Episode 38: Creating a Group Program with Emily Walker

Emily Walker joins us for this week's episode to discuss creating a group program. From avoiding common mistakes to setting the group up for success, Emily and I cover it all in the third episode of this four-part series!
Coach with Clarity Podcast Lee Chaix McDonough

38: Creating a Group Program with Emily Walker

This week we're continuing our deep dive into group coaching and I'm thrilled to bring you an interview with one of my dearest business friends and colleagues, Emily Walker.   Emily Walker helps fiercely creative thought-leaders turn their big, brilliant ideas into powerful and profitable courses so they can improve thousands of other people's lives while building more spaciousness into their own.

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Show Notes

This week we're continuing our deep dive into group coaching and I'm thrilled to bring you an interview with one of my dearest business friends and colleagues, Emily Walker.

Emily Walker helps fiercely creative thought-leaders turn their big, brilliant ideas into powerful and profitable courses so they can improve thousands of other people’s lives while building more spaciousness into their own.

I met Emily several years ago in a group mastermind and since then, I've gotten the opportunity to know her as a client, as a colleague, and as a friend. I can confidently say when it comes to designing programs that your clients will love, there is no one better than Emily at doing that.

Through working with Emily, I've able to define and conceptualize the pillars of Coach with Clarity and those have become the basis for everything I create in my brand. When I decided to create this series on group programs I knew I had to bring Emily on so she could share her wisdom with you too. Enjoy the interview!

Topics covered

  • How Emily helps thought leaders develop their coaching programs
  • The experiential aspect of group programs
  • What I learned about myself when I created my first group coaching program
  • Leaving space for the magic
  • Components of a well-designed group program
  • Getting clear on the type of group program you want to create
  • Why your program doesn't always need a clearly defined end-goal
  • How you can avoid common mistakes when creating a group coaching program
  • Setting yourself up for group coaching success
  • The simple way to get constructive feedback from your clients
  • Emily's advice for coaches who are nervous about facilitating a group program

Resources mentioned

Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!

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Discover your Coaching Superpower! Go to https://coachingquiz.com to learn more about your strengths – and what to look out for – as a coach.

Want to connect further? Follow me on Instagram and continue the discussion in the Coach with Clarity Facebook group.

Want to work together? Become a Coach with Clarity Member today!

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Well, hi there, my friend, and welcome to the Coach with Clarity podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough. As always, I am so grateful that you are here joining me for another episode of the show. This week, we are continuing our deep dive into group coaching, and I am thrilled to bring you an interview with one of my dearest business friends and colleagues, Emily Walker. I have known Emily for several years, we connected in a group mastermind, wow, I think way back in 2017. And since then, I have gotten the opportunity to know her as a client, as a colleague and as a friend. And let me tell you, when it comes to designing programs that your clients will love, there is no one better than Emily at doing that. I have had the opportunity to work with her on a few of my group programs, she has also helped me really define the pillars of my brand, Coach with Clarity. So I've talked a little bit in past episodes how coaching skills, business growth, intuition, and energy and intentional use of self are the four pillars upon which I've built Coach with Clarity, and it was through working with Emily that I was able to really define and conceptualize each one. And now that becomes the basis for everything I create in my brand, whether it's the Coach with Clarity Membership, the Certified Clarity Coach Program, even my one on one work, and all of that is because I had the great fortune of meeting and then working with Emily Walker. So when I decided to spend a few weeks really diving into group coaching programs, I knew I had to have Emily on the show so that she could share her wisdom with all of us. So I really hope you enjoy today's interview with Emily Walker.  

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Lee: Hi, Emily, thank you so much for coming on the Coach with Clarity podcast.

Emily: Hi, Lee, thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited for what we're going to be diving into today. 

Lee: Me too. So before we get into that, though, I would love to have you introduce yourself. Let us all know kind of who you are and what kind of work you do for the world. 

Emily: Ooh, that's a great question. I always like to introduce my name first. I don't know why. But my name is Emily, and I work with fiercely creative thought leaders helping them design powerful and profitable online programs that really take their unique brilliance and put it out there into the world on a massive level.

Lee: And I can attest because I have had the great fortune of not only knowing Emily for several years, and considering her to be one of my best business buddies, but also I've been able to work with her. She has been instrumental in helping me kind of conceptualize and come up with frameworks for some of my own projects, so Emily is a powerhouse and I am just so excited to have you on the show today. 

