Connect * Empower * Impact


2019 AFCPE® Research and Training Symposium


AFCPE Pre-Symposium: Sunday, November 17 - Tuesday, November 19
AFCPE Symposium: Tuesday, November 19 - Thursday, November 21
Schedule Subject to Change

Friday, November 16th, 2018
Category: Financial Coaching
Group Financial Coaching: A New Approach for Building Financial Capability?
Prior research shows that group-based financial coaching models hold promise as a means of increasing the scale and impact of financial coaching and enhancing behavior change (Baker & O'Rourke, 2013). We extend the work of Baker and O'Rourke by conducting a study that includes both individual coaching and group coaching. Our research is unique in that we collect and compare data from both traditional one-on-one financial coaching and group financial coaching. Both types of coaching conditions had the same goal: to develop clients' financial capabilities through a series of planned meetings focusing on client driven financial goals. We study reports and data from each client (both group and individual). Overall, there is a lack of empirical studies in this field and our study will help move the field of group coaching forward. The potential for group coaching has yet to be explored in depth in our field. This literature review and subsequent empirical study will add to the field by incorporating both a financial capability success model as well as results from group versus individual coaching model with empirical results. Overall in all four areas of financial capabilities measured--confidence, knowledge, stress, and behaviors-- our results indicate that both individually coached, and group coached clients showed increases in confidence, knowledge, and behaviors and decreases in stress over the course of their program. Contrary to our predictions, however, clients who were coached in groups demonstrated similar gains in confidence, reductions in stress, positive changes in behavior, and increases in financial knowledge as clients who were coached individually. While these results do not support our hypothesis that group coaching is better, they are still quite promising and provide data in support of the effectiveness of group coaching. In fact, Morrison (2001) concluded from a review of several health-related areas that group and individual interventions were comparable in their effectiveness and that the efficiency of group work makes it preferable over individual interventions from a policy-based perspective by reducing costs and staff deployment. The fact that the individuals who participated in group financial coaching showed gains that were comparable to the individuals who received individual coaching suggests that there is potential for reaching more clients and spreading financial capabilities to more of the population without sacrificing results.
Implications for Practitioners
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The results of this study show that group coaching is as effective as individual coaching in supporting clients' outcomes regarding financial knowledge, confidence, stress and behaviors. These results have implications for practitioners such as financial coaches and counselors and organizations dedicated to financial empowerment since they often have limited resources to support the needs of their clients. Financial coaching in groups also allows financial institutions, especially community banks focused on low-income households, to scale their financial capability programs to help more of their clients improve their financial health.