9 key digital coaching app features to level up your business

A person demonstrating digital coaching app

With the coaching industry booming and becoming more competitive, savvy coaches are getting ahead by going digital. Online coaching apps are an excellent way to keep clients on track, provide content-sharing options and improve the client experience overall.

They can also empower you to set up custom coaching programs, schedule appointments, and more.

If you're looking to expand into the world of online coaching tools this guide is for you! We've compiled a list of the 9 essential digital coaching app features you should look out for and outlined the reasons why they’re useful.

Table of contents
What is a digital coaching app?
Why use a digital coaching app?
9 essential features for an innovative digital coaching app
Which coaches can benefit from an online coaching app?
How to maximize the potential of your coaching app
Future trends in the digital coaching space
Digital coaching apps are the future. Ready to begin your journey?
Frequently asked questions

What is a digital coaching app?

A coaching app is an all-in-one online coaching platform that supports the coaching journey. It provides key features that keep clients accountable to your coaching plans, delivers coaching content, or even enables you to conduct coaching sessions virtually.

In terms of the coaching itself, digital coaching is exactly like regular coaching. The coaching programs and methodologies used are mostly the same, though there are additional options available to make the coaching experience richer and satisfying for your clients.

In recent years, one of the most notable shifts we've seen in online coaching platforms is the shift toward AI coaching, and this seems to be where the industry is headed. 

At the end of 2022, shortly after ChatGPT was released into the market, the global online coaching platforms market was estimated at US$2.1bn and this is forecast to more than double to US$4.7bn by 2028.1

Why use a digital coaching app?

With a digital coaching app, especially one that leverages AI, your clients can access coaching content, or use AI-based coaching on the go. It's important to remember that AI coaches aren't here to replace a human coach. Rather, AI is a resource for coaches that supports clients in their absence. In short, AI is a tool, not a replacement, for the personal touch a human coach can offer.

Let's say your online coaching business offers weekly coaching sessions with your client, but in the meantime, you want them to have round-the-clock support. This is the real benefit of AI-powered digital coaching. 

If you're looking for a simple way to deliver coaching content to your clients, there are other ways a mobile app can assist, including with:

  • Goal tracking
  • Online course delivery
  • Tracking dashboard
  • Online booking and appointment scheduling
  • Track client progress

If you’re looking for something custom-made for your business, or you want to scale, check out our guide to creating your own coaching app.

9 essential features for an innovative digital coaching app

There is a wide range of coaching apps, depending on your business needs. Business coaching apps may have more business management tools, whereas life coaching apps include key features that support personal motivation and wellness.

Though broadly, there are some standout features you should look out for when selecting, or custom building your coaching app.

1. Integration of multimedia content

As a digital coach, you want to give your clients the ability to learn and access coaching content that suits their communication styles. For instance, some people are more motivated by listening, while others are more motivated by reading. This is why integrating multimedia content sharing into your online coaching platform is so important.

These can be:

  • Podcasts
  • Video content
  • Interactive digital tools
  • Online courses

Check out PTDistinction, for an example of multimedia content done right on a digital coaching program. It allows coaches to post text-based how-to guides, as well as video content that’s either hosted on the platform or shared via YouTube or Vimeo.

2. Personalized coaching experiences with AI

Coaching software won't be complete without the awesome power of AI. That's where F4S can help. We're a performance and collaboration AI built to help individuals and teams uncover their blindspots, recognize their strengths, and work better, together. 

Our coaching practices are based on more than 20 years of scientific research into what motivates individuals at work, and how cognitively diverse teams can thrive.

In 2024, we unveiled Ask Marlee: a revolutionary AI coach that gives tailored advice and individual coaching to people based on their unique set of motivations.

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Let's say, for example, that your business clients are looking to build a team but don't know who to delegate particular tasks to. With Ask Marlee, they can assemble a dream team based on the science of motivations at work, predict clashes (or resolve them when they occur), and learn how to gain the most from team members both individually and collectively.

a demonstration of F4S app

Or with individual clients, you can set them up with F4S and deliver coaching programs on demand, as an adjunct to your own coaching services.

It all starts with a fun and free assessment of work style motivations.

F4S Coaching queue

3. User-friendly interface

A must for any app, but especially for coaching apps, is an uncluttered interface. Your coaching app should be inviting and easy to use, allowing your clients to easily access their goals, the metrics they’re tracking, and more. 

You also want an intuitive interface for clients who may be less technically savvy, or less digitally inclined.

Remente is one of the highest rated self-care and wellness apps in the Google Play Store. Users consistently note the attractive and professional interface. So if you’re looking for inspiration, check it out!

4 Session scheduling

Making it easy for clients to complete administrative tasks such as scheduling sessions, or canceling appointments in the app is a must. Ideally, you want to reduce the amount of friction involved in taking action, as for most coaches, 1-1 sessions are the lifeblood of their coaching business.

Kahunas features a robust scheduling system that gives you the option of integrating with Google Calendar or using its own native calendar. The scheduling system is flexible and allows you to easily update, cancel or reschedule sessions on the fly.

