Whether you are a life coach or an executive coach, you want to focus your time on delivering value to your clients. When you start your coaching practice, you may rely on a suite of everyday software tools to help you do the job.
We often hear about coaches who use Calendly, Zoom, Stripe, PayPal, Dropbox, WhatsApp, and Google Sheets to run their coaching businesses. They would use Calendly for scheduling, Zoom for video conferencing, Stripe and PayPal for taking credit cards and other payments, Dropbox for storing client documents, WhatsApp for client engagement, and Google Sheets for client management or CRM.
Unfortunately, this setup does not scale with your growing coaching practice. The first problem is cost. As you grow, you will quickly find yourself paying for each tool. This can add up to a substantial amount quickly.
Moreover, you will find that these tools do not communicate with one another. So to keep things organized, you will need to dedicate time to copying and pasting client information between applications. Before you know it, organizing client information will make up the bulk of your working hours. Eventually, you will be spending more time updating software tools than developing your coaching program or coaching clients.
Fortunately, this problem statement has given rise to a number of coaching software providers. This article will review the five best coaching apps on the market today. We will provide a grade based on each coaching tool’s ease of use, pricing, customer support, and functionality.
At the top of our list is Practice. Founded by Julien Smith, a long-time executive coach, the Practice coaching app launched in late 2021. The platform is built with the goal of consolidating all of your coaching workflows. You can run your entire coaching practice on Practice.
While Practice is a newer platform, the team has been building quickly. One look at the company’s latest feature releases, and we see items such as custom themes, client messaging automation, and client subscriptions. All of these features were added just in the last two months. As such, we have seen Practice quickly emerge as one of the most popular coaching platforms on the market today.
Let’s get into our grading.
Ease of Use: A+
Practice breaks down its platform into 6 basic sections: Appointments, Contacts (Clients), Services, Forms, Library, and Inbox. Each section is intuitive. For example, Appointments is where you configure your calendar for clients to book and Forms is where you create and store your onboarding questionnaires and coaching contracts. Services is where you create your coaching packages. And so forth and so on.
There are guides within the application to help you set up each section. The platform is user-friendly and allows you to get up and running within minutes.
Within the coaching software market, Practice is priced at the lower end. The basic plan starts at $336/year or $35/month. Once you sign up for a plan, you are locked into that price. This is a strong incentive as prices are sure to rise in the future.
You can take the product on a test drive as they offer a 7-day free trial.
Customer Support: A+
Customer support is evaluated based on how quickly you can reach a live representative. We find this to be a good measure. Coaching tools are generally run with small teams that direct customers to video and written guides, rather than spend time with them on calls.
This was a key differentiator for Practice, which offers free onboarding calls to help you get up to speed. After the onboarding call, you are still able to connect with live support staff within minutes. Customer support is truly a unique competency at Practice.
Practice offers a robust set of features to run your online coaching business. The platform can cover most coaching applications and the solution is designed in a very user-friendly manner.
Here are some of our favorite features:
- Appointment scheduling - The platform makes it easy for you to create time blocks for appointments and for you to create different types of appointments that clients can book. The process consists of 1) connecting your Google calendar, 2) selecting the type of appointments you want to offer, and 3) defining your working hours. Once that’s done, Practice generates a calendar for you on your web page. Clients can then visit your page to book coaching sessions. The process takes minutes and by the end, you have a beautiful functioning web page that clients can use.
- Coaching templates - Practice provides many helpful templates to help you get started. As a new coach, it can be intimidating to draft coaching contracts, new client onboarding forms, etc. As such, we found Practice’s templates extremely helpful. Moreover, we discovered that the platform also offers automation to help streamline sending forms to clients and collecting the completed forms. These templates can save many hours of work and the automation are just the cherry on top.
- Client and coach messaging - Practice offers an iOS and Android app for you and your clients. This is unique within online coaching platforms. The mobile app is great for managing client progress in real-time and for accomplishing small tasks while on the go. However, the main benefit of the mobile app is the chat feature - it is a secure environment for you to exchange messages with your clients. No more communicating and searching for messages over clunky email or SMS.
Founded in 2012 by John Larson, CoachAccountable, or CA, has been serving coaches for over ten years. CA is one of the longest-tenured online coaching platforms on the market and has developed a strong following from its online courses, client worksheets, and whiteboard functionality. If you are a coach with online courses or that likes to assign assessments and worksheets to your clients, then CA could be a good fit for you.
Here are our grades.
Ease of Use: A-
CA has a simple user interface that breaks the app down into six sections: Clients, Appointments, Groups, Courses, Whiteboards, and Library. Each section is intuitive and relatively easy to set up. There are also many in-app guides and onboarding videos for your reference.
