Online Coaching: 30-Day Plan To Set Up Clients For Success

Today you’re going to learn what you need to do in the first 30-days to set your new clients up for success with online health coaching.

by
Director of Lifestyle Medicine at Optimal Heart Center & Chief Science Officer at Nudge

This post will leave you with everything you need to put together your own first 30-day plan getting new clients off to a good start using online coaching software.

Before we dive in, you should know that the first 30-days of your new coaching relationships are absolutely critical to your success with each client.

Getting it right can set you up for great business and coaching results, like better client retention, higher average lifetime value per client, and of course, better odds for helping your clients get the results they came to you for.

How to use this post.

Use this post as your guide as you map out the first 30-days of your online coaching program.

Once you have your 30-day plan, follow it like the gospel as you onboard new clients.

By doing it the same way each time, you will gain confidence and identify specific areas where you might be able to improve your process. Plus this enables you to measure your success rates and identify specific areas to improve.

Just remember, when you start iterating on your initial plan it’s always best to implement only one specific change to your process at a time instead of changing multiple things at once.

If you implement multiple changes at a time, it will be much harder to measure which specific change caused your success rate to improve.

What to know before your first online coaching meeting.

Online Coaching Plan: Preparation
  1. Review what you know about your client’s health status.

  2. Remind them ahead of time to have their smartphone, and any wearable or health tracker apps they use ready.

Know your client’s health status. (1)

It should always be clear to your clients that their health is your primary concern, and one of the best ways to make that clear in your initial meetings is to show up clearly prepared.

That means if you’ve collected any personal health information that speaks to your client’s current health status, make sure you’ve reviewed it in detail before your first meeting.

Each time you reference those specifics about your client during your meeting, they will subconsciously be reassured that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Remind your client to bring their smartphone. (2)

Assuming your clients will know or remember what you expect of them will only lead to trouble. Always send reminders and communicate clearly and specifically. This will be a recurring theme throughout this post.

Make sure to send a clear reminder message or give your client a phone call to specifically cover what they need to have ready for the meeting, including their smartphone, any wearable, and passwords to any health tracking apps they use.

There is more to come on this in this next section.

How to nail your kickoff meeting.

Online Coaching Plan: First Meeting
  1. Gather any additional health status info you feel you still need.

    ( i.e. weight, nutrition, steps, activity, exercise tolerance, pain scores and personal goals. )

  2. Recap what you learn to make sure you are understanding your client.

  3. Identify and define their “WHY”.

  4. Walk through downloading the Nudge app and connecting with their coach.

  5. Share with them your “Rules of Engagement”.

Your “kickoff meeting” is the meeting in which you will get your new client set up for mobile health coaching through the Nudge app. Here are several tips that can help you execute that meeting perfectly.

Ask for any additional health status info you need. (1)

While it’s important to show your client how much you already know about them in your first meeting, every touchpoint is an opportunity to learn more.

Make sure you take this opportunity to fill in any important gaps in your knowledge about your client.

Recap to make sure you understand what your client is telling you. (2)

If you’ve ever heard of using the Teach-Back Method to ensure patients have understood medical advice, this will make sense to you immediately as a tool to help you retain the information your client is sharing with you.

The idea behind the teach-back method is that studies have shown that patients only retain a small percentage of the advice they get from healthcare professionals. However, if you prompt them to repeat the information back in their own words, they will retain more of the information.

As health professionals, we must be humble enough to use methods like this ourselves to ensure we are understanding what our clients are telling us instead of assuming we got it all the first time.

Repeat back information by saying “this is what I think I’m hearing…” and asking for confirmation with “…am I understanding that right?”

Identify and define their “WHY”. (3)

As we covered in past posts, helping your client find their "Why" is like finding a skeleton key that can open every locked door between where they are today and the optimal health they want.

The “Why” is how we refer to gathering an understanding of what is truly important to the individual with whom you're working. It’s typically a deep seeded personal aspiration they have for their life either now or in the future.

Each person's "Why" is personal to them and may even seem to have only an indirect connection to their specific health challenges. But in your role as their guide you can continue to help them connect the dots.

For example, through asking the right questions you may discover that a client with a heart condition has a passion for playing the saxophone, and not being able to play with his friends would be devastating.

It may not be easy to get down to this information with every client, but it should always be on your mind as a goal.

Download the Nudge app and connect. (4)

If you are able to do an in-person kickoff meeting, then this is a great opportunity to sit knee-to-knee with your client, have them pull out their phone, and physically walk them through the steps of downloading the coaching app and connecting with your coach account.

It never hurts to have a plan, so if you like to be prepared this post has a couple of specific ideas and helpful scripts for introducing online health coaching and the value of the coaching app to a new client.

If you have to do your kickoff meeting remotely, we’d always recommend a video conference (we recommend using Zoom), so you get quality personal facetime, which does more to build a relationship than a quick phone call.

Nudge Health App Google Play Download

If your client already uses a wearable health tracker or health tracker app, ask them to come prepared with their passwords so that you can help them sync up their accounts. The Nudge app for clients syncs with leading apps like Apple Health, Google Fit, Fitbit, and more to make it easy for clients to share their daily activity with you.

All they have to do is sync it up once, and their activity data will be at your fingertips each day through Nudge Coach, so helping them set this up properly in your kickoff meeting is a huge win.

Share your Rules of Engagement. (6)

Finally, you might be wondering: what are these “Rules of Engagement” I’m supposed to be sharing?