Emily: Awh, shucks. Now I'm blushing.

Lee: Really, I could think of no one better to invite on because I have been fielding a lot of questions from podcast listeners and from people in my Facebook groups and on Instagram about group coaching. There are a lot of coaches who are looking to create a group program in order to better serve their clients ,to add another revenue stream, to free up some time in their calendars, all sorts of good reasons. And so I'm getting all these questions. And I was like, I know just the person to bring on to talk more about this. So thanks for being here.

Emily: I'm so excited. I love talking about group programs. Like I feel like they're not talked about enough. Like we always talk about courses and self study. And so I'm like, yes, let's dive into group programs.

Lee: Yeah, and that's actually where I wanted to start was because even though it sounds like a group program that should be self explanatory. I actually think that maybe that's a term we should define and even compare it to some other online programs that are out there. So I'm curious how you define a group program?

Emily: Yeah, so I think there's a lot of confusion around this because I like to think of there being like a Venn diagram of if we had self study courses and group programs, and kind of where they overlap are like courses with a live group element and group programs with a course element, and there is not necessarily an exact cut and dried definition. When I talk about group programs, I talk about a live experience with a group. There's usually a limited amount of people, I think the best group programs have a small amount of people that I have seen them done with, you know, upwards of 30, 40 people in there, but I think the main thing that really defines a group program is it is a very experiencial creation. It's not necessarily curriculum driven. It's not necessarily modular, it can be, but the power of the group program comes from the participants and the kind of co-created experience.

Lee: That resonates really strongly with me, because I've not only had that experience myself, but I've had a lot of people say, you know, I'd love to do a group program, but I don't know what I would teach, or I don't really know what I have to offer. And so what I'm hearing you say is that when it comes to group programs, and specifically group coaching programs, it doesn't necessarily have to be curriculum driven, or content oriented, that it can be really more experiential.

Emily: Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that is a very common trap where people feel like, they suddenly have to create this group program that's unbelievably structured, and they have to fill up every single call with teaching. And all sudden, they've kind of lost the magic of a group program, which is that you have, let's just say 20 other people as part of that group, that get to co-create the experience with you. And you're there as the leader, as the facilitator, as the coach to support them. But there's also so much wisdom and power in that group, that it can take a lot of pressure off of you, think about it as like, “Oh, we're all doing this together to meet a common goal”.

Lee: Yes. And so really, the idea of community and cohesion and synergy, really come through in that approach. I'll share too, I remember back when I did my very first group program in 2018. I filled it with content, and I had a curriculum and I knew what we were going to cover each week for eight weeks. And what I quickly realized was that first off, my clients didn't necessarily want that. Or if they thought that was what they want, that's actually not what they did. Once we got into the group, they wanted more of that connection and that experience than a lecture. But the other thing I realized was that it was my own anxiety and insecurity coming forth, I wasn't confident enough in myself to facilitate and lead an experiential program. And so by thinking, okay, well, I'll just talk about this, this, this, this, and I'll just overdose them with content, and then I'll prove my worth, and then this will be a valuable experience. And, you know, it was total insecurity coming up, that was my experience with it, and that it felt a little scary to release myself from that content trap, and create something that was more experiential.

Emily: Absolutely, and I think that is like so common, you're not alone with that at all, we've been so ingrained to think that the value comes from the content, so we need to like pack it through, like pack it in and just put as much content as possible. And when you just like, cling to these, like the structure and everything, it's a lot of trust to be comfortable in the unknown. Because when you release that control, when you release that comfort that comes from having every single thing planned out, knowing exactly your curriculum and all of that, then you have to be prepared that you're like, I don't know exactly where today's gonna go, or I don't know where this program is going to lead, and really being confident in your skills to navigate that.

Lee: And that's why too, I love how you refer to it as magic before and group program magic being one of your offers, we'll talk about that coming up, but yeah, we really do need to leave space for the magic. 


Lee: Alright, so we talked a little bit about what a group program is, and we've talked about how it doesn't have to be like overwhelming amounts of content, and that the experience is part of it. But there's still this lingering question like, what should go into a group program? And I'm curious, when you think about well designed, well conceived group programs, what components do you like to see in them?

