Tools of the Coaching Trade
Whether you already have a successful life coaching business or you’re still in the process of building one, there's a dizzying array of tools out there to help you work smarter.
From organizing projects, scheduling calls, to connecting with your audience, odds are there's a product or service that can handle it for you. The trick is in researching which are best for your situation, and selecting your Must-Haves.
Here’s the rundown on some of our current favorites.
Acuity is a robust scheduling system, designed to meet a range of needs. It features an easy-to-use interface, available both online and as an app that can connect to your Android, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.
Acuity integrates with your personal calendar, but what sets it apart from many other scheduling apps is that it also has its own internal calendar where you can host your entire schedule if desired. This app also allows for integration with other business software like Google Analytics, QuickBooks, and payment processors such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
When it comes to pricing, Acuity has a plan for every budget. For small businesses, subscriptions begin at $14 per month.
This popular call scheduling app boasts one of the easiest systems to use for new practitioners. Calendly connects to your personal calendar and provides a scheduling link for you to share with clients. Choose your timezone, create appointment slots that suit your schedule, and you’re ready to go!
Once a potential client opens the link to schedule, they can see which timezone you are in and make a conversion based on where they are located.
Calendly offers a free basic plan that lets you connect to one calendar, as well as paid monthly plans if you'd like additional features.
This is perhaps the most recognized payment tool on the market, and one many consumers are comfortable with. PayPal is easy to use, allows you to create simple invoices, and can integrate with many other platforms and systems. As with many payment systems, the cost to you is based on a flat percentage per transaction.
Stripe offers a very comprehensive package for running an online business. There’s more bells and whistles with this platform, including the ability to create branded invoices, embed your products and service payment systems directly into your website, and integration with a variety of platforms. The fees are comparable to PayPal.
If you are doing both online and in-person transactions, Square is a simple system you’re probably already familiar with as a consumer. A small card reader is easily attached to a smartphone or tablet for accepting credit card payments.
Square also offers all the online options you’re likely to need, including website integration and invoicing. Pricing varies, based upon which tools you require.
CLIENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
There's a growing list of online platforms for secure client management and engagement tools. Some offer integrated, "one-stop" shop for booking, payment, tracking, and client interface - both individually, and for group programs. A few to explore include:
WEBSITE DESIGN AND HOSTING
When building a website for your business, job one is to secure your domain name. Common services for this include Domain.com, GoDaddy, Shopify, and many others. You can expect the majority of website hosts to also provide this service as a part of building your site.
Popular platforms for design and hosting include Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. Regardless of your current level of tech knowledge and comfort, there’s a platform for you! These days, just about anyone can construct a simple website in an afternoon with user-friendly templates on Squarespace or Wix.
For more sophisticated features, such as embedded payment processors and integration with your social media feeds, you can DIY this if you are comfortable rolling up your sleeves and digging into the back end of your site.
If you'd like some ideas on what content your website could include, check out our guide: 6 Things Every Life Coach Business Website Needs.
For those who are less tech-savvy, or just want to devote more of their time to coaching and content creation, consult with a web designer to help you get the look, feel, and final “web home” that you are after. Many designers specialize in working with coaches and wellness professionals, and offer budget-friendly services.
Buffer is among the most popular social media management tools on the market. All Buffer plans are fee-based, but if a seamless user experience is what you’re looking for then we think it’s worth considering.
Buffer lets you queue and schedule posts on various social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Aside from the straightforward design, it also boasts terrific tools to analyze your content so you can easily see how your posts are performing in one simple click. This is especially helpful if you’re still learning the ropes of social media marketing.
With over 15 million users, we’d be remiss not to mention Hootsuite. Aside from scheduling content for various social media platforms, Hootsuite also assists with running ads and measuring social ROI. These are both useful for evaluating your marketing tactics and growing your audience.
While sophisticated, newcomers need not be intimidated! Hootsuite’s designers have made the service as straightforward and easy to use as possible. In addition to bulk-scheduling content, you can also monitor keywords.
Looking to simplify? With Hootsuite, you can add multiple social media accounts to monitor them all at a glance. Hootsuite has several user levels to choose from, including a free trial to see if it's right for you.
Hoping to drive more traffic to your blog or website? Tailwind is a popular content management choice, particularly for Pinterest and Instagram.
Despite having more than 30 million monthly users, Pinterest continues to fly under the radar of most social marketers. For this reason, it’s worth a look to see if this strategy might be one to include in your toolkit.
Tailwind features an easy interface for uploading, managing, and scheduling content. But what really sets it apart are the robust analytics and guidance for maximizing the effectiveness of your posts and pins. Tailwind will give you targeted recommendations for when and where to drop content to help widen your exposure and expand your audience.
CONTENT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
If you’re looking to simplify and streamline your digital home, check out Kajabi. It offers an all-in-one platform to manage your website, contacts, enewsletters, online courses, and other offerings. Plans start at $119 per month for small business needs, and increase depending upon the number of websites, contacts, and products you wish to manage.
When you have a ton of content and ideas to keep organized, it can be a challenge! What we love about Asana as an organization solution is that it offers a straightforward system that’s easy to use.
You can create a project through an interface that feels like typing in Word or Google Docs. But with Asana, you can also tag or assign a project to other members of your team, such as a web designer, content writer, or social media manager.
