Email coaching: What is it & how to do it right

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As a coach, you’re well aware of the transformative power of your work, guiding clients through their personal and professional challenges toward clarity and success. Yet, with its scheduled sessions and face-to-face interactions, the traditional coaching model only fits some clients’ lifestyles or needs.

You might notice that some potential clients hesitate, not because they doubt the value of your coaching but because their hectic schedules make regular meetings a challenge. This is a significant barrier, potentially preventing them from accessing the support and guidance they need.

Here’s where email coaching presents a compelling solution. By integrating email coaching into your services, you can offer a flexible, time-efficient alternative that caters to the modern client’s needs, ensuring no one misses out on the growth and development they seek due to time constraints.

Let’s delve into how adding email coaching to your repertoire can expand your client base and provide a versatile approach to meeting your clients where they are, making personal development accessible for everyone anytime, anywhere.

What is email coaching?

To answer this, let’s recap what coaching is. Coaching is the practice of discovering a client’s strengths and developing relevant skills or desired behaviors. Various coaching niches include life, health, relationship, mindset, and business coaching.

The career coach helps clients unlock their potential, maximize performance, and deliver personal or professional breakthroughs. For example, a political candidate could engage a speech coach to help improve their public speaking and communication skills. 

Traditionally, coaching happens in face-to-face or virtual meetings. With email coaching, these interactions take place primarily via email. While many coaches use email to some degree in their practice (e.g., set appointments or offer support between sessions), the bulk of the process is conversational. 

Hence, the fundamental difference between regular coaching and coaching by email is the channel. Another difference is the asynchronous conversation. That is, the conversation doesn’t occur in real time. Email coaches and clients communicate with each other in their free time, and it changes how coaches charge for their services.

👉 Related: Best email coaching templates for you to copy

How does it work?

In conversational coaching, you schedule clients for weekly or monthly meetings. You identify the goal for the session, review action items or progress, offer feedback, explore opportunities, and assign new tasks. 

Email coaching can follow the same structure; however, the timeline differs. Instead of doing coaching activities in one session, it’s a series of emails.

Let’s use the politician/speech coaching example.

Following the client’s latest public appearance, the speech coach would share feedback and ask them to identify how they could have performed better. The client responds with their thoughts, and the email coach shares tips to bolster success. 

The chain of emails continues throughout the coaching period.

Why do clients choose email coaching? 

There are various reasons why customers choose email coaching over virtual or in-person sessions. 

  • Flexibility: This benefit is two-fold. Clients aren’t limited to experts in their local area and can work with coaching professionals anywhere in the world. Additionally, customers can respond to coaches in their free time rather than trying to schedule sessions during coaching business hours. 
  • Accountability: Emails leave permanent records, allowing clients to track and review conversations. Both parties are always on the same page regarding the goals, actions, and progress. 
  • Precise communication: Some people need time to gather their thoughts. Emails give introverts and people with social anxiety space to reflect and respond thoughtfully without the pressure of long silences. Also, conversations don’t go off track.

In-person and email coaching are different experiences. So, the point here is not to prove that one is better. The chart below shows that in-person meetings are the preferred service delivery for executive coaching.

Coaching service delivery methods across time. Source: Statista
Coaching service delivery methods across time. Source: Statista

Instead, this article aims to show you that you can access an untapped segment of your target audience (busy, socially anxious, slow thinkers) through email. 

How to add email coaching to your business

Starting an email coaching business or adding coaching by email to your existing practice is relatively simple. All you need is reliable email software and an effective marketing strategy. 

Email software

The first thing to consider is the kind of emails you will send. There are various types of email, for example, transactional emails, drip campaigns, or newsletters. Some email platforms specialize in one email format. Others offer more than one. 

Next, look for must-have features like automation and audience segmentation.  Automation saves you time on repetitive tasks like drafting welcome emails. Segmenting clients ensures you deliver personalized content to the right customer.  

