A Tale of Two Texts

What’s your primary value when coaching people online?

It’s not your programming. It’s not your movement coaching or your corrections.

In fact, I can’t even tell you what your primary value will be. But your clients CAN.

Ask them, “What do you need most right now?” And then tailor your service to them.


Here are two examples from my life.


  1. My cycling coach, Josh.
    (Rate: $299 per month).
    Josh programs my training on the bike. He programs my mobility. He programs my strength training.
    Last week he asked, “What do you actually need most right now?” because he saw that I was doing a bike workout nearly every day, instead of the 4 days/week in his plan.
    I said, “Well, I’m probably overtraining. I use physical stress to buffer mental stress, so I’m on the bike every day. But my mindset is my top priority right now.”
    He said, “How can I help you most with your mindset?”
    And I told him: “I need you to hold me accountable for meditation.”
    Now Josh sends me a daily text, with one simple task on it.
    Here’s the part that most coaches will find funny: I know what’s going to be on the text. I have full access to the sequence of texts he’s sending me. I could read ahead at any time. But that doesn’t matter at all. Knowledge isn’t the problem: action is.
    It’s not a cut-and-paste job; he actually sends me a video with some instructions. The videos last 40 seconds, but I’m not paying him by the hour. I’m paying him for results.
    I’m getting more value than ever.
    Here’s what his daily text looks like (it’s a picture, so ignore the PLAY button).
  2. My business mentor, Todd.
    (Rate: $80,000 per year.)
    Every day or two, I get a text from Todd. It’s usually less than 10 words: “How are you doing?” or something similar. If I respond, he offers to hop on a quick call.
    These calls are never about business strategy, and only rarely about leadership. They’re just support. That’s what mentorship is during a crisis.
    And during a crisis, your job is less about movement instruction and more about mentoring your clients.

The key is not to guess; instead, ask your clients “what do you need most from me right now?” and then providing that service.

As we help more coaches pivot their service online, we’re watching many struggle with software platforms and video delivery and movement correction over Zoom. But those aren’t the actual things coaches should focus on. Online coaching’s primary benefit is a constant over-the-shoulder presence: when someone’s watching you, you don’t raid the carb cupboard as often. And when someone’s watching out FOR you, you feel better.

More than ever, you’re selling emotion, not movement.

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