When building a coaching business, the ultimate goal is to transition to group coaching and create a community of loyal clients who stay with you for many years.
But while the community element in group coaching is a great benefit, it will only be appealing if the members remain engaged in the course and interact with one another.
When you first launch a membership or a coaching program, the excitement of this new and growing community will be enough to keep it active. But for most coaches, figuring out how to keep the engagement beyond the first few months or the initial year can become a challenge.
Luckily, even if your engagement numbers are dropping, there’s no need to panic. With a few relatively simple customer engagement ideas, you can reignite the excitement that your community has for your coaching, making it as active as it ever was.
In this article, let’s explore the essential qualities a coach should have to maintain engagement, how to plan a re-engagement stage in the client journey, and practical strategies for boosting engagement in your community.
What Makes a Good Coach?
There are many strategies you can use to keep your customers engaged. And we’ll explore them later in this article. But for any of them to matter, you must actually deliver on being an excellent coach, which requires you to showcase a few key qualities that your clients expect:
- The number one quality of a good coach is the ability to help people overcome obstacles. That’s the primary reason coaches are hired in the first place, so if you are going to succeed, you need to have the necessary experience, knowledge, and confidence to trust yourself.
- A successful coach must also be able to crystalize the most important goals for their clients to pursue. Forming clear roadmaps will help instill confidence and allow your clients not to get stuck in a tricky situation.
- To set relevant goals for your clients, you must also listen to their needs and see patterns that they are missing. You must be willing to see through their shortcomings and identify opportunities for growth that they don’t see themselves.
- When you do set goals, you should motivate your clients to follow through. Otherwise, they will quickly get discouraged, making progress much more difficult.
- As you track the progress they are making, it’s essential to give constructive feedback and continually adjust their path according to the results and the new obstacles that arise.
- Finally, you must not just work with the client on specific issues but also empower them with the right tools to learn how to overcome future obstacles on their own.
All of these qualities primarily relate to one-on-one coaching. But they are just as important on a larger scale, even if you’re working with hundreds of people at once.
And as a leader of your coaching community, you must also be a uniting force that inspires people, gets them to share experiences, and makes them believe that the struggles and challenges they face can be overcome with the help from you and their peers in the community.
The Re-Engagement Stage of the Client Journey
When you take on coaching clients, there’s a natural progression that they go through. In fact, the client journey begins before you even have a chance to engage with them.
The first time they see your ad or learn about your coaching, that’s when they enter the client journey. They eventually decide to learn more, subscribe to your newsletter, schedule a coaching session, until they go through your program and become members of your coaching community.
However, if you want to keep your coaching membership community vibrant and active, you must think beyond these initial steps and consider how you’ll keep your customers engaged beyond joining your mastermind.
And that requires planning the re-engagement stage of the client journey.
You need to think of ways to maintain the interest of your clients over a longer period and map out how you could keep them coming back for more content, insights, and coaching from you.
Joanna Wiebe, the founder of Copyhackers, has a large community of professional and aspiring copywriters enrolled in two memberships: the Copy School and The 10x Freelance Copywriter.
Both feature various courses and modules, but they also have vibrant communities where people can share ideas and get answers to industry-specific questions.
What keeps the community vibrant is the presence of “Badassadors,” who are key community members that have excelled in the program and can offer valuable insights by sharing their own experience.
Joanna Wiebe herself also remains active in the community, answering questions and holding weekly Q&A sessions where any member can participate.
By consistently adding value and encouraging members to stay active and accomplish goals with the community’s help, the team at Copyhackers can maintain members for multiple years, long after they have reached their initial goals.
Most coaches that want to create large communities and maintain memberships for a longer time could learn from the ingenious approach used by Joanne Wiebe, who has built a seven-figure membership business that continues to grow every year.
Strategies for Boosting Engagement
A big part of success in keeping your coaching community engaged comes down to the big-picture stuff, such as structuring your membership in a way that incentivizes people to keep coming back and progressing together with their peers.
But there are also plenty of actionable strategies you can employ to boost engagement immediately. You can use these strategies both in live sessions with your clients and as tools within your community.
Let’s take a deeper look into both of these categories below.
Whether you’re holding live group coaching sessions or are running a large membership, the way you structure and think about your coaching will determine how engaged people are during your sessions.
Good leaders manage to not just share valuable information but do so while also making sure that everyone feels directly involved in the session, contributing with questions, answers, or their own insights into a problem.
As a coach, you can nurture and encourage engagement during sessions using a couple of simple but highly effective strategies.
Open questions are one of the most critical tools in a coach’s arsenal. They immediately open up any session, turning it from a lecture into a discussion where people share thoughts, which can become ideas, and eventually, solutions.