Another factor is email volume. Volume influences the cost of the service, as many apps price their services based on the number of emails you send. 

Marketing strategy

Customers don’t fall on your lap. You must develop a plan to reach out and convert potential clients. The critical components of every marketing strategy involve:

  • defining your marketing goals 
  • identifying target audiences
  • creating compelling content
  • determining appropriate channels
  • setting up measures of success

Creating a marketing strategy ensures you’re putting money and effort where it will have the most impact. 

We have a comprehensive guide on email marketing that you should check out after reading this article.

Benefits of email coaching (from coaches’ perspective)

Earlier, I talked about why clients would choose an email coaching service. In this section, we’ll look at why coaches offer email coaching.

  • Flexibility: email coaching doesn’t have the same time constraints as classic mentoring. You can respond to customers in your own time from anywhere in the world. 
  • Scalability: Since you’re not blocking chunks of time, you can coach more of your dream clients than you could using traditional methods. Furthermore, you can take on global customers as time zones aren’t barriers.  
  • Low costs: There are no overhead costs, such as office space. All you need is experience and an email platform. You can also work from home, eliminating commuter costs. 
  • Accountability: It’s easier to track progress with written communication.
  • Thoughtful communication: Emails give you time to reflect on clients’ questions and conduct research before responding.

As with everything, there are some drawbacks to email coaching. 

First, building trust is difficult with someone you can’t see. Interactions feel more formal or impersonal compared to face-to-face sessions. 

Second, you can misinterpret information without indirect communication cues such as tone of voice or facial expression. Third, it slows down the coaching process, with hours or days between responses.  

Consequently, email coaching involves more effort to connect and follow up with clients.

How to offer email coaching services

You’ve weighed the pros and cons of coaching by email and have decided to include it in your coaching business. So, how do you go about offering email coaching services?

Create an email coaching package. 

Packaging sessions is a sustainable way to run your business. You can manage your client load effectively and forecast revenue. Promoting your coaching business with a defined skill set, time frame, and cost is also easier. 

Here are three ways to structure coaching packages

  • Single session – The client pays per session 
  • Long-term – The client pays for a defined duration, e.g. three months
  • Retainer – The client pays for a monthly subscription

Single sessions aren’t compatible with email coaching. Therefore, you’re limited to long-term or retainer packages. But that’s good; clients see meaningful results with prolonged coaching.

Check out the email coaching packages from life coaching expert Amanda Scocozzo.

Email coaching package example from Amanda Scocozzo.
Email coaching package example from Amanda Scocozzo.

Clients can choose between a monthly and a three-month package. Both offer the same features. The difference is the duration and price of the program.

When designing email coaching packages, consider the service level agreement you can offer clients. In the example above, Amanda promises to respond to emails within 24 hours. That sets the expectation for the kind of interaction email coaching clients will have and allows the coach to avoid burnout by creating boundaries. 

Another consideration is package pricing. Email coaching incurs lower costs than traditional coaching. For instance, you don’t have to worry about overhead or transportation expenses. 

Still, you don’t have to lower your price just because you’re emailing clients. Your expertise hasn’t changed, and clients are more interested in results than the time you spend emailing them.

Best email platforms for coaches

There are many email marketing tools, and choosing the right one for your coaching business can be overwhelming. Here are our top picks to get you started. 

GetResponse

GetResponse is a comprehensive email provider with a wide range of tools to engage subscribers and grow audiences. Our platform also lets you build landing pages for your marketing campaigns and sell coaching materials conveniently. 

Some of the key email features include:

  • Over 150 free email templates
  • Marketing automation
  • Autoresponder
  • Segmentation
  • AI email generator
  • Analytics and Reporting

Our easy-to-use email editor will also help you design stunning emails with ease:

GetResponse Email Creator.
GetResponse Email Creator.

The beauty of using GetResponse is it gives you everything you need to send your message in one place. You can craft subject lines, manage recipients, design content, and schedule delivery.

