The Truth About Remote Coaching For Coaches


Jim Crowell spoke to Eric Malzone about what coaches need to do to grow a remote coaching fitness company and what truths they need to be aware of


Eric was kind enough to highlight me on his show within his Elite Insiders Business Group. He wanted to talk about what coaches and trainers need to know in order to grow a quality remote coaching business. Let’s just say that we spit some truth! I hope you enjoy the read and the video.

Eric opened the conversation by saying that the coaching industry has been looking into remote coaching for a few years, and numerous coaches are now seeing a big opportunity to go online either as an additional revenue source to their existing gym or fitness business or as its own business. 

Eric went on to ask me what coaches needed to know about remote coaching in order to make good decisions on whether to do it at all, and if they do it how they can do it well.

I opened my response by trying to give some context to the entire conversation. 

That context of remote coaching looks like

  • Many coaches want to get into remote coaching because remote coaching has a very low barrier to entry – it doesn’t cost much money, you don’t need to have credentials, and you don’t need to worry about the stress of things like real estate.
  • Many coaches believe that because the potential client pool is so large, they think that they can garner a large number of people to build their coaching business

Contrast that with some flip-side context

  • Whenever anything has a low barrier of entry in business, more people and businesses flood the remote coaching market until profits go to zero in economic terms – remote coaches and businesses need to build true competitive advantages in order to win in this market
  • Brands and results win in remote coaching – if you don’t do both, you’ll get gobbled up. It’s easy to put a small number of clients in as a remote coach, but it’s much harder to build a scalable and sustainable business

What Do Coaches Need To Know And Do To Effectively Begin Remote Coaching

I’ll stay simple here and let the video do some additional heavy lifting, but here are some of the big things that quality remote coaches have generally done prior to or during their time as remote coaches:

  • Remote coaches have often been coached remotely themselves – how will you understand the service if you’ve never experienced it?
  • Remote coaches need to practice coaching people one to one before they take it online – many coaches need 60 minutes to program one week’s worth of a fitness program for a client when they first start. That’s simply too much programming time to ever expect to grow a remote coaching company. Get efficient and then build.

We broke the conversation into two specific coach types:

  • Are you a coach who has an existing job or business and you want to remote coach to make a little extra money, or are looking to do it for the love?
  • Are you a coach who wants to build a growable and sustainable remote coaching business?

You must answer that question because building a remote coaching business that will last and grow is entirely different than coaching a few extra people on the side. We’ll come back to this as we walk through how to start and grow a remote coaching company, but answer this question for yourself right now (really . . . answer it!)

Remote Coaches Must Build Efficiencies Prior To Going Into Business As A Remote Coach

Eric spoke about some great – in a challenging way – stories of how as he began remote coaching, he realized that he ended up spending most of his Sunday programming because he was inefficient. It took him awhile to remedy that and as he looked at his financial margins and metrics, he realized he couldn’t physically scale his remote coaching business until he became more efficient.

Eric then asked me to discuss what I meant by an online brand because the market is all over the place with it. I responded with:


Your brand is what the market perceives you to be. You take consistent actions in order to run your business and market it so that you influence the market to perceive you in the way that you want to be perceived.


The reason why your brand is so important in an online setting such as remote coaching is because people need to know, like, and trust you, and all three of those pieces are helped dramatically if you have a strong perception of value from your target market of customers.  The better your brand is, the easier and less expensive the subsequent client acquisition cost will be to help you build and then retain their client base because you will lose clients ongoing and you need to manage your costs of bringing new people in.

What Do All Remote Coaches Need To Effectively Remote Coach?

To stay simple, here is a basic list of what systems you’ll need:

  • A programming platform such as TrueCoach
  • A billing system – TrueCoach is about to release billing, so that could be great
  • A CRM “house” for your clients for email sequences
  • Accounting software to manage your business financials
  • Google sheets and data from your programming, billing, CRM, and financial metrics
  • Email – a gmail account in business mode works just fine
  • Social media – often Instagram and or Facebook are great starting points, and depending on your audience you may like YouTube or LinkedIn
  • Postcards or similar things to show your care for your clients additionally to just digital emails/texts

The bigger key is for you to get in the habit of using them and learning from them every day (or week or month).

On top of your systems, you will absolutely need a customer blueprint. That is a very specific “experience map” of how every client’s experience should look like start to finish. Once you know what that experience should look like, you’ll need to build out your (and your coaches’) processes so that you deliver that experience you laid out in the blueprint effectively. 

