The Case for 1:1 Work & Skills (Slightly Controversial)

I’ve been noticing more and more in the transformational and coaching industries that practitioners are being encouraged to move away from offering 1:1 work because group programs are more lucrative.

I absolutely understand this. It is true that group programs often yield more income for your time. There is also a certain satisfaction that only group work can provide…and I of course run many group programs myself each year (& even run group programs about running group programs!).

But all that being said, I want to make the case for continuing (or beginning) to include 1:1 work in your offerings, or at the very least, staying at the top of your game when it comes to 1:1 work.

1:1 work is important for you as a practitioner, it’s important for the bottom line numbers of your business, it’s important for the community you serve, and it’s important for the larger transformational community:

1) Excellent curriculum requires excellent 1:1 skills

Yes, there are specific curriculum techniques and tricks required to craft a life-changing curriculum (and I teach these techniques in The Curriculum Lab). But that being said, the best way to bring those curriculum & experiential exercise techniques alive is to intricately connect them to wisdom about human nature, how human beings learn, what motivates human beings, and what inspires them to change.

The more you can integrate your 1:1 skills into your group curriculum & group exercises, the deeper your curriculum will go and the more effective it will become.

This means you want to be at the top of your game in your 1:1 skills – even if you’re super seasoned and your business model is only or mainly focused on groups, challenge yourself to continue to practice and develop your 1:1 transformational skills.

Your curricula will get to the next level this way.

2) Group Programs (or workshops, retreats, masterminds) are only as good as the 1:1 transformational skills you bring to them

Once you’ve got an incredible curriculum developed, want to know what makes a group program go from great to remarkable?

Making space for 1:1 transformational work within your group sessions.

When you are a truly skillful facilitator and practitioner, it’s not only about delivering outstanding curriculum.

It’s also about knowing exactly how to elicit shares from the group that will allow you to do with people 1:1 in front of the entire groupthe type of laser 1:1 work that creates staggering breakthroughs not only for the individual you’re working with, but for everyone in the room who it witnessing it.

My clients and students regularly pull out their stellar 1:1 skills while they facilitating groups…and this is what has their group participants keep on coming back for more.

So, if you’re not already intentionally making space for 1:1 work within your group sessions, please start. (But remember, you want those 1:1 skills to be in tip top share and deeply transformational).

3) Some of your ideal clients need more intimate hand-holding from YOU (& your satisfaction level will increase through it)

I know a lot of the marketing gurus say that if a client needs 1:1 work, they should find it somewhere else because that’s not a good use of your time. But I respectfully disagree.

My business is quite large and extensive and I have a lot of activities happening at once, and yet….I will never give up my 1:1 work with clients.

First of all, because when you do stellar 1:1 work that really moves your clients, it is soul-filling and so, so gratifying.

Second of all because it keeps me on the top of my game.

And thirdly, because some of our “people” really need the type of intimacy, deep holding, and tight containers that only 1:1 work can provide. And they need it from you, in your unique way and from your unique perspective.

If you’ve got a developed business with limited time for privates, then absolutely limit the amount of private clients you see and put a price tag on your services that feels like an aligned exchange for you. And use those sessions to be on your edge, to deeply challenge yourself into your next level of transformational skills.

4) New Practitioners – or Practitioners teaching something new or serving a new type of client – can best develop ideas in 1:1 feedback incubators

About 10% of new practitioners are meant to jump straight to facilitating group experiences. But honestly, most new practitioners do themselves a disservice when they skip over acquiring the type of experience, skill, wisdom, and feedback that can only be garnered through developing your transformational qualities via 1:1 work.

When you work privately with a client, you get to learn the nature, tendencies, fears, resistances, patterns of your ideal client. You get a safer, more controlled, and more forgiving space to develop new, edgier skills. You get to see what works and what doesn’t work. You get opportunities to see what values and principles really resonate for your ideal client, and all this contributes to your ability to develop your thought leadership.

So, while I love love love all of my group programming and would never give it up, I recognize that part of what makes my group programming so powerful, and part of what allows me to feel satisfied in my work in multiple layers is that I keep on coming back to my 1:1 work and my 1:1 skills.

The more you can develop your 1:1 transformational skills, the more powerful everything (including your marketing!) will be.

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