GetResponse Email Templates.
GetResponse Email Templates.

On top of that, GetResponse offers webinars, a website builder, a landing page builder, and a paid ads solution. These can help promote and sell your services and digital products through built-in payment processors.

As for the pricing, we have four paid plans with unlimited monthly emails, starting at $15 monthly. If you’re unsure which to choose, you can try any plan for free for 30 days. 

Alternatively, you can sign up for the free plan. GetResponse Free comes with essential marketing tools. With this package, you can have up to 500 subscribers and 2,500 email sends per month. 

GetResponse’s primary selling point is scalability. Our platform grows with your coaching business, so you don’t have to change service providers.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a popular email marketing app. The platform makes it easy for beginners to create professional emails with drag-and-drop editors and AI email generators. You can also build webpages and integrate ecommerce tools.

Key features include:

  • Predesigned templates
  • Marketing automation
  • Segmentation
  • Content studio
  • Reporting & analytics

Here’s a look at the Mailchimp email editor.

Mailchimp Email Editor.

You can add logos, text, and images by clicking content blocks, making email creation faster and more convenient. 

Mailchimp’s pricing structure is a bit more complicated than others. They have three product categories (marketing, website, and transactional email), each with its own price structure.

Pricing for the marketing suite depends on the number of email subscribers. There’s also a forever free option with a limit of 500 contacts and 1,000 email sends per month.

Mailchimp’s primary selling point is its integrations. As it’s one of the most popular email apps on the market, it’s often the first to be integrated with the latest SaaS tools.

Read more: Best Mailchimp alternatives

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign has some of the most advanced automation and segmentation solutions. Users can build complex workflows with triggers, actions, and logic to deliver highly personalized emails. 

Key features include:

  • Responsive email templates
  • Pre-built automation scenarios
  • Geotracking
  • Conditional content
  • Reporting & Analytics 

 Here’s a screenshot of the email editor. 

ActiveCampaign Email Builder.

The email builder takes you step-by-step through the email creation process. You select the email type, contact list, and design. 

Like GetResponse and Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign has a suite of email marketing tools. The one you’re looking for is on the email and marketing platform. 

This suite has four paid pricing plans starting at $29 monthly for 1,000 subscribers and 10,000 email sends. As your email list grows, the price increases. There is no free option, but you can try any plan for free for 14 days. 

ActiveCampaign’s selling point is its powerful automation. You can create complex workflows with conditional segmentation based on client’s interactions with previous emails. So, if a client clicks an email link to your online course, the app automatically sends a follow-up email about the class. 

Read more: Best ActiveCampaign alternatives

Time to launch your new email coaching business

Hundreds of people could benefit from your expertise. The problem is they have busy schedules that don’t allow consistent time blocks for face-to-face sessions. Or maybe they live in a different time zone. So, if you’re looking for a way to start a coaching business at a low cost or grow your existing one, consider email coaching.  

The only difference between this methodology and conversational coaching is the medium. Your expertise is still valuable, and your coaching material works over email. 

Furthermore, coaching by email allows clients and coaches to get more out of the experience. Both you and your client can take time to reflect and articulate your thoughts precisely. There’s also a permanent record to promote accountability.  

Starting an email coaching business isn’t difficult. You need sustainable coaching packages and effective email software. I shared our top email tools to get you started. While they all deliver must-have features, I recommend GetResponse for the coach with growth in mind.


Michal Leszczynski
Michal Leszczynski
Meet Michal Leszczynski, Head of Content Marketing and Partnerships at GetResponse. With 10+ years of experience, Michal is a seasoned expert in all things online marketing. He’s a prolific writer, skilled webinar host, and engaging public speaker. Outside of business hours, Michal shares his wealth of knowledge as an Email Marketing lecturer at Kozminski University in Warsaw. You can reach out and connect with Michal on LinkedIn.