As a coach, having an online-only program is an excellent way to boost your business growth, multiply your time, and create a calmer working schedule.
It’s a convenient (and often more comfortable) option for you and your clients.
But where to begin?
Whether you're starting from scratch or want to tailor an existing coaching program to work in a remote environment, here are six steps to follow.
1. Determine if it's the right fit for your coaching business
Nearly any type of coaching can be offered remotely, especially with the right tools on your side (which we'll get to a little later).
But, just because you could do a remote coaching offering doesn't necessarily mean you want to move forward with it. Take some time to think about whether or not going a remote route is the right fit for your coaching business by asking yourself questions like:
- Why do I want to provide a remote offering? What benefits will it offer?
- Are there any parts of my coaching business that I worry will suffer if I offer them remotely? How will I overcome those challenges?
- Have my clients expressed an interest or desire for remote coaching?
Again, remote coaching offers plenty of benefits — but that doesn't mean it's something you absolutely have to implement to run a successful coaching practice.
2. Craft your remote offering
If you decide that remote coaching is a smart move for you and your clients, it's time to turn your attention to the actual content of your coaching program.
But how you approach this will depend on your starting point.
If you already have an existing program that you want to adapt to offer remotely, you'll need to do some tweaking and tailoring like:
- Swapping in-person sessions for remote conversations (and perhaps getting your clients to adopt new tech)
- Changing any hard copy handouts or resources to be digitally accessible
- Creating other resources (like a knowledge base, email templates, etc.) that will be helpful as you manage your remote offering
If you're starting from scratch with creating a remote coaching program, you have a little more work ahead of you.
Fortunately, crafting your remote offering is similar to any other coaching program you'd put together — you just need to make sure that everything can happen digitally.
Start by deciding on the timeline for your coaching program. After that, you can begin to create and arrange your materials, which could be any combination of:
- Assignments, worksheets, and other "homework"
- Downloads, handouts, and resources
- Group sessions and communities
- Live sessions and 1:1 conversations
- Recorded videos and training
Still feel stuck on how to make remote coaching work for your business?
As you create your offering, you could get some extra help and inspiration by:
- Reviewing feedback from your other coaching programs (if you've held them)
- Talking to other coaches who offer remote coaching to learn from their experiences
- Reflecting on times you participated in remote coaching as a client (if you have) and what you did or didn't like about it
3. Gather the necessary tools
Remote coaching happens completely digitally, which means you'll need some apps and tools to serve your clients and keep your business organized.
From communication to contracts, here are a few popular coaching tools that are worth considering:
- HelloSign: Use it for contracts with your clients
- Stripe: Use it for processing client payments
- Whimsical: Use it for client collaboration in whiteboards and docs
- ZipMessage: Use it for asynchronous conversations and coaching sessions
- Zoom: Use it for live conversations and coaching sessions
Of course, that's not an exhaustive list — and the exact tools you'll need will depend on your specific coaching program. But the important thing is to identify and then secure the tools you need to launch and manage your remote coaching service.
3. Find coaching clients
You can build the best remote coaching program — but it won't do anything to scale your business if you can't find any clients interested in signing up.
Finding coaching clients can feel daunting (especially if you're just getting started), but clarity will go a long way here. Make sure you have a solid grasp on:
- Who specifically your coaching program is for (e.g. "busy moms")
- What problem your coaching program solves (e.g. "who have no time for self-care")
- What the benefit of solving that problem is (e.g. "so they can feel more fulfilled and less frazzled")
That messaging will underscore all of your marketing — from your website to your social media posts — so your target customers can immediately recognize that your program was built for them.
From there, you can use a variety of marketing tactics to spread the word about your remote coaching offering, from asking for client referrals to creating social media advertisements.
4. Onboard your coaching clients
When you've landed clients for your remote coaching program, it's time to turn your attention to a crucial part of their experience: onboarding.
Remote coaching offers far more accessibility for your clients, but that doesn't mean they'll onboard themselves.
You need to empower them with information and expectations so they know what they're in for and how they can be the most successful.
Here are a few questions you should address upfront with your remote coaching clients, whether it's through an initial conversation or a written resource:
- What can your coaching clients expect from you?
- What do you expect from your coaching clients?
- How will you monitor their progress?
- Are there any tools they need to secure or accounts they need to create?
- Do they need any training on any tools or processes?
- How often will you meet for live conversations?
- What is the best way for them to get in touch with you?
- What is your typical response time to messages?
The more information you can provide upfront, the more equipped your clients will feel to move forward confidently in your remote coaching program — and the smoother your relationship will be.
5. Run your remote coaching sessions
Now you're up and running and into the actual work. Your program is created, onboarding is complete, and you and your clients are working through your actual coaching sessions.
As we discussed earlier, your remote program will likely involve a combination of live conversations, resources, assignments, and more.
But, if you think remote coaching has to mean a calendar stuffed with endless video chats, think again!
ZipMessage can help you deliver client transformations without relentless meetings.
You can easily exchange video, audio, and text messages in a threaded conversation. This type of asynchronous messaging means you can give your clients the attention and face time they crave — between or even instead of live calls.
6. Collect feedback and improve your program
Your remote coaching program probably won't be flawless from the start, and that's okay.
Coaching is a learning process — for your clients, yes, but also for you as the coach.
Commit to continuous improvement by ending each coaching engagement with a survey so that you can understand your client's experiences and use their insights to improve future offerings.
Here are a few important questions to ask to get your client's most honest and valuable feedback:
- What did you find especially helpful and impactful about this coaching program?
- What would you like to change about this coaching program?
- Do you feel you've achieved your goal through this coaching program? Why or why not?
- Did you have access to the right tools and resources to participate fully in this coaching program?
- Did you run into any roadblocks related to this coaching program happening remotely?
- Did you feel that you had enough access to me as your coach?
- Would you recommend this coaching program to other people? Why or why not?
Some answers might be hard to hear (hey, feedback can sting — even for coaches), but it's relevant information you can use to make smart and strategic changes that help you become even more successful.
Ready to go remote?
If you have an in-person coaching offer, consider tailoring it to fit a virtual environment. The convenience and comfort it offers to clients and prospects might be a game-changer for your business.
It’s also a great opportunity for new coaches to get their coaching hours in. Without being restricted to a local client base, or having to go to the additional effort in-person coaching requires — you gain a bigger pool of prospects and can slot in more sessions to help you improve your craft.
And yes, there are some risks to consider before you switch, but making some small changes can have a huge impact on your coaching business growth.
Want to run a successful remote coaching program? ZipMessage has you covered for all of your async messaging. Grab your free account here