Business coaching is becoming more and more mainstream, with recent studies showing that one in six entrepreneurs has turned to a business coach to help them achieve better results.[1] Almost just as rapidly, increasing numbers of business coaches are turning to business coaching software on their own quests – to deliver a cutting-edge, competitive, modern experience for their clients.

Designed both for in-person and online coaching, business coaching tools can unlock a much more enjoyable coaching journey for both coach and student – but for many, they’re still unchartered territory.

In this article, we look at some of the software solutions available today, and explore how you can use them to enhance your business coaching practice.

Different Types of Business Coaching

Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and digital access is lowering market entry barriers for anyone looking to practice as a business coach.

For clients, this means it’s not only easier than ever to find a personal business coach, but it also means higher expectations, and a greater choice of business coaching solutions, such as:

  • Leadership team coaching – designed to help larger organizations improve their management team performance, manage strategic issues, or tackle specific challenges.[2]
  • Entrepreneurial coaching – for new or growing business owners to develop managerial skills, among other things.[3]
  • Business performance coaching – often more generalized, business coaching services can frequently be tailored to a unique coachee’s desired goals, learning specific management techniques concepts for overcoming challenges.

Different Services, Different Software

With different types of coaching, software vendors now offer an array of features that are tailored to suit diverse requirements. These features, in turn, determine whether a business coaching solution is beneficial.

If you’re a practicing coach looking for business coaching software, three key factors that will determine the right solution for you include:

  1. Client Interactions – How your coaching program or sessions will be delivered also determines whether certain software will benefit you. Is it video-based? Face-to-face? Or a blended model?
  2. Client Goals – A deep understanding of what your clients are expecting from you is important if you’re going to choose solution-oriented software. What tools will support your client’s learning? What resources or training do they expect to access, and how?
  3. Your Business Model – Practical issues related to your own coaching business will also help you choose the best software. With financial analytics, billing, reporting, and scheduling functionalities all at your fingertips, clarifying where you want to be is a great way to simplify your search for the ideal business coaching solution.

With a basic understanding of what you’ll want to use your software for, you can start looking for software with the right features to help you accomplish your professional goals.

Features of Business Coaching Software

Business coaching software comes with a number of different features.

In this table, you’ll find the most common, so you can decide which may or may not be useful to you.

Feature

Details

Booking and Scheduling

If you have multiple clients, booking and scheduling features can help you optimize your coaching management by taking care of your:

  • Availabilities
  • Appointments
  • Rescheduling, and
  • Cancellations, among other things.

Billing and Invoicing

Invoicing systems can help you streamline many back-office and admin processes, enhancing efficiency and giving you more time to find and coach clients.

Billing and invoicing features can often help with:

  • Invoice generation
  • Payment reminders
  • Overdue notices
  • Receipts,
  • Payment plans, and more.

Plan Creation

For online coaches or those with a blended coaching approach, coaching plan creation features often allow you to:

  • Design, save, and reuse templates
  • Share files, plans, and learning materials with clients
  • Search databases for useful resources
  • Upload and share coaching programs, and
  • Customize coaching solutions under your own brand.

Frequently, program creation features can be the bread and butter of your practice if you’re an online coach. Different tools will allow you to approach this differently and thus, it’s worth trialing new software if a vendor offers the option.

Goal-setting and Tracking

This is where your business model will come into play. Whether you’re low- or high-touch, you will need different features to ensure the smooth running of your practice and the client’s success.

Examples include capabilities for:

  • Creating tasks, milestones, and timelines
  • Progress and achievement tracking
  • Reminders
  • Journaling, and more.

Tracking progress online can not only boost accountability but also help you build client engagement through motivation.

Analysis and Reporting

As well as monitoring and evaluating progress, some features make it easier for both you and clients to measure the results of their efforts.

For example, through:

  • Weekly, monthly, and annual reports, or
  • Comparison data, charts, and graphs

Financial Management

More so in business coaching, ROI tracking capabilities can help you attract and retain business.

Businesses need to make sure that their investments are able to generate a healthy return and if you can prove this, it can only make your job easier.

Benefits of Business Coaching Tools

While we’ve already covered many of the advantages each feature can offer, it’s also worth considering a few more specific tools that business coaches can use to gain a competitive advantage.

Especially useful features include the ability to send reminders and auto-send other branded content. These can help you reduce the number of no-shows, reduce waiting times, and above all – improve retention in the long run.

Specific Tools for Business Coaches

Here’s a little about what some particularly important business coaching software tools look like, how they work, and how that can benefit you as a practitioner.

