June 02, 2022 - Coaching Platforms
Why choosing the right coaching software is vital for your business
Using an all-in-one coaching software instead of multiple generic tools can save you time, money and stop your head spinning. Here’s why…
WHY DO COACHES NEED AN ALL-IN-ONE COACHING SOFTWARE?
I’ve spoken with hundreds of coaches to understand their pain points when it comes to managing their coaching business. Inevitably, they all tell me the same thing: “I’m getting more disorganized as my client base grows. I wish there was one go-to place for me to manage everything about my business and get all the information I need!”
Before we dive into how an all-in-one coaching software can be a life-changing solution, let’s first examine a typical day in the life of a coach…
A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COACH
On any given day, your to-do list probably involves checking your calendar for upcoming appointments, scheduling client sessions, organizing resources and client assignments, onboarding new clients (yay!), searching through emails to see if Client Jane has provided updates about action steps from the last session, and then prepping for and being ‘centered in the moment’ during your next coaching session.
After the session, you jot down notes and take-aways and email them to Client Jane for follow-up action and identify next steps to help her stay accountable and achieve her goals.
If you conduct coaching over zoom, you need to upload the recording to Google Drive and then email the link to Client Jane so that she can have access to it.
And if your business model is to charge after each session, you have to generate the invoice and then make sure Client Jane pays on time. Then, update your bookkeeping software. Oh, happy days!
Next, if you remember, you record the details of your coaching session in your Excel sheet so your coaching log gets updated. But, chances are, something got you distracted and you forgot!
On top of the day-to-day tasks, you need to strategize to scale your business, grow your pipeline, increase revenue, build your presence, and stay on top of your game with coaching, attending courses for personal development and building up your credentials.
Phew! That is a lot to manage and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to do it all.
WHAT COULD YOU DO MORE OF WITH MORE TIME ON YOUR HANDS?
The one thing that we need more of but can’t buy, is time.
However, there are other means to get your time back. An effective way is to be smart about how you manage your coaching business. Identify what you need to stop doing and what you need to start implementing.
A strong fundamental to begin with is to identify the right coaching software so you can be more efficient, productive and organized. Streamline and automate your processes and workflow as far as possible and save time by cutting out repetitive tasks. Let your coaching platform do that so you can free up your time.
Think about it….
Every email you send back and forth to clients or prospects to set up an appointment, for example, is simply adding overheads and wasted time that you will never get back.
Every time you have to manually log your coaching time in your coaching log, that’s wasted time when it can instead be done automatically and without any lapse.
Every document that you have to upload on Google Drive and then share the link with clients is taking up your time.
Every invoice you have to manually generate, every contact record you need to manually transfer from your standalone scheduling tool like Calendly to your CRM system when they convert to a client, all of this is eats up your time.
It may not seem like much when you’re looking at this from a single client perspective, but when you multiply that by your client base and your business grows, it adds up.
Assuming you spend 2 hours a week per client managing admin tasks, now multiply that by 10 clients, you could be spending at least 20 hours a week on admin tasks.
Automating those tasks can get you back more than two full working days!
When you don’t have to worry about the number of administrative tasks waiting for you, you can have more quality time with your clients and growing your business!
KNOW YOUR WORKFLOW BEFORE CHOOSING A COACHING SOFTWARE
Different coaches have different needs. It’s important to nail down your workflow and business processes first and foremost, so that you can decide upon a coaching management software that best meets your needs.
If you are just starting out as a coach your first step would be to get your name out there as much as possible and build rapport. You may not have a website yet but that shouldn’t stop you from selling your coaching programs.
CoachVantage, our all-in-one coaching software solution, lets you create branded landing pages to sell your programs, collect payment, and fully automate the client onboarding process. It even lets clients e-sign the coaching agreement during the sign-up process.
One of the things that coaches especially love about CoachVantage is that it has an out-of-the-box scheduling feature that allows clients and prospects to book appointments instantly from the online booking page that CoachVantage generates, based on their availability rules.
As your business grows, your software needs will get more sophisticated.