Emily: First and foremost, for a really powerful group program, I find that you need to have a very clear idea of the transformation that you want to provide, and knowing what the end result of that group program is going to be. Or you need to intentionally be unclear about the end result. So what I mean about that is that sometimes we have a group program, often we see like accelerators or incubators, or there is a bit of curriculum guiding it, we want to get all of the members of the group program to a certain point, like we want them to launch their business, we want them to release a program, we want them to do something that is clearly defined. And other times we have group programs where it's like, “Hey, you know what, I am supporting you with something that is an ongoing journey”, like so for instance, I think about a group program where it's helping people with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is something that is going to be with us our whole lives. So as a group, we were looking at gaining the tools, we're looking at getting the resources so that we can – we're better equipped to deal with it. But we're not necessarily going to get to this very, very clear end result or, you know, another group program that we see are masterminds, I always kind of class those under group programs, where they're not necessarily having a very clear, we're all going to reach this end result but we're on the journey together. So the first decision is kind of deciding about, what sort of group program experience you want to create, is it one with that clearly defined transformation? Or are you intentionally leaving it open because the group is more of a container for like multitudes of smaller transformations along the way?

Lee: Okay, that totally blew my mind. No kidding. Because a lot of times, I like to start with the end in mind, what is the end result? What's the ideal outcome? Where are we operating from? And maybe for some of the programs I've created in the past, that's been a really helpful way to think about it. But this idea of maybe intentionally being unclear or open about the result. And again, focusing more on the theme or the process, I can see being really helpful too. Do you find that that lends itself to either like an open ended group or a closed group, you know, one that has a set time period versus one that maybe is just kind of rolling? 

Emily: Ooh,so I think, I mean, my favorite answer is, it depends, a lot. But I think, from a business side, less from the learning experience, design side more from a business side, it's always nice to have a closed container and kind of knowing, like, minimum three months or six months or something like that. But you can use that to guide the sort of graduation points for your program. So if you're thinking about, it's more of an ongoing container, like we said, it doesn't have that clearly defined transformation, that maybe it's something where every three months, every six months, you give people that opportunity to resign and come back in and continue on on the journey with you. Versus, you know, if there's a clearly defined like transformation, then maybe that's where you graduate them up into a different program or something a little bit for alumni or something different.

Lee: I like that. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, so we talked a little bit about being intentional with the result if there is one. And really, there always is a result, but I think it's more like is it a tangible concrete outcome? Or maybe Is it a different way of relating to yourself or your business or the world around you? So that's one component, are there other components that you like to see in a group program?


Emily: Yeah, so the other component that's really key is a well defined structure. And when I say this, I don't mean that something like you know that every single call, like we were talking about is going to be like, packed full of teaching. But a structure, it can be a little bit of like an oxymoron, where you can structure it to be unstructured. But at the very least, you kind of know the macro structure of your group program. So when I say macro structure, it's like it has 12 calls and there once a week, and on top of that, they also get a one on one call with you as the leader. So you know, what the types of calls are, how often they are, you know, the cadence of your program, you know, if there is a company curriculum, how does that fit into things, you kind of know the different building blocks. And then when we dive deeper, and we go into the microstructure of a group program, that's when we get to kind of open up the boxes that are each call and think about how do we want to structure those calls, and that's where you get to have a lot of fun and say, “okay, this call is totally unstructured, we're going to get everyone on and we're just going to see what happens”. Or it's incredibly structured, we're going to have 10 minutes of like a power teaching lesson, then we're going to have 20 minutes of hot seat coaching, you get to decide. And I always recommend to people who are starting out for the first time, give yourself an open ended structure in the sense that you know what your time containers are going to be, you know, you've allocated 10 minutes for teaching, you've allocated this amount of time for one on one coaching. But within each of those containers, give yourself some flexibility to kind of roll with whatever is arising in the moment.

Lee: I think that's such a smart tip, because I find that no matter how well I think I've planned something or prepared for something, it always takes longer than I think it will, I cannot tell you the number of presentations where I've had like 40 slides, and we've gotten through half of them. And as you do the work, and as you get comfortable with your format and your process, you'll know more Okay, yes, this will take 10 minutes or this will take 20. But I think if you can build in some wiggle room, some flex time, you'll do yourself a favor in the long run.

Emily: Absolutely. We always need more time than we think like, things always take way longer. And it's amazing how much we just are like, “Oh, yeah, I can totally get through all of this in like 20 minutes”, and then like three hours later, you're like, “Okay, maybe not”.

Lee: Yes, that resonates a little close to home, actually, but we're working on that. So I'm curious, Emily, when you think about the group programs that you've seen, or maybe even been a part of, are there things that people forget or overlook, or completely get wrong when it comes to creating a group coaching program?


