Coaching. Is. HUGE.
Over the past decade, the personal development space has exploded in size, and the coaching industry has expanded with it.
There are coaches for pretty much everything. Want to master your career? Want to find a date? Want a better money mindset? There are coaches for that.
The International Coaching Federation estimated that the coaching industry grew by $20 billion USD and increased by 54% up to 2022. More and more people are trying to find a coach to help them master something important to them.
In fact, we’re seeing coaches build online coaching businesses that are hitting 7- figures. Imagine a business you can do from anywhere, help people, and make GREAT money. It doesn’t get much better than that.
In this article, we’ll show you what we’ve learned from 7-figure coaches. We’ll show you the ULTIMATE online coaching business model (you’ve probably never heard of). And, we’ll show you which online coaching platforms to choose if you want a thriving coaching business.
If you want more support in building your online coaching community or courses, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!
What is an online coaching platform?
An online coaching platform is a digital solution that gives you the tools you need to host your coaching business, usually tools like scheduling, sales, and video meetings.
We're seeing two main types of online coaching platforms: marketplace platforms and white-label platforms.
- Marketplace platforms are places where thousands of potential clients can browse coach listings, hire a coach, and manage their relationship with them.
- White-label platforms let the coach build their own brand and audience without competing with other coaches, but you’ll need to learn how to attract clients there.
Both types of platforms have pros and cons, which we’ll talk about below.
Why online coaches fail
For every successful coach who’s transforming lives and earning great money doing it, there are 10 that are struggling, discouraged, and about to give up. Many of those will hang up their hats and disappear back into a day job–their coaching story ends as just a blip on their resume.
To be an online coach, you’ve got to attract clients (usually on the social media treadmill), you’ve got to sell, and you’ve got to actually work on being a great coach!
Here’s when coaches fail:
- They can’t figure out acquisition: For all the gurus preaching “consistent posting on social media” or selling you the perfect ads formula, acquiring coaching clients isn’t easy. Contrary to popular belief, a “funnel” is NOT the best way to sell coaching. But we’ll get to that in just a sec.
- They silo their audience: When your potential (and current) clients engage with you on 5 different platforms, your business is an administrative nightmare and you’re losing opportunities in the chaos. That’s where a great online coaching platform comes in!
- They underwhelm: If you channel the social media guru and promise life transformation, you better deliver! A lot of coaches just don’t, leading to high churn and dissatisfaction.
- They get stuck at scaling: Even if they manage to acquire clients, most coaches can’t scale. They’re in a constant loop between searching for clients and serving the ones they’ve got–and they’re exhausted.
If you’re struggling with one or more of these things, here’s what you need:
You need the ultimate online coaching business model (that you’ve probably never heard of).
The ultimate blueprint for a 7-figure online coaching business
Here’s the secret to a thriving coaching business. Throw out your funnels. Quit making expected, uninspiring posts on the social media hamster wheel. Stop buying the “get rich quick” programs from the gurus who are getting rich quick off of you.
You only need to do one thing—build a community flywheel and experience member-led growth.
Too many coaches are on a content treadmill, trying to be everywhere, shouting into the void on Facebook and LinkedIn.
They’re looking for followers, subscribers, fans, and even clients… but they should be looking for members.
The economics of belonging represents the single greatest opportunity facing coaches right now, and practically nobody is doing this.
People desperately want to belong to something. And coaches still think getting people into their community means getting them on a mailing list.
Legendary businesses of the future are going to have members. People who join them.
Why should you care? When you have members, you can predictably sell anything you offer. Members buy better than subscribers, followers, fans, or anything else. Nobody buys like members. People who belong will buy.
That’s why we’re all in on coaching communities as part of a successful coaching business. When you bring people together and give them a place to belong, you can see amazing growth–both in your clients’ lives and your business.
The best online coaching platform should let you build awesome relationships with your clients. It should let them build relationships with each other. And ultimately, it should help them find a place to belong. That ’s the secret to a 7-figure coaching business.
What to look for in an online coaching platform
So if you’re looking for an online coaching platform, you’re basically looking for the right features for YOUR business. If you’re growing a flywheel brand, you’ll need spaces to engage and allow for user content. If you just want a simple 1:1 online coaching business, you might need something different.
Here are some features to watch for:
- Marketing options: e.g. email integration, sales pages, ability to build packages & offers, or even ways to run a marketing funnel (if you want one),
- Sales options: e.g. point of sale, the option to sell in different currencies, ability to offer bundles, discounts, free trials.
- Courses: Many online coaching platforms let you build beautiful, engaging courses (live and/or pre-recorded), which can be a great way to scale!