You will require support for invoicing, sending forms, signing coaching agreements, a resource library for you and your clients, a customer management system and a client portal for task automation and to easily manage coaching engagements.
There is a multitude of SaaS software tools or native apps that you can find these days. Many of them have free versions or affordable subscription plans.
However, beware of the software trap!
Here are a few pertinent questions that you should keep top of mind as you shop for the right solution:
Is the tool or software tailored specifically for coaches or is it a generic project management tool?
Tip: Tools like Dubsado and Honeybook are generic project management tools that cater primarily to the gig industry (photographers, digital marketers, wedding planners, etc) rather than for coaches.
Does it simplify my workflow as a coach so I can scale faster? Or do I need to adjust my business processes to fit the tool?
Tip: Software should support you, not the other way around!
Will there be loopholes or break points that I will need to deal with later on?
Tip: Standalone fit-for-purpose tools like Calendly for scheduling, Hellosign for e-contracts and Typeform for sending forms are great tools in their own right for specific tasks. However, they are not designed to manage the end-to-end workflow of coaches, which is best served by coaching software that’s purpose-built for coaches.
It’s okay to spend a little more time doing your due diligence when shopping for the right coaching management platform that best serves you.
This will pay off in the long run by helping you avoid potential issues that might pop up in the future such as having to migrate from one tool to another, which can suck up even more of your time and effort!
Manage Your Coaching Practice in One Place
CoachVantage automates your business workflows so you can focus on impactful coaching results.
BREAKING DOWN THE COACH’S WORKFLOW
To help you select the best coaching software that meets your needs, let’s get into the different functions of a coach’s workflow. and the downside of using some of the most popular alternatives for your coaching needs.
Scheduling appointments, either with prospects or coaching clients, is one of the most fundamental yet vital tasks for coaches. Time is money for you and your clients.
You need to ensure that your calendar is updated and accurate to be able to set up appointments for inquiries, discovery calls, coaching sessions, ad hoc calls or other events so that there are no booking conflicts.
A scheduler that automatically syncs to your external calendar to show your available slots or set up recurring appointments with clients should be a key business requirement for you.
One of the most popular scheduling tools used by coaches, according to Enlyft.com, is Calendly.
While Calendly offers reasonable pricing and useful integrations, there is a serious downside:
Since Calendly is essentially a scheduling tool, when potential clients book a discovery call and ultimately convert to a coaching client, you will have to manually transfer the contact’s details to another tool to manage the next steps of your workflow.
Although Calendly offers integrations to CRM tools, it is not in itself a CRM nor is it a coaching management software. Once the scheduling part has been done, you’ll be staring at a breakpoint to manage the next step of your workflow, which are the client onboarding and coaching.
A coaching-specific tool like CoachVantage, on the other hand, has scheduling functionality out-of-the-box and is specifically designed with a coaches’ workflow in mind.
For example, if a prospect who has booked a discovery call is converted to a coaching client, the contact record that’s created in CoachVantage can be easily changed from ‘Prospect’ to ‘Current Client’.
Your new client can then be seamlessly invited to sign up to your coaching program using the ‘Programs’ feature in CoachVantage to automate the client onboarding process. Your client can create a client portal so you can manage the coaching journey in a smooth transition.
CoachVantage will also automatically track the progress of your coaching program to let you know how many sessions have been completed in a coaching package. What’s more, sessions are automatically captured in your coaching log once completed, so you never forget!
Invoicing is a vital requirement of any business because if you don’t get paid, your business will cease to exist!
There are many invoicing tools out there to choose from, such as Freshbooks.com.
Being a standalone invoicing tool, Freshbooks has its drawbacks when looked at in the context of a coaches’ workflow.
Although it has automated email templates to handle late payments, Freshbooks has removed the integration with PayPal in an attempt to nudge clients toward using its payment platform.
Many coaches are having a hard time with this because they are familiar with PayPal or Stripe as popular payment gateways.
Thankfully, CoachVantage has in-built Invoicing functionality, and yes, we do support integrations to PayPal and Stripe! You can also send one-off or recurring automated invoices, complete with the ability to send reminders to clients for payments so you don’t have to worry about staying on top of that.
