Chapter 3: Essential Steps for a Successful Online Coaching Business
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Have you heard that before? It is likely that you have heard it many times and the reason for this is because it is true. If you just jump in to your online coaching business it is not very likely to succeed.
In the last chapter we discussed how important it is to have the right mindset. So we are going to put that into practice now by helping you to strategize your online coaching business. You need a plan and it needs to be good. Here are the essential steps that you need to take:
1. What do you really want?
There is no such thing as a perfect online coach. You can spend months on Google trying to find the perfect way to launch your new online coaching business and you will not find the right answer. This guide will certainly help you but you need to ask yourself some important questions before you get going.
There are no shortage of online training courses that will cost you a lot of money. Although the content in these courses is likely to be high quality you can never guarantee that it will be the right fit for you. As a starting point ask yourself:
- What income do I want to earn each month?
- How many hours do I want to work on my online coaching business?
- What kind of contribution do I want to make in the world?
Write down full answers to these questions because you are going to turn them into goals. The first is your income goal, the second is your lifestyle goal and the last one is your contribution goal. When you achieve all of these goals you will have an online coaching business that rewards you, provides you with the lifestyle you want and fulfills you.
2. Identify your Target Market
To succeed as an online coach you need to serve your clients in a way that the market is not effectively doing so at the moment. You need to know who your target market is and what their pain points are and the problems that they have. It is important for you to align with their desires so that they are delighted to work with you.
When you are able to provide effective solutions to people you will become irresistible to them. They will happily pay you whatever you are asking. Providing the answer to their problems is what you need to be about so you need to know as much about your market as possible.
There are a number of ways that you can do this. You can look for conversations online to discover the problems that your target market are having. Your aim is to know more about your target market than they know themselves. Then just tell them that you have the answers that they are looking for.
Create a plan around this. Find out who your ideal clients are and find ways to identify the issues that they have. In a later chapter we will show you some great ways to find potential clients for your online coaching business.
3. You need to Stand Out
Until you are able to build a solid reputation as an online coach you need to stand out from the crowd. This is particularly important if you are going into a competitive market. There is nothing wrong with being in a competitive market – these tend to grow more than other markets do.
The best way to stand out from the crowd as an online coach is to deliver solutions that really make a difference to your clients. Make a commitment to develop an irresistible offer to them that solves one of their top pain points.
Use your creative mind here and offer the best way to fix their problems. This could be a series of one on one coaching sessions, a group coaching sessions for their employees, a series of training videos for company personnel and so on.
4. Price your Services right
Be committed to providing value to all of your coaching clients. When you have the solutions to their problems you are in a strong position and you can charge accordingly. Some people will try to knock you down on your price. We recommend that you avoid these people especially if they are “bargain hunters”.
Never forget that the solutions that you provide can make a significant difference to your clients lives. If your recommendations will save a business a lot of money then never be afraid to charge a high price for your expertise.
5. Take Action
Don’t be a perfectionist. You do not need a website that costs a fortune and takes months to develop. Your website needs to look professional and explain clearly what you do. Anything more than that is just garnish.
Being resourceful is far more important than having a fancy website. Think about all of the people that you know and tell them that you are launching your new online coaching business. If they do not need your services then they may know others that do.
6. Setup a Support Network
Being an online coach can be a pretty lonely business. One of the best things that we recommend you do is to find a good mentor or mentors. There will be times when you are stuck on a problem for a client. With a good mentor in place it can be a lot easier to come up with the right solution.
Did you know that most good mentors have their own mentors too? Well they do and it is because nobody knows everything. No matter how much of an expert you are in your niche there will always be something that you don’t know or are unsure of.
Make sure that the people around you provide their support to you as well. The support of your spouse and your family is critical. It will also help you immensely if your close friends are supportive as well.
7. Scale your Online Coaching Business
Think of ways that you can scale up your online coaching business. Your focus here should be on providing you with more income and freeing up more of your time. Why not create online training courses where you will share your knowledge with others for a premium?
Another thing that you can do is to create an online community for your target market. Instead of them paying you for one on one sessions you can charge them a monthly membership fee to gain access to the community and its valuable resources. • In the next chapter we will discuss the best ways to deliver your online coaching…
Chapter 4: Effective Delivery of Online Coaching
The way that you deliver your online coaching to your clients does depend on your strategy. Some online coaches deliver to a number of people at the same time while others only offer one on one coaching. There are other online coaches that do both. Regardless of your approach there are common elements that you need to get right.
- Prepare for your Coaching Sessions
It is essential that you are confident with your coaching sessions. If you are disorganized and just “wing it” then unless you are a master coach with bags of experience your delivery will not be perceived as confident to your clients.
Always bear in mind that your coaching clients are looking to you to provide answers to their questions. Your main objective must be as a solution provider that inspires your clients. When people are paying you top dollar for your advice they expect you to be on the ball and give them what they want.
