The global pandemic has caused a shift in the way that most industries conduct business, forcing people in all kinds of occupations who would normally prefer face-to-face interactions to meet clients and colleagues through virtual platforms (Marr, 2020). Some life coaches may fear that something human is lost from screen exchanges in place of in-person contact, feeling the face-to-face approach to be more effective. Yet research has revealed various types of online coaching and therapies to be highly effective (Morin, 2018).
It stands to reason, therefore, that life coaches can be just as effective using virtual platforms. Virtual coaching is not a new notion in the industry, used by a rising number of practitioners in recent years to follow the rising trend in online pursuits (Britton, 2017). Life coaches who have achieved positive results through the format point to a few of its key advantages.
To understand more about these benefits, continue reading.
More Flexible Options for Scheduling
A long-standing challenge of the coaching-client relationship has been finding session times that work for both parties (Frost, 2019). The virtual format allows the life coach to better accommodate their own personal schedule and that of the client by proposing session times beyond conventional office hours. That may mean meetings offered early in the morning, at lunchtime, or at 10 pm—off-peak times that would normally not be convenient to offer in an office setting where both parties would have to consider the time they would spend travelling to and from the appointment.
If it suits the life coach, last-minute sessions can also be an option. As a practitioner looks for ways to grow their business, this type of spontaneous service may appeal to many clients looking for the option of quick and timely motivational “pep talks.”
Not only does this flexible scheduling opportunity offer more convenience to both parties, but allowing clients to work from their own personal spaces may also help them achieve a more relaxed mindset. Research has revealed that many feel at greater ease opening up from their own safe and supportive home environment (Hawkins & Smith, 2006).
Availability to a Wider Number of Clients
Graduates of online life coach school will no doubt have noted the flexibility of mobile learning, taking their courses from wherever they live. In the same way, virtual platforms expand a life coach’s options, allowing them to offer services to a greater number of clients as they are no longer confined by the regional boundaries that might otherwise prevent in-person meetings. The life coach will have easy access to people living in remote communities and even to clients in other countries, a clear advantage for those looking for ways to scale their business base.
This is also a huge advantage to existing clients who will feel comforted in knowing they can easily contact the coach they’ve come to build a trusting relationship with. Through online sessions, they can continue to work together no matter where they are based in the world. The need to move or travel no longer serve as obstacles to this relationship. The virtual setup is also ideal for accommodating various time zones, given the ability to extend session times outside of core daytime office hours.
The Opportunity for Clients to Connect with a Wider Range of Peers
As virtual platforms allow life coaches to easily connect with large groups of people, some may decide to expand their group session service offerings. Group coaching has always held its own unique set of advantages, with some clients preferring its ability to provide greater deep networking, problem-solving, and team-building opportunities, while also making room for lower-cost sessions.
Virtual platforms expand the capability of the format, connecting a wider group of people together, potentially from across the country or even different parts of the world. Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures offers the client a uniquely energizing and enlightening experience, with the opportunity to hear a much more diverse range of perspectives and opinions (Britton, 2017).
The Absence of Overhead Costs Allows Professionals with Certified Life Coach Training More Rate Flexibility
As a final advantage of offering services virtually, professionals with certified life coach training can operate from their home office. This means that they do not need to rent an external office space and commute. The resulting reduction in overhead costs gives the coach the option to also reduce their service fees, with these lower session rates possibly serving to attract more clients as services become more financially accessible.
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Marr, Bernard (2020). How The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Fast-Tracking Digital Transformation In Companies. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/03/17/how-the-covid-19-pandemic-is-fast-tracking-digital-transformation-in-companies/?sh=24a3978aa8ee
Morin, Amy (2018). Does Online Therapy Work? Here’s What Science Says. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/does-online-therapy-work-heres-what-science-says.html
Britton, Jennifer (2017). The Benefits of Virtual Coaching Conversations & 5 Key Areas for Working with Virtual Groups. Retrieved from https://www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com/benefits-virtual-coaching-conversations-5-key-areas-when-working-online-with-groups-by-jennifer-britton/
Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith (2006). Coaching, Mentoring and Organisational Consultancy: Supervision and Development, Open University Press. Retrieved from https://coachfederation.org/blog/virtues-virtual-coaching
Frost, Stephen (2019). Online Coaching 2 Core Benefits From Having An Online Coach To Coach You. Retrieved from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/online-coaching-2-core-benefits-from-having-an-online-coach-to-coach-you/
Wellness Professionals At Work (2017). Benefits of Group Coaching For Clients. Retrieved from https://www.wellnessprofessionalsatwork.com/benefits-group-coaching-clients/