Bringing Financial Coaching to Scale

The Potential of Group Coaching Models


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J. Michael Collins, Ryan Eisner and Collin O’Rourke explore group coaching models in this brief.

Financial coaching is a diverse and growing field. It is a goals-based, client-centered approach that is seen as distinct from more established interventions such as financial education and counseling. Rather than recommending that clients take prescribed actions, coaches assist clients in defining their own goals and establishing concrete action plans.

The one-on-one nature of traditional coaching can make coaching resource-intensive to deliver. Therefore, the concept of group coaching, defined as a coach working with a number of clients simultaneously, appears to be an attractive option to practitioners and funders.

Despite the attractiveness of group coaching, there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of group financial coaching. There also appears to be little research on group coaching in other settings. Nonetheless, existing research on group coaching and related models from other fields may shed light on the potential for group coaching around personal financial management.

The next section of this brief will define group coaching and differentiate it from individual coaching and team coaching. Next, the brief will discuss findings from a literature review conducted by Center for Financial Security (CFS) staff to ascertain what existing research suggests about the effectiveness of group coaching models. Then the brief will focus more specifically on what the literature review indicates about the advantages and drawbacks of group-based models.