As late as January of this year, I found that many coaches were not overly interested in being online. Let’s face it, we enjoy the ability to see a face and talk with people. So things that have to do with setting up our business, well, for some of us, they get moved to the back burner.
Fast forward a couple of months and we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Life has most certainly changed! Businesses everywhere have had to make the jump from face-to-face transactions to as little contact as possible. Now, more than ever, coaches are seeking out softwares to help them manage their online coaching businesses.
To this end, there are lots of options available with many features and price points, so how do you choose? In this article I will walk you through what to consider when choosing a software product for your coaching business.
Where do we start?
- Where you are currently with your business
- What coaching methods you will use with your clients
- Where you want to go with your business
Where are you now with your online coaching business?
How are you managing your coaching business right now? Do you currently have any parts of it online? Are you working with emails and video software? What are your current issues that need to be fixed? These are just some of the things to think about as you make your wish list.
When I first started out, I understood that when my client signed onto a system, I probably was not going to be in the room with them. This meant the software system I chose was going to represent me at a time when I needed to ensure I was making a great impression – when my client was onboarding.
My human resources background taught me that at least 80% of people decide if they are staying with a company for the long term during their onboarding process. This means that when people are starting something new, a welcoming presentation is vital. Ensuring a smooth onboarding of my client is one of my top priorities. Therefore, I want a system that will not only speak (well) for me, but will allow me to make a great first impression personally. I do this with a 1-lesson course and a video.
If you have not considered what the experience of starting up with coaching is for your client, now is the time to think about it. This is something that your software should make very easy for you.
Coaching methods used in your online coaching business
Where are you going in your online coaching business?
Now, think about how you would like to see your business grow. Not necessarily ten years from now, but maybe within the next couple of years. When I first started officially coaching in 2007, I started off with both individual clients as well as groups. I knew then that I would like to offer retreats at some point. However I had no idea how much social media would change the way we would function as people! Asking the question of where you are going is something you must consistently ask yourself. Not only because of the life changes you will make, but because of the way society (your clients) will change.
Once you have an idea about how you would like to grow, consider what your business needs will be and add these items to the wishlist you create for your online coaching software. Keep in mind, some of these things will be your “nice to have” list, not your “must have” list.
Some things to look for in an online coaching software product
Now I’m sure some of you are still looking for a more conclusive list of items to consider. If you are anything like me, you can dream really big dreams! So here are a few things you may want to consider.
- Can the software host courses that I can sell passively?
- How much space will I have to store documents, videos, audios etc?
- Will I be able to offer courses for my individual and group clients?
- Will there be a place for note taking / journaling of some type for me and my clients?
- How will I be able to track goals? Are there any metrics for this?
- What ways does the system offer for me to communicate with my clients?
- Will I be able to set up meetings and offer reminders to my clients?
- What is the scheduling system like? Can clients book meetings on their own?
- What type of invoicing is available? Does the system offer automatic billing?
- What kind of security does the system offer?
What is customer service like?
- How long will it take to get set up? Is training available?
- Can I market my business with the platform?
- What does it cost?
Start a trial with an online coaching software product
Don’t spend too long making your wish list. You will end up with plenty of questions as you move on to the next step: trying out different software product options. Here is what you should do:
- Start by making a list of software options by doing an online search and of course by asking for recommendations from fellow coaches.
- Many software options are offering trials. Sign up and take full advantage of the trial. I suggest doing only 1 or 2 trials at a time. Too many can be confusing.
- Take the time out to set yourself up as a client. See the software from both sides. Ensure it will be easy for your client to work with.
- Take great notes on each one so you can make a solid comparison
Finding the right software product for your online coaching practice will take a bit of research and once you find it, you will need to take a few more moments to “make it yours”.
As for me, I’ve used a few different products, however once I started with Life Coach Office in 2014, it has continued to be my choice. I’m sure you will find that the time and money invested on the right system will prove to be well worth it when you show up organized and prepared to engage your client with each coaching session.