Using Online Coaching Tools to Scale Your Practice

Online coaching toolsScaling your coaching practice entails developing and supporting new and existing clients.

Sustaining growth means committing more of your time or adopting an alternative way of working that increases focus where it’s most needed: on your clients.

For the already time-crunched coach, your finite resources are precious. However, an online coaching tool that is both powerful and easy to use enables a broader reach to clients and helps meet the growing demand for coaching (Kanatouri, 2020).

If you are looking to scale your coaching business, this article shows you how online coaching tools can provide the answer.

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

How Can Online Coaching Tools Improve Your Care?

Traditionally, coaching has been delivered in person. In recent years, interactions between coaches and clients are increasingly performed online.

A new breed of powerful online coaching tools “promises to deliver highly personalized, timely, around-the-clock coaching in a wide variety of domains and to a broad audience” (Kamphorst, 2017, p. 625).

Online coaching tools such as Quenza can facilitate coaching conversations, enrich the coaching process, encourage homework adherence, and enable self-coaching (Kanatouri, 2020).

The question isn’t if you should use an online tool, but rather, can you afford not to?

Well-designed technology that is fully integrated into a coaching practice can facilitate the following forms of digital coaching (Kanatouri, 2020):

  • Remote coaching with supporting tools
    Face-to-face coaching is replaced by communication via technology, such as phone and video, text-based (email or online chat), and virtual reality solutions.

Communication between coach and client remains vital, yet can now be performed at a distance. The client completes homework, journaling, etc., online between sessions that can be shared with the coach or discussed in their next meeting.

  • Blended coaching
    This approach combines remote and face-to-face coaching to establish rapport with the client quickly. Remote sessions follow face-to-face meetings, and homework and self-coaching are available online.

  • Self-coaching
    Rather than being facilitated by a coach, the client uses a desktop or mobile app to answer questions, reflect on problems, and set goals.

While self-coaching is often intended as a series of standalone short coaching programs, the client may be able to follow up with a human coach for a blended style of coaching.

Ultimately, the decision behind the type of care offered may come down to the specific needs of the client and the adoption of suitable tools and working practices by the coach.

Online coaching tools can help support the coaching process and business (Kanatouri, 2020) in the following ways:

  • Follow up on clients’ progress
  • Encourage between-session reflection
  • Improve structure in the coaching conversation
  • Encourage and help perspective taking (seeing a situation from another viewpoint)
  • Provide alternative ways to express and capture the client’s verbal expression
  • Visualize, analyze, and test coaching problems and potential solutions
  • Automate key components of the coaching process, such as assessments
  • Simplify administration and management of the clients and the business, including billing and scheduling

This list is far from exhaustive but offers a picture of how online coaching tools can scale and transform a practice. Adopting new approaches has the potential to scale the business while improving client contact and focus (Ribbers & Waringa, 2015).

 

10 Proven Benefits of Online Coaching Tools

Benefits of online coaching toolsTechnology and digital media are everywhere, impacting all areas of our lives and often offering incredible benefits to casual users and professionals.

Unsurprisingly, the coaching profession is no different. New technology and evolving online coaching platforms are helping to strengthen the therapeutic relationship while enabling practices to scale (Kanatouri, 2020).

The following list contains some of the top 10 benefits of adopting online coaching tools (Kanatouri, 2020; Ribbers & Waringa, 2015).

Time and location independence

Coaches and clients can interact from almost any location – home, work, school – at a time that suits both parties. Direct communication can be scheduled to fit both schedules (via chat, phone, or video call), while messages and homework can be sent asynchronously through the coaching tool.

Written communication

While the speed of written communication may seem like a negative, the act of writing encourages self-reflection and can increase a sense of control, both of which can be valuable outcomes of coaching.

Structure

While verbal communication and learnings can be easily forgotten or lost, text-based communication can provide a scaffolding to return to and reflect upon when the client is ready.

