Once upon a time, only the biggest companies around the world could dream of having access to the entire world as a market. Technology has changed that. Anyone providing a service, in any part of the world, can access people who could pay for that service.
Equestrian coaches are no different. Once, the market was limited to coaching people in your area or a select amount of clinics. Nowadays, there is no reason why you cannot coach across the timezones, across the world, and increase your coaching revenue in line with that.
Remote coaching will not replace in-person coaching and does not seek to do that. It has drawbacks, but it has huge advantages too. In today’s busy world, and in a crisis like Covid-19, remote coaching can provide a support network and feedback tool that in-person coaching can’t.
What can you do to ensure you are coaching most effectively while overseeing clients both near and far?
1. Focus on communication
When coaching remotely, the biggest winners are those who have strong communication skills. We know that the best athletes are not always the best coaches and often this is due to an inability to clearly communicate. When physical presence is not possible, communication with your athletes should be concise, simple and with clear-cut information.
Good coaches think about the level of athlete experience and tailor their words and exercises with the correct level of information. As a general rule, less experienced athletes or new clients require more communication.
You can build a great reputation as a coach just by making sure that the amount, and detail, of your communications matches the athlete.
2. Share your experience
Many equestrian coaches working remotely will have been part of a range of coaching programs, attended many clinics and will have likely worked for many years on different techniques and exercises. Remote coaching is an opportunity to share many years of experience with others who may not have had that access.
Many coaches don't realise the experience they now have, having worked with others and from their own careers. Really thinking about the simple exercises that have helped you over your career, and sharing them with your clients, can make you stand out as someone people want to work with.
3. Be visible
When coaching remotely, it is important to have an online presence and personality. If your market is online, it is important that you are too. This can be in a number forms and each coach will be attracted to different ones.
Some coaches like to email or FaceTime. Others use blogs or videos on social media. Whatever you do, when reaching out to an online market, ensure that you have some online channels where people can learn about you and your offering.
It is always useful if you can improve your remote coaching by meeting up if possible, even for a coffee, when at a show or a clinic. Remote coaches who are active online, or have an online following, have access to an immediate market which can be a huge advantage to getting started and turning followers into revenue.
4. Use technology
Camera and video technology, in your pocket, is stronger than ever before. EquiRatings OnForm has added the ability to create teams, 1:1 coaching, tagging, storing, voiceover, drawing tools and a lot more. It is possible to get set up with a new revenue stream as a coach within a couple of clicks.
In addition, there are multiple online tools to build your profile. Perhaps with social media or maybe even a website. Websites can now be designed in a couple of clicks, can accept bookings and can accept online payments. All you have to add is some pictures and some words.
There are multiple apps and websites through which you can invoice or collect payments and manage your own finances as you earn money.
Being a remote coach, in the world today, takes some time, some thought, and some technology.
5. Make a plan
Every client will have a different objective, a different motivation and will be starting from a different place. This is the same for remote coaching and in-person coaching. The best coaches can bring an immediate sense of relief to many clients by making a plan. It could be 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, but almost every client will want to know that you know where they are going, and how they are going to get there.
The most popular remote coaches listen to their client's objectives and quickly put in place some first steps. Once the first couple of videos begin to flow back and forth, the longer term plan can develop.
6. Know your pricing
The best remote coaches will have spent some time thinking about their time and their offering.
There is a range of ways in which coaches can design a package to fit different needs. We would recommend offering a small selection (like Gold, Silver, Bronze) and a per month or per quarter fee. The offering could include, for example, two video reviews and one training plan consultation per month, or one video review and one suggested exercise per week.
Every coach will work differently and will charge different amounts for coaching. It is important to be able to quickly give information about your pricing to a new potential client.
7. Set parameters
An in-person coach would not be expected to be available 24/7 on the phone after a lesson and the same is true for remote coaching. Alongside knowing your pricing, the best remote coaches set expectations for their online clients from the outset of the relationship. If the client knows that they will have two videos reviewed and two suggested exercises per week, they will know that anything further to that is not included within their pricing plan.
Equally, remote coaches need to be good at setting expectations on responsiveness. If a client knows that the videos are reviewed at the weekend, or once a week, they are less likely to be waiting by their phone for an instant response.
8. Be a champion for your clients
Remote clients have the whole world of coaches to choose from and they have chosen to use your service. The best remote coaches know how to champion their clients, either in private or in public. Being a coach can mean more than providing feedback on an exercise. Having an understanding of your clients motivations - when they need encouragement and when they need to be told what to do - is a key skill of all coaches, in person or remote.
It can be harder for a remote coach to be available to a client at a show or an event but having reminders of when they are competing, or other milestones to send a encouraging message, makes the top coaches stand out.
9. Keep learning
No matter how long you have been coaching, there will be more to learn. Clients will present with challenges you have have not faced before and there will be ways in which your communication can improve so as to deliver the message more clearly.
The most successful coaches, in-person and remote, remain humble and are committed to learning and improving every day.
10. Bring some fun
Not every client will be an Olympic champion, or will even be aiming for that. Many clients will not be riding in a professional capacity and while they are serious about improvement, they will also want to enjoy their time with their horses and their coach.
Regardless of a client's aspiration, very few will stay with a coach long enough to achieve their true potential unless they’re enjoying their training. The best remote coaches understand the balance between excellence and enjoyment.
Being a great remote coach and attracting new clients will come down to you. We will provide the tools to support you.