With new clients ask them questions using email or through an online form to get a good understanding of what their problems and pain points are. Give yourself time to prepare for the coaching call so that you can research if necessary or speak with your mentors to come up with the best response.
There will be times when a client asks you a question that you can’t answer. When this happens you need to respond positively and tell them they you need to look into the issue further to provide them with the best answer. You have to manage expectations here – your clients probably think that you have all of the answers already.
Prepare your first coaching session around what the client has told you about their problems. Using screen visuals is a good idea and will be well received so spend time getting these ready before your call. When you prepare everything beforehand it will give you the confidence to deliver the best possible coaching session.
2. Add Accountability to your Online Coaching
Your coaching clients are paying you for your advice and guidance so you need to have information prepared for them. It is also a good idea to create materials in coaching calls that provide a direct response to questions raised. Versatility is very important and it is not just about providing static materials.
When you are delivering your coaching sessions focus on planting a seed. What you are doing here is providing ideas at the “seed” level that will take root with your clients and then start to grow.
Online coaching is a two way street. The onus is on you to provide the solutions but you want the client to play their part as well. They need to take action against what you have discussed so introduce accountability into your sessions. Tell your client at the outset that they will need to be responsible for the agreed actions in your calls.
There are a number of good tools out there that will help you to provide this accountability. We will cover the best tools to use in a later chapter. Whatever tools you decide to use they need to be visible by both you and the client(s).
There are tools that offer a number of interactive elements such as goal setting, calendars and journaling. Use these to your advantage. It is essential that you keep track of the actions that you have agreed with your clients. This will include actions for you as well as actions for them.
What you want is a number of coaching sessions with a client for maximum profitability. It is pretty unlikely that you are going to solve all of their problems in one coaching session anyway, but when you have an accountability trail it will always prompt another session.
3. Be Flexible over Session Times and Platforms
If you live on the other side of the world to your client then you need to be flexible over times for coaching sessions. It is not ideal to perform coaching sessions in the middle of the night. But if that is the only time that your client has available then you need to make the sacrifice here.
We recommend that you have as many conferencing facilities as possible at your disposal. A lot of people will be happy to use Skype and there are apps available for you to record your coaching sessions which you must do.
Always tell your clients upfront that you will be recording the calls. Explain that you will play the recording back afterwards to pick up on the agreed actions etc. Tell them that you do not want to write notes as this will deflect your attention away from listening to what they have to say. They should appreciate this.
You can offer a copy of the recorded coaching session to your clients if they want it. Another good reason for recording your coaching sessions is that you can learn from your mistakes. Take the time out to go through all of your early coaching sessions and think about ways that you can improve them.
4. Use Video Calling where Possible
You want to create a strong connection with your coaching clients. One of the best ways to do that is to use video sessions so that they can see your face and you can see theirs. It is easier to pick up on visual clues during a coaching session than it is audible ones.
For example if you are discussing a high level concept you will easily be able to detect if your client is confused or is switching off while you are trying to explain something complex. You can straight away check with them to confirm that things are sinking in with them or not. It is never good for your client to leave a coaching session confused.
If you are coaching a group of people at the same time keep the numbers low (less than 6) so that you can monitor the reactions of the different clients. For group coaching you will need something more robust than Skype or the other messenger applications. You need to invest in a video conferencing platform.
Be sure to cover all your costs of using this type of platform in your pricing. Also make sure that you can record the sessions. If it is possible to record both video and audio then go for that option so that you can really assess your performance in the sessions.
5. Be Responsive outside of Coaching Sessions
None of your coaching clients are going to expect you to be available 24 hours a day. But they will expect you to respond promptly to any emails or other forms of communication that they initiate with you. Some online coaches choose specific times of day when they will respond to emails from clients.
While we are all for time management, we do not agree that it is a good idea to keep coaching clients waiting too long for a reply from you. We recommend that you respond to emails or text messages or any other form of communication from your clients as soon as possible. They will certainly appreciate that and will feel that you really care about them.
As an online coach your aim must always be to delight your clients. They are going to know people that you don’t and if they are delighted with the service that you provide they will happily tell others about it.
6. Be Empathetic
We mentioned that online coaching was a two way street above and that the client has a responsibility to take action as well as you. If they are late delivering these actions then never try to ridicule them or get angry with them. You need to show empathy and explain to them that it is in their best interests to follow through with the agreed actions.
If a client wants to have a call with you late at night because they are struggling with something as a result of your coaching sessions, then unless it is completely inconvenient for you we recommend that you have that call.
Listen to what they have to say and ask questions. If they need a bit more time to complete an action then tell them that is fine. This is not school and you are not a teacher who is going to place them in detention for not doing their homework!
In the next chapter we will look at setting up a website for your online coaching business…