The main reasons that the grade is not an A+ are that 1) many of the time-saving functionality are hidden and 2) the client experience has strong friction. CA has a ton of functionality built into the app. To hide some of the complexity, the platform withholds some of its more robust features, such as calendar integrations and payment processing integrations. Pro-tip: before you spend a lot of time recreating your calendar in CA, make sure to look for the calendar integration feature!
Lastly, for your clients to start booking appointments or start engaging with you, they will have to go through the account creation process.
CoachAccountable gets more expensive with the more clients you have. This model helps to align interests. Both you and CA want to see your coaching practice grow. Plans start at $20/month for up to 2 clients. However, pricing quickly scales to $40/month for up to 5 clients, $70/month for up to 10 clients, $120/month for up to 20 clients, and so forth. For coaches that have a large client base with infrequent meetings, this pricing structure can be quite prohibitive.
CA does offer a friendly free trial: 30 days and no credit cards are required.
Customer Support: B-
The main setback for CoachAccountable is around their customer support. The company consists of 1 employee: its founder. While this is a phenomenal achievement, it also leads to a lite-touch customer service model. For inquiries or onboarding questions, you will find yourself relying on available video content.
As mentioned before, CoachAccountable has developed a strong set of features over the last 10 years. There are several distinctive features unique to CoachAccountable. These features have resonated strongly with coaches that have those respective use cases. Let’s see if these features are also important for you.
- Group coaching - CA’s group coaching feature is very robust. It includes a message forum, group-level assessments and assignments, and lastly, shared metrics in the group to hold each participant or team member accountable.
- Client portal - As a coach, you can select which features your client can use. The client portal also allows the client to schedule appointments, go through courses, fill in worksheets, and send emails to you. Most client portals are built for the client to receive information. CA’s version makes it a truly interactive client experience.
Based in Brighton, UK, Paperbell was founded in 2020 by Laura Roeder. With Laura’s background as a web designer, it is no surprise that this client management software is simple and user-friendly. However, the platform is light on features relative to the other coaching software. Here are our grades for Paperbell.
Ease of Use: A+
Paperbell’s strength is in its simplicity. The product has five main sections: Appointments, Availability, Packages, Clients, and Sales. Appointments is where you can view and update past and upcoming appointments. Availability is where you set your open time slots. Packages is where you create services to sell. The Clients section stores all of your existing clients. Sales is where you track past client purchases. Each section is straightforward and directs you through a specific onboarding flow.
Pro-tip, before you manually add all of your available time slots in the Availability section, go to “Edit settings” > “Calendar integration” and connect your Google Calendar. This should save you a ton of time.
Pricing starts at $47.5/month if you sign up for the annual plan. The price would be $57/month if you opt for the monthly plan instead. Unlike CoachAccountable, pricing does not change with the number of clients. It is one set price for all features.
That said, a price point close to $50/month is a bit steep for the available functionality.
Customer Support: B-
Paperbell is similar to CoachAccountable in this category as the coaching app also runs very lean. As such, the company relies on its simplistic features and robust content library to educate customers. The downside to this is that the business model does not accommodate quick responses to your questions or desire to check in with a representative.
Paperbell’s features are simple and intuitive. When you see the interface, the open fields make it obvious what information or actions you should fill in or take. However, one downside is that the features lack depth. For example, after you connect your Google calendar, the app does not detect who are potential clients based on your past meetings. Instead, you have to do some heavy client management, and manually enter their information one by one.
That said, the platform does offer some wonderful features. Here are some of our favorite features:
- Coaching packages - Creating an offering to sell to your client can be complicated. Do you bill on a monthly retainer that is not tied to the number of sessions? Do you offer one-off calls? Paperbell did a great job in simplifying packages. It gives you two options: a one-time/payment plan or a subscription. Once you make a selection, there are many functions to make your package customizable. The company did a wonderful job of simplifying a complex feature.
- Goal setting for easy onboarding - Going into a new coaching app can be intimidating. Some apps out there even have aspirational quotes throughout onboarding to check on your well-being. On Paperbell, the platform lays out four simple actions you can take to get your coaching practice started. It is a nice touch to help get the coach started.
4. Nudge Coach
Based in Richmond, Virginia, the small team at Nudge Coach has been building its coaching app for almost a decade. Nudge Coach is a mobile app-first solution that focuses on helping you assign tasks to your clients. The coaching app allows you to create different programs and assign them to your clients. Then it allows you to leverage native mobile features, such as push notifications to keep your clients on track.