5. Real-time communication

Following on from scheduling sessions, if you conduct your sessions virtually, the ability to do so through your app is a huge plus. Connecting with your coaching clients directly through the platform keeps coaching experiences local to the app. Whether it’s through virtual meetings or live chat sessions, you don’t want your clients to have to hop between platforms to reach you.

Ideally, the platform should cater to coaching teams and one-on-one sessions alike, and be able to record session notes for both your own and your clients' benefit.

If you want a great example of a top-notch coaching platform with standout features including integrated options for real-time communication, check out Circle. It is one of the highest-rated apps in its category on G2, Capterra, and Google Play Store, and for good reason!

6. Goal tracking and progress monitoring

If you take a data-driven coaching approach, the ability to track and monitor progress towards your client's goals is essential. Ideally, you want a tracking dashboard that monitors your client's progress and easy ways for them to update their goals as they go.

These can be things like:

  • Time tracker tools
  • Customizable tracking systems
  • Task lists (including group-level tasks for teams)
  • Options for private note-taking

If you want an app for your clients that will keep them on track with their goals, Todoist has you covered. It’s a task management app that is designed specifically to help users get through their mundane tasks and to-do lists, and to set and achieve big goals. 

It may not have all the functionality of other apps on this list, but it’s one to recommend to clients who need help sticking to their goals.

7. Gamification and engagement strategies

Incorporating game-like elements (known as gamification) is a proven method to keep users engaged when using digital applications. Research following 276 app users demonstrated that gamification increases user satisfaction, leading them to use the app more often, and rate it more positively.2 

According to the authors of the study, gamification satisfies the user’s need for competence and mastery.

When it comes to gamification, CoachAccountable is one of the best options on the market. The platform is designed with fun and engagement in mind. Delivery of course content and programs is gamified, leaving clients itching to learn and achieve more.

8. Managing administrative tasks

On your end, it’s important to use an app that includes key features that automate manual tasks and more tedious administrative tasks that come with running a coaching business.

This includes jobs such as:

  • Client onboarding
  • Appointment scheduling (including auto booking)
  • Updating Google Calendar
  • Setting up payment options (more on this later)
  • Client management tasks
  • Workflow automation tools
  • Setting up trial periods

For an example of these features in action, check out Trainerize. Trainerize is a tool for coaches and personal trainers that includes fantastic client management features that make client setup, activity monitoring, and maintenance easy.

Or for other basic admin tasks taking up your precious time. If you want an example of an app that helps you with all of these things, check out Quenza.

9. Payment methods and invoicing

Lastly, keeping all your finance-related admin tasks in one place removes so much friction from your business operations. Picture this: The ability to schedule appointments, conduct a session virtually, and then invoice the client immediately afterward, all through your digital coaching platform.

You also want advanced features when it comes to payment processing, including:

  • Setting up payment plans
  • Integrated payment options from third party payment processing software
  • The ability to make payment requests quickly and easily

If you don’t want to use Paypal or Stripe, or you want to integrate with these platforms on your coaching app, simply.coach offers rich options for a range of invoicing and payment options.

Which coaches can benefit from an online coaching app?

If you're looking to digitize your coaching business, an app can help both you and your clients.

But what types of coaches can benefit?

Life coaches

Life coaches can benefit from a coaching app by helping their clients track their key metrics. As above, many coaching apps have tracking dashboards that help clients with accountability. For example marketed as ‘The life coach in your pocket’, Symblify is an excellent option for life coaches looking to make the shift to digital.

Business coaches

Business coaches can use apps as a business coaching tool. They may leverage business management tools, or other business coaching applications through the platform. With its rich analytics features, integration options and extensive tool library, we suggest CoachAccountable for coaches with business clients.

Executive coaches

The role of an executive coach is often like a business and a life coach wrapped up in one. A savvy executive coach may leverage an app that has all of the above key features and benefits. Find out why Fingerprint for Success is the best executive coaching software for Canva.

‘It gives an accurate understanding of how a person is motivated, and drivers and drainers to their energy at work.’"

- Internal Coaching Lead Sarah Nanclares, Canva

Alternatively, given its broad range of features, and versatility, if you’re an executive coach, Quenza might just be the platform for you.

Fitness coaches

Fitness coaches can use apps as a means of content sharing for exercise videos, create interactive health plans. As mentioned above, Trainerize is one of the best platforms for fitness coaches.

How to maximize the potential of your coaching app

Now that you know what to look out for when choosing an online platform for coaches, it's important to know how to gain the most from the app you go with.

Here are a few quick tips on how to achieve this:

Give clients a detailed onboarding on how to use the app

Even if your app has the most intuitive interface, in an age where digital clutter and overwhelm are real issues, you need to help your clients get acquainted with the app and how it works. If you want the app to become an integral part of your coaching service, making sure your clients know how to use it is step one.

Sell your clients on the importance of the app

We all have that app we're supposed to use, but if we don't understand the benefit, it's too easy to delete it. While explaining how the app works, also outline the essential features and tell clients why it's a part of your service and what benefits they will gain from using it.

