So you’re a burnt-out personal trainer, or group class coach, and you decide to go the remote coaching route.
How grand my life will be! I’ll be able to work from anywhere, have complete autonomy over my schedule, and I will no longer need to be a rep counter, a clock start, or a babysitter of adults
Not. So. fast.
Remote coaching comes with its own challenges. Like, for example, suddenly you don’t have a schedule and you might find yourself going to bed later, waking up later, and procrastinating your work day.
Or what about the fact that you maybe have never met your clients in person. How do you ensure you develop a real, trusting relationship with them that will help them see results and keep paying you month-after-month, year-after-year?
Oh, and now that you’re not at the gym everyday, how do you motivate yourself to even bother leaving the house to workout yourself?
And, finally, and maybe most importantly, how do you go about acquiring new clients who want to work with a remote coach?
We spoke to some top OPEX Fitness coaches to discover how they have worked around these challenges and are flourishing via remote fitness coaching businesses.
Just like becoming good at any craft, having success as a remote coach takes time and must be earned, so you need to go into it with a patient, long-term vision, and a willingness to work hard to build something.
“A good brand is earned in this industry,” explained long-time OPEX CPP coach Carl Hardwick.
In other words, focus on giving your current clients, even if you only have a few of them, what they need first, rather than trying to gain, gain, gain clients as fast as possible.
Build strong relationships with a small group of clients first, be consistent with it and deliver results, Hardwick said.
“Do those things prior to worrying about building your brand,” he added.
OPEX CCP coach Robin Stevyers reiterated Hardwick’s sentiment: “Focus on improving your service and systems instead of getting a lot of clients fast,” he said.
You’re a remote coach now, so it can be easy to forget that you can still acquire clients in the physical world.
Steyvers has had success bringing on new clients by making himself visible, not only online, but in person.
“I train in multiple gyms around my city and talk with a lot of people I meet there… Make yourself seen in as many places as possible and actually take time to talk to people,” he said.
Steyvers added: “Help as many people as possible without trying to immediately sell your stuff. The right people will ask for help and eventually want to pay for what you have to offer.”
This is really no different than in-person coaching, and it’s one of the most forgotten, yet simplest, ways to bring on new clients: Ask for referrals.
“It mostly comes down to straight-up asking your clients when they had a good month of training a big PR if they know some people who would be interested,” Steyvers said.
He added: “When asking at the right time people usually make the extra effort to go out and ask others if they need coaching.”
Once you do pick up a new client, it’s important to remember that just because you have moved to the online sphere doesn’t mean you can’t still assess new clients in a systematic and rigorous way.
Having a robust assessment process in place provides insights as to exactly where the person is physically, which is required for developing an effective individualized training program, Torano explained.
Even with remote clients, you might never meet in person, it’s important to take the time to get to know who they are.
What is their lifestyle like? Their diet? Their schedule? Sleep? Priorities? Training history? Injury history? Goals?
The more information you can find out about them the better and this is best done in a sit-down one-on-one conversation, via the phone or Zoom, or in-person.
“In a nutshell, (you need to know) who this person in front of you is. Where has she been and where does she want to go? Where has she been successful or unsuccessful in the past?” Torano explained.
Read this blog for 5 simple ways to strengthen remote relationships.
Although it can be tempting to enjoy the freedom when you become a remote coach, it’s still generally better to create a consistent schedule for yourself, both in terms of what days and times you work, as well as what each block of time is designated for, Hardwick explained.
Not only does this ensure you’re productive and efficient, but it also means you have a definitive time to end work each day, as it can be easy to find yourself always working, be it programming or replying to a client’s email at 10 p.m.
Tip: Set clear expectations with your clients, as well. For example, if you decide you’re not working on Saturdays and Sundays, let your clients know you will always reply within 24 hours, or on Monday morning, should they reach out on the weekend. Doing this doesn’t diminish your commitment to your clients, and, in fact, generally it leads to increased respect for your time.
Read this article to see how remote coach Sam Smith manages his daily schedule to efficiently coach 100 clients.
“The sad reality is that remote coaching can take many different forms, and often it is nothing more than (the client being) automatically added to a series of pre-written emails,” Torano said.
This is not the approach he recommends if you’re looking for your clients to get real results and stick around.
“An effective coach will not only create personal training programs for you, but will take the time to communicate with you,” Torano said.
He added: “The word coach really does imply personal relationships. If you have never talked to your coach, heard their voice or seen their face, they’re not a coach at all. Coaching is inherently personal.
When it comes to remote coaching, it can be difficult sometimes to remember to follow-up the way you do with a client you see on a weekly basis in person. But it’s important to continue to schedule regular follow ups to monitor progress and reset goals etc.
“If you don’t retest and revise, you’re going blind. You’ll realize that you missed dozens of little (mess) ups that have turned into a real big one,” Torano said.
When you’re first starting out, it might not seem that important to have robust systems to deliver programs, communicate and follow-up, but the bigger your client book gets, the harder it gets to keep track of everyone, so it helps to have an efficient system in place.
Imagine for a moment that you have 40 remote clients and some clients communicate with you via email, while others prefer to text, others use WhatsApp to communicate, and others still want a phone call or video chat. With this many clients to manage, having all these communication options is a recipe for disaster for you as the coach.
Similarly, imagine if you use Google Sheets to send some clients their programs, while others prefer one app or another, and others just want their weekly program emailed to them on Sunday night. Again, being pulled in all kinds of different directions with all kinds of different logins or processes happening all at once makes it impossible to be organized and efficient.
This is where OPEX’s CoachRx app comes in: It allows coaches to track data and hold that data in one place, rather than jumping from platform to platform. This goes a long way in improving coach efficiency, as the app keeps all the information in one place: from the intake process and consultation data, to body, move and work assessment data, to lifestyle consult and program design data, all concepts taught in the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program, which ultimately ensures you don’t have blind spots as a coach.
CoachRx is available for all coaches who want to improve their coaching efficiency and the client experience. Try it for yourself with a 14-day free trial.
Human beings are drawn to convenience, drawn to what’s easy. If something is too hard, compliance drops.
Never is this more true than when considering remote coaching.
Again, CoachRx provides a simple way to deliver programs to clients, including videos, as well as provide feedback and a way to communicate regularly with clients, all in one place.
Because when it’s easy, the client complies. And when the client complies, they see results. And when they see results, they keep paying you a premium each month. And maybe, just maybe, they even bring you a referral.
Many coaches are looking for success in a remote setting, hoping to stand out from all the other online programs out there. But in a crowded market what do you actually need to be successful as a remote coach?
A quality service, great relationships, and efficient systems are all key to remote coaching success. And these skills and processes are all taught inside of the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP). Click the button below to download the curriculum guide to learn more.