Emily: I think we've touched on one of the biggest ones, which is the place that a course or curriculum like, the presence that that holds in a group program, whenever you're including I say curriculum, because it can be like little mini teachings or it could be a whole course that's supporting it. But that's just the key word, it's supporting it, it's not defining the group program. The group program is defined by the group, the people in it. And I find that's a big big mistake that people fall into is they wrap so much around that curriculum, that it doesn't leave any breathing space for the people, what they bring to it, actually getting into that live engagement, which is why people sign up for a group program. Because if they wanted to self study course, I'm sure they could find something out there that people sign up for. That group, because they want that experience of connecting with other people, they want to have that cohort, they want to have that community. So I'd say that's probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people falling into. 

Lee: And that makes a lot of sense. And actually, I had this kind of like lightbulb, slash “no duh”, moment just now because I was like, “Oh, right, it's in the name”, a course, is going to be focused on the content, the material, and a group program is going to be focused on the group. And it seems so fundamental, so basic, and yet for me, and maybe it's because the kind of programs that I've run have included that curriculum component to them both in the membership, certainly in my certification program, you know, it's like, oh, like, I always feel like I'm walking this fine line. But I think the way you phrased it just now helped me realize it's how you're centering the program, is it centered on what you're teaching, or is it centered on the people that are kind of co-creating the experience with you, and that's a helpful way to kind of delineate between the two.

Emily: Absolutely, and I think you touched on something really important there, which is that co-creation of the experience, because that's another mistake that I see people making. Or maybe not mistake, but it's a trap that they are falling into, is they're putting so much pressure on themselves as the leader. You know, I'm the expert here hosting this group program, that they stopped thinking about themselves as a facilitator. And when we facilitate, it puts us all on that kind of same level of holding the space, of facilitating dialogue, facilitating transformation, where it is about the group and letting them co-create the experience. And that's where I find transparency is so key, I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be like, “Okay, I'm freaking out, this didn't go the way I wanted it to, I'm running out of time, what's going on?”, or like, “I have to show up and just seem like I have it all together”, and the most amazing group programs that I have led, or I have been a part of have been when everyone has permission to show up exactly as they are and to say like, “Hey, so I just tried this exercise. And like, it seems like it's totally flopping, so folks, what do we say we try something different?”, or like, you know what, I'm picking up that like the energies a little bit low right now, and instead of like mentally telling ourselves a story of like, no one's talking like, the crickets are in the room. This is terrifying. Just checking in with the group like being transparent, like, “Hey, I'm telling myself a story. No one's talking. Are you bored? Are you confused? What do you need?”. And sometimes we will be like, “you know what, this is so rudimentary, can we move on?”. You're like,” yeah, let's not waste time”. Or there might be like, “I'm so overwhelmed by what you're saying right now”, like, I think I need to go find chocolate, or whatever it maybe.


Lee: Yeah, but I think you've really hit on the fact that when we as the group facilitator, the coach of the experience can be that vulnerable, and just call out whatever energy is in the room, whatever you're sensing, and allow that either to be validated, and then you course correct, or to gain more information about what is going on how you're being perceived, what your people are thinking, feeling, experiencing, it's just going to enrich the entire process. And I think the other thing, too, is, when you're running a group program, you do have to be aware of the power dynamics at play. And that can come both from you and from your group members, there is often a tendency, I feel like that the group leader or facilitator is put up on this pedestal, they're the expert, they know what they're doing, we're gonna defer to them. And so when you're in a group program, where you do take that facilitation role, and you kind of bring everyone to the same level, and you acknowledge that we all have something valuable to share, and we all take an active role in creating the experience we want to have, then it also kind of subtly addresses that power dynamic as well. And I think that can be a really important part of group cohesion and everything coming together. 

Emily: Absolutely, and that's something that I mean, it's something I teach in my programs is why that first call of your group program is so essential, because it allows you to lay that all out on the table. And like you said, putting it into a place where you can be vulnerable as a group leader, but you can even just say like, “Okay, friends, like we're all here together, and this is how I like to show up. How do you like to show up? How do you like to participate in these group situations? You know, do you like it if I call on you? Do you want to just sit passively and you'll speak up when it's time?”. It really gives you that opportunity to tune into each and every individual so that you know what they like what they need. Because like you said, when you put in that power distance, and then you bring in how power distances are reflected in different cultures, and what people may feel comfortable doing or not doing in these facilitated environments, by having a really strong first call it allows you to form as that community and find out how to best serve every single person in that group capacity.