- Groups: Group coaching lets you work at different price points, serve multiple people at once, especially if you have clients who might not be able to afford 1:1 coaching. Can you manage groups, sort out members, and still give each an experience that feels personalized?
- Community: If you want a community flywheel business, it all comes down to this. So many online coaching businesses we see have benefitted from a thriving community flywheel business. Look for a platform that lets you host discussions, share content, and form connections between your clients. Plus, because of the network effect, you’ll experience the magic of how the community serves each other and therefore gets more valuable.
- Apps & Access: Last, but definitely not least, you want to make sure your online coaching platform has a lot of ways to serve your clients. An app is a part of this.
- If your coaching platform doesn't come with an app, run the other way.
The 5 best online coaching platforms
1. Mighty Networks
Best all-in-one for community, group coaching, and courses
When it comes to running your own online coaching business, Mighty Networks gives you all the native features you need to create an awesome community flywheel business.
You can deliver coaching sessions and bundles, adding in groups if you want. And within individual Spaces, add things like engaging courses (both asynchronous and synchronous), messaging, discussions, and events. It’s also packed with a bunch of other goodies like live streaming, polls, easily-navigable forums, and the ability to create new member welcome sequences.
Mighty also comes with a great app that gives your clients access from anywhere.
It’s the perfect platform for those looking to build a community around their coaching and/or to run group coaching sessions.
You can schedule events with a click, and members can get reminders and click the link to join a live meeting. And, if you want a community but also want to offer 1:1 coaching, you could easily pair it with something like Calendly to manage your 1:1 scheduling.
Mighty also comes with cutting-edge AI we call “people magic,” Mighty Co-Host™ can instantly generate a Big Purpose, landing pages, profiles, a brand identity, and even course outlines.
- The ultimate community flywheel platform
- Mighty Co-Host™ AI community builder
- Elegant course creation (live & pre-recorded)
- Dedicated Spaces you can customize and charge for
- Livestreaming & live events (both native + 1-click Zoom integration)
- An app for every device
- Charge for coaching in your home currency
- Bundle coaching, courses, etc.
- Need to use the Zapier integration with Google Calendars or Calendly to schedule 1:1 meetings
The Community Plan, at $33/mo, is perfect for monetizing a community. The Business Plan, at $99/mo, is good for a community +courses. More info here!
2. Mighty Pro
Best for building your own coaching app
If you love the features of Mighty Networks, and want to get courses, community, content, commerce, and live events on your own branded app, come build with Mighty Pro!
Mighty Pro takes G2's top-ranked community software and builds it into your own branded app. You can bring payments, memberships, bundles, and your calendar into one place. With our Spaces feature, you can add in livestreaming, live events, member profiles, chat & messaging, discussion forums, and all sorts of content options!
Mighty Pro has build apps for TED, Cambridge University, Fortune, Adriene Mishler, and Cristy "Code Red" Nickel. Listen to Cristy talk about the difference having her coaching programs on her own app made.
We've seen coaches reach amazing heights with Mighty Pro. These are customers like Zac Bush MD, founder of Journey of Intrinsic Health, who sold out his high-ticket course, community, and coaching program in 72 hours.
When you build with Mighty Pro, you'll work with a team of Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses. We're in your corner. And we'll walk through this journey with you.
And it comes with Mighty Co-Host™, which gives you a ton of unique AI features like the Infinite Question Generator to spark conversation. Many of our hosts run thriving communities with as little as a few hours each week.
Finally, if you're already building on a platform, we'll take care of the migration for you!
Schedule a call with us and we'll show you what you could build for your coaching brand!
"We made $100,000 in the first two weeks on Mighty Pro!" Ashley Fox - Founder, Wealth Builders Community
- Premium apps under your brand in the App Store and Google Play Store
- A team of Account Executives and Community Strategists behind you--both before and after launch
- A ton of features: discussions, live & pre-recorded courses, livestreaming, chat & messaging, gated Spaces, member profiles
- VIP support with proactive upgrates & analytics
- Run your community in a few hours a week with premium Mighty Co-Host™ features
- We'll handle migration from your existing coaching platform (if applicable)
- It's a premium solution. If you're just starting out, start on Mighty Networks
Contact us for a custom quote.
Best for marketing funnels
Kajabi is best known as an online course platform that lets creators build and host courses, as well as letting them create landing pages. And for coaches looking to cash in on the course boom, one of the things Kajabi does best is to provide comprehensive marketing tools and funnels to sell those courses. In some cases, if you’re an online coach looking for the right platform, these marketing systems might help you to find clients and make sales.
