Thanks to the pandemic, coaching has now almost completely evolved into the digitized coaching imparted today. What was slowly catching up as a sea change in the coaching industry was suddenly expedited into an overnight change from in-person coaching to virtual coaching.
In fact, according to the 2021 ICF global snapshot survey results on Covid-19 and the coaching industry, 87% of coaches agree that virtual coaching will continue at a higher rate long-term, beyond the pandemic.
Naturally, the scope of virtual coaching has considerably widened to include a lot more than just virtually-imparted audio and video. Today, any coach and coaching business across verticals (education, health, life, business etc.) must have an integrated coaching platform that addresses all their coaching and business needs.
If you are an individual coach or a coaching business, this complete guide on how to find the best coaching management software – including must have features, selecting a software that best suits your requirements as well as the end benefits of using a coaching software – will help you make an informed choice. Read on…
Must have features for a good coaching management software
A lot of coaching management software is designed/customized to offer features/solutions for specific coaching requirements for a particular coaching process. So our first recommendation (and one of our goals behind establishing Simply.Coach) is to find a flexible online coaching platform that offers a simple, user-friendly software interface so you can bring your own brand of coaching to your clients, your way.
So while you’ll want to consider your own business’ requirements, here’s a general list of features to look for in coaching management software:
As much as coaching is a humanitarian profession, there’s plenty of dreary business details that you need to handle behind the scenes. And so, administrative tools are an area of prime focus for most coaches and coaching businesses. These include scheduling, payments, client management, progress reporting, and handling of client enquiries.
An easy-to-use, efficient coaching software can provide a significant boost to your day-to-day business management and your bottom lines.
All coaches have a host of knowledge that needs to be shared with clients during the coaching journey. This includes content that helps better the coach-coachee relationship, content that helps run deeper engagements, and content that adds to the client’s knowledge and progress.
- Onboarding questionnaire
- 360º assessments
- Feedback forms
- Curated articles, videos, etc. from around the web
- Your own articles and content
Coaching management software that makes it easy for you to store, manage, and share this content with clients will help you create a more cohesive coaching experience.
Progress monitoring & analysis
Accountability and value have become a big part of coaching everywhere – almost every coach feels the need to demonstrate (either to clients or sponsors) the impact of their coaching. For this purpose, it is vital that your coaching software have strong monitoring, analysis and reporting tools that can track the progress of your client towards their goals and generate periodic reports.
Even more impactful is coaching management software that can automatically gather insights and generate reports in a periodic manner – especially in group/team coaching engagements where report creation is vital but time consuming.
- Mobile OS compatibility
With handheld devices becoming the go-to medium for most activities, it’s more important than ever that the coaching management software you choose allow you to stay on the go. Even in a world where most of us are working from home, most coaches and coachees tend to be multi-device users – and as the world moves outdoors and slowly back into public spaces, the use of mobile in coaching is only going to increase.
Safeguarding the personal data & financial details of clients is of utmost importance. Using a coaching software that offers complete data security and protection against hacking, phishing etc. will not only enhance your brand value in the market but also establish trust between you and your clients as a trustworthy partner in growth.
Great coaching experiences are the foundation on which your coaching business will be built – that won’t be the case if the software you use keeps giving you problems and you can’t reach the concerned team. Having a dedicated customer support function with chat, call or email that ensure a prompt response to queries or problems is another important detail that a good coaching software must provide.
The product benefits of using a coaching management software
Using a coaching management software has multiple advantages for a coach/coaching business not only in retaining your existing client base but also in reaching a larger audience and drawing in more clients. Here are some of the product benefits that a coaching management software should offer:
Entire operation under a single platform
Having your entire operation all under an integrated platform is convenient not only for you but also for your clients (especially if you can bring them onboard too). Ease of communication, easy access to materials in one place, increased coach-client interaction between sessions, and so on can all help in establishing better relationships with clients.
Cost & time saver
Using a coaching software can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend sorting through your notes, reflecting, preparing exercises, and running & growing your business. Instead of spending time running your business, you can use freed up time to focus on client progress or your own business growth.
Scalability without performance compromise
One-on-one coaching and group coaching come with their own complexities in running coaching engagements. As a result, most coaches find their days spent in running engagements and running their businesses.By automating redundant and time-consuming parts of running an engagement and a business, coaching management software helps you scale without compromising on the quality of your coaching journeys.
Enhanced brand experiences
Whether you’ve consciously worked on it or not, your brand is something that gets developed based on your niche, your experience, and the reviews offered to you by clients. Coaching management software can help you automate your marketing to a certain extent, so you can get a wider reach and increase the number of prospective clients in your roster.
Client expansion (thus creating an audience for you to follow up with, all under one integrated platform, to contribute to business growth.
How to determine which coaching management software best suits you
Selecting a coaching management software that addresses your requirements is vital as it will eventually determine the success of your business. So how can you gauge which coaching software will deliver the best results for your coaching approach?
You can start by listing what your demands are from an online coaching platform, based on your niche, your existing clients, and how you run your business. So, at the outset identify and evaluate your individual/business coaching requirements and the current challenges that you may be facing before selecting a coaching software. Here are some pointers…
- Will the coaching management software reduce the burden of manual tasks & free up time for actual coaching?
- Will the coaching software help broaden exposure, increase marketing capabilities and better brand your coaching business?
- Will the coaching software provide an all-in-one experience – admin, scheduling, payment, content, tracking, analysis, report – under a single integrated platform?
- Will the online platform ultimately help you improve client progress and growth?
The future of coaching and the role of coaching management software
Even as we move out of the physical constraints of the pandemic, digital coaching is unlikely to go back to square one – i.e. completely non-existent for most coaches, and adopted only by the technologically advanced few. As more and more millennials get certified as coaches, the expedited digital path we’ve been put on will be the norm rather than the exception.
In any case, there are two potential formats that coaching will take:
Blended or hybrid coaching model – A combination model of online coaching that includes a mix of online coaching plus in-person sessions. Even if you hold some sessions in person, you will need a coaching management software to scale up your business, maximise revenue, add value to your coaching time and ensure that all your clients benefit from your expertise in between sessions.
In this case, a coaching management software will help supplement the traditional in-person format with a high-value digital program for better coaching outcomes.
Completely online coaching model – Plenty of coaches who are comfortable with technology or who have gotten comfortable with technology during the pandemic will continue to coach virtually 100% of the times. In this case, the entire process from client onboarding to payment, content, session management & execution, progress analysis, and reporting will be handled with the help of coaching management software.
One way or another, digital coaching management software seems to be here to stay – the range of features, convenience & ease brought, extent of digitization, and impact on client progress is what shall help you determine which one to choose.
That said, various coaching management software platforms are created with different coaching businesses in mind, so it’s important you take the time to find the one that best suits you and your business. Using a coaching management software is no longer a choice but a necessity, especially in current times.
Not only does it help you integrate all your coaching journeys in a single place, it can also give you an edge over your competition, helping you reach a wider clientele and provide a considerable ROI to your clients.