Every coach we talk to (and we talk to a lot of them!) says the same thing about what they do:
Being a coach is so rewarding because you get to help and support clients along the path to reaching their goals. Watching clients succeed is a source of personal pride among coaches, whatever field of coaching you specialize in, such as life, nutritional, financial, or business.
But I often wonder: Who coaches the coach?
Coaching can be exhausting, particularly if your calendar is bursting with back-to-back calls and meetings. A solidly booked calendar might seem great for the bank balance and reputation, but it’s incredibly difficult to sustain.
Are you so busy with coaching sessions that you feel held back when it comes to growing your own business? Are you helping others succeed yet feel limited when it comes to your own success? Keep reading to discover an effective solution.
Your Business Depends on Your Client Relationships
To state the obvious, your professional success and your coaching business rely on your relationship with your clients.
Building professional relationships requires communication. After all, the main value of what you offer to clients is access to you. Without access, clients don’t obtain the necessary guidance, insights, and support that they expect from coaching services.
In essence, client access is vital, for both the client and your business.
However, having so many meetings negatively impacts your ability to grow and scale your coaching business. There are limited hours in the day and, if so much of your time is spent on calls or in in-person meetings, there’s no time left to focus on other areas of your business.
Problems of Being Too Busy with Calls
Spending so much time in calls or meetings or calls is problematic for several reasons
Your Business Cannot Grow
Your personal business goals to improve your website, develop your social media channels, invest in additional training and certification, or participate in professional networking events, for example, cannot happen if your time is constantly spent on client calls.
In short, your business can fail to thrive while helping others reach their goals.
Your Mental Well-Being Can Suffer
Too many calls can also take a toll on your mental and physical health. Zoom fatigue is unpleasant and, unfortunately, very real!
A day spent in live meetings is draining. Now, repeat that every working day, and you’ll quickly realize how unsustainable it is.
In addition to impacting your focus and mood, back-to-back calls can negatively affect your client interactions. Few people operate at their best when they’re exhausted. You might be saying the same words, but with little conviction or passion — and your clients can usually pick up on this change in energy.
Fatigue can affect how you approach matters, too, and it’s unlikely you’ll be the best coach you can be when you’re stressed and run down from spending too much time in live calls.
Your Physical Health Can Suffer
Simply being at your screen all day can cause more adversity for you. You may experience headaches, dry eyes, digital eye strain, body aches, dehydration, insomnia, and a raft of other screen-related issues.
It’s widely known that excessive periods sitting in front of a screen can contribute to potentially serious health problems, ranging from obesity and diabetes to high blood pressure, muscle fatigue, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers.
So, how can you balance the critical need for client access and your other business needs and health?
Solution: Asynchronous Messaging for Coaches
Asynchronous communication, in simple terms, refers to conversations that take place outside of real-time. Two or more people can carry on a conversation without needing to be present at the same time.
You’re probably familiar with the most common forms of “async” messaging: Email and SMS (text messaging) or chat tools.
Today, we’re seeing video-based async messaging becoming more common— especially with coaches, which I’ll get into in a moment. But first, let’s point out a few benefits of moving much of your communications to asynchronous methods:
Better Time Management
Async solutions provide you and your clients with a communication method that can fit in with your schedules. Essentially, async conversations give much more autonomy to both parties when it comes to managing their own time.
As many calls may not be great for you, your clients, too, might feel empowered being able to reach out in ways that don’t involve carving out a specific time for a live chat.
Asynchronous communications are often shorter and more detailed than video calls, allowing clients to get to the crux of their most pressing questions easier. You can be prepared with thoughtful and detailed answers while your client can easily return to your reply any time they wish.
Of course, live coaching calls are still important. You’ll still need to arrange a time for real-time communications with clients. Consider, however, follow-up questions and updates and other communications your client needs that don’t necessarily warrant a live call.
Asynchronous communications maintain that essential access in between scheduled coaching sessions.
Most coaches already rely on traditional async messaging tools, such as email, SMS, and chat apps.
1. Text-only Communications
Traditional async communications are entirely text-based, which may not provide the best method of communication. Without tone, inflection, facial expressions, gestures, and body language, a lot can be lost in translation.
While they certainly have their uses, text-based solutions don’t always offer the best way to express questions, explain problems, explore solutions or offer ideas.
