Online and telephone coaching

Written by Becky Banham
Becky Banham
Life Coach Directory Content Team

Traditionally, the most common method of coaching involves coaches meeting one-to-one with clients in an office. However, online, email and telephone sessions are emerging as an alternative and offer a more convenient way to access coaching.

On this page, we’ll explore these types of coaching in more detail and why they may be suitable for you. 

Search for online or telephone coaching

Coaching A-Z

What is online and telephone coaching?

Online, email and telephone coaching is when the coaching process takes place in these particular settings. These approaches offer individuals the same level of support and confidentiality as meeting face-to-face with a life coach, as well as offering solutions to some of the difficulties associated with receiving treatment in a traditional setting.

Everyone is different, and it's important to consider how you process and learn best. Some people prefer to work in-person, while others enjoy the flexibility offered by remote coaching.

What are the benefits of online and telephone coaching?

If you are considering remote coaching, here are some benefits to keep in mind:


Whether you’re working full-time, have a family to look after or have a particularly busy schedule, it can be difficult to find the time to travel to and attend a coaching session. This is where online or telephone coaching comes into its prime. Sessions can be arranged with minimum prior notice, for a convenient time that slots easily into your schedule.


As there is less of a crossover period between clients, online and telephone sessions can often be offered at more flexible times than face-to-face coaching. Whether your preference is for early in the morning or late in the evening, coaching remotely offers this kind of flexibility more than traditional coaching.


It does vary from coach to coach but, generally, online and telephone coaching is less expensive for both the client and the coach. Costs such as travelling expenses, staff hire and venue use are automatically lost. This can mean that some coaches can offer these types of sessions at a reduced rate.


Online and telephone coaching services offer the client a higher level of privacy as well as giving them the option to remain anonymous. This is beneficial for clients who may feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face setting - especially when answering personal questions about themselves. Telephone or email conversations with a coach can help clients to be less inhibited and more likely to discuss important, but sometimes vulnerable, issues they are seeking coaching for.

Better connection

Despite what you may initially think, it’s thought that talking on the phone or via email can provide a better client-coach connection. Minimising external distractions can help to improve the efficiency of the coaching service and promote better results.


Online and telephone services mean that clients can receive support from the comfort of their own home, or wherever it is that they are - as long as there is Wi-Fi and a phone connection available.

In this video, career and business coach, Carly Ferguson, explains the benefits of online coaching.

Online coaching

Online coaching essentially refers to any form of coaching that is conducted over the Internet. This could be via email exchange or it could be over a video programme that enables a coach to talk to their client in real time.

Whatever mode of communication is used, online coaching is an ideal way for individuals to seek confidential and professional support at any time that suits their schedule. They can enjoy the flexibility of arranging sessions or completing questions and exercises at times most convenient for them. Online coaching also ensures that individuals can access coaching if, for whatever reason, they cannot attend a traditional face-to-face setting.

Email coaching

Email coaching is a flexible, easy-to-use and highly accessible alternative or complement to coaching via phone or video call. If used alongside face-to-face sessions, email coaching can allow clients to receive highlights from each coaching session so they can refer to the content anytime they wish. Others may find the approach beneficial for recording their innermost thoughts which they may not have felt comfortable discussing face-to-face.

The coach can provide recommendations, questions, and resources to help the client move forward. Goals will likely be created and a plan of exercises to keep the client accountable.

Clients can also email their coach at any time to stay up to date on their progress or to request additional support and advice. This allows them to document what is on their mind as it happens, rather than having to wait several days for their next face-to-face coaching session.

A coach will generally aim to get back to their clients within 24 hours during the working week. In most cases, there will be no requirement for how often clients can email, but this will need to be clarified before coaching commences.

How does email coaching work?