Lee: Excellent. I love that. See, y'all, this is why Emily's on the show, I knew that we were going to have just such a dynamic conversation. You're such a treat. Okay, so there's a lot that goes into creating a group program, and I'm wondering what needs to be in place before someone starts running a group. Are there certain things that they need to think about or do or certain experiences that they should have had before they charge forward with creating their first group?

Emily: There's not necessarily like a finite checklist, like you've run, you know, a private workshop, or you've had six clients. I think a lot of it comes down to the confidence you have in your skills, the competence you have in your expertise. So I find most people are successful when they have had enough one to one experience that they kind of know the common questions or the common roadblocks that come up, they have a general idea of what that path to transformation or that path of ongoing transformation looks like for their people. So that there's not gonna be as many surprises, there's always surprises, we can never like, fully get rid of that, especially when you bring a group of people together, like, you just never know what's going to come out of the woodwork. But definitely having a solid one to one base underneath your belt can really help as well because when you're doing a group program, when you're moving from working with people, one to one to facilitate a group, that is putting yourself out of your comfort zone. So the more that you can kind of take things that are comfortable, like you know, your expertise, you know your skills. For instance, if it's a group coaching program, you're very confident in your coaching skills, so that then the only unknown or the only new thing you're layering on is that group facilitation, so that you're not trying to do too many unknown things at once. Because you're just going to stress yourself out, and then it's not going to be fun. 

Lee: No, and like if it's not fun, why do it? 

Emily: Exactly. 

Lee: And I don't mean to be flippant, but the truth is, if you're going to run a business, and if you're going to do something like a group program, then let it be fun, find the joy in it. I really appreciate what you said, though, that there's not like a set number of individual clients or a set number of experiences that you have to have, that it is going to kind of depend on your audience and what you're talking about in your group program. And that's a question I get asked a lot by people is, do I need to have one on one work before I start a group? And I don't know, my philosophy is you don't have to, but it sure helps. You know, when you have an idea of what your people want and need and what the common challenges are that they're facing, then you're going to be really well equipped to address that in a group program. Now, I'm not saying one on one coaching is the only way to do that. I think if you have a significant audience, and you can get really good data from them about that, then maybe you can start with a group program versus one on one. But I think it really comes down to knowing your person and knowing your group member really well, so that the program is going to meet their needs. 

Emily: Yeah, I think it's so key, like you said, to know the people really, really well. And I think also being really clear on what your intention is behind the group program. When I ask people whenever they're choosing any sort of scalable program to add into their offers suite. I ask them, why are they doing it? And if the answer is, “well, everyone else is doing it”, or like, “oh, I don't know, I just it just seemed like it was time”. To me, that's not juicy enough to do it. So if you're thinking of adding in a group program, so you're like, well, I just think that's the logical next up, but you're kind of like not sure exactly why, you can't say like, I really want to do this, because I know when I get that group together, and they're all starting to exchange ideas, that transformation is exponential, or I know that I have reached my capacity for one to one and I want to keep scaling my impact. There needs to be that weightier, like heavier reason behind it, that's really driving that momentum forward because that's going to help you navigate and motivate you through any challenges that may come up.

Lee: I agree 100%. And, y'all know by now my perspective is very much anchored in values. And so when we can get those kind of juicier, meatier reasons for conducting a group program, and we can connect it with our core values and or with our business values, then yeah, that's going to keep us much more connected, driven, focused, motivated, even when things are getting a little difficult or getting a little complicated. And certainly one value might be, I love seeing the transformation that happens within a group and that can connect to service and impact. It's also okay to have a value of growth and ambition and to want to bring another revenue stream into your business to support the work you do. So that then you can turn around and infuse your life with meaning and joy, like there's no right or wrong way to approach this, but let's just make sure that it's yours, like that it's connected to a deeper value, versus just I guess this is the next step. This is what everyone else is doing. So here I go. 

Emily: Completely. I love how you said making sure it's yours, because I think that's so true is having it grounded in values and also having the way you put it together being yours as well. Like that's something I'm such an advocate for is, even when we're talking about group programs, they can show up in so many different ways and never feeling like you have to fit yourself into someone else's cookie cutter where it's like, well, this is the one group program I took and it was structured this way, so I guess this is how I have to do it, is giving yourself that permission to be like, well, if I ran a group program, I think I would want to do it, you know x way like I would want every second call to just be one on one, or I want every call to start with a dance party or like whatever it may be, you get to do it your way. So that it really does feel like your program that's unique to you, not just your version of someone else's program.

