Introduction and Purpose

The overarching purpose for members of our Tree House Group is to “Become more effective professionals and maintain a balanced life!”

Video of Ed talking about the Tree House Group: click here

This group is designed specifically for those professionals on the Central Coast of California, USA who rely on their own skills, expertise, and time to generate their professional income. In a phrase, “the person is the business.” They include professional speakers, consultants, CPAs, attorneys, authors, and people operating a solo business. Perhaps they have an assistant or even two, but they do not have a “staff.”  They can be called: solopreneurs, or independent professionals.

We call this group the Tree House Group. This group meets together on a monthly basis in a confidential setting to provide information, support, accountability, and colleagueship. It is not a networking group. Members must be committed to improving their businesses and growing personally and professionally.  This group is facilitated by seasoned business coach, Dr. Ed Cox. In addition to the monthly group meetings, private one-to-one coaching is included every month for additional insight, accountability and support.

There are many professionals in the wider San Luis Obispo County who provide professional services to the region and beyond. Many of them operate independently and do not have a peer group or a local professional support network in which they can share ideas, learn about new tools, and be held accountable to their own goals. There are several networking groups, service organizations and “leads groups” available. While these are important, members are likely to present their best face to these groups because they do not want anyone to see their vulnerabilities. The Tree House Group requires members to be honest with each other about their strengths as well as their concerns and their developmental needs. It’s a place where we can be totally honest with each other without having to worry about “image.”

Ideal Members

Our ideal Tree House Group members are committed to growing both their businesses and themselves; they are excited about the opportunity to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones in order to accomplish things they could not achieve before.  They are dedicated to achieving a balanced life, with interests outside the business.

They appreciate the knowledge and strength other members can bring and are eager to learn from them. They have the courage to try new things in order to improve themselves as professionals and as a people. They are committed to being at Tree House Group meetings and take pleasure in helping their peers by sharing their knowledge, observations and experiences.

  • They care deeply about their profession, their community, and the positive impact their contributions can make.
  • They want to be connected to a community of other professionals in a safe, respectful, heart-felt way that allows exploration of tough and sensitive issues.
  • They are looking forward to celebrating their own successes and those of others.
  • They do not always take themselves too seriously; they can laugh at themselves occasionally.

The demographic characteristics of ideal members include:

  • An already successful, seasoned professional living on the Central Coast with a business or practice that may extend regionally or nationally;
  • Operating primarily on a solo basis, perhaps with a partner or an assistant or two, but without a “staff”;
  • Business or service is designed in some way to assist others.

Member Selection Process

Just like in a back-yard tree house, membership is by invitation only. Members are interviewed and selected by Ed Cox. The group does not have members who are competitors or major customers or suppliers of another group member. This helps ensure confidentiality and allows total free-flow of information.

Group Size

The ideal size of the group is 12 committed people who can attend regularly. This allows for a wide range of expertise in the room and will always provide a solid number of people for meetings even when some members must be away for travel.


The group meets once per month, for a half day beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month. These meetings are scheduled a year in advance.

The group meetings are structured to ensure maximum effectiveness. Expertise from within the group as well as guest resource presenters from outside the group are invited to contribute. In addition, members are invited to present issues, opportunities, and special topics to the group. These issues are explored in a way that gives the member maximum insight and provides suggestions from the other members.

In addition to the group meetings, one-to-one meetings with Ed Cox are an important part of this program, with monthly one-to-one meetings lasting 90 minutes. The purpose of these private meetings is to provide additional support, accountability, and to help the member identify and clarify issues and opportunities that can be brought to the larger group for feedback.

Periodic goal-setting meetings are a part of this group meeting process to allow members to present their goals and progress towards those goals. The group can provide ideas and suggestions to help members stay on track with their goals.

Location of Meetings

The meetings are held in  private conference rooms. The “host” for each meeting rotates among members, and the host will give a presentation consisting of an in-depth description of his/her business. Over time, we will have an in-depth understanding of each member’s profession, his or her issues, opportunities and goals.

Ed’s professional purpose is to help create the context for people and their businesses to be their very best.

Getting Started

Membership in The Tree House Group is by invitation only, and membership is not right for everyone. Ed Cox will meet with candidates for the group to determine whether there is a good fit for the group.  Together, Ed and the candidate will determine a decision process that works best for each candidate.

Video of Ed talking about the Tree House Group: click here