Psychoeducation

Knowledge about our own and others’ thinking, beliefs, and behavior is a crucial part of coaching and therapy and can be shared in a variety of formats, including YouTube and TED videos, podcasts, articles, and motivational quotes.

Goal setting and achievement

Increased contact and the ability to identify and capture goals online can improve goal setting and break down larger goals into smaller ones to improve tracking and overcome obstacles.

Record keeping

Communications and homework completed within the coaching platform are secure and available for subsequent review and analysis. Permanent records can provide both coaches and clients the opportunity to identify recurring patterns of thinking and behavior and the progress made throughout the coaching journey.

Engagement frequency

Connection and engagement between the client and the coach are easy. Messages, questions, and homework can be sent and received at a time that suits, meaning that the frequency can increase. The client no longer needs to wait until the following week to discuss an issue they’re facing now.

Aftercare

Much of clients’ progress and learnings happen outside of coaching sessions. When clients face real-world situations, they may have questions or wish to schedule short, focused sessions that provide the perceived or actual support they need in the moment.

Focus

With no social pleasantries or concerns regarding being judged on how they look, clients may feel more open and free to dive quickly into the issues that matter and the obstacle they must overcome.

Standardizing treatment

While each client has unique needs and must be made to feel individual, online coaching tools enable the creation of standardized approaches, tools, and worksheets. The coach can then tailor and combine these tools as appropriate for focused, specific, and individualized help.

Each of these 10 benefits have positive spillover effects on others. For example, improving focus is likely to encourage and enhance goal setting, and specialized psychoeducation aids aftercare.

When combined, the features of online coaching tools can improve coaching sessions for existing clients and optimize the coach’s time, boosting the capacity to scale the business and reach more people (Tang & Kreindler, 2017; Kanatouri, 2020).

 

4 Most Popular Online Coaching Tools

A digital coaching tool should provide an environment that promotes effective coaching and offers support for all types of coaching programs (Ribbers & Waringa, 2015).

Here’s a sample of some of the most popular tools for online coaching. Your coaching practice should evaluate and try out each one, if possible, to see if it meets your needs and those of your clients.

 

1. Quenza

Quenza is without a doubt our favorite online coaching tool, as the founders of PositivePsychology.com developed it with the help of the wider positive psychology community. Quenza provides a powerful, feature-packed platform for scaling your practice and maximizing client engagement. Individual activities can be crafted using the drag-and-drop builder or taken from the existing library of science-backed tools.

When ready, activities can be sent directly to the client or combined with others to create solution-focused pathways. Coaches can track homework completion, send reminders, and provide additional support when needed.

Quenza is a fairly new application (as of writing), with a few essential features still in development, which you can view on this roadmap. At $1 for a trial, it is worth taking for a test drive to see if it meets your needs.

 

2. Nudge Coach

Managed through one central location, Nudge Coach provides an app-based coaching tool that offers easy coach–client interaction. Goals can be set and revisited on a daily and weekly basis, while tracking keeps the client accountable.

 

3. My Coach Office

My Coach Office is a business management platform specifically geared to getting set up quickly as a coaching business and providing the functionality and features to support growth.

The platform supports coaches by managing client files, sessions, and homework, and incorporates business and marketing tools to create and deliver a marketing strategy.

 

4. Satori

Another app-based coaching tool, Satori facilitates easy client onboarding and provides coaches with the ability to manage bookings and track payments. Coaches can set up customer questionnaires and homework, and monitor their completion.

When reviewing the potential of online coaching platforms, it is vital to consider whether their features meet the needs of your coaching practice and can deliver on your aspirations to grow and diversify the business.

 

Why Use a Good Coaching Platform & App?

Quenza devices 2Coaches, like all professionals, have been using widely available technology for many years, including (Ribbers & Waringa, 2015):

  • Email
  • Text messages
  • Office-style software, including word processing and presentation tools

And potentially more recently:

  • Chat software
  • Cloud storage
  • Video calling and conferencing software

While newer technology platforms offer effective tools for communicating, recording, and sharing information, clients and coaches may raise concerns regarding the security of potentially sensitive client information (Ribbers & Waringa, 2015).

