Not sure which group coaching model is for you?

Know you want to start leveraging your expertise into a 1-many offer…but have no idea how to structure your group coaching program?

We’ve got you!

Between cohorts, masterminds, evergreen programs, memberships…it’s enough to get your head spinning.

So today, we want to give you all the deets on two of the most common, classic group coaching models.

The ongoing enrollment model – and the cohort model.

But without further ado, let’s get into the different models for how to structure your group coaching program, as well as some of the biggest pros and cons of each model.

Group Coaching Model #1: The Cohort Model 

The cohort group coaching model essentially means there’s a group of students that all begin your group coaching program on the same start date.

For example, maybe you have a 90-day program, and you launch the program three times a year – in the fall, spring and summer.

In this case, you’d have your fall cohort, spring cohort, and summer cohort. 

Or maybe you’d refer to them as your October cohort, March Cohort and July Cohort. 

All of your students will go through the program together, as a group.

A helpful way to think about this mode is to think of your high school days when you’d have a graduating class. With the cohort model, your participants will embark on a shared experience, and then collectively, “graduate” from the program.

You can choose to cap the number of people in your cohort to keep things intimate if you like. If you’re the only coach running your group program, this might limit how many clients you can take on.

However, if you have an associate coach supporting your students, you could break off into multiple smaller groups within your cohort! By getting extra support for your group coaching program, you’ll be able to scale and reach more people.

Pros of the Cohort Group Coaching Model

  • Greater sense of accountability and shared experience 

Having a group start together, go through your program together, and then ‘graduate’ and become alumni is a powerful shared experience. They’ll all be working through the same material simultaneously and can often work through issues or mindset blocks that are coming up as a group. Your group might even feel more accountable to the program if they see others progressing and hitting certain program milestones! 

  • Often a more high-touch experience where participants receive more personalized attention

Because the cohort model is less automated and usually focuses more on live trainings, your participants might feel like they’re getting a more high-touch experience with a deeper level of support. 

  • The ability to build a strong alumni community

The fun doesn’t have to stop once your program ends! With a cohort model, you can foster a strong alumni community. Maybe you have a private alumni Facebook community or even host certain alumni-only events. Because each cohort went through your program together, they might feel a stronger sense of camaraderie with their fellow alumni, and therefore be more engaged within your community.  

  • Limited cohort spots and specific start dates can create a sense of urgency to join

When your audience knows that you only offer a few cohorts a year, it might put more external pressure on them to join and sign up at launch time. Similarly, if you only offer limited space in your cohort (say, for example, you limit your cohorts to 10, 25, or 50 people) they’ll be eager to snag one of the limited spots!

Cons of The Cohort Group Coaching Model

  • Sometimes a less scaleable option (especially if you don’t have associate coaches)

Again, for your cohort group coaching program to feel manageable and intimate, you’ll most likely want to limit the number of students in your cohort. For example, it’d be difficult to welcome 100 or 200 new students at the same time – especially if they’re all getting some sort of onboarding call or personalized welcome. Of course, if you have associate coaches you’ll be able to increase your capacity, but you’re still more limited than a program with continuous enrollment. 

  • Members only have the availability to join at select periods throughout the year

Sometimes, you might get a student who missed your latest cohort launch and feels limited by having to wait 2-3 months until the next one. There’s always a possibility that you could lose certain leads who were hoping to join in-between cohort start dates. 

  • Depending on the length of your group coaching program, you might not be able to run it many times a year

If your group coaching program is 90 days, you’ll have the availability to run it 4x/year. Sounds awesome, right? But what if you decide that 90 days is too tight of a timeline for your clients to see results…and you’d like to extend your program to six months, or even a year? The cohort model doesn’t work quite as well for those with longer group coaching programs. 

Group Coaching Model #2: The Ongoing Enrollment Model 

The ongoing enrollment method for group coaching programs works on more of an evergreen basis.

This means that rather than students only being able to enroll at set times during the year – i.e. during the spring, summer or fall – they’re able to enroll in your program all year long. 

This type of group program structure usually requires a higher level of automation and a well-thought-out marketing funnel. 

Rather than having a launch where you run a live, free challenge a few times a year, you might have an evergreen, prerecorded webinar for those who are interested can watch to learn more and sign up on the spot. 

You’ll have to make sure you have all your systems planned out so that your client onboarding process is automated and runs smoothly – so students can enroll smoothly whatever day of the week, at whatever hour. 

This means you’ll have a continuous, rolling enrollment process, with new faces joining your group regularly. People will also “graduate” or exit your program at different times.

Many group coaching programs choose to have limited access to the group (i.e. 3-month, 6-months, or even 12-months of access). Often, coaches opt for limited access because it gives their clients a sense of urgency to finish the program within the allotted time. 

Because I’m sure we’ve ALL experienced joining a course or program with lifetime access…and then having it sit there collecting dust because there was no time pressure!

Having limited access solves this program.

So just as new faces are constantly joining the program, old clients are constantly graduating from the program, too.

People are coming and going on their own timelines, rather than at set times as a group.

There are also usually fewer live classes and trainings delivered in the ongoing enrollment option since everyone is at a different place in the program when they join. 

However, you may want to support your students through a weekly or monthly office hours call, where anyone in the program can ask questions related to whatever module or concept they’re currently working through. 

Pros of The Ongoing Enrollment Model

  • A more scalable model, more revenue potential 

This group coaching model is more scalable as it leverages automation and you can make money any day of the year.

  • Students can join at any time during the year and aren’t limited to certain start dates

Students are able to join based on when works for their schedule. 

  • Potential for more advanced students to help newer students

While students won’t be going through your program as a cohort, there are still opportunities for students to connect with one another. If you have a program Facebook group or community space, there’s a potential that more advanced students will even be able to support those who are new to the program, since they’ve previously been in the newer students’ shoes. 

Cons of The Ongoing Enrollment Model

  • More complex automation and marketing funnel are required to make it successful

If you’re new to entrepreneurship, the automation and funnels required might be overwhelming. You’ll need to either have solid tech/tool knowledge or have the funds to invest in done-for-you tech/marketing support to properly set up your program for evergreen enrollment. 

  • Potential for students to feel a lesser sense of community and accountability

Because students are constantly coming and going, there might be less of a shared experience amongst participants. They might not feel as connected to the group, because they’re working through the materials at a different time than everyone else!

  • A larger audience is required to continuously attract new students compared to seasonal launches

Generally, if you have a smaller audience, launching and opening enrollment to a smaller group of clients is the way to go. Evergreen models will require consistent audience growth so you constantly have new leads looking to join the program.

  • Potentially less urgency to join if enrollment is always open 

Another reason evergreen models can be trickier is because of buyer psychology. Sometimes, we’re better able to make decisions when there are clear constraints and an element of scarcity. If we know enrollment closes tomorrow, we’ll pull the trigger and join. But if we know we can join at any point in time, there’s often less incentive to actually make a decision. 

When it comes to ongoing enrollment vs. the cohort group coaching model, there’s no one right way to structure your group coaching program.

The model you choose will depend on SO many factors, from how you work best, to what kind of experience you’re looking to create, to your level of experience in business, and more.

No matter what kind of group coaching model you choose, be sure to set your group program up for success with a solid group coaching contract. 

And let us know in the comments… what kind of group coaching model are you most interested in?

Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates! So you can upgrade your client contract while staying Protected & Profitable™✨

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*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.

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