One of the other benefits of CoachVantage is that revenues collected are displayed on the dashboard so you have good visibility on how your income is tracking, month to month.
According to Luisazhou.com, a coaching contract is a legal agreement that sets the tone in a coach and client relationship.
The coaching agreement sets boundaries and minimizes common problems like clients re-scheduling sessions at the last minute, or requesting refunds long after the refund period has expired.
Managing the logistics of getting a contract signed can be nightmarish. Back and forth emails, saving, downloading and printing documents is a hassle for everyone.
The ability to e-sign contracts and account for them as legally binding documents has been a boon for businesses and their clients.
Popular e-sign contract tools include Hellosign and Docusign. However, it’s the same disadvantage for coaches - these tools are standalone and fit-for-purpose just for signing contracts.
It means having to go to multiple applications to get the essential business information you need.
CoachVantage has solved this problem by recently introducing the contract e-sign feature on our platform! Not only can you email a contract document to your clients to e-sign, it even allows you to embed the contract document in your coaching program sign-up page so clients can complete everything in one sign-up flow.
After the contract document is signed, it’s saved immediately to the contact record in your account, so you have just one place to go to for any information you need about a specific client.
A resource library is where documents are stored or can be shared between a coach and client.
As a coach, it’s very common for files to be shared with your clients. While these cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Box or Dropbox are very popular, it does mean that you have to go to yet another tool to get the information you need.
Other generic project management tools that comes to mind that allows resources to be shared is Dubsado.
While Dubsado has a client portal to share forms and documents, they can’t be shared outside of your project space. This makes it hard to use these documents for bookkeeping purposes and keep an external record of what’s going on.
With CoachVantage, both coaches and clients have access to a resource library with data storage capacity that can be expanded as needed. It can be used as your one-stop-shop to store important business and client documentation securely in the cloud.
The benefit is having everything you need about your coaching business in one go-to place, while managing the end-to-end coaching workflow because it is designed specifically for coaches.
Whether you’re a health and wellness coach, life coach or executive coach, forms are an essential part of your coaching business. From onboarding clients to feedback forms, this is a key requirement for many coaches.
There are a number of software applications that allow you to create and send forms, namely Google, SurveyMonkey and Typeform.
Recognizing the strong demand for the ability to send forms to clients as part of the coaching engagement, CoachVantage has introduced another powerful functionality which is the ability to send Forms from the platform.
Coaching clients can respond to forms in the client portal. You can also view form responses in aggregate view with charts and graphs, giving you a nice visual of data to help you understand your clients’ motivations better.
BENEFITS OF SELECTING THE RIGHT TOOL TO SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS
A breakpoint in your workflow will choke up the entire progress of all your other tasks, which could be very costly for your business such as missing appointments, overlooking overdue invoices, or appearing unprofessional to clients.
Once you have established and clearly identified your needs, the coaching software that you ultimately decide upon should achieve the objective of helping you grow your coaching business, save you time, scale your profits and deliver a professional client experience.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
To find the right coaching software, be clear about your needs, identify the gaps and look out for these essential features:
Contact Management: All contacts are saved in one place and with the most essential information about your clients and the coaching engagement at your fingertips.
Scheduling: Full featured scheduling tool that eliminates time sucks on unproductive back-and-forth emails to schedule appointments. Syncs with your external calendar and prevents conflicts.
Invoicing and payment processing: Supports integrations to popular payment gateways, sends reminders, set up recurring invoices and tracks your income.
Full document exchange/resource library: A dedicated space for you to share files, worksheets, or even contractual documents without forwarding it back and forth via email.
Secure client portal: Easily share notes, send goals and assignments and track client progress. Provides your clients with one place to get the information they need in their coaching journey with you.
Branded landing pages: Create and sell your coaching programs with branded landing pages, and automate the payment, contract signature and client onboarding process.
CoachVantage checks the requirements above and is specifically tailored to harmonize your coaching workflow in a seamless way. Everything you need about your business and clients is in one place, so you won’t need to toggle between a gazilion tools to get the information you need!
Sign up for a free trial and see how CoachVantage can help get back your time.