Lee: I love that so much. And I think too, remembering that it's an iterative process, so that you can change it as it grows and as it develops. I mean, my goodness, the way my beta round of my very first program From Couch to Coach looked in August of 2018, was completely different than what the last round wound up being because it evolves over time, it evolves as I grow. And I can be more responsive to the needs of the people that want to be in the program. So I think there's also some freedom that comes from knowing that it doesn't have to stay the same, that it can change and grow and respond. And I don't know about you, but that just really takes the pressure off for me, knowing that I don't have to get it perfect right out of the bat. And there's room for growth there. 

Emily: Oh, yes, completely. As a recovering perfectionist, I still have to remind myself of that, is that every offering that we have is alive, and it's going to grow, and it's going to develop and that's why it's so important to check in with our people. You know, especially as like, that's one of the things I love about group programs is you don't have to kind of like, wait as they go through self study and give them a feedback form. You can check in with them every single call, how's this going? How are you feeling? How is this working for you? Is this what do you like? You know, what would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? And it's never going to bother people. That's the thing is like, sometimes they're like, they save all the feedback for the end as this like surprise thing. Like surprise, here's a feedback form, give me a testimonial. But it's like, it's so wonderful to check in with your people because then they really do take ownership. Like we said that experience is co-created, and they know they're getting exactly what they need.

Lee: Excellent. I'm just sitting here thinking, yeah, I'm about 25% of the way through my certification program, and it's probably time for me to send out a feedback form. Because I do want to know what's working, what's not, how can we tweak it? Because, yeah, it's not carved in stone. And again, the more responsive we can be to our members, the stronger the program will be and the more likely they will be to achieve whatever outcome it is they set for themselves. So, excellent reminder. Can be a little scary sometimes asking for feedback, no lie. 

Emily: Yeah, it's scary. 

Lee: But it's important, right? And just because it's scary, doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. I'm telling myself that. That was directed at me.

Emily: Yeah, it can be scary but it's so worthwhile. And I love how you phrased it because you actually use my two favorite feedback questions, because sometimes we can also like, get stressed out about having to create these like, epically huge surveys and all these things. And it's like, the simplest is – what's working well, what could be working better? Because feedback is really, I mean, it's such a weird word, but like feed forward, because it's not a criticism. It's not there to be like, you are horrible and this is terrible. It's just, what could be working better? Not, what sucks, what's horrible, what do you hate? So it's thinking, again, it's having that lens, it's very focused on improvement and forward moving.


Lee: I love it. All right, I've one other question that I want to ask you today. And this is something I've heard from some of my coaches that I work with who would self identify as more introverted, one of the reasons they love coaching so much is they really can go all in on one on one. So they can build those deeper relationships with just one person, and that's very much in their comfort zone. And while they're intrigued by the idea of offering a group program, or small group program, the idea of having to facilitate multiple people and have the spotlight on them, makes them really nervous. And so I'm curious if you have any thoughts or suggestions for coaches, who are getting a little anxious about the idea of having to run a group?

Emily: Whoo, yes. Okay, so many, so many suggestions that I'm going to keep it, I'll try to keep it short. I think the first thing is giving yourself permission to start small, I think a lot of people feel like they have to like jump right into a group of 10, or 20, or 30 people and it’s like, start with 4 people, start with 5 people, think about what amount of people feels like not as scary. Like still a little scary, like we want to push you outside of your comfort zone, like not as scary. And so starting with that small amount of people, again, being transparent, just saying like, “you know what, I haven't facilitated a group before, and so we're gonna be on this journey together and I'm super excited to do this with you all”, and really giving yourself that permission to be playful and experiment with it. On top of that, giving yourself a really comfortable structure. And so whenever I say structure, it's more like time containers, knowing that you're going to spend the first five minutes doing intros and you're going to spend the next 10 minutes doing a small exercise or whatever it is, giving yourself those containers so that whenever you're feeling stressed, you kind of have a structure to fall back on that doesn't feel constricting, that doesn't feel like, “oh my goodness, we're behind time I spent too long”, but just in general, having that that structure to support you, I think, is so key. And on top of all of that, like I think about for introverts, is just being aware of where your energy is going. So especially if you know that it's going to be a little bit more of a pull on your energy to host that group, then maybe schedule something nice and rejuvenating for yourself right after that call. So whether it's like an hour of like, yourself and your cat like drinking tea, or going for a walk or doing absolutely nothing, I think sometimes we can forget that with scheduling that it's like, we really want to balance our energy. So not doing anything too draining before or after, if you know that that group call is going to be like a really big pull on you.

