The online coaching industry is growing exponentially. In 2022, the market value was equal to $3.2 billion, and it is expected to reach $11.7 billion by the year 2032.
And if you want to start your online coaching business to inspire and motivate your clients toward achieving their desired results, this is the perfect time to begin!
In this article, we'll walk you through all the essentials and provide expert tips as the steps are developed based on the best practices of experienced coaches:
- how to start and promote your online coaching business,
- how to choose between one-on-one and group coaching,
- where to start coaching online,
- the most commonly asked questions to ensure your online coaching business success
The following article covers:
7 steps to start and promote online coaching business
Online coaching is one of the most demanded professions nowadays. Convenient scheduling and accessibility, location freedom, convenience, reduced overhead cost, and improvement in client engagement are all key benefits of online coaching.
So let’s review the step-by-step guide on how to start & promote your online coaching business.
#1 Define Your Coaching Approach
At first, you need to get clear on a few main aspects: Niches, Types, Styles, and Techniques.
Whether you have tried coaching offline before or just starting out, you will need to review your
1. Coaching niche. After choosing a niche (such as life coaching, health coaching, mindset coaching, financial coaching, etc.), all the other aspects, such as style, philosophy, and target audience, will become more apparent to you.
2. Coaching style. There are various coaching styles you can choose and adapt from, some of the most popular ones including democratic coaching, authoritarian coaching, transformation coaching, etc.
3. Coaching technique. You will need to be able to ask the right questions, set goals, do visualization, brainstorm, choose an action plan, and decide on other techniques.
4. Coaching platform. One of the best platforms we can suggest is Uteach. It comes with website-builder, coaching sessions, marketing tools and other exciting features.
5. Coaching model. Choose an approach that fits you best, such as GROW, CLEAR, STEPPA, WOOP & others.
#2 Define your ideal clients
You should be able to visualize your ideal clients if you want to construct truly efficient coaching sessions. Knowing your target audience is the first step for your coaching to work.
As Andy Nelson, an ICF-certified executive coach with 7+ years of experience, mentions, “Coaching is a relationship business.” And what you should find out for yourself at the initial stages is who your potential clients are, their problems or goals, and how you can personalize your approach to build relationships with them.
For this you can start conducting market research in order to identify industry trends, selling niches, etc. Once you are done, you can create your buyer personas to understand your ideal client. These are the people who are going to need your coaching services the most. Some examples include :
- Helping entrepreneurs launch successful startup
- Supporting individuals in career transitions, like switching between industries
- Helping professionals achieve a better work-life balance
- Assisting remote workers to enhance collaboration and productivity
The opportunities are so vast, and your job is to find out WHO you can help! This is a critical point in your coaching career, which decides HOW you are going to help those people.
Try to find out what your ideal clients are struggling with, what they are looking for, and what results they want so that when they come across you, they start thinking, “Now, this is who I trust to help me!”.
And how do I get the answers to all these questions, you wonder. The best way is, of course, to ask your potential clients directly! This is what Mick Rutjes, a life coach passionate about spirituality, does. As simple as it sounds, coming up to a person, introducing yourself, and trying to find out about their goals and problems is the best you can do to “create your clients”, as Mick Rutjes describes it.
“You pass by hundreds of people in a day, like at the supermarket, gym, and communities. Each of them has their own goals, problems, and dreams. And you never know how you can be the one who can help them with that and coach them.”
- Mick Rutjes
You can also monitor other coaches in your niche and market leaders, as you will gain so much knowledge related to every aspect of your business from them.
#3 Develop a well-structured coaching program
To create a successful coaching business, you need to have a well-structured coaching program that will be truly efficient for the participants.
Think about what elements you would include in your program. For example, what type of questions will you use to guide the clients? You can use generative AI to come up with possible questions and tasks that align with your program.
You would also want to ensure you included assessment tools in the program. An example of a great assessment tool is the Wheel of Life. Analyse which one fits your program better and adjust it accordingly.
You will need consistent coaching practice to ensure your program is well-structured and can serve its purpose. However, you will also need more clients to practice. It’s like a “vicious circle that you can’t break away from,” describes Mick Rutjes.
To really master coaching, get better at it, gain confidence, and establish trust, try to find a way you can practice. In Mick’s case, it was setting up a program called Coaching Gym. It’s a unique way for coaches to meet other coaches, coach them, exchange experiences, and learn from each other while listening to other people coach.
In your case, it might be joining online forums and communities, participating in peer-coaching circles, and expanding your network of coaches.
Keep in mind that your coaching program should not be at a standstill. What works best for one client cannot work for everyone else. Even personalizing your coaching program for each client does not imply you cannot adapt or change it in the process.
Pro Tip: Do not forget about the power of practical activities. Visualisatization, journaling, note-taking, and similar activities will ensure your sessions are not limited to only the theoretical part.
#4 Price your program
Pricing the program can really be a game-changer when starting an online coaching business. To ensure you are on the right track with this step, consider your specific niche and your level of expertise.
You can price your coaching sessions at an hourly rate, monthly, or the coaching program as a whole.