If your coaching business is course-based, Kajabi lets you build out modules with text, files and videos (hosted on the third-party site Wistia). And the platform includes email campaigns, welcome flows, and landing pages–complex marketing systems that are not included in most other online coaching platforms.
The downside to Kajabi for coaches is that it’s a course-focused business builder. It does have a very limited community option and some programming options, but community is a struggle.
Kajabi tried to remedy this by purchasing the community platform, Vibely. They used this to launch what they call Community 2.0. But it still is really a basic forum with a livestreaming feature built in. It's missing the flexibility of spaces and there's actually a separate login for your course and community. Even Kajabi runs its own "Kajabi Heros" group on Facebook.
All this means Kajabi is fantastic for building courses with complex marketing funnels. It's not as strong of you want to add community, group coaching, or live courses.
It doesn ’t have the complexity of community features Mighty Networks has and it’s twice as expensive.
- Solid course builder with a good LMS (for pre-recorded courses) and flexible content options
- Powerful marketing options, build in landing pages, email campaigns, and other sales triggers
- A good app for every device
- New AI features for course creation
- Options to create programs and challenges
- Extremely expensive for the course platform
- Limited community options (even with Kajabi 2.0)
- If you grow and want your own branded apps, you'd need to move elsewhere
- The basic plan starts from $149/mo, with 3 products and 3 funnels. The Growth plan is $199/mo and adds 15 products and funnels, + an affiliate program and advanced automations.
Best coaching marketplace
If you’re looking for an online coach marketplace to list your services on that also helps you run your coaching business, Noomi is one of the most popular. It has thousands of coaches for just about any demographic or specialty.
If you want to become a coach on Noomi, you need to go through their onboarding process and follow their structure; this will include a call with them to be approved and to record a video that you will use for your profile. Once you do that, the platform will place you in the database of coaches and, if clients are interested in working with you, they can send you a message and schedule a free consultation.
The back end of Noomi is pretty limited, it’s primarily built for messaging. So you might choose to pair it with another platform if you wanted to build in things like courses or community. But it’s a good place to be listed if you want to get leads and clients.
The marketplace structure can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how good you are at getting leads elsewhere. If you have an existing practice and are doing well, it probably doesn’t make sense to pay to get listed on Noomi–especially since you need to actually attract attention in a sea of other coaches. That’s not easy. But if you’re just starting out, listing on Noomi might be a good option.
- An existing marketing system with people searching for coaches
- Qualified leads can find you
- Need to stand out in a sea of coaches
- Tons of competition
- You need to be approved and follow their rules
- Limited options for actually building out your business or scaling
- Being listed on Noomi costs $447/year.
Best for 1:1 coaches
Satori is a scheduling solution made for coaches, and it automates a lot of processes that 1:1 coaches need to go through. Initially designed for yoga instructors, it gives you an administrative system for managing your coaching business. It lets you automate onboarding features like setting up programs for purchase, scheduling 1:1 or group sessions, and managing invoices.
Satori is built around your calendar, and clients can use it to schedule sessions with you. You can also add forms for them to fill out before you meet.
While it’s great on the admin side, Satori lacks some of the features you might look for in an online coaching platform. For example, it doesn’t let you create courses. It also doesn’t have an app to serve your clients, which is a bit tricky since the majority of internet users are mobile.
- Calendar interface and easy scheduling
- Automated forms and on-boarding
- Package sales and invoice features
- No community option
- No course functionality
- No app
- It starts from $9/mo (for 3 clients), $39/mo for the Trailblazer plan (unlimited clients), or $79/mo for the Pro plan which includes some branding options.
Best WordPress plug-in for coaches
The final platform we’ll mention here is Thinkific. It’s another possible platform for coaches to build and sell courses. If you’re a coach who has an existing website on WordPress and you’re looking for functionality to add a plugin to run your courses on, Thinkific gives you this option.
It gives instructors the ability to customize the course design with a drag and drop course builder and comes with some options for marketing courses, including selling through affiliates. It integrates with PayPal and Stripe as payment gateways and lets you sell in 100 currencies.
Thinkific has its limits. It’s good for courses but doesn’t really have any capacity to create events or groups. Even the community functions are limited to a basic forum with some events options. So, if you’re looking for robust options beyond basic WordPress functionality, you’d probably want to choose something else on this list.
- Build a course, landing pages, and some marketing features
- Connects with WordPress
- Limited community functions
- No event functions
- No scheduling functions
- Starts from free with limited spaces, admin, etc., $36/mo for a Basic, and $74/mo for Start (which gives you live lessons, memberships and payment plans, etc.).