Once you’ve executed your process, you must measure the effectiveness of the outcomes from the experience you’ve run. Generally, the first major metric to track is retention where you need to do exit interviews to learn why people left. Retention will fall into three buckets that you will need to manage (read more about retention here):

  • Retention you can control
  • Retention you are partially in control of
  • Retention you cannot control

You need to control what you are able to control so that you get as much retention month in and month out as you can. 

Should You Try To Remote Coach Everybody Or Should You Try To Remote Coach A More Specific Audience?

Simply stated, I believe you should narrow your target audience down to an audience that you are credible with, that you enjoy coaching, that you know (and will learn more about) how to speak to, and that you will effectively coach. Anybody outside of that should not be your focus, and the wider you go with your marketing “words,” the fewer people will listen to you and become your clients.

Eric gave a great example of a female police officer who wanted to become a remote coach. She was trying to coach middle-aged women. Eric said to her “it’s not specific enough. How about female police officer?” It blew her mind because she immediately knew 10+ women who would be the perfect fit for her to coach.

How Can Remote Coaches Get Their First 10 Or So Clients?

You must know that it is easy to get the first 10 clients. If you’ll do the work, you’ll put them into your remote coaching “book”

If you’re an existing gym owner, here’s what you can do:

  • Go through your entire contact list of people who fall into your desired target market – and before you ask, sure you can include people slightly outside of it, but do know that your message will be a bit muddied
  • Bucket those people into a few key relationship types. Those types maybe
    • Family
    • Close friends
    • Former clients
    • Former prospective clients who you have information on
  • Write a partially customized email out to those groups laying out what you’re doing, why they are an amazing fit, how you can help them, and how they can move forward and work with you (in more elegant words haha)
  • Close as many of them as you can – I have seen coaches get 5 from this; I have seen coaches get 30 from this. It depends on the size of your existing network and how much credibility and trust you have already
  • Additionally to email, you should call all of the people in your network – the more phone calls you can get on to passionately (effectively, not over the line) talk to them about how you can help them. Ps, yes you can text them first to smooth the first call

People who follow a path like this always have more initial success than those who don’t do the work. If you’re worried about contacting old folks, don’t go into business in the first place.

Remote Coaches Have To Communicate Better

Eric took this idea and nicely moved forward into how important it is to set the proper expectation during your coach to client relationship that clearly lays out how their program is going to be designed. With so many people wanting flashy programs, too many coaches fall into the trap of not giving their clients what their clients actually need to progress to their bigger goals (in and out of the gym). If you don’t communicate that well with your clients, there will always be a tension.

I did note, though, that many people who came from intense group training are the people who need flashy while people who came from personal training etc do not need that. It goes right back to your desired target market.

The better you get clients results, the more likely they will be to stay, and you as an early remote coach must setup your brand as known for getting those clients great results. 

What Are Some Pitfalls That Remote Coaches Need To Avoid?

Eric brought up an epic analogy that he picked up from Max Shank. Max said that anybody – clients in this context – need to go through these phases before they do anything more complex:

  • They should be healthy as a plant – they get water (and nourishment) and sunlight each day
  • They should be healthy as a dog – they get sun, water, and a walk every day
  • They should be healthy as a monkey – they get sun, water, a walk, and they swing around on things each day

In the fitness world, we often make things more complicated than they need to be. I believe we do that because we want to build marketing status which is completely fair. We need to stand out in the world, so we make ourselves look smarter than others. The better we can set our brands, expectations, and communication up early, the better our runway and trajectory of our remote coaching businesses will be. 

As great remote coaches, you don’t need to deliver a complicated program, but you absolutely do need to help your clients improve their lifestyles through behaviors and habits. That is where all the “money” is made. 

The better you can help your clients build great habits, the better their results will be, the better your retention will be, the more money you’ll make, and the more additional clients will come in to help you grow your business. That’s how you’ll earn success.

A Last Eye-Opening Aside

I left the call by saying something that will upset some people, but I have to say this so that you can make the best decision for yourself as a potential remote coach. What I said was:

Many coaches are turning to remote coaching because they want to make more money and have more freedom, not because they want or think they can deliver a better service to clients. Screw you if my perspective is as a client. Your job as a remote coach is to deliver a service for me, the client. If you don’t do that brilliantly well, I won’t stay, and I’ll also hammer you publicly in reviews and online if you don’t care about me or support me. 

If you want to be a remote coach, do it for the right reasons so that you can truly help more clients enjoy better results. To build a sustainable and growable business, you have to have a product/service that is rock solid, and that product/service needs to serve your target market very effectively. 

If you set your service up well, you can then build out the marketing side of things and really make your remote coaching business go!

To be successful as a remote coach you must first hone the basics. Get an introduction to each part of the coaching profession along with skills you can implement today by signing up for the Free 7-Day OPEX Coaching Course.

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