L : That's such a great point. And it's funny, what I've noticed in my own process is that my energy tends to be a little low before my calls, and so I need to carve out time in advance to center to do that kind of self care work. After my calls, my energy is like through the roof, and I need to know that too. So I can either harness that time and use it for my business or exercise or do something to get that energy out. So I think the more tuned in we can be to our own preferences and our own energy levels, the better. And I also want to put a plug in for smaller groups, the first groups I ran four to six people, max, and it was so great to have that small cohort because it was intimate. I still felt like I could connect in a one on one manner with my students, and yet there was also enough space and time and people to have that kind of group dynamic and that magic occur. So yes, plus one for the smaller groups.

Emily: Yeah, like a lot of people are just like, “No, you have to go all in like, get a minimum of 12 or it's not worth it”, and I'm like, “No, I'm all about the small groups”.

Lee: Yeah, me too. Me too. Emily, this has been such a fantastic conversation again, I'm so grateful for you coming on the show and sharing your wisdom with all of us.

Emily: Oh, thanks so much for having me. This has been so great. As you can tell, I just, I love talking about group programs. And I think they are such an amazing option for people who are really looking to scale but keep that live intimate experience and connection with their people.

Lee: I agree. And I have no doubt that people are going to want to connect with you after they hear this episode. So what is the best way to do that? Where can we find you?

Emily: So I love hanging out on Instagram, that's the main place that you can find me. So if you go to @modernleadersco that's Modern Leaders CO, you are more than welcome to slide into my DMs. If you're thinking about starting a group program, you have questions about what we talked about today, anything like that, just feel free to slide in, and like send me your question. I definitely respond to all of them, and I just love to hear what you're working on. So that is where I love to hang out.

Lee: Yeah, so go find her over at Instagram, we'll make sure that there are links in the show notes. Emily, thank you again for being on today's show.

Emily: Thanks so much for having me.

* * * * * * * *

One of the things I appreciate so much about Emily and why I am so grateful to call her both a colleague and friend is that every time I have a conversation with her, I learned something new. There is not a single time when I walk away from a conversation, a Voxer exchange, an email exchange and I don't take some sort of wisdom that I can apply to my business or my life. And I really hope that you have found that to be the case for you today as well. So Emily, thank you again, for coming on the show. 

We are going to continue our exploration of group coaching next week, when I share with you the five lessons I've learned from running group programs. So that is going to be an episode you won't want to miss, it's going to be filled with tips and tricks, and real life experiences I've had running groups so that you can learn from some of my wins, and maybe from some of the things I would have done differently. So be sure to tune in to next week's episode for that. Which means if you have not already subscribed to the podcast, you are definitely going to want to do that today because that way you can make sure next week's episode is automatically there in your podcast feed waiting for you. So just head to whatever platform you use to listen to your podcasts, or go to CoachwithClarity.com/subscribe, and you can subscribe to the show and never miss a future episode. 

Now if all of this talk about group programs has you excited and ready to go, then I have something special for you. I've created a brand new free download with some of the key questions that you will want to address as you are building your group coaching program. I really wanted to create something for you that would help you think through the concepts and the audience for your group program. So if you head to CoachwithClarity.com/groupdownload, you will be able to access that free guide that's going to walk you through some of the most important questions you need to answer before you get your group program up and running. So again, just go to CoachwithClarity.com/groupdownload and you will be able to access that free guide immediately, so again, that's CoachwithClarity.com/groupdownload. Once you sign up to receive that free guide, you will also be among the first people to get more information about a very special one day retreat I have coming up in December, all about helping you launch your first or your next group program. I will be talking a little bit more about that in future episodes but if you want a sneak peek early access to the special one day virtual retreat, all about group programs, downloading that guide is the best way to do so. So head on over to CoachwithClarity.com/groupdownload and get your free guide today. Okay, friends, that's it for me today. But again, I'll be back in your feed next week for another podcast episode all about group coaching, so I can't wait to connect with you then. Until then My name is Lee Chaix McDonough and I am encouraging you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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