Consider these strategies before pricing the coaching program:
- Penetration pricing: which is skimming through market prices and offering the lowest price to get clients. Initially, you might charge little or no money at all!
- Value-based pricing: which means that you should price the program thinking from the customer’s perspective regarding how much value you think they will gain from it.
- Dynamic pricing: with this strategy, you can occasionally change prices on the program and sessions depending on the current demand in the market.
While finding the golden mean for your coaching program seems hard, the perceived affordability of a coaching service can vary significantly among clients. Mick Rutjes mentions that what might seem cheap to one client is expensive to another, depending on who your clients are.
For example, a recent graduate might highly appreciate the guidance of a career coach yet not be able to pay a substantial amount. On the other hand, an executive might find the program with the same price relevantly modest.
Your market research can greatly help with figuring out the rates. So, you can see the price ranges other coaches of your niche offer and adjust it to your program and clients.
#5 Start marketing & promoting your services
Marketing is one of the most vital steps to generating sales and getting a return on investment.
Depending on your starting budget, you can decide what digital marketing tactics you can start with. Is it organic marketing, or is it paid marketing?
Organic marketing relies on unpaid strategies and tactics for improving brand visibility and rankings, building a customer base & generating sales. For example, you can start promoting your coaching business using organic marketing channels:
- posting on social media,
- having a blog,
- conducting email marketing using tools like Brevo or ConstantContact,
- and implementing SEO techniques.
As the name suggests, paid marketing is about paid tools, tactics & strategies you implement to achieve the marketing goals. Plus, paid marketing is extremely good for short-term results, e.g., for fast lead generations. It includes Google and social media ads, programmatic advertising, etc.
These are the main channels when it comes to marketing your online coaching services. However, we should not forget that satisfied clients serve as an invaluable marketing channel. Andy Nelson and Mick Rutjes were in sync, saying that word-of-mouth and referrals have been their primary reliance since they started.
#6 Develop your unique brand
As you start viewing coaching as a long-term business, you should also pay attention to your branding and self-branding. Your branding concerns your mission statement, story, and how you want your clients to perceive you.
To get clear on your brand messaging, ask yourself several questions, such as:
- If your client was on a date with your BRAND, what would be the first thing you would tell them about yourself? This question will help you to get clear on the way you want to position yourself.
- If a potential client says no, what would be the reason? Be brutally honest while answering this question, as it will help you identify your weak spots and prepare possible solutions.
You can also do a SWOT analysis of your business idea or brand to clarify strengths and weaknesses and further actions.
TIP: If you see strong branding as a core factor for your online coaching business growth, get started with a platform that provides you with opportunities for branding, including website building customization, white labeling, and custom domain.
#7 Keep patience. Measure & improve
Keep in mind that brand building from scratch, even online, takes time, practice, and patience.
You will succeed indeed if you love what you do. Therefore, first, make sure that coaching is your passion.
As you start mastering coaching, remember that you constantly need to keep track of every aspect of your business, including website, marketing, client-relationship management, and finances. Besides being a good coach, you should be an entrepreneur who takes full responsibility for your brand.
Measure results, keep track of your progress, and let your passion for coaching expand.
Choose between 1:1 and group coaching sessions
Both options have their unique benefits and limitations.
Individual coaching can be the perfect choice for you if:
- You prefer to work with individuals rather than a group
- You are a beginner in the industry and want to start with an easier-to-manage-option
- You do not have so many clients yet, so there is nothing to worry about time-management
- You want to have more flexibility in terms of your working schedule
- The topic you discuss with the client requires privacy, or you do not feel comfortable discussing it in a group.
Group coaching can be an option for you if:
- You feel more comfortable working with groups rather than with individuals
- The goals of your coaching program can be better accomplished in a group setting
- You are looking for an affordable option both in terms of time and money
- Your coaching approaches support collaborative settings and learning from others
- Your topic encourages diverse perspectives and opinions
In fact, you are not forced to choose one. Depending on your experience, you can also offer both of them. We would recommend starting off with 1:1 sessions as those are easier to manage. Then, when you become an experienced coach with an established online presence, you can start group coaching sessions.
Best 5 online coaching platforms
Also, you would need a platform as a coach who wants to have an online coaching business. Many of you may think of building a website from scratch with Wix or WordPress, but no, it takes too much time & effort (as well as resources).
Instead, choose a platform already meant for online educators and coaches, giving enough customization options to host your website with a custom domain and white labeling.
Here, we are ready to present the Best Online Coaching Software that you can utilize to expand your business
Uteach is one of the leading platforms in the e-learning industry, and there are several reasons for that.
- Offers lots of customization options to ensure that you are able to design your website to communicate the unique message of your brand
- All-in-one potent automation that allows you to take control over every aspect of your online coaching business from one place
- Offers integration with popular platforms and apps that will help to enhance the user experience
- Works fast and has an incredibly beginner-friendly interface
- Website Builder that allows you to build every aspect of your website in a visual drag & drop builder, change themes, etc.
