaching
As team and group coaching grow in popularity it will be important to share success stories and information how group and team coaching work differ from training, facilitation, and other organizational development (OD) and leadership development programs.
While the benefits of coaching is valuable when combined with other leadership development programs, the results can be powerful on an individual, team, and organizational level. In particular coaching teams have many benefits, such as the ability to strengthen team bonds and increase awareness of decisions made within the larger structure not even to mention better culture and relationships (Anderson, Anderson, & Mayo, 2008).
Group coaching is a powerful and effective coaching technique that works with people to improve their health, well-being, personal strengths, self-efficacy, leadership, team building, and more (Armstrong et al. 2013; McDowell and Butterworth 2014). It is recommend that HR professionals review their approach to the coaches they are about to hire in advance, for example, by asking them how they can articulate the difference between group coaching and team coaching, or what training they had.