Coaching.com is another online coaching platform that’s a marketplace. It gives coaches an operations software for their coaching business, including a dashboard, a video platform, a calendar for scheduling, program templates, and notifications. You can also add session notes.
The platform is simple, but it also includes a marketplace where coaches can list their services–which could be good for exposure.
- Good operations software for scheduling and tracking
- Built-in marketplace
- Mobile app & some custom branding options
- Limited flywheel features (no community, courses, discussion forums, etc)
- No way to deliver content
- Up to 3 clients at $0/mo, then $47/mo for Pro (up to 10 clients), and $97/mo for Premium (unlimited clients).
Best budget course-only platform
If your online coaching practice only needs an asynchronous course platform (that’s pre-recorded for the cool kids), Teachable might be an option. It has a good LMS for static courses and the option to build landing pages, offers, customize, and even sell with affiliates.
- Solid LMS with course options
- Good native video options
- No community
- Limited mobile app access (it only has iOS)
- "Free" (but 1$ + 10% transaction fee); Basic is $59/mo with a 5% transaction fee and gives you 5 products; Pro is $159/mo for a 0% transaction fee and 50 products.
Best Kajabi alternative for courses + marketing
Kartra is similar to Kajabi. It has a lot of the same features but isn’t quite as comprehensive. It has a coaching calendar built-in for 1:1 coaching sessions, and like Kajabi, it has a marketing platform to help you run a funnel and convert leads. It has built-in email marketing, and an LMS for creating courses and programs.
- Good marketing features (email, landing pages, etc.)
- LMS for courses
- Calendar for booking sessions
- No community features
- Not as strong as Kajabi (but almost as expensive)
- Up to 2,500 leads is $119/mo; Silver plan is $229/mo for up to 12,500 leads with unlimited emails, pages, products, etc. The Gold Plan is $339/mo and adds up to 25,000 leads with 5 custom domains.
9. Nudge Coach
App for courses & “nudges”
Nudge Coach is an app for an online coaching practice that lets you build your own coaching programs using video lessons and automated prompts– which they call “nudges”. It feels a bit like a social media platform, you can create inspirational cards (that look like Instagram).
It’s got messaging included, so you can chat with clients. And you can get your coaching practice on a branded app.
- Good features for goal tracking & plans
- Chat & messaging + scheduling
- Cool video-based coaching packages
- Branded app options
- No real community, group, or event features
- Customized branding is quite limited
- Up to 5 clients free, $60/mo for up to 50 clients, $100/mo for up to 100 + white-label options that require a custom quote.
Best video coaching platforms
It came of age during the pandemic, but there’s still nothing quite like it. Zoom lets you host 1:1 coaching sessions OR group sessions. It has a lot of flexibility with scheduling, GCal integrations, and you can keep your coaching session secure with a password. With backgrounds, multispeaker views, and even some ways to monetize, it’s a tool most online coaches should have in their arsenal.
Geneva is a video-first app that could work well for the video portion of a group coaching session. You can post rooms, access a calendar, RSVP, and DM.
12. MS Teams
Built as Microsoft’s answer to Slack, MS Teams has a better video platform than Slack does (it’s more intuitive) and functions more as a chat and conferencing platform. It’s a great tool for coaches as an alternative to Zoom.
Best online coaching business tools
What are the other tools for running an online coaching business? Well, here are a few that coaches rely on. (Note that some of these are built into the coaching platforms we talked about above!)
13. Google Calendar
It’s still one of the cheapest shared calendar options for coaches and works well!
A step up from GCal, it lets you send a scheduling link and clients can schedule a session.
For any integrations you need, Zapier can help you run different software together smoothly (check out a list of Mighty’s Zapier integrations here)
If you’re trying to create a consistent social media presence, Hootsuite is a good option for managing your channels and scheduling your posts in advance.
A fantastic email tool that can run campaigns (both live and automatic). It gives you tons of tools for sorting followers and building your list with custom landing pages and forms.
Whether you’re an experienced coach or just getting started, these online coaching platforms have something for each coach and their needs. And since you’re here anyway, why not try Mighty Networks for free? It’s an engine you can use to build an amazing coaching business and community.
Or, if you want a totally custom app under your own brand, let us show you Mighty Pro! It gives you all the great stuff we talked about above, plus we work with you to build an app you love for the App Store and Google Play Store.
We've built apps for creators and brands like Yoga with Adriene, TED, MindBody, Christy “Code Red” Nickel, Jeff Walker, Jim Kwik, and Sadie Robertson Huff.
Schedule a call with us to find out more!