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Beware of the risks! 5 remote coaching pitfalls to avoid

Don’t make these mistakes! Foolproof your coaching business with these quick fixes for common problems.

by Kat Boogaard
Updated Dec 24, 2022

Remote coaching can offer a big boost for your coaching business and your clients. It's convenient, accessible, and flexible. What could possibly go wrong?

Well…a few things, provided you aren't proactive and careful. 

Let's take a quick look at five common pitfalls of remote coaching and how you can steer around them.

#1 Glitchy technology

Slow downloads, obnoxious echoes, videos that won't stop freezing... 

Technology is an asset to your coaching business, but it can also frustrate your clients. 

Choose coaching tools that are trusted and reliable, and make sure to test out your tech before any important meetings or deadlines to ensure it'll work the way your clients need it to. 

A few useful operational tips for avoiding pesky tech problems: 

  • Pay for the upgrade on the tech you use the most: A good mix of free and paid tools can run your coaching business easily.
  • Keep your devices up to date: Make sure you are using the latest version of software and firmware. The last thing you want is an auto-update to start right before your call does!
  • Keep your devices clean: Dust and debris can accumulate on the inside and outside of your microphone, headphones, etc. Keep them running smoothly and avoid overheating or similar issues with regular cleaning.
  • Use a stable internet connection: A stable and fast internet connection is essential when you go remote. If you are experiencing glitches, try moving closer to your router or using a wired connection instead of a wireless one.
  • Use high-quality cables and chargers: Cheap or damaged cables and chargers can cause device issues. 
  • Restart your devices regularly: Sometimes, simply restarting your device can help clear up any glitches or issues you might be experiencing. Make sure to restart your devices regularly to help keep them running smoothly.
  • Keep an eye on your laptop or phone storage: If it runs low, it can slow down and become glitchy. Delete unnecessary files and apps to free up space.

And lastly, if you have to choose — a solid microphone is more important than the best webcam. 

#2 Outdated course materials

Extra resources and “bonus access” to your teaching material are delightful extras that clients appreciate. But if you're sending them outdated content, it’s significantly less appealing. 

Run a fine-tooth comb through all of your course assets and resources. And if anything needs a quick edit or rebrand, send it off to a VA and get them to work on cleaning them up.

Make sure whatever you share is tailored appropriately for a remote coaching program. The last thing you want is for clients to access a calendar that lists in-person events. Or references a “live” presentation that’s been and gone. 

Some simple language tweaks can help create a more delightful and congruent customer journey. 

#3 Incomplete onboarding

Remote coaching might feel more hands-off, but you're still responsible for guiding your clients. 

This usually looks like checking in frequently as they get up and running to ensure they're taking the appropriate steps and aren't overwhelmed by getting started. 

Tech can frustrate even the best of us, and when something isn’t working how your client thought it would, or they have resistance to using new tools — it’s up to you to have the systems in place that help guide them through your coaching process. 

Your onboarding should be delightful as well as informational. It’s a fantastic point in your relationship to continue to build trust. And keeping them informed and feeling confident they’re making progress is paramount.

Remember, every interaction counts.

#4 Overscheduling

As a remote coach, you have access to clients around the world, and you no longer need to schedule buffers for travel or other time-eating activities. 

That's a good thing. 

But it also makes it remarkably easy to overcommit yourself. 

Make sure you pay close attention to your capacity, so you don't spread yourself too thin. Energy management is crucial, and you should protect your boundaries (if only to set a good example for your clients). 

A few helpful tips:

  • Include time buffers to give yourself appropriate breaks between live calls and coaching sessions. If it’s a 90-minute 1:1, add at least half an hour on either side for prep and wind-down. 
  • Use a scheduling app like SavvyCal to handle your appointments and set your availability so you can’t possibly overbook yourself. 
  • Never be afraid to reschedule something if you need to. Most people have no problems accommodating changes. Of course, the more notice, the better, but if it’s unavoidable, cancel and make it as easy as possible to reschedule. 

#5 Constant availability

Similarly, the convenience and accessibility of remote coaching might make you feel like you need to be continuously and readily available — which can quickly lead to burnout. 

Remember to set clear expectations with your clients about your availability and response times, so you don't feel like you need to be chained to your desk or inbox at all hours. 

Using something like ZipMessage provides a platform for your clients to communicate with you, promoting less urgency. 

Even email can often feel like you need to respond instantly. But having a dedicated space for the “outside live calls” conversations and coaching is a great way to minimize the assumption that you’re “always on.” 

Six Tips for Making the Switch to Remote Coaching 

Okay, so we’ve talked about the pitfalls, but let’s quickly recap some helpful tips that can make remote coaching work well for your business. 

  1. Set clear goals for the session: Making the most of your time together requires prep work. Make it easy to dive into the juicy details during your session by defining a goal and objective before you meet. You can send clients a simple survey or a few pointed questions to answer before the call. This will help you focus your time together on addressing those needs. 
  2. Use the right tools: There are many tools available for holding remote coaching sessions; video conferencing software, screen sharing tools, and online whiteboards. Choose the best tools for your needs, and familiarize yourself with them before the session.
  3. Create a professional and comfortable environment: Make sure you have a clean and quiet space to work in and consider using a headset to help minimize background noise. Remember, if you hold your sessions outside of your office, be sure to head to an offsite location that still provides a secure and reliable internet connection. 
  4. Stay organized with an SSOT: A single source of truth (SSOT) for all your materials and resources is a godsend when you’re a coach. You can quickly access the information you need and share it easily with your clients. ZipMessage works great for this and makes it easy to share files and videos with clients. 
  5. Engagement is everything: Remote coaching sessions can be less interactive than in-person sessions, so it's important to make an extra effort to engage with your client. Use nonverbal cues, ask open-ended questions, and encourage feedback and participation to help create a more interactive and engaging session.
  6. Be flexible: Remote coaching can be unpredictable, and things may not always go as planned. Be prepared to adjust and stay flexible to meet your client's needs and achieve the session's goals.

Broaden your business with remote coaching

Not that long ago, you probably never would've imagined the possibility of serving your coaching clients without being in the same space, much like doctors never would've pictured telehealth visits or bosses never would've dreamed they'd be managing distributed teams. 

But today? Remote coaching isn't a leap. 

It's becoming more of the norm. And that's a good thing. Because it offers convenience and comfort for your clients while also allowing you to scale your business and have more impact — with less time and stress. 

Want to run a successful remote coaching program? ZipMessage has you covered for all of your async messaging. Grab your free account here.

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