Among all of its huge advantages when it comes to outstanding results from participants and their managers, small group coaching’s one major drawback is logistics.
Instead of one or two major events (like a three-day workshop), small group coaching is by its very nature episodic.
It requires constant attention, meticulous planning, and an ability to be flexible about some things (like topic selection for example, see Rule 2), and completely inflexible about other things (see Rule 4).
A cohort of 15 front-line managers, for example, fit into five 3-person pods. That’s 30 coaching sessions to be organised, it’s 30 pieces of pre-work, and another 30 post-work emails.
It’s 120 emails to sending Manager Toolkits across the program. It’s five coaches to be organised, or perhaps fewer if each coaches multiple pods (our recommended approach!).
You can’t successfully execute small group coaching unless you have a resource that can dedicate enough time – a learning coordinator – to making it all happen, monitoring and reporting.
However, once you have this resource, and have established clear ground rules, you get into a rhythm, and both participants and managers are surprising well behaved.
We have dedicated program managers running up to 120 pods at once.
We use an automated project management system to manage typical communications, and then human intervention to solve problems and answer questions.