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In my work as CEO of a learning platform company, I meet and work with several business coaches. And as an australiabusinessblog.com I recognize – like many coaches – the many qualities they need for success: good communication skills, emotional intelligence, the ability to give (and receive) feedback effectively and a nose to sniff what the market needs. has – and pair it with their own expertise, just to name a few.
Of course, flexibility and adaptability are also important. Like many companies, the coaching industry has been rocked by changes over the past two and a half years. Almost 4 out of 10 coaches have made changes to their service offering in response to the pandemic, according to the International Coaching Federation.
A major change is the move of many face-to-face coaching sessions to a virtual format – which, in addition to addressing safety priorities, could enable coaches to scale their business.
Another service change that could drive business growth is offering prepackaged and on-demand e-learning courses as a way for coaches to reach out and share their expertise with more people. These courses can serve to whet learners’ appetites and entice them to book live coaching sessions or they can form a standalone and profitable business.
Are you a coach considering diving into the e-learning business? Here are four tips I would recommend.
Related: If You Didn’t Hire a Business Coach, You’re Holding Yourself Back
1. Know your audience
What kind of people do you coach? What are their needs? Then think about how that might translate into online courses – as many people are currently looking for solutions to business and professional development problems online.
You can get some of the above information by researching current customers, but don’t stop there. Reach people in different markets and outside your focus area, including other coaches, both for content inspiration and as potential clients.
For example, based on your area of expertise, you have decided to conduct online wellness courses. In addition to targeting your usual clients (such as HR professionals), consider marketing e-learning courses for coaches. Coaching the coaches – on information they need, but also on ways to deliver that information effectively – is an important and in-demand niche.
We also see that self-development and professional development courses are now very popular: leadership training, executive training, career training and so on. Are there relevant opportunities for you to provide your target groups with content in these areas?
2. Choose your course idea(s)
You may have an idea for a course, but is it selling? That’s where market research comes in. Combine your expertise with market opportunities and don’t be afraid to go against the grain.
For example, let’s say you target technology workers with e-learning courses. Many content creators are currently talking about and providing information on how to increase productivity. It’s a busy market! Instead, in the face of widespread burnout in the tech industry, a well-being course for tech workers may be a better approach, if it aligns with your areas of expertise.
Again, be sure to map out your course ideas and marketing plans for a specific audience and their unique needs.
Related: 4 Ways to Benefit from a Business Coach
3. Find the right technology to scale your business
So you have great course content that fills a gap in the market. You know who that content is really going to help. But without the right platform or technology to deliver it, it’s hard to get your e-learning courses off the ground. What are you going to use?
Web conferences are great for live sessions and interactive activities. You can also make replays of sessions available.
For more robust e-learning, with interactive and social elements, look to learning platforms. Consider those that include at least:
- A course authoring system (as well as the ability to import other courses).
- Ecommerce Featuresso potential customers can browse your course catalog and buy what they need.
- The ability to create subscription-based communities — Enable customers to subscribe to access premium content, learning paths, and groups of experts and peers. For example, the non-profit organization Women in Data uses its learning platform to offer free career support, as well as establish membership plans with more advanced services and networking capabilities.
Additional platform features that are fun to have make this community building possible, where groups of students can participate in forums and gather and exchange ideas. Moreover, the possibility to apply gamification, or to use game elements to motivate students, can also make learning more fun: more interest, participation and ‘buzz’.
And finally, automation will be important as you scale your e-learning business. With automation, once you’ve built a course, you can let your platform do it from there: preloaded reminders to attendees, issue personalized certificates upon completion, and so on. As your business grows, doing these activities manually would consume valuable time.
Related: 10 Reasons You Need a Business Coach
4. Consider Building an Academy
If your online courses have taken off and you find them becoming a profitable and popular core business, you may want to take the next step and set up an e-learning academy. This typically involves hiring more instructors with specialized expertise to build additional courses.
Many academies offer subscriptions – for example, customers have unlimited access to the courses, e-books, podcasts, and communities on your secure site for $10 a month. You may also want to consider partnering with larger companies that you target, who may purchase individual courses or subscriptions in bulk.
You might even consider offering e-learning content and coaching services as a package, such as: “Buy two online courses and get access to a free business coaching session from one of our instructors.”
The move to digital offers great opportunities for coaches to expand their audience. With many companies continuing to support virtual and hybrid workforces — and many employees preferring to work that way — the opportunity to reach these audiences online isn’t going away.
Many coaches naturally have (and have developed) skills that make them well-suited to creating and delivering high-impact e-learning courses. For those considering moving to e-learning, I encourage them to pursue it. By taking a crawl-walk-run approach and incorporating the tips above, you’ll find opportunities to grow your business and your impact.