There’s also an option to establish deadlines and record notes for every project or task. If you have a large number of projects going at once, you can label them accordingly to keep things tidy.
Asana comes in both free and paid plans.
Trello is another solid choice for managing tasks and collaborating on projects. It functions like a virtual filing cabinet, and offers a fantastic interface for visual thinkers.
Trello makes projects and tasks easy to mentally map. Each project ("Board") has a title, like a drawer for your cabinet. Under each board, you can add cards which function like individual files inside the drawer. Imagine you have a board labeled “Blog Articles”, and under this board there are 7 cards, each one holding a different blog idea or notes.
Like most systems, pricing is tiered - starting with a free plan, and moving up in features to plans that cost $25 per month.
VIDEO CALLS AND WEBINARS
It’s no secret that Zoom has rocketed to prominence as the front runner for online meetings and events. It also remains the most popular platform among JRNI coaches for conducting face to face coaching sessions. For those who would rather not appear on screen, Zoom offers an option for audio calls.
With this software, you can add up to 100 interactive video participants, making it a natural for group classes and free webinars as well. Zoom allows you to broadcast your content on other platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live, and comes with the option to conduct polls, live chats, and Q&As to help make the video call or webinar experience more interactive.
What we really like about this service is that you have the ability to record sessions and classes, so you can re-purpose your webinar at a future date or give your client a link to their sessions to review again later if they wish.
Zoom has a free plan as well as paid plans that offer enhanced features.
BRAND & MARKETING
Are you looking to produce polished eBooks, brochures, business cards, and social media posts but can’t afford to hire a graphic designer? Canva’s got you covered!
This easy to use design platform provides templates and tutorials to create professional content with ease. You can develop a brand kit to apply a consistent color palette, fonts, and graphic identity to all your business materials. Canva offers helpful articles and resources to support you in putting together your unique “look and feel”.
An initial account on Canva is free, with monthly subscription upgrades available to access additional features.
Fumbling with fonts? A simple google search will result in a dazzling array of font combinations to help set the right tone for your visual communications. Consider starting with blogs and articles from Adobe and Canva to get a sense of font pairings and guidance on how to choose what’s right for your business.
Looking for a simple, integrated platform for offering courses, materials, and online coaching? Consider Teachable. It’s a nice jumping off point for newcomers to online learning platforms, and provides what you need to get started.
With Teachable, you can interact directly with students in real time. There’s also an option to integrate with your scheduler, Zoom, and to embed your courses within your own website.
If you need a home base for pre-recorded online courses, CourseCraft is also a popular choice. This platform provides a user-friendly interface for designing and selling self-paced content. It allows you to build a home page for your business, and add other collaborators for interactive teaching.
An initial account on CourseCraft is free, with paid tiers that offer additional features and lower sales transaction fees.
With so much audience engagement now occurring on social media, you might be wondering what value there is in maintaining an email list and sending e-newsletters. Is this form of communication dying? We don’t think so!
Consider this: for the coach that builds an Instagram or Facebook empire… who actually owns your audience? Do you have any direct contact information for your constituents?
Social is important, but it is only one leg of a sturdy stool. Building your constituent list on a platform that you control and communicate from directly, without algorithms dictating who sees your content, remains a smart business move.
There are a number of email marketing platforms to choose from, which can serve double duty as both your contact list and enewsletter design platform. With templates and tutorials galore, you’ll have no trouble producing polished content. Some to check out include: Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and Flodesk.
BLOGS AND PODCASTS
If you have a website, many offer a built-in blog template that makes things easy to set up and integrate. For stand-alone blogging, consider Medium. It’s a hub for freelance writers, and offers a home for your work and the opportunity to build an audience.
What we like about this platform is that there’s also the chance to get picked up by Medium curators and distributed across the network to increase your readership. It’s free to set up a profile and write on Medium, though readers are limited to 5 free article views per month.
Podcasts continue to rise in popularity, and are a terrific way to get your content on the airwaves. A sampling of platforms to help you create audio content include: Audacity, Simplecast, Zencastr, and Adobe Audition.
If you'd like some tips on how to launch your own podcast from a fellow coach who's been there, check out: Create A Podcast in 5 Steps.
Looking to enhance your education and training as a life coach? Hoping to stand out in a crowded marketplace? Consider becoming an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Associate Certified Coach!
Lumia Coaching has been ICF accredited for years, and we offer a pathway to getting your ACC ICF Credential. To learn more, check out our Life Coach Training Program.
What is ICF accreditation?
As an unaffiliated nonprofit organization, the ICF is dedicated to overseeing the emerging field of professional coaching, offering the public a safety net against fake programs and practitioners who simply don’t know what they’re doing.
With so many training programs out there, how do you identify the best pathway for you? If you’re on the road toward become a life coach, consider checking out this guide: How to Choose the Right Life Coach Training Program for You.
Hungry for More Tools and Tips?
Grab your copy of our guide: 6 Steps To Start Coaching Today!
This free publication, written by Lumia Coaching co-founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, will give you the tools to discover your niche, find clients, and get started on your path to becoming a successful coach.
Plus, when you sign up -- we'll keep you up to date weekly with coaching techniques, and the occasional much-needed kick in the pants to keep you motivated on your coaching journey.
So, what're you waitin' for? Let's get started!