We’ve found that putting a specific set of shared expectations on paper for the way we will communicate throughout our coaching relationship is a great way to ensure we are starting out “on the same page” with our clients.

When we define the online coaching relationship together and both “sign on” to the same set of expectations, it helps us build trust and remove feelings of uncertainty or disappointment from derailing our efforts.


Fill out the form below and we’ll send over our “Rules of Engagement” template files now so you can start using this strategy with new clients ASAP. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

Nudge Coaching Rules of Engagement Template
Name *
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Week 1 of your online coaching plan.

Online Coaching Plan: Week 1
  1. Review your client’s data.

  2. Send a personal Nudge.

  3. Schedule a personal phone call or video web conference.

Review your client’s data in Nudge Coach. (1)

Although the nature of the health tracking you ask of your client will vary based on where they are, the first week should always be about simplicity.

Using a health coaching app and tracking their lifestyle will be new to most of your clients, so be mindful not to throw too many changes at them at once.

We sometimes recommend starting by only syncing a wearable with the Nudge app for the first week and reviewing your clients data with them at the end of the week to get a baseline before creating any custom trackers for them.

Even only syncing data from a wearable like a Fitbit watch, you benefit from the personalized health insights that data like this can add to a coaching relationships

Nudge Health Tracking Data Synced

Send a personal nudge. (2)

A nudge is more than just any check-in message. A nudge is a message that’s personalized for your client based on your relationship with them, and contextualized to their situation based on the health and lifestyle data you have access to through Nudge Coach.

Being able to provide this level of personalized feedback on a regular basis is the real difference that mobile health coaching with Nudge Coach makes possible.

You can see a list of 18 examples of personalized nudges here.

Schedule a personal phone call or video web conference. (3)

The first 30-days of online health coaching is a critical time for your building your relationship with your new client, and as such you should commit a little more time to a client in their first month than in future months.

This initial call is a great time to listen to your client and get a feel for how they are adjusting to using the app with you. If it sounds like they are comfortable, ask if they’d consider tracking one new daily habit that’s clear and specific to their goals, and if they’re open to it create a custom tracker for them in Nudge Coach.

custom tracker

It’s important to be proactive about getting one-on-one calls or video conferences scheduled to invest time with your new client, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on efficiency.

Consider using time-saving tools like Calendly to streamline the process of getting calls scheduled. Instead of the time-consuming back-and-forth messaging to figure out the right time for both of you, just create a meeting type in Calendly and send you scheduling link to them.

use calendly for scheduling

We use it to schedule calls with our partners and it saves us countless hours of back-and-forth every month.

Week 2 - Get into a rhythm with your online coaching client.

Online Coaching Plan: Week 2
  1. Review your client’s data.

  2. Send a personal Nudge.

  3. Schedule a personal phone call or video web conference.

Keep this rhythm or similar with your client for the initial weeks until they have shown they feel comfortable using the app with you and clearly understand your agreed upon expectations for how to use the tracking and messaging aspects of the app.

Week 3 - Add a personalized touch to your remote health coaching.

Online Coaching Plan: Week 3
  1. Review your client’s data.

  2. Respond to any messages from your client.

  3. Send a brief personal voice or video message (1-3 minutes).

Respond to any messages from your client. (2)

In the initial weeks it is also critical that you are highly responsive to your clients. Respond in a timely manner to every message you receive through the coaching app, even if it’s simply to acknowledge that you’ve seen their message and will get back to them.

Send a brief personal voice or video message. (3)

Sending a personal 1-3 minute video message to a client after a few weeks in which you reference specific data they are tracking for you, and if possible connecting that data to their “WHY” is one of our favorite best practices that really makes a client feel like they are getting a “white glove experience” even if your program is fully remote.

Record A Zoom Video

The ability to quickly and securely record and share a personal video message is one of our favorite features of Zoom and why we recommend it for video conferencing.

Week 4 - Finish your 30-day online coaching plan strong.

Online Coaching Plan: Week 4
  1. Review your client’s data.

  2. Respond to any messages from your client.

  3. Send a personal nudge.

Be consistent with your communications in the first 30-days providing positive and meaningful feedback with each weekly message, and you will set the stage for a long-lasting and successful client relationship.

Week 5 - Schedule a 30-day review call.

Online Coaching Plan: Week 5
  1. Review the first 30-days overall and reflect on successes.

  2. Ask questions and gain feedback from the client on what they liked and didn’t like, and what feels like it might be missing.

  3. Review client’s tracking data with them and discuss adjusting trackers to keep the experience fresh, personalized and easy to engage with for them.

And this brings us to a final piece of advice that we would love to take credit for, but which actually came from a conversation we recently had with one of our partner coaches, Ben Cole of Nourished And Strong.

Although he probably said it better than this, here is the crux of what he had to share with us as we were gathering feedback on our upcoming “v4” update to the Nudge App:

He explained that you have to always understand that there are two obligations within every remote health coaching relationship.

There is the obligation everyone thinks of immediately, the client’s obligation to make every effort to be adherent to coach’s guidance, but there is also a second obligation, the coach’s obligation to always work to keep the experience fresh and interesting for the client.

If you stay mindful of this second obligation, to continuously create a fresh and engaging experience for your clients, then you will have success with remote health coaching.


Coach Success at Nudge

If you think the right remote health coaching platform could benefit your program, we’d love to discuss it with you.

Schedule a call with us here