Tapping into the power of groups

July 28, 2022

by Ravi Raman

I recently started coaching with a large consumer goods company senior executive. In exploring his desired outcomes for our coaching engagement, he realized something quite profound about what makes his life (and work) really outstanding. 

“A great and successful life is not about what you do – or what you get – it’s about who you are with!” 

I wholeheartedly agree. 

And yet, too often people try to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps when it comes to personal growth. This is particularly true for high-performers. You try to DIY everything, including your career advancement!

It becomes an exhausting and frustrating ordeal. Can a group make the growth process easier, more enjoyable and perhaps even more effective than going it alone?


You may go faster alone, but you go much further together

My first experience with “group coaching” was with none other than Tony Robbins. I was 23 years old and hopped on a flight to Colorado Springs to spend four days with him as part of his Unleash the Power Within program. Back then, Tony led the program in person, and it was a packed house at The Broadmoor, a fancy hotel where the event was held. 

On the first day, I felt like we were exploring things I wasn’t interested in. Everyone was amped up, the music was pumping, and I was wondering what on Earth I was doing there. You see, I was focused on improving my career, and most of the people I was mingling with were more interested in healing a broken relationship or turning around a dying small business. It didn’t help that everyone was over twice my age!

I felt like a fish out of water. 

Having made the trek out to the program, I stuck with it. By the third and fourth day I was gleaning insights beyond my expectation. I realized that I had far more in common with others than I thought. 

While it’s true that a private coaching program would have zeroed in on my specific needs from the jump and perhaps even would have progressed me further (and faster) in a single day, being with a group facilitated insights that I would never have gleaned on my own. 

I was so enamored with what results could emerge from that group experience that I started my own personal development group as a hobby almost shortly after that event. Called the Seattle PowerGroup, the meetup group grew to well over 200 members, and we had dozens of free gatherings exploring how to elevate performance and potential. 

While I organized and ran the group for a few years before I moved on to other things, I never forgot just how helpful it could be to explore and learn together with growth-minded people. 

Don’t DIY your career; tap into the power of community

While you might think that group coaching is a “watered-down” or otherwise inferior version of private 1-1 coaching, the truth is very different. What can be learned through group exploration can be profound. Not to mention the relationships that get built along the way. 

One clear benefit of being with a group is being able to witness other people’s insights, “ah ha’s,” and creative solutions to big problems. 

You see, while we are all capable of wisdom and insight that moves us forward in our careers it can be hard to realize this wisdom independently. The human mind is so active that when left to its own, a moment of quiet reflection can quickly turn from peaceful to confusing and discouraging.

This is where a group can be super helpful. We can see in others a reflection of ourselves and through their growth feel inspired to grow in our own way. When we are with others, through the guidance of a trained coach, we can more easily step outside the non-stop torrent of our own thought and expectations. When this happens, fresh thought and insight can have a chance to arise and make a real difference.

Furthermore, it’s fun to learn and grow with others. 

Since that group program with Tony many years ago, I’ve continued to seek out coaching and training opportunities that are group-oriented. 1-1 coaching is excellent (and highly valuable) but learning and growing in a group has such a potential for impact, I put my own time and money where my mouth is. So much so that this fall I’ll be joining a group coaching program made up of professional coaches looking to improve their capabilities! 


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