Some surprising things are moving online.

You can consult your doctor and be prescribed medicine online.  You can receive home deliveries when you are on holiday on the other side of the world.  You can even meet people and make friends online.

Business coaching is something of a laggard in this movement  Of course, coaches do use Skype and webinars to coach clients but most still follow the traditional face-to-face model.
This prompts the question:  For the coach, what are the benefits and drawbacks of coaching online when compared to coaching face-to-face?

Benefits:

  • Reduced travel cost and time;
  • Improved billing ratio;
  • Wider reach (not restricted to local clients);
  • Shorter sessions become viable which may lead to more clients and higher billing;
  • More flexible - can be fitted around other commitments;
  • Immediate access to online resources and screen sharing during coaching sessions

Drawbacks:

  • Limited access to body language;
  • Limited sense of place, culture, values, organisation of the client and their company;
  • A shallower relationship with the client;
  • Less engagement and attention from the client during the coaching session;
  • More competition - promoting online coaching may open your prospects to more distant coaches.  Local prices may be driven down;
  • Will require some different marketing channels, messaging and collateral

It seems likely that there is still some early-mover advantage to be had by developing your online coaching practice.  It also seems likely that, in common with other sectors, established coaches will be less likely to adopt this new stuff then people coming into the industry with nothing to lose.

If you are just starting out as a business coach and looking for a coaching programme it would be sensible to choose one that supports both online and offline coaching, like this one.