Creating a coaching schedule is crucial for your coaching program. A supportive plan lets you manage your time and energy and avoid burnout.
If you’ve struggled with time management in the past but want to give your clients your best, you’re in the right place.
The following tips and examples can help you follow through on all the legitimate demands for your time. We’ll also throw in some steps you can take to set up a schedule tailored to your needs.
- Why Is It Important to Have a Coaching Schedule?
- 1. Look at the Big Picture
- 2. Reduce Your Overall Load
- 3. Use Routines
- 4. Find Your Rhythm
- 5. Use a Scheduling Tool
- 6. Schedule to the Minimum
- 7. Create Margin
- 8. Start With the Big Rocks
- 9. Conduct Long-Term Planning
- Schedule Examples
- Easy Steps to Create Your Ideal Coaching Schedule
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is It Important to Have a Coaching Schedule?
A coaching calendar is like a budget for time. And time is a far more valuable resource than money, especially when you use a time-intensive coaching model, like one-on-one coaching.
Here are a few reasons why you should reconsider how you set up your coaching schedule:
- Focus on priorities. Making time for non-urgent but supportive priorities, like mindset, health, family, and ongoing education, can prevent burnout.
- Improved productivity. Setting aside dedicated time for important projects and tasks ensures all essential items are completed.
- Better accountability. You can compare how you spend time to how you budget your time. This reckoning can help you make better decisions and improve your schedule.
- Satisfied clients. When you budget your time and energy, it’s easier to be present with your clients and obtain more.
Let’s dive into these nine tips so you can get all these benefits, too.
1. Look at the Big Picture
Unless you’re employed as a coach, success requires competent skills as an entrepreneur. That means dedicating time to running your business.
Lumia Coaching finds that coaches typically spend 40% of their time on marketing compared to 20% of their time coaching.
As you create your schedule, reserve time for tasks that support your coaching sessions.
- Client communication
- Marketing and promotion
- Product development
- Personal learning and growth
The amount of time each task needs depends on several factors. New instructional coaches need more time for marketing and promotion. Certain coaching niches may require more support, such as self-care and learning. And if you’re developing a course, you might need more time for product development.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are your priorities in business and life?
- What needs to be on your schedule?
2. Reduce Your Overall Load
Trying to do everything is the fastest way to burn out. Coaching from home can add greater expectations, whether it’s the laundry calling to you or your family expecting you to do everything “since you’re home anyways.”
To make dedicated space on your calendar for coaching, it’s essential to examine your overall load and follow these three steps:
- What can you eliminate? Quit doing it.
- What can you delegate? Let someone else do it.
- What can you minimize? Spend less time doing it.
To do this, write down everything that needs to be done.
Next, eliminate anything that isn’t a priority for you. Maybe it means temporarily stepping down from a committee or volunteer position.
Then, consider what makes sense to delegate to someone else. A practical method for making this decision is using a 2×2 decision matrix.
This is a good guideline for delegating time-consuming tasks you dislike. However, based on your resources, you might need to start with small jobs.
What’s left are the items on your minimize list. For example, cleaning and cooking might need to be done by you but can be simplified. This creates time for more important priorities, like clients and self-care.
One example of minimizing time is setting up a cleaning system like that offered by Clean Mama. Investing in systems like these can support you as you coach from home.
3. Use Routines
Routines can be instrumental in streamlining your schedule. Look at the following types and see which you might add.
- Morning: Start your day feeling energized and focused with a consistent routine of exercise, meditation, journaling, or other self-care practice.
- Breaks: Allow time within tasks to take short breaks. Schedule longer breaks throughout the day.
- Daily review: Review the day’s tasks and objectives and read through your notes for the clients you’ll meet.
- Family: Create family routines around meaningful priorities. It could be family game night or a daily homework review.
- Evening: Set aside time for you (or you and your partner) to relax, unwind, and support a good night’s sleep.
Create routines you enjoy so you look forward to completing them. Practices you love can help you get out of bed in the morning.
4. Find Your Rhythm
What’s super awesome about being an online coach is that you can create a schedule that works with your rhythm. You can decide ahead of time when to do your coaching sessions so that they coincide with when you’re at your best.
It’s crucial to figure out when your brain, body, and mood are a match for the tasks you have to do. Here are some simple ways to figure this out:
- Track your energy. Be aware of when you feel great. These could be times of the day or days of the week.
- Track your mood. Identify when your spirit’s up (joyful and optimistic) and down (sad or negative). See if you can track it to a daily rhythm or another cause.
- Use tools. Try a tracking tool for a few weeks to see if you can find your rhythm.