Additionally, going back to the all-important point of good relationships with clients, text messages can also feel very impersonal. There’s typically much more warmth and feeling, as well as understanding, when we can see or hear people, as opposed to simply reading words on a screen.
2. Too much access
A further problem with text-based messaging is that it can sometimes provide too much access.
With text messaging a regular part of daily life for many people, it’s almost effortless to shoot off a quick message at almost any time.
Stuck in traffic on the daily commute? Send a message. Soaking in the bathtub? Send a message. Enjoying dinner out with friends? Sneak in a quick message. Waiting for a movie to start? Type out a message. Laying in bed? Send a message. You get the idea.
Text messaging is so easy and abundant these days, that coaches may find that their clients send a plethora of messages, without giving much thought to the reason.
Quality communications are more important than quantity. While voice and video messaging aren’t difficult, people often put more thought into their communications, meaning you get the messages that actually matter.
3. Open Access after the Coaching Package Finishes
Many coaches find that clients still reach out to them via text-based messaging solutions with “a quick question” or for “a bit of advice”, even after the coaching engagement has ended.
Obviously, blocking people is counter-productive — they may want your services again in the future. Ignoring messages can appear rude and lead to a sour feeling, which may affect whether former clients recommend you to others. Replying to all such messages, however, eats further into your valuable time and essentially means you are working for free.
Alternative: Asynchronous Messaging with Video
Asynchronous messages with video have all of the same benefits as live communications, whether using the camera or just the microphone, except that they are not actually live. You and your clients can send and receive messages at times convenient for you.
Not only do you have the freedom to choose when to reply, but messaging isn’t as emotionally taxing as live meetings.
With video, audio, and text messaging capabilities, ZipMessage is loved by coaches for its’ focus on conversational asynchronous messaging, all in one thread.
Think of ZipMessage as a direct line of communication between you and each client, where all of those messages that occur in-between sessions can be swapped and logged throughout your coaching engagement.
Coaches primarily use ZipMessage because:
- You and your client can record messages with video, screen share, microphone, and/or text.
- Threaded conversations all on one page, meaning no more hunting for emails or voice messages in various folders.
- Super easy to share with your client and have them respond on video.
- Your clients don’t need to download any special software.
- ZipMessage syncs with email.
Offering Async Messaging in Your Coaching Service
If you’re wondering how to include asynchronous coaching in your services, you have several options to consider.
If you offer small-group coaching sessions, async messaging is a great way of reaching everyone and allowing time for individual responses. It’s particularly effective where clients are spread across several time zones.
You could offer async-only coaching options for clients who don’t need live access to, or communication with, you.
Whether onboarding a new or existing coaching client to async messaging, several steps can make the process practically effortless:
- During a live coaching session, send your first video message to a client, show them how to use the tool and ask them to send you a reply. This shows you that they are able to use the tool and helps a client to feel comfortable communicating in this way.
- Toward the end of the coaching session, suggest using asynchronous messaging for follow ups and feedback between scheduled coaching appointments.
- When preparing replies to your async messages, make a few brief notes to keep you on track and guide you while recording. This ensures you remain on point and focused. Showing your notes on screen has several benefits. It emphasizes professionalism and that you have taken time to consider an issue and prepare a response, rather than replying on the fly. It also demonstrates to clients how they can create short and focused async messages.
- Utilize video intakes to open up for general questions from your community, client base or audience.
- Share knowledge and allow viewers to submit video questions, which you can then answer asynchronously. ZipMessage makes it a breeze to direct clients or potential clients to your video intake page where they can record and send you a message.
Transform Your Coaching Business with Asynchronous Messaging
With so many possibilities, async communications can really help you to transform and grow your business.
You’ll have greater control over your time while still building client trust and maintaining open channels for access. Plus, clients love having space between messages to think, digest, and consider their next question or response.
You can give client issues the short, sharp focus they deserve, rather than racing from call to call with barely a moment to breathe.
You can consider offering new coaching programs and reach even more clients.
Async solutions really are a win-win for everyone!
If you’re a coach, or thinking about offering coaching packages to your clients, I invite you to try ZipMessage for free (Affiliate Link). Then tell me what you think! You can send me a “ZM” at zipmessage.com/brian and with any questions about asynchronous coaching or how to integrate it into your service. I look forward to hearing from you!