While the app is great for client assessments and exercises, it is a bit lackluster in terms of scheduling, forms, and other standard functionality for coaching engagements.
Let us get into the grading.
Ease of Use: B
Nudge Coach relies heavily on video tutorials to onboard users. After watching a short introduction video, you are dropped into an empty app experience. You will need to navigate around to find tutorials to help you get started.
Once you find the onboarding content, the instructions to set up your coaching experience or package for your clients are quite straightforward.
Nudge Coach’s pricing schedule is unique relative to other coaching apps. It gives a significant discount on annual subscriptions. The basic plan starts at $60/month but it would be discounted to $25/month if you prepay for the year. The basic plan allows you to have up to 50 clients.
Beyond that, you would enter the next plan which would be $100/month or $999 annually.
Lastly, the company does offer a Free tier for up to five clients. If you want to test out the product, you have a risk-free way to do that.
Customer Support: B
The platform pushes you to self-serve by offering many onboarding videos. To get more real-time or personal onboarding, you will have to opt into the Scale tier, which would be $100/month.
That said, the coaching app does a good job of placing helpful short videos throughout the app experience. You will not have to search around for onboarding videos as they are strategically embedded into the appropriate sections of the app.
While Nudge Coach does not provide live onboarding sessions, it is also not a solo-founder-type company. You can exchange emails and messages with a support team.
Nudge Coach is similar to Nudge Coach. It is not well suited for the traditional coaching models in which you have regular in-person or virtual check-ins with your clients. You don’t see any appointment or virtual meeting features in the application.
The application is designed more so for fitness coaches or life coaches, where you can create daily goals for your clients and they can easily access it through the mobile app. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite features:
- Zapier integration - Nudge Coach offers several Zapier integrations to make it easier for coaches to invite their clients onto the platform. This functionality makes it easy for the coach to streamline their new client onboarding process.
- Groups and group messaging - The platform offers a robust set of features for groups. To summarize the functionality, it is very much like Facebook Messenger. You can easily create a community and add clients to this community. After that, the group can message back and forth and take on weekly challenges.
Founded in 2019 and based out of Limburg, Netherlands, Quenza started as a client management tool for mental health practitioners. The platform is similar to Nudge Coach in that it favors coaching niches that are highly assignment based — meaning you have lots of homework and activities assigned to your clients.
Also like Nudge Coach, this coaching app is also missing some core features, such as the ability for prospective clients or existing clients to book time with you. It also does not handle invoicing or payments.
Here are our grades for Quenza.
Ease of Use: A
The Quenza coaching app has a singular focus of keeping your clients close to you after in-person or live sessions. To accomplish this, the app allows you to create a series of assignments and daily tasks for your clients and it also allows you to track their progress in real-time. The features are straightforward and easy to set up.
You can have your program set up in a matter of a few hours.
The lowest plan starts at $49/month or $490/year. However, there are a lot of rules to the plan. For example, you can only have up to 15 clients, 20 activities, and 250 send credits. If you trigger any of these limits, you will be upgraded to the next tier which is $89/month or $890/year.
The company does not have a free product. Instead, your first month is only $1.
Customer Support: A-
Quenza has a strong roster of customer support members to help you, especially when compared to some of the other players on the list. If you email the support staff, then you should hear back fairly quickly.
That said, the platform lacks a lot of self-help content that the other platforms offer. Perhaps this is due to their reliance on their support team members.
Quenza gets a B grade. While it has robust functionality for client activity tracking, it does not offer the basic functions that coaches need, such as billing, contracts and forms, and calendar management. A coach that uses Quenza will inevitably need to sign up for another platform to handle those everyday needs.
That said, the app has some great features when it comes to client activity management.
- Client activity and program builder - This is Quenza’s bread and butter. In the platform, you can easily create an activity for your client. Then you can combine several activities to create a curated program for your client. For example, as a life coach, you can create two different activities called meditation and reflection. You can combine these activities — one for the morning and another for the evening — to form a program for your client to follow.
- Client mobile app - Quenza offers a robust client app, designed for the client to easily engage with your activities and programs. Clients will receive notifications to perform the activity. Once they perform the activity, you can see their progress in real-time.
Running a coaching business is not easy. As your client list grows, you will need to invest in tools to help simplify workflows and organize client information. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.
The five options presented in this article should all help simplify and enhance your coaching business. Depending on your needs as a coach, some options may be a better fit for you than others.
If you are looking for coaching software that is easy to use, well-priced, and all-comprehensive, we believe Practice.do is your best option. Take a risk-free trial and see for yourself why coaches love the product.