  • Booking tools. Often found in standalone scheduling software, booking tools allowing clients to book sessions. Especially useful features include the ability to send reminders and auto-send other branded content. These useful tools can help you reduce the number of no-shows, reduce waiting times, and above all – improve retention in the long run.
  • Appointment scheduling tools link to existing or in-app calendars, as well as many mobile apps to make your client’s life easier. Some functions they perform include eliminating double-bookings with notifications, sending motivational messages, or giving you more visibility over your appointments so you can manage your time better.
  • Payment processing is another useful tool that can make service payments that much more streamlined; an even more useful feature if you work on your own.
  • Contract tools. The ability to set contracts is another tool found in some business coaching software solutions and can go a long way in easing the pains of client management. This feature can also help you reach any targets you might have.
  • Content hosting tools, such as those for worksheets and reports, can also be found in a number of software solutions, and are designed to help with group work as well as individual clients.
  • Client Portals. By providing access to a portal with all of the information, clients can feel more ownership over their progress which will make your job as a coach not only easier but ultimately more effective.

Other features that may be included in even the most basic solutions include the ability to set up business hours, host webinars, and client journaling, among others. Driven by market demand, providers will, of course, continue to innovate for the benefit of all.

SaaS Business Coaching Software: Pros and Cons

SaaS, for the uninitiated, is the idea of delivering Software as a Service rather than a product.[4] It’s a term that you’ll inevitably come across in your search for the ideal business coaching software.

This idea has changed the way the world does business, offering numerous advantages over the traditional model. The same can be said for business coaches who, when making use of SaaS solutions, are able to work from anywhere at any time.

SaaS: How It Works

Typically you will need an internet connection to use the same SaaS application on a range of devices, including laptops and smartphones. For a monthly fee, SaaS solutions will also include updates and data storage doing away with many of the pitfalls traditional software models have.

The one disadvantage, of course, is the monthly payments – however, this also means there is no hefty initial outlay. To this end, you will need to make sure the company is a reputable one and takes security very seriously.

Customer data can be very very sensitive, and awareness of regional regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA need also be taken into account to ensure everything stays above board.[5]

Coaches might also want to consider any code of ethics they operate by and how the software solution can aid them to continue to abide by this code.

Business Coaching Software: A Checklist

As mentioned, the most important thing for you to look out for is to make sure that your software complies with jurisdictional laws as well as any code of ethics your practice falls under.

Here’s a checklist that you can use to ensure you’re ticking all the right boxes when it comes to your coaching software solution.

  1. Mobile Compatibility. Depending on whether you’re a road warrior or more of an office practitioner, having a corresponding mobile app available can make your job that much easier.
  2. Pricing. Decide on your budget, then consider how you’d like to pay for the value you’re getting. A number of providers may offer a tiered plan, which can help you avoid paying for features you might not necessarily use. SaaS subscription models may also offer discounts when paying yearly in advance which can bring down your total cost of ownership and thus maximizing your ROI.
  3. Additional Features. You might also want to consider any features you might want to include to be able to offer a better service, improve client relationships, or reach more clients with a number of software solutions offering the possibility to hold more coaching sessions with minimal input on an ongoing basis.
  4. Your Future Plans. With growth in mind, it’s always wise to consider your future plans when choosing a software solution. If you’re planning to scale up or expand your global presence online, it helps to ensure that your business coaching software can accommodate what’s in your pipeline.

When all is said and done, the important thing to keep in mind is that whichever business coaching software you choose, its purpose is to help you do your job better whether that’s freeing up your time, consolidating your operations, or streamlining processes.

To stay ahead of the curve, the right business coaching software solution can go a long way.

Final Thoughts

Business coaching software may be just the ticket for coaches looking to deliver higher-caliber services to a wider range of customers. Whether you’re a solopreneur, running a private practice, or looking for a large organizational solution, your business requirements are going to drive your search for the ideal features.

With a variety of different offers out there on the market, bear in mind that prices and quality vary – so no solution is a silver bullet for success. But the right toolkit can give you a real competitive advantage, helping you learn about the latest advancements so you can pass these on to your clients.

Is there a business coaching software solution that you prefer? If not, are you looking for a particular system for your coaching business? Let us know in a comment.

References

  1. ^ Prince, R.A. (2018). Why Business Coaching Is Booming. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2018/10/08/why-business-coaching-is-booming/
  2. ^ Ely, K., Boyce, L. A., Nelson, J. K., Zaccaro, S. J., Hernez-Broome, G., & Whyman, W. (2010). Evaluating leadership coaching: A review and integrated framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(4), 585.
  3. ^ Matlay, H., Rae, D., Audet, J., & Couteret, P. (2012). Coaching the entrepreneur: features and success factors. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 19(3), 515.
  4. ^ TechRadar. (2019). What is SaaS? Everything you need to know about Software as a Service. Retrieved from https://www.techradar.com/news/what-is-saas
  5. ^ European Commission. (2020). Rules for Businesses and Organisations. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/reform/rules-business-and-organisations_en

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