The most common way to do coaching is one-on-one. Yet I’ve found that another strategy that works well is coaching one-on-three– what I call coaching clusters.
As a coach, I have each person prepare individually. Then during a 90-minute session, I coach each person for 30 minutes, leaving a bit of time at the end for prayer and comments from others. Then we rotate to the next person.
There are numerous advantages to doing coaching in this way. A person not only gets 30 minutes of coaching for themselves, but they also get one hour of observing good coaching. As a coach, you’re helping to train people in coaching. As they develop, you might say to person B: “What would be a good question to ask at this point?” Participants are being equipped with coaching skills and can then go on to coach others.
Efficiency is another benefit. The cost per individual is less, and depending on the situation, the group could even meet together without the coach to process with each other.
I’ve also seen how powerful it is for groups like this to form a supportive community. They learn from one another by hearing what others are working on. It’s a powerful way to get people connected and supporting one another on mission.
Although I’ve tried coaching one-on-two, I’ve found that it doesn’t work as well. Invariably, one is doing better than the other or one is more experienced than the other. Coaching two people at the same time creates imbalance and invites comparison. Coaching four at once is too big, unless it’s a team and they’re all focused on the same agenda.
Three seems to be just about right.