Typically, a great deal of personal data is shared during coaching that must remain private. Environments such as Quenza are designed to store high volumes of client data safely and securely (Quenza is both HIPAA and GDPR compliant) and yet remain easily accessible by coach and client 24×7.

Dedicated online coaching tools offer features and functionality built with the needs of the coach and client in mind. They are easy to use and often contain templates, guides, and worksheets designed by professionals knowledgeable in the coaching process.

While it’s tempting to rely on widely available, low-price, or free software, it’s important to consider what kind of support you’ll receive if there’s a problem. Coaches should ask themselves whether they can confidently provide clients with peace of mind and a high-quality, professional coaching experience in which to grow and develop.

 

Best Coaching Software for Scaling Your Practice

Quenza provides clients with value beyond the one-on-one session. While keeping them positively engaged and on track, it also gives the coaching practice the tools required to scale and reach more clients digitally.

Clever, intuitive features reduce time spent on email and record keeping, making the coach more available to focus on client needs. The software can be implemented on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet, enabling practices to be run from anywhere.

A few of the features that free up coaches’ time while remaining focused on the client include the following:

  • A personal dashboard provides an overview, in real time, of responses and results from clients.
  • Client management allows the coach to quickly onboard clients either via email or the mobile app.
  • Popular science-based exercises, tools, and assessments form a range of pre-made activities.
  • Drag-and-drop functionality enables coaches to tailor existing activities or create new intake forms, surveys, reflection prompts, exercises, and education.
  • Coaches can create and send care pathways (automated series of activities) within the tool rather than deal with the hassle of email.
  • A support section provides the opportunity to connect with other users, experts, and coaching professionals to learn and share best practices and lessons learned.

The above lists contain some of the valuable features of Quenza. Why not take advantage of the platform’s one-month trial? Be sure to take a good look at Quenza’s Expansion Library of digital activities.

 

How to Use Coaching Tools in Quenza: A Guide

There are many effective coaching models, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; coaches will have their own preferences regarding what is appropriate to the client and their needs.

Whichever coaching model is used, Quenza offers a wide selection of tools and psychological interventions the coach can share with the client at appropriate points along their journey.

The activity builder within Quenza provides a powerful platform to create new or change existing activities. Each activity or tool can either be sent as a standalone to the client or bundled up as a care pathway with other activities to create psychoeducational and behavioral interventions.

 

Sample tool as an intervention

It may be helpful to look at an example of an existing pathway and the different activities, tools, and psychoeducation that combine to make an effective intervention.

Creating a Positive Body Image is a valuable tool for shifting someone’s focus from their physical appearance to their body’s functionality to create a healthier body image.

As an example (there are many others), the Creating a Positive Body Image pathway has several elements.

Quenza activity introduction

Each of the six steps includes different types of media and prompts, such as instructions, pictures, and text boxes.

  1. Welcome to this training. The tool begins with a piece of text (psychoeducation) to introduce the client to the training and its intention to help them develop a healthier body image.

A video is included, guiding the client through the training and educating them on considering their body’s functionality rather than how it looks.

  1. What can your body do? Next, the client is asked to consider different activities the client’s body can perform (walking, jumping, etc.) and why they are important.

  2. What can your body do in terms of senses and movement? The client is then asked to write about what their body can do in terms of its senses and movement.

A picture is displayed, and then Quenza instructs the client to spend 15 minutes writing about why these functions are important in the text box.

Once the client hits ‘finish,’ they proceed to the next step.

Quenza writing exercise

  1. What can your body do in terms of health and creative behaviors? The client is asked to think about and write a response.

A picture is displayed, along with another set of instructions to spend 15 minutes answering why these functions are important.

Then the client hits ‘finish’ and is taken to the next step.

  1. What can your body do in terms of self-care and interpersonal relationships? The client is encouraged to share their insights.

