Have you ever had an email exchange that excited you every time your inbox dinged? That feeling isn’t limited to back-and-forth with friends or colleagues — you can have meaningful conversations with clients, too.
Email communications can be as rich as verbal conversations and as efficient as sending a text. You can conduct business over email, have an overdue catch-up with a friend, and yes, even coach others to lead their best lives.
Offering email coaching is a great way to extend services to clients who don’t have a consistent time block in their week for virtual or in-person coaching sessions. Read on to learn more about this service to determine if it’s a good fit for your practice.
Email coaching: how it works
Email coaching is an out-of-the-box alternative to the traditional method of meeting with clients in person or over video chat. Professionals still offer one-on-one coach-client relationships in this model — they’re just written instead of verbal.
Coaching over email is an asynchronous approach to mentoring. Instead of penciling in a weekly, biweekly, or monthly meeting, coaches and clients can communicate back and forth at their own pace. There’s no need to rush to prepare for a session before traveling to an office or hopping on Zoom. Everyone involved can organize their ideas and compose thoughtful messages without feeling hurried or stressed.
In-person conversations are a different experience, as both parties have to respond in real time. Having some breathing room provides you and your client with the space to digest information and draft the best possible response. You can’t hit backspace face to face, but you can over email.
Why clients choose email coaching programs
Some clients choose in-person coaching because they get the most out of face-to-face meetings. Others opt for virtual sessions to connect with a coach who doesn’t work nearby or avoid a commute. So, why might someone prefer email coaching?
- Budget: Email coaching doesn’t require an in-person office space, lowering business costs compared to traditional coaching. It also makes coaching a more manageable side hustle and allows coaches to hold another full- or part-time job. As a result, coaches can offer their email services at a lower cost, which appeals to clients on a budget.
- Location: Clients who want to work with a coach whose practice is far away (and perhaps in a different time zone) or entirely virtual may choose email services for convenience. This way, they can work with their mentor of choice on a flexible schedule.
- Time: Over email, clients can respond to coaches in their free time rather than trying to squeeze in sessions during business hours. Not many coaches offer evening sessions, making the service inaccessible for some busy professionals.
- Social anxiety: People who feel stressed during in-person conversations can open up more from behind a cursor. Email coaching offers a safe space for those with social or phone anxiety who would otherwise struggle in a traditional mentorship setting.
- Record-keeping: Clients can review their emails at their own pace and revisit them wherever they wish. In email mentoring, there’s a permanent record of all communication, meaning clients don’t have to worry about forgetting important advice.
- Precision: Clients who prefer to take their time when gathering their thoughts are a good fit for the email model. They can draft and redraft responses until they find the right words and avoid long periods of silence in verbal conversations that make them feel rushed.
Should you offer email coaching?
Email coaching isn’t the right service for everyone — only you can decide if this approach is compatible with your practice. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve laid out the pros and cons:
Email coaching has several upsides. Here are a few:
- It’s easy to get started: The only thing a coach needs to offer this service is experience and an email address. There’s little to no overhead required to add this model to your professional repertoire (or start an email-only business).
- It cuts transportation costs: You can work from home with an online coaching business. This eliminates commuting and the expenses of traveling back and forth from the office.
- It’s flexible and scaleable: There are only so many hours available for face-to-face sessions. Mentoring over email doesn’t have the same time constraints; You can find time to draft messages between other tasks, before your workday, or in the evenings. This flexibility makes email coaching an excellent side hustle or first foray into professional mentorship. Plus, once you’re comfortable with this method, you can easily scale up this aspect of your work if you have free time.
Like any coaching methodology, email coaching has a few drawbacks. Here are some examples:
- It can feel impersonal: Some coaches and clients hit it off over email and develop a strong relationship. However, interactions may feel distant and impersonal to those better suited to face-to-face work. This means there may be a trial-and-error process — for you and prospective clients.
- It requires you to stay on top of clients: No one likes to nag, but coaches may have to repeatedly follow up with clients if they’re not getting timely responses. It’s much easier to miss an email than a scheduled meeting.
- It’s harder to draw out the correct information: In a live session, you can ask a client to expand on a point that isn’t clear or challenge them to think differently in real time. Over email, you might have to wait hours or days for a response. This can slow down goal-setting and the overall coaching process, so patience is essential in email coaches.
How to offer email coaching services
Do you feel email coaching is the next step in your career? Here’s how you can get started:
- Create an email address for your coaching business: Designate a professional email address dedicated strictly to client emails — keep other messages in a separate account. Choose a name that’s easy to remember and spell, and never use a personal email address for business or vice versa.
- Set a schedule: Yes, email coaches can work whenever they want, but it’s crucial to establish a work-life balance. Set hours for coaching work, and let clients know when they can expect responses. You don’t have to be available 24/7 — manage your time carefully.
- Price your services: Create session rates for email coaching packages. Generate a list of services you can send as an email attachment to potential clients.
- Develop a marketing strategy. Announce your email coaching services on social media and your website. Ask clients, friends, and family members to recommend your practice and provide an information sheet they can share with anyone interested over email. Referrals often lead to strong coach-client matches because the recommenders understand who’d be suitable for your services. Remember, people may not know what email coaching services are, so explain your offerings clearly and in detail.
Keep your coaching business organized with Practice
Whether you coach in person or over email, it’s essential to keep client information safe and organized. At Practice, we understand what it takes to run a coaching business. It's our goal to help professionals like you manage day-to-day work — that’s why we designed our customer relationship management (CRM) platform with coaches in mind. Practice’s CRM allows you to safely and securely communicate with clients, file important documents, and receive payments, all in one place.