As mentioned above, email coaching will revolve around a series of email exchanges between the online coach and the client. However, before coaching actually begins, the client and coach will need to clarify the following details, usually during a few initial email exchanges:

  • Some background information about the client.
  • Whether or not email coaching is the appropriate coaching method for the client, depending on their needs, goals and preferences.
  • Guidelines on how many times the client is able to email the coach.
  • The time frame in which the client can expect to receive a response.
  • Fees - what is the cost of each email exchange?
  • Privacy and confidentiality policy.
  • Cancellation policy.

Following introductions and service agreements, some coaches will email the client a welcome pack and some initial resources before the coaching begins. This can help the client prepare for email exchanges and provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Video coaching

An increasingly popular online coaching option for those who are too busy or simply cannot attend face-to-face sessions is via video call. This enables the coach and client to chat in real-time over the Internet, which, for some, is preferred to coaching over the phone or via email.

There is a wide variety of video calling apps that a coach may choose to use, from Skype or Viber to FaceTime or WhatsApp. The software is free and easy to download, and no special equipment is needed. All that is required is a camera and a microphone, which are built-in on most devices. 

Video coaching works well for many people because you can physically see your coach - a factor that people often miss during email or telephone coaching. Just like these other methods, however, video coaching allows clients to attend a session from the comfort of their own homes or anywhere in the world as long as there is an Internet connection available.

How does video coaching work?

Usually, a client will be required to contact their coach via email or telephone to set up an initial consultation. Together, both individuals will schedule a time to 'meet' and discuss why the client needs coaching.

During the initial consultation, clients can take time to get comfortable using the software, whilst making the most of the opportunity to get to know their coach and how they work. This will help them to decide whether or not the coaching style is appropriate for them, and can effectively meet their needs and goals.

In terms of payment, the coach may ask clients to pay via a secure online payment before the session, or they may ask for credit card details at the end. It is important to keep personal details safe, so clients are encouraged to carry out payments safely and securely.

Do I need to be computer literate to have online coaching?

Basic computer skills are required to access online coaching, but a client does not need to be a technical whizz to benefit from email or video coaching. Furthermore, the majority of coaches who do offer these services will be able to provide a step-by-step, straightforward approach to getting started.

Telephone coaching

Telephone coaching works in the same way as face-to-face coaching but is conducted over the phone. Some coaches may offer this as an additional avenue of support between face-to-face sessions, whilst others may focus solely on conducting the coaching over the phone.

Telephone coaching sessions eliminate the challenges presented by face-to-face coaching. This makes the service much more accessible and convenient - particularly for those who cannot attend a face-to-face coaching session.

How does telephone coaching work?

The first step is simply for the client to get in contact with their coach so that a brief discussion can be had about the issue they require coaching for. The coach will also usually outline their confidentiality policy as well as general information such as cancellation policy.

If telephone coaching is decided to be the most appropriate means of coaching, the coach will arrange future telephone sessions at times to suit the client. During these sessions, a coach will talk to clients about their lifestyle and will assess their situation and concerns. This information will then be used to devise specific goals and plans, which will be implemented, reviewed and revised across an agreed number of telephone coaching sessions.

Is online and telephone coaching effective?

Coaching online and via phone is still a relatively new concept, so research into whether these modes are as effective as traditional face-to-face methods is minimal. Despite this, however, positive results have been reported, and this could be linked to advances in technologies such as mobile phones, bandwidth, and video conferencing applications. These have made online and telephone coaching feel more like face-to-face interactions.

Furthermore, to make up for the loss of facial expressions and visual actions, telephone and online coaching are thought to improve communication between the client and the coach. For example, over the phone clients and coaches may become more efficient listeners - consciously forcing themselves to hear more and better process what is being said. Online, both the client and coach are more likely to use vivid, descriptive language to get their views, thoughts and advice across - particularly via email in which writing is the sole means of communication.

To help you choose the right coach for you, we’ve created a handy guide to learn the best steps to find a coach on Life Coach Directory.

Search for a coach

Find the right business or life coach for you

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals