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Multiplying the impact for you — with group coaching

A brief primer for those who panic at the idea of group coaching.

The value of group interventions has been accepted within the world of therapeutic recovery and self-help behaviour change. In the context of alcoholism, for example, no intervention has proven as effective as alcoholics anonymous (AA) — where the power of the group and social bonds has proven itself to be powerful.

The idea of meeting as a group can feel daunting to many coachees, who often feel anxious at the thought. Sometimes this is eased if the group is their own team — although not always, as the team itself can be the source of stress. When the group is new and all members are anonymous, I witness the stress level increase. When the group is already formed and a coachee is offered a new opening, resistance hits its peak.

It’s at these points that I open up with potential group coachees about my experience of groups and the power of a group experience, in terms of effecting personal change and growth.

Gestalt Psychology

There is a concept, that is sourced from an area of Psychology referred to as ‘Gestalt Psychology, that states:

the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

In short, this belief holds that humans experience at a deeper and more meaningful level when the constituent parts of an experience are perceived as a collective, a whole.

Take, for example, music.

If each note or bar were to be played in isolation, we would be unlikely to find it enjoyable or perceive the noise as music. However, when all of the notes, instruments, and voices are presented as a whole — as a song — then we can be emotionally stirred.

This is true for us in many ways — but also in how we perceive others and how groups respond to us.

The power of the Group

The power of a group is that it magnifies this tendency to want a complete picture whilst also seeking to fill in the gaps.

Often coachees arrive with a sense of vulnerability and isolation. It is a very lonely place, in our own heads, when we are trying to get past a problem that seems too big to grasp. This sense of isolation can be quickly sedated by making contact with others who share the same problem.

Validating your need as real, and not a failing of yourself.

This point is very important to repeat and expand upon!