Why online coaching rocks!

In this day and age, almost anything can be done with a touch of a button. A few simple taps on your phone and you can almost miraculously connect with someone from the opposite end of the planet.  Imagine being able to do the same thing when it comes to communicating, managing, supporting and motivating your coaching clients.

Top coaches still suffer some big problems…

As coaches and personal trainers, we are familiar with the struggles our clients have with motivation. We can’t be with them 24/7, but it’s hard for us to track everything our clients do. But it’s the habits that we stick with everyday that create the results for our clients (positive or negative).

Most of the time, we can only rely on what little face-to-face time we have with them, which if we’re being honest, isn’t a lot. Maybe it’s only an hour or two every few weeks. And we all have very busy lives which is why it’s so easy to go back to our default patterns of behaviour and even more common for our clients to put their own health second.

Us coaches face the same challenges. The more successful we become, the more clients we “have to” see face to face and the more pressure we put on the other parts of our lives including our own health, family and friends.

Interestingly, the more successful we become, also the more pressure we also put on our current clients who aren’t able to enjoy the same degree of personal attention they might have been used to. The more clients you have, the harder it is to keep them…unless you’ve got the right systems in place.

My first customer…

Cate, knew about these struggles all too well. Cate is an accomplished personal trainer from Christchurch who was feeling frustrated about having to turn aways clients because she had nothing to offer them other than more face-to-face time. She wanted to have the flexibility to be able to coach people in person or on her favourite beach with the same enthusiasm.

That’s why online coaching was so appealing.

Cate could charge a premium for a new level of service she’d never been able to provide before. As the Moxiee app focuses on helping clients with sticking with their habits, it required very little time to manage what her clients needed to work on and she could instead focus on providing standout support.

I defined online coaching as being very different to online training. Online training may include support but typcially involves creating and monitoring fitness programs. This is much more time intensive and I personally can’t see it being as profitable (if it’s highly personalised) or lasting (if it’s not).

Email and text message don’t work…

Because it’s cluttered, impersonal or too personalised to work for the coach.

However, online coaching is also certainly not just sending the occasional text message. With lots of clients, this is already too time consuming for time-poor coaches. An app goes a long way to providing the “packaging” for this kind of service.

Online coaching is also not simply setting up email auto responders. I would argue that the age of broadcast email newsletters is coming slowly to an end…at least in terms of value.

Everybody and his dog seems to have an email newsletter. It’s hardly interactive and these quickly feel impersonal, ubiquitous and low value.

Of course you could try to email and text message all your client’s personally and in real time but this is never going to last. Ain’t nobody got time for that! :)

I’ve learned the hard way that online coaching simply has to be delivered to mobile and at least feel personalised.

Putting yourself in the shoes of your clients, which of these approaches would you be most likely to respond to?

Getting a support email from your coach to your computer or getting a push notification to your phone on your app?

The big limitation of simply “emailing” as a “strategy” for online coaching is that it arrives with everyone else’s emails. Client inboxes are overflowing with “stuff they have to do”.

When they’re reading their emails in front of their computer, they’re not nearly as likely to suddenly jump up and do their workout or meal prep as they would be if they received a notification to their phone. They’re first going to finish reading the other hundred emails they’ve received at the same time and by then the momentum has gone.

Our clients are travelling more and more, the world is becoming “flatter” as travel becomes cheaper and the one constant that our clients have on their person at all times is their smartphone. That means push notifications that on the other hand pop up on the client’s phone on the other hand can pop up wherever they are in the world.

Why online coaching rocks…

Because it firstly lets you skip past the clutter and impact your client. If you’ve got something valuable to say and your clients want to hear it, push notifications all the way baby! You can easily plan out your messages when you have time and schedule them to send to individuals or groups when they are in the right frame of mind to read them.

Think of the ability to finally be able to nudge your client at the right time in the right place. The motivational message they need at 5:30am to get out the door, the reminder to go food shopping on their free day or tip to make their water taste good.

This is a revolution in how we’re currently coaching and how top health, fitness and wellness coaches transform their business. It changes the scale and economics of coaching.

Are you going to catch the wave or wait (and hope that it doesn’t leave you behind)?

When you can manage 10 to 100 x more clients, when you focus on just the lifestyle habits that matter and when you can help a person feel supported wherever they are in the world you are really coaching for the future.

You’ll also be able to leverage an incredibly powerful business model. Online coaching is more resilient because you still get paid when your clent’s get sick. It’s more flexible because you can train or coach a client even when they’re on holiday. It’s longer lasting because clients will stay longer because they can always improve and grow. It’s more effective because you’re able to help the “whole” person. And it’s more profitable because it’s so time-efficient when you have access to the right tools.

Think about the different price points you could now offer prospects, existing clients and previous clients. You could have a free online coaching product, a mid-tier personalised service and a premium level completely personlised support service…

If we recognise that word of mouth is a coach’s best form of marketing, think about the “marketing” reach you’d now have if you could coach 100 x more clients in way that doesn’t require you to even be there!

And think about how well this would lend itself to being able to access one of the most exciting health and fitness categories in the world, corporate wellness…

Online coaching enables these opportunities: scale, entry into corporate wellness, impact.

What’s your vision and what are you going to do about it?

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