- Build-in calendar to organize your sessions
- Coaching request management system
- End-to-end live sessions to host online coaching sessions.
- Automation, including calendars, notifications, and email campaigns
- Blog option to create a blog and publish relevant to your industry content in order to utilize the power of organic marketing fully
If you are a coach who wants to find an easy-to-use yet powerful coaching platform that will give you the opportunity to expand, then Uteach is the right choice for you. You can book a call with the expert to find out if it’s the right fit or start with a 14-day free trial.
Coaching Loft is another tremendous cloud-based software for coaches. It offers enough features to start and successfully handle coaching sessions.
The main features include the following:
- The automated appointment scheduling system
- Tools to improve the engagement of the clients
- Coaching notepad
- Cloud file storage and sharing
So, as a beginner coach, Coaching loft can be a great place to start. However, if you plan to have a full-featured business and further expansion, then consider Uteach.
One more good coaching platform that offers enough features to host online coaching sessions is Thinkific. Thinkific is not just a coaching platform; it is a full-featured platform that will work great for online course creators, instructors, and educators.
The main features it offers include:
- Drag & Drop course builder
- Membership site builder
- Cohort-based classes model for online coaches
- Incredible support
Everything a coach may need for a successful session.
Mighty Networks is all about community. It allows you to bring courses, memberships, webinars, and even coaching sessions together and create a potent community.
Its main features are:
- Tools to create good-looking landing pages
- Tools to sell bundles
- Activity feed to ensure that members of your community are engaged and up-to-date on the latest news
The last platform on our list is called Kajabi. Kajabi promises to give you an opportunity to turn your knowledge into income, and it successfully meets its promise.
It is a great platform for coaches who want to have online coaching businesses.
The main features that Kajabi comes in handy with include:
- Website builder to ensure that you have enough customization options
- Custom domains for better branding
- SEO-optimization tools
- Unlimited Hosting
- One-click publishing
FAQ about online coaching
It is time to dive into the Frequently Asked Questions about Online Coaching. Are you ready to find answers to everything? Then, let’s start!
How much do online coaches charge?
Pricing depends on multiple factors, such as niche, expertise level, and certification.
New and Average coaches charge around $50 - $75 an hour per client or offer packages (usually six sessions each) that cost around $300 - $400. More established coaches charge $75 - $250 per session from a client or offer a package that can cost up to $1500 for 6-8 sessions.
When you offer group coaching, usually, the price is 30% less than for individual sessions or packages.
Based on this data, you can earn a minimum of $63,200 as an online coach.
How to get first coaching clients?
Many beginner coaches struggle with getting the first clients as they have no built-up reputation that speaks for themselves. To get your first coaching clients, you can:
- Utilize the power of organic and paid marketing
- Organize free coaching sessions
- Offer discounts and special offers
- Agree to go on interviews on various podcasts to improve your brand’s visibility and reap the many benefits of podcasting, such as expanding your audience reach and establishing personal connections with listeners.
- Start a Referal/Affiliate marketing program
Be creative and have fun with every aspect to succeed.
Do coaches need certification?
The short answer is yes, but the long answer is not really.
Technically, as a coach, you do not need a certification. However, you need expert-level knowledge, which you will gain through continuous self-development, practice, and taking part in courses and training.
Executive coach Andy Nelson, who is an ICF-certified coach himself, DOES recommend taking educational programs, as they help you understand yourself better, rediscover yourself, and thus become a better coach.
What skills do Coaches Need?
The skills every coach needs are:
- Active Listening
- Questioning and ability to reflect
- Holding coaching presence
- Observation skills
- Effective goal-setting
- Giving constructive feedback
What Questions Should I Ask?
Essentially the questions you ask as a coach vary depending on the niche and model you choose to implement with the client. However, in general, questions under the categories presented below should be included in almost every coaching program.
- Identifying Goals
- Identifying Current Reality
- Identifying Solutions & Options
Check the best 57 questions to ask during a coaching session.
How to name your coaching business?
Think about what makes you different from other in the market to find a unique name for your business. You can even include your name or use business name generator tools. Play with words, write down the ideas until finding something you genuinely like.
Do I need to create an LLC for my online coaching business?
Getting an LLC for your online coaching business is one of the best values you can get in terms of legal protection and for peace of mind. Before deciding to form an LLC for your online coaching business, it's essential to understand the different types of LLC structures available.
Creating an LLC can help protect your personal assets, offer pass-through taxation, and enhance credibility with clients and vendors. There are only one-time filing fees and LLC yearly fees to be paid, making it an affordable and highly flexible option from a tax point of view.
Start your online coaching now
Online coaching is one of the most in-demand industries nowadays, and with the right strategies and enough practice you will easily find coaching clients and build amazing income streams.
Choose the platform that best works for your needs. One of the best platforms you can start with is Uteach. It provides everything necessary to build a full-featured coaching business website, do marketing, and collect payments from one place.
Plus, it offers many SEO optimization features, ensuring your website is SEO-friendly. So, with the right long-term organic marketing strategy, you will rank higher in SERPs.