Even though we live in a digital world, there are so many businesses that still deliver services in a face to face environment.
In the past week, I have spoken with personal trainers, yoga teachers, nutritionists and physiotherapists, many of whom have lost their job, their clients and their income.
They are wondering how to pivot and cope with the unfortunate changes that have been thrust upon us, and how to keep their businesses going.
Luckily, most of those I’ve spoken with are trained Health and Wellness Coaches, so they have the capacity to pivot their delivery method and maintain their client relationships.
Coaching is one of the simplest services that you can deliver online, and it is also a much-needed service in these chaotic and uncertain times. Trained health and wellness coaches are equipped with the skills, structures and tools to help our clients stay calm despite the chaos, to adapt to change, to feel organised, to maintain some positive wellbeing habits, and to develop their own plan for moving forward.
As a result, most of the health professionals I’ve spoken to are pivoting to online service delivery now, with a focus on interactive wellness workshops, group coaching sessions and 1:1 personal coaching sessions, all delivered via online platforms.
Let’s look at how coaching can be delivered online, and what sorts of platforms are available to help us deliver our services.
Delivering Coaching Online
Since coaching is based on individual or group conversation, it is easily translatable into the online environment.
Most coaches who live remotely or work nationally are meeting clients simply via their phone or one of the many online meeting platforms.
They are having those important, real-time conversations that help clients develop their own strategies to start or maintain positive lifestyle changes.
It’s easy to coach on the phone, but if you use a meeting platform like Zoom, you also get all of the body language cues and connection that come with a face to face appointment. This is great for my clients who are very kinaesthetic or interactive.
A lot of my clients like writing, and you can also coach via email in some cases!
If clients need accountability or access to resources between live conversations, they can be provided by email, text, messenger, whatsapp, a Facebook group, or a membership portal.
Best Online Coaching Platforms
For live meetings, there are several platforms that are easy to use and have free or low cost options. Here is a selection that suit most coaching businesses.
1. Zoom (read more)
A real-time online meeting platform that allows you to meet with groups or 1:1’s for coaching or interactive workshops.
Register for an online account and download the software, then you can meet instantly or schedule meetings, the platform is stable and well-known.
With the free version you can have 1:1 meetings with your clients for as long as you like; they can enter the meeting via a zoom meeting link or they can dial a local number to call in.
You can meet with cameras on, and can also share your screen (e.g. slides, images) or run a whiteboard and use a chat box.
If you want to run groups of more than 3 for over 40 minutes, you’d need to go to the PRO (paid) version, which also allows you hold meetings for up to 100 participants, and to record the meetings. Higher plans are available for enterprises.
2. Skype (read more)
A real-time online meeting platform that may be more familiar to some of your clients.
You can meet up to 50 people in video calls or voice calls. You can record your calls and also use an encrypted instant messaging function.
If your clients aren’t on Skype, you can call landline and mobiles or send SMS by purchasing Skype credit. For a fee, you can also get a dedicated Skype phone number that includes voicemail, call forwarding and caller ID.
3. Coviu Telehealth (read more)
Coviu is similar to the above platforms but is used mostly by health practitioners who connect with ‘patients’ such as psychotherapists, GP’s, physiotherapists, and psychologists.
No software is required, it’s a simple ‘click and consult’ program – it offers ‘click and go’ video calling.
The platform offers document sharing and an online app, and there is ‘hold music’ if your client is waiting for you to finish another meeting.
Meeting quality is similar to Zoom and may be more reliable than Skype.
Prices for Allied health start at $19.95 per month.
4. Webinar Jam (read more)
Similar to zoom, a real-time online meeting platform that allows you to talk to, screenshare with and live chat with your audience.
In the Basic version ($499 per year) you can meet up to 500 people in video calls for up to 2 hours long and can have up to 2 different presenters on your account.
Calls are recorded automatically, and you get customisable registration pages, emails and SMS, and you can plug in a payment gateway to offer paid webinars to your audience.
In these times of social distances, and beyond that into reaching more people in your business, coaching via online platforms is a great way to go.
There are a lot of meeting platforms out there, but the four listed in this article have had good reviews.
My personal favourite is Zoom because I find it easiest to use, it’s the best value for my needs, and it’s reported to be more stable with fewer dropouts than other platforms.
Now, it’s over to you.
How could you pivot your business and transition into delivering a valuable online service, anywhere in the world?