An alternative group coaching method to the fishbowl format is to involve all group members in the coaching session through asking powerful questions of everyone. This can happen in a few different ways:
Choose one powerful question that you ask each member of the group in order. This may allow group members to deepen their understanding of the question by hearing others’ responses. In this method, always return to the first person who was asked the question to see if they want to add any further insights after hearing the other group members’ responses.
Pass the Baton (see also the tool description)
In this method, you start by asking the group what topic or theme they would like to use to frame the exercise and then, based on the topic chosen, ask one person in the group a powerful question. After that person responds, they have the option of asking the same question to another member of the group, or to ask a different powerful question. After that person responds, they have the option of asking the same question to another member of the group, or to ask a different powerful question. This process repeats until all members of the group have had the opportunity to answer and ask a question at least one time, but it can be repeated in multiple rounds.
One creative way to use this tool is to ask each person to choose a question based on something in their own response to the previous question. For example, if one person is asked about the challenges they encounter with habit building, and they discuss how habits make them feel constrained, they might ask the next person “what feels constraining in your life right now?”
In this method, you might start the session by forming an agenda, setting objectives, and then asking the first powerful question, but then you would open the floor to the group to decide which question or topic they want to explore next. This method can work well for a group that has had some experience working together and that has already built some trust with other members.
Each of the above methods pair well with other coach session requirements such as agenda setting, allowing the client(s) to make decisions about where to go in the session, and supporting accountability at the session’s close.