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What’s the Difference Between 1:1 and Group Coaching?

coaching exercise goal achievement progress workout Sep 30, 2022

Working with a nutrition and/or fitness coach can be a game changer.

Sick of second-guessing yourself all the time?

Working with a coach can put an end to the second-guessing and help you come up with a plan that actually works for you.

Feel like you’re doing “everything” right OR spending way too much time in the gym but seeing little results?

A coach can help you stop wasting your time and become more effective and efficient with your workouts and nutrition.

But there are many different ways you can work with a nutrition or fitness coach. The two main categories are 1:1 coaching and group coaching.

Today we're going to walk you through the differences between working with an online coach in a 1:1 capacity versus a group setting. By the end of this article you’ll feel confident in your ability to  choose the right type of coaching for you.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that when I say “group coaching,” I’m not referring to short-term “challenges.” You know, those 7-day or 30-day quick programs with little (if any) direct work with a coach. Here we will be talking about group coaching where you’re not on a time crunch, there's no “end date,” and you are building a relationship with a coach over time. 


Which is Better: 1:1 Coaching or Group Coaching?


Before you can decide whether 1:1 coaching or group coaching is the better option for you, I want you to do some deep introspection. 

Remember back in school when you would get partnered up in a group to complete a project? 

There were always those few kids who carried the team, took control, and did the majority of the work.

And there were also the few that passively participated and only did what they were told to do with some effort. 

Which of these roles were you more likely to take?  

I know, I know - it’s been a while since those high-school history projects, but try to think back.

You can also reflect on a recent job you may have had where you were a part of a team, working on projects in a group setting. 

What was your participation like? Were you the one asking questions, making decisions, and communicating with the boss? Or were you more likely to blend into the background in these settings? 

You probably get where I’m going with this.

How much you enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) these other group settings can provide a lot of information about whether or not group coaching will work well for you: 

If you thoroughly enjoyed the group projects, asked lots of questions, and took the lead, you’ll likely enjoy group coaching. 

However, if you always choose to work solo when you have the option and aren’t a fan of group work, you may be better suited to 1:1 fitness coaching. 


What to Expect: Coaching Style


If you’re looking for an option with the most individualized attention and accountability, then 1:1 coaching is always going to be your best option. 

One of the biggest benefits of 1:1 coaching is that it’s 100% tailored to fit your personalized needs, schedule, preferences, goals, etc. (that is, of course, if you hire a high-quality coach).

When you work with your coach in a 1:1 setting, they can be more flexible with their approach to help meet your specific needs. This is often more difficult to do in a group coaching setting because the coach won’t be able to spend the same amount of time and put the same detail into each person in the group.

As the client, you also are able to build a closer relationship with your 1:1 coach over time compared to a group coaching setting. Having a close relationship with your coach allows you to be more open and honest with them—which can be really important for your success!

Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t group coaching options that provide personalized plans and access to the coach to build relationships—but you will be more likely to find these things in a 1:1 coaching relationship compared to a group setting.


What to Expect: Learning Style


When it comes to your health and fitness journey, the goal shouldn’t be to just blindly follow a plan but to learn the best nutrition and exercise options for your body, preferences, and your life.

Working with a coach should mean that you learn the WHY behind what you are doing so that you can maintain your results long after your coaching relationship has ended. (Note: it’s a major red flag if any coach simply tries to tell you what to do without teaching you!!)

For both group coaching and 1:1 coaching, the coach’s primary focus should be on education for their clients. However, 1:1 coaching and group coaching can differ quite a bit when it comes to how this education is delivered. 

For instance, 1:1 coaching allows for individual-level teaching. Your coach SHOULD provide you with education based on your personal situation (again, this is something to look for in a high-quality coach——check out our article on how to make sure you choose one of these kinds of coaches!).

Maybe you’re a single woman living in NYC with no family and easy access to everything you need for your health and fitness journey. Your needs are going to be very different than that of a mom of 4 living in the countryside who can only access the grocery store once a week.

What your life looks like will determine what you need to be educated on, and in a 1:1 coaching setting, it’s very easy for your coach to tailor that education to your life.

This can still be done inside a group coaching option, but you will have less time with the coach to get the education you might need. And you definitely will need to be comfortable speaking up in the group to get the education required for your situation.

Another thing to keep in mind for any type of coaching program is how you like to learn best.

Maybe you prefer listening to podcasts or lectures, or maybe you are a visual learner who likes to read the information rather than talk about it. 

Whether it’s group or 1:1 coaching you’re looking into, be sure to ask your fitness coach how they plan to educate you. 

For example, at KJO Coaching, we've built an extensive library of materials for our clients. This library includes educational PDFs, interactive exercises, video-recorded group chats, educational videos, and guest lectures. 

Our goal is to provide our clients with a variety of options so they can choose to learn in whichever way works best for them. 


What to Expect: Community Access


You might be thinking, “What if I want all the benefits of 1:1 coaching, but I also want to meet people?”

Having access to people like you who are working towards similar goals can be so important, especially if you don’t have many people like that in your life.

If you’re interested in 1:1 coaching for the personalized attention, accountability, and extra access to a coach but also want to build connections with other individuals like yourself, you may be able to find both!

Some coaching companies, like KJO Coaching, offer high-quality 1:1 coaching but still provide you with the chance for you to connect and build relationships with other clients on the team. 

We accomplish this through small group work, team calls, Facebook groups, book clubs, and even real-life meet-ups! 

KJO Coaching has done ALL of these things to build a community for our clients, and our clients have reported back LOVING the connection they get. 

Working 1:1 with a coach doesn't have to mean missing out on the relationship building with other individuals with goals that match yours. You just have to find the right team to work with! 


What to Expect: Cost


Naturally, group coaching is going to be the more affordable option in almost all cases. This is because the coach doesn’t need to spend as much 1:1 time with each client, so they can carry more clients. 

But you get what you pay for! More affordable coaching via group fitness coaching means less direct access to the coach, less personalization, and, often, less individualized education.

That being said, I’m not saying 1:1 coaching is insanely expensive, either.

In fact, companies like KJO Coaching have numerous options to fit nearly any budget—this is something you can discuss with our Client Support Team during your free consultation call once you apply! 


Wrap Up Reminders


Regardless of the type of coaching you go with, remember that this is an investment in yourself, your health, and your happiness!

Take your time to understand what the coaching program you’re considering looks like. Review testimonials from past clients, and make sure you feel confident that the coach you’re working with can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to invest in your health and happiness, click here to apply for coaching.

But you don’t have to put your health on hold if you aren’t ready to invest in fitness coaching. 

Check out our FREE 4-week sample workout guide to get an idea of what training with a KJO coach is like. We also share important information, videos, and terminology to help you get the most out of this guide. 


Connect with us!

Email: [email protected]

IG: @kjocoaching

Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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