Group Coaching Sessions Gone Wrong


Group coaching sessions gone wrongGroup coaching is a great way to bring people together with similar challenges. Yet from time to time you may encounter a group session gone wrong.” In this post, I’ll discuss the reasons behind group coaching sessions gone wrong and ways to get back on track.

The Reasons:

Clients sign up for your group coaching programs because something about your marketing attracted them. Yet there are times when your marketing will attract people who have a different “flavor” – a different personality, different vibe, different expectations, or a different mindset. They come into your program with one expectation, but somewhere along the way there was a misunderstanding about what your coaching program was designed to do.

The Client Experience:

When this happens the client often doesn’t feel heard. They don’t feel connected to other group members and they might not feel connected to you. If that’s the case, the client feels it and you feel it. You’ll often pick up on the clues by paying attention to the way she interacts and uses her language.

What To Do:

If this happens, it’s okay. When you don’t feel a connection the best thing to do is let them go. If you don’t release that client from the group he or she will impact the safety and sense of community. Most of all, it’s important to remember, that it’s okay to be you and focus on the clients you do feel connected to.

A Personal Example:

In one of my programs I had a client who was completely turned off by the language and the approach I was using.

I was inspired to create an innovative collaboration community and on the first call I was explaining my philosophy about everything in business being an experiment. You are experimenting until you have someone pull out their credit card and pay you. You don’t know they will give you money until they find value in your offer and say, “Here’s my money. I want this.” You can speculate, research, hire the best coach and still fail at a project or course. That’s business.

Later after the call I received an email. One of the group participants shared that she did not want to be an experiment, “I don’t want to be a guinea pig.” She wanted definitive answers, a blueprint, answers a-z. She wasn’t interested in building this thing with us. We were an innovative group and the members who paid and stayed learned a whole lot. This person heard the word, “experiment” as “I don’t know what I’m doing.” She thought, “She’s experimenting and I had just paid her a thousand dollars for it.”

Of course, I decided to let her go and refund her money. Had she stayed she would have added a negative experience to the group. Her mindset was very different and a sense of community was very important. We needed to support one another and make certain that we were all on the same page.

The Conclusion:

Group sessions can go wrong and when they do it’s important to get a handle on the situation quickly. It’s always better to determine if someone’s expectations don’t match the coaching program’s goals. It’s also very important to keep group cohesiveness intact. Letting 1 person go is a small price to pay for a wonderful experience to be had by the remaining members. Learn to recognize the reasons and symptoms behind selected members perceptions and you can quickly recover from any group coaching sessions gone wrong.

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