Make the app a part of your social media messaging

Sharing how you use your app with your clients on social media could be a major selling point. As above, the market for personal development apps has never been bigger. If you can position yourself as a professional coach who can work with clients using apps they already use, your coaching services may open up to a sizable market.

Future trends in the digital coaching space

The coaching space has changed drastically over the past 10-15 years. It used to be the exclusive domain of athletes, then it became available to business and political elites, fast forward to today, where it is common for anybody with a focus on getting ahead to use a coach.

Now that coaching has entered the digital space, it is one of the fastest-growing verticals in the current landscape. But what's next?

A 2024 report3 by Future Market Insights reported on some of the top trends to keep an eye on:

Artificial Intelligence integration

AI is still in its infancy, and as the technology continues to advance at a dizzying pace, so too will its impact on the coaching app space. Expect that professional coaches will leverage this technology to improve and optimize all of the key features listed in this article. 

An example of how this is already happening is F4S’ revolutionary AI coach, Ask Marlee, which makes it easier for everyone to get personalized coaching on the go.

Increased competition

As the space continues to expand, so too will the competition. But like anything, this shouldn't be a cause for concern. Differentiation is key. As a professional coach who is interested in either developing a custom coaching app or partnering with an existing app and making it a part of your coaching process, it's important to show how your offering provides a point of differentiation and a unique selling point.

Increased global demand

If you're concerned about the growing competitiveness of the space, remember that demand for digitally mediated coaching is growing. And this isn't just the case in the Western world, but globally. 

The highest potential growth has been seen in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom with forecasted increases of 16.3%, 13.8%, and 16.2%, respectively. With the power to conduct coaching sessions virtually, you'll have access to unlimited clients by prospecting beyond your home base.

Digital coaching apps are the future. Ready to begin your journey?

In short, digital coaching isn't simply a passing trend. It's the future of the industry, and it's only getting bigger. A digital coach who can leverage the power of AI, multimedia content sharing, goal-tracking software and all the other benefits of becoming a digital coach will have a richer, more valuable coaching service and will be more desirable to clients.

Going digital won't sacrifice the personal touch that's often needed in working with clients. On the contrary it makes your workflow seamless and keeps clients engaged and motivated.

But with the market growing exponentially, choosing a unique app to partner with that will set you apart from other coaches is key. And that's where F4S comes in.

We're an affordable AI coaching option that caters to everyone. We have a range of digital coaching programs based on our revolutionary research on workstyle motivations, and motivational traits.

But first, take our fast, free assessment to learn about your workstyle motivations.

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Frequently asked questions

Are digital coaching apps an all-in-one solution for coaches?

Digital coaching apps are comprehensive platforms designed to streamline various aspects of your coaching journey. They provide a one-stop solution by offering features like a user-friendly interface, integration options, a client portal, task lists, and real-time reporting, making them essential for managing your online coaching business effectively.

How do digital coaching apps contribute to creating excellent coaching experiences?

Digital coaching apps play a pivotal role in crafting excellent coaching experiences by offering a user-friendly interface, a client portal for seamless communication, and tools for efficient management of coaching sessions and projects. These features collectively elevate the coaching journey, fostering a positive and productive environment for coaches and clients alike.

Can coaches use real-time reporting for performance analysis and improvement in their coaching business?

Yes, real-time reporting is a valuable feature in digital coaching apps. Coaches can use it to analyze performance metrics, track client progress, and identify areas for improvement. This data-driven approach contributes to continuous enhancement of coaching strategies.

How do digital coaching apps help coaches stay organized with their active clients?

Digital coaching apps come equipped with features like client lists and task management tools, helping coaches stay organized with their active clients. This ensures that coaches can efficiently manage their coaching workload and provide quality services.

How does specialized software for coaches enhance the overall coaching process and client engagement?

As dedicated software for coaches, digital coaching apps provide a tailored solution to streamline coaching sessions, manage coaching projects, and maintain a client portal.

How do digital coaching apps contribute to enhancing coaching practices for coaches and clients alike?

The incorporation of a client portal fosters effective communication during the coaching process, while features like task lists and real-time reporting contribute to data-driven coaching practices. Additionally, these apps support various payment processes and plans, streamlining financial aspects within the coaching process. 

Overall, digital coaching apps serve as comprehensive platforms, efficiently managing the coaching process, from individual coaching sessions to overseeing coaching projects, ensuring an excellent coaching experience for all involved.

Show References
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  1. 360 Research Reports, 2023, Online Coaching Software Market Size, Share, Trends, and Forecasted Growth for 2023-2030, LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/online-coaching-software-market-size-share-trends/
  2. Arcas B, 2021, Enhancing user engagement: The role of gamification in mobile apps, ResearchGate, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351086298_Enhancing_user_engagement_The_role_of_gamification_in_mobile_apps#:~:text=The%20results%20showed%20that%20gamification,to%20positively%20rate%2C%20the%20app.
  3. Future Market Insights, 2023, Coaching Platform Market Outlook from 2024 to 2034, Future Market Insights https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/coaching-platform-market

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