I have two custom objects, Students and Coaches, where Students have a Coach__c lookup field. I am attempting to write a trigger that when a new Student is created, I need to assign that student a Coach.

In order to do this, I need to find out which Coach has the least amount of students, and assign the new student to that coach. In normal SQL, I would use a LEFT JOIN:

SELECT c.id, count(s.Coach__c) AS number_of_students
FROM Coach__c AS c
LEFT JOIN Student__c AS s
ON (c.id == s.Coach__c)
ORDER BY number_of_students

How would I achieve this goal in SOQL?

Or is there a way in which I could count the number of Student__C relationships that Coach__c is used in via the Coach__c object?

1 Answer 1


You can use SOQL group by clause, In your insert trigger you can use the Aggregate function count on Student table, to group student number vs coachId

   AggregateResult[] groupedResults =[SELECT Coach__c ,count(Id) FROM Student__c 
                                    GROUP BY Coach__c];

Then sort them with one which is least assigned and then assign the newly created student to it.


  • 1
    Can even do the sorting and selection in SOQL as in the SQL: ... GROUP BY Coach__c ORDER BY count(Id) ASC LIMIT 1.
    – David Reed
    Dec 3, 2018 at 18:10
  • Ah, I literally forgot about it Dec 3, 2018 at 18:12
  • 1
    @PranayJaiswal, @DavidReed I also added ... FROM Student__c WHERE Coach__c != '' GROUP BY... so that empty coaches aren't considered during query
    – BlondeSwan
    Dec 3, 2018 at 19:20

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