Whether you’re working one-on-one or in a group, you should make it a habit to ask more open questions. They will almost always provide an instant boost to engagement, allowing your clients to expand on the topic and giving you additional context you can work with.
This can be very helpful for you as the coach as well. No matter how much material you have prepared, you want to avoid coaching in a vacuum. Each person is unique and brings their own insights, so you should leverage those insights and adjust your sessions according to the feedback you receive.
Some of the coaching questions you could use include:
- Explain more about…
- What do you want to achieve?
- Why do you feel this is important?
- How did you approach this problem?
- What would you like to achieve?
These are just a few examples of the types of questions you could ask, but all of them can make a significant difference in how your sessions go. Whether you’re speaking to a single person or a large group, open questions will make people feel more heard and will keep others engaged because they will feel like it’s an active discussion instead of a one-sided lecture.
Mirroring is another essential technique you should use to form stronger connections with every person you work with. Basically, it’s the process of building rapport with your clients by “mirroring” some of their patterns in body language, speech, and reiteration.
While it can be used in almost any setting, mirroring is especially valuable in coaching because it helps you get through to the people you work with and keeps them more engaged on a more subconscious level.
To use positive mirroring, you should become more present in the sessions you have with your clients, practicing active listening, maintaining eye contact (when possible), and even mimicking certain gestures.
If you’re holding group coaching sessions online, that might mean mirroring some of the language patterns or paraphrasing what your clients say. Just as with physical mirroring, this type of simple gesture can help you get through to people much more effectively and also help them better understand the topics that are being covered.
The second part of the equation is more related to the membership communities you run as a coach. If you want to maintain good engagement levels, you should think beyond the sessions themselves and look for ways to preserve people’s engagement even when you are not present.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to achieve that below.
Surveys & Questionnaires
One of the fastest ways to lose engagement within your community is to become out of touch about what your members want or care about. You can combat that by speaking to people directly, but if you want a more complete picture, running a survey or adding a questionnaire is among the best customer engagement ideas you could try.
Since the community is already there, getting the survey out is relatively simple. And you can learn a lot about what people would like to see improved or added.
What’s more, your members will also appreciate the effort and will likely provide you with plenty of online community engagement activity ideas you can try out.
Gamification is becoming more popular each year. It offers numerous benefits that can help accelerate learning and increase engagement, which are also essential parts of running a coaching business.
And that’s why it’s the perfect tool for motivating your community members to stay on track with their goals and continually engage within your platform.
If you offer a gamified learning environment where people can track their progress, complete challenges, and participate in competitions, you will create an additional element of excitement and commitment that will get more people to actually follow through on the effort they need to make. And in turn, you will find that your community as a whole becomes more engaged and active in the process.
Creating video can be intimidating, especially for coaches that are just starting out. But if you want to grow your community and become more successful, creating high-quality video content and hosting live video sessions will have to become an integral part of your business model.
Luckily, you don’t need any special equipment or training to become good at creating engaging and informative videos.
As long as you follow the same principles you would in a live coaching session, clearly structure each video, and have a comprehensive online group coaching platform that makes it easy to sequence videos into immersive courses, you can become a pro at creating amazing videos in no time.
Few things can generate excitement as quickly as a good contest with an appealing prize. So, if you’re worried about dropping engagement numbers in your community, this might be one of the best customer engagement ideas you could try out.
However, for best results, make sure that the contest is not just a giveaway but rather something related to the coaching program itself. For instance, if you run a business coaching community, you could center the contest around achieving a business goal, rewarding those that reach a certain milestone.
We’ve already discussed the effectiveness of engaging your community and creating regular content. But if you want to really showcase the value of being part of your membership, you should actively schedule time for responding to random comments and questions.
Seeing you as part of the community is important for every person that joins, as that shows there are no barriers between you and them and that you are there to help whenever they need it.
Emails are a great way to nurture relationships with people and keep them in the loop about what’s happening in the community.
For instance, you could create a weekly (or even daily) digest of the hottest topics in the community forums, the most popular new posts, and updates on what’s coming up. People consume information in different ways, so you should utilize emails as an additional form of communication that allows you to reach your entire community with a single click.
At the same time, you could encourage people to hit the reply button and share their experiences and concerns, learning more about what your community cares about and what they’d like you to address.
A drop-off in community engagement is an unavoidable part of running a coaching business. But at the same time, you can take steps to boost the engagement back to its former levels.
In fact, if you implement the customer engagement ideas listed in this article, you may find that the engagement you achieve exceeds anything your community had before.