Using a tracking tool to record your energy levels throughout the day can help you find your own rhythm. The data you create can help you make better decisions about what tasks to do and when to do them.
Tracking for longer than a month can help you see your daily, weekly, and monthly trends.
5. Use a Scheduling Tool
You need two tools to create a functional schedule—an online calendar and a scheduling tool.
- Online calendar: This tool lets you view and manage your time commitments and includes options like Google Calendar, Outlook, iCalendar, and Office 365.
- Scheduling tool: This tool allows others to schedule time on your coaching calendar based on your availability.
The online calendar captures all your coaching meetings, appointments, and tasks. If you’re also working a traditional job, it’s beneficial to sync your work calendar to have one calendar.
When it comes to scheduling tools, we recommend Book Like A Boss because it’s easy to use and reasonably priced and offers all the features to easily schedule and manage appointments, set availability, and accept payments.
If you follow the best coaching website design tips, scheduling will probably be a big part of your web interface and user journey. A lot of coaching website builders will also offer plug-ins and integrations with scheduling tools to make the process streamlined.
6. Schedule to the Minimum
Schedule to your minimum. That is, schedule every day as though it’s your low-energy day. This approach accomplishes two things:
- When your energy is low, your schedule will feel manageable. You can feel successful.
- When your energy is high, you can breeze through your day and work on extra projects in that space.
This approach is particularly useful for coaches with chronic illness or energy issues that might make it harder for them to push their limits.
The following sample schedule prioritizes self-care and suggests working with a team. The afternoons are blocked off to make time for tackling a project, learning a new skill, or going out and having fun.
7. Create Margin
When you create margin in your schedule, you reserve space in your life to live and breathe. It’s a reminder that your life is about more than doing. It’s about being.
This reserved space also makes running errands, completing health checkups, and attending events easier. There are a few strategies for this.
- Daily. It might look like ending your working day by 2 p.m.
- Weekly. It might be ending your work week by noon on Fridays.
- Monthly. It could mean conducting all client calls in the first three weeks of the month and using the last week as a flex week for business planning and life.
If you travel, scheduling calls three weeks a month instead of four can be incredibly helpful. And travel can become part of your marketing and expand your knowledge.
8. Start With the Big Rocks
Stephen Covey made the “Big Rocks” illustration popular. This is a way to show the importance of scheduling priorities first and letting less important tasks squeeze in the places in between.
We’ve included a video here if you haven’t seen Stephen Covey’s illustration. The example is also in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
With that approach in mind and considering your energy levels, identify which coaching tasks are best suited for your large chunks of uninterrupted time or your energy peaks.
- Energy peaks. Scheduling your coaching sessions and live or recorded presentations during energy peaks ensures you can invest your very best in these priorities.
- Large chunks of uninterrupted time. Use these for VIP coaching days or for product development, like writing marketing content or creating a course.
9. Conduct Long-Term Planning
Long-term planning is critical and must be in your schedule. While typically conducted annually in large businesses, quarterly planning periods are better suited for entrepreneurs.
Quarterly sessions allow enough time to check on progress, see some early results, and adapt to changing conditions. During these planning sessions, you’ll typically want to do the following:
- Mission and vision. Ensure they’re relevant and compelling, and update them if needed.
- Long-term goals. Make sure you’re making progress on your multi-year goals. These may include revenue, contributions, or reach.
- SWOT analysis. Assess your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Use this to make changes.
- Strategic coaching plan. Using the SWOT analysis, create a new strategy to accomplish your long-term goals, mission, and vision.
- New goals. Set quarterly goals and break them down to support your new strategic plan.
One example of quarterly planning for a small business is the approach used by the 12-Week Year. This program offers a practical process and tools for treating 12 weeks like you might a year.
Let’s look at three examples with significant challenges. While there may be several challenges facing coaches, we’re going to look at three common ones.
- Coaching while parenting school-aged children
- Coaching while caring for an aging parent and developing a big project
- Coaching while still working a full-time job
Busy Parent Example
Raising children creates a lot of demands. In this example, we’re assuming school-aged children in which the parent conducts business while the kids are at school. This schedule accommodates up to nine one-on-one weekly client sessions.
Caretaker Example With Product Development Focus
Coaches who develop products or care for aging parents must create space for these tasks as well as coaching sessions. This schedule allows for significant product development time and daily time to visit with an aging parent. It accommodates up to six one-on-one weekly client sessions.
Note that this schedule allows for a four-day workweek, ensuring that there’s time on Fridays for doctor visits (always necessary for aging parents), a larger project, or relaxation.
Side Hustle Example
Some coaches continue to