Creating Community of Loyal Students Who Achieve Transformation

adult learning entrepreneurship learning experience design Nov 04, 2021

Manja continues Season 2 of Your Greatest Work with a peer mastermind with Jennifer Van Barneveld Pe, owner & coach of Team Strong Girls. Jennifer and Manja discuss creating transformative online communities and how to scale your coaching business by hiring coaches who can continue building the community and brand culture.

Listen to the full episode


When you dream about your business, what do you see? Jennifer Van Barneveld Pe dreams of spreading the Strong Girls vision & approach worldwide. For over 15 years, Jennifer has been helping women live more confidently in their bodies as a coach herself & as founder & owner of Team Strong Girls & now President of Strong Fitness Magazine.

But as Jennifer launches the first-ever Strong Formula trainer certification program, she's finding herself pivoting, adjusting, & exploring a new business offering. The Strong Formula program differs from Team Strong Girls classic one-on-one coaching and membership program. Still, both programs have loyal members who foster transformative communities. What's the secret?

How do you create engaged & effective communities? Well, creating community is a process, but Jennifer has genuinely developed a community of loyal followers with consistency, conviction and empathy.

Community Through Group Coaching & Individual Coaching

For both group and individual coaching, building community is essential. Learners enter, connect, and feel supported through the community. Sometimes the community you foster can share learning in ways you could never have imagined. But fostering community looks different in group coaching compared to individual coaching,

In group coaching, breaking the ice in a first session is essential, as Jennifer has experienced firsthand. You're all there together — you as the instructor and your clients as learners. Lean into this feeling to set the tone for the rest of the group coaching program.

In individual coaching, fostering community can be effective through people sharing their growth process. For Team Strong Girls, this means sharing photoshoot pictures for all new (and previous!) Strong Girls. These photoshoots celebrate the progress that women make in their health and personal journey & create a common thread for all Strong Girls, despite their one-on-one coaching program.

Community Through Common Struggles

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Community forms through common struggles. Whether in group programs or individual programs, Jennifer has seen this again & again & again. If an individual is struggling with imposter syndrome, they're probably not the only one. For clients or learners, knowing that other people are struggling with the same feeling or the same insecurity creates a common bond & safe place for moving forward — that's what Jennifer has seen in their Strong Formula pilot program.

Sharing transformation stories of overcoming and succeeding can feel uncomfortable for people but there's power in having a community of learners who share their stories. For Team Strong Girl, women sharing their stories of struggle & success gives other women the confidence boost to share their story too. When one person shares, their story resonates with others & everyone feels more supported, explains Jennifer.

According to Jennifer, no one ever feels confident enough to start alone but together they feel confident.

Community Through Questioning

Giving people time & space to ask questions — & get answers! — can also help build community. Through questions, people can learn together, grow together, & share knowledge or experiences together. This has been essential in the pilot program of Strong Formula, Jennifer explains.

Questions have an inherent vulnerability to them. When learners ask questions, course creators have the opportunity to respond positively & constructively to any uncertainties or curiosity. This also fosters a positive, understanding, & safe community.

And in a pilot program, paying attention to the questions your learners ask can help you inform the structure, content, & delivery of the new program. Leaning into learner questions is essential to put learners' needs first while simultaneously fostering a transformative, loyal community.

But of course, there's more we can say about community! Tune in to the full conversation between Jennifer & Manja for more rich, applicable insights!

About Our Guest

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Jennifer Van Barneveld Pe is the founder & owner of Team Strong Girls & president of Strong Fitness Magazine. Jennifer has been helping women live more confidently in their bodies for more than 15 years as a nutrition & exercise coach. A mother & entrepreneur, Jennifer has found herself shifting her work towards helping more entrepreneurs & thought leaders to feel confident in their bodies & find lasting energy.

About Your Greatest Work

Through conversations with global leaders and the credibility of personal industry, Your Greatest Work digs deeper into learning design in useful and applicable ways.

Stay tuned for coming episodes. Let's start the conversation about making your current work into your greatest work.

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