A further picture is displayed, with final instructions to spend 15 minutes answering why these functions are important.

Then the client hits ‘finish’ and is taken to the next step.

  1. A thank-you letter to your body. The client is reminded of the purpose of the training before being asked to write a compassionate letter to their body, showing gratitude for what it does for them every day.

Then the client hits ‘finish’ and receives notice that this is the final step in the exercise.

Quenza Final Step

This tool is one of many and offers a typical approach to using coaching tools in Quenza to engage with clients.

 

A Take-Home Message

Businesses grow out of choice or necessity. A coaching practice is no different. However, providing support to clients while managing the administrative tasks required to run a coaching practice is time consuming. It can leave little time to focus on scaling the business.

Online coaching tools can facilitate growth in two ways.

First, by delivering a valuable service and looking after existing clients’ developmental needs, the practice can benefit from repeat business and referrals from friends, family, and work colleagues.

Second, with tools to automate processes and reduce the time to manage clients, it is possible to spend additional time scaling the business, offering extra services, and tending to new clients.

Dedicated, well-thought-through online coaching tools such as Quenza provide features and functionality that simplify, coordinate, and automate communication with clients. Being able to utilize digital tools successfully “means that coaching can be offered to more clients, in less time and with lower costs” (Kanatouri, 2020, p. 1).

If scaling your business is something you are actively working toward or you wish to make better use of your time with existing clients, try out these recommended tools and see how you could integrate online coaching into your practice.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.

If you wish for more, our Positive Psychology Toolkit© contains over 350 science-based positive psychology exercises, interventions, questionnaires, and assessments for practitioners to use in their therapy, coaching, or workplace. Most of these are available in the Quenza Library.

  • Kamphorst, B. (2017). E-coaching systems. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 21, 625–632.
  • Kanatouri, S. (2020). The digital coach. Routledge.
  • Ribbers, A., & Waringa, A. (2015). E-coaching: Theory and practice for a new online approach to coaching. Routledge.
  • Tang, W., & Kreindler, D. (2017). Supporting homework compliance in cognitive behavioural therapy: Essential features of mobile apps. JMIR Mental Health, 4(2).

About the Author

Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D., is a writer and researcher studying the human capacity to push physical and mental limits. His work always remains true to the science beneath, his real-world background in technology, his role as a husband and parent, and his passion as an ultra-marathoner.

Comments

  1. Heather Dodd

    Hi there,
    I am still setting up my coaching practice as a sole trader and did not realise how many months it would take to develop a website and content as well as get my mind around all the web platforms… now 6 months into it, there is still a long list of outstanding actions all pulling for my attention and development. How relevant is your service to someone like me who wants to use my time to get on with coaching clients?

    Reply
    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your question. This is something we hear a lot from coaches who are just starting out — the volume of work involved at the beginning can easily catch you by surprise.

      Quenza is a relevant and useful tool both in these early stages of setting up your coaching practice and also for maintaining it. In the early stages, Quenza is a simple platform in which to prepare and distribute your intake forms and coaching agreements for your clients (and also includes several free samples than you can adapt, rather than needing to write these from scratch). Likewise, feedback from users has told us that the volume of pre-loaded activities and tools on the platform is a huge time-saver. These activities include things like meditations, self-paced learning modules, and reflections that cover a range of topics relevant to different coaching foci — and there are constantly new activities being added. All in all, the platform is designed to streamline aspects of the administration and work between sessions so you can focus more with your clients during your face-to-face time.

      If you’re unsure, definitely consider jumping on the platform for the 30-day trial and having a look at the different activities and tools for yourself 🙂

      – Nicole | Community Manager

      Reply
  2. Braco Pobric

    Hello Jeremy, as a Positive Psychology Coach, Trainer, and Author, I can say it’s a resourceful article. I run an academy named Life Success Academy (academyoflifesuccess.com) and use different tools. But here I found some new tools which will help in my coaching business, I believe. Thanks for sharing the article. – Braco Pobric

    Reply

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