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Fostering Connection in Virtual Coaching

virtual coaching

Throughout the past decade there has been quite an expansion of how fitness services can be consumed. Virtual coaching provides the opportunity for the trainer-client relationship to take place arguably anywhere, regardless of schedule and time. This can offer great convenience.

However, increased accessibility through technology can minimize our human interface. For virtual coaching specifically, it’s imperative for there to be congruence between the coach’s constructed plan and the client’s execution of it, as communication may not take place regularly. The mutual success of a coach and client is only enhanced when there is a positive emotional connection. 

With this in mind, here are the top three morals for cultivating results through relationships in virtual coaching.

Surprisingly Personable Touch Points

Many virtual coaches will have their clients check in weekly for accountability purposes to gauge progress and adjust programming. While this is extremely essential, great chances to over-deliver can be presented if the true “whys” behind a client’s goals are learned. Knowing if there is a specific event they are getting ready for, when their birthday is, and who the special people are in their lives can all be golden nuggets that a coach can be mindful of to showcase care. Sending a “good luck” or “I’m proud of you” video, mailing a card, or simply acknowledging an upcoming milestone in addition to normal coaching processes can all be fulfilling ways to instill motivation. The better we care, the better we will set up those who invest in us to obtain victories. 

Programming, not Instagramming

As a virtual coach, having the diligence to obtain all necessary information to create a specific game plan tailored for a client’s goals is key because of the levels of communication that take place. Coaches should cater actions for clients based on what is learned by intentionally listening and peeling back layers of what prospective clients share, to know that what they desire is understood. When one feels heard and is serviced with uniqueness, confidence can blossom from the guidance that is received.  

However, sending cookie-cutter plans and not having proper intellect behind the reasoning for creating parts of a program can be a disservice. If a coach just plugs in the most searched glute exercise because it looks cool, then the client is in fact not being coached, they are basically being direct messaged. Being thorough and detailed when creating a virtual program can add a significant sense of appreciation for an experience, thus leading to greater coach-to-client connections.


Align your processes to service those who will most benefit from your specific type of virtual program. Not all coaches will be best for all people. Don’t sell something just to sell something. Who is your program catered toward? Does what you offer and how you offer it match the aspirations of the prospective person? Sometimes it won’t coincide mutually, and that’s OK. Still be serviceable, direct toward resources you may know about that will be of assistance, offer another service that might be more applicable, or refer out. Make integrity be more important than the transaction.

All in all, service standards must remain gold standard in virtual coaching. Prioritizing when to take specific actions as it relates to the client’s position in the process is very important. The good news is that with proper effort and a little personality, virtual coaching can be a wonderful alternative from traditional training, while still consisting of all the fulfillment that a coach receives from positively impacting lives.

Ethan Smoorenburg is a regional director for three Anytime Fitness locations in South Louisiana. He can be reached at ethan.smoorenburg@anytimefitness.com.

Ethan Smoorenburg

Ethan Smoorenburg is a franchise business consultant with Anytime Fitness Corporate. He can be reached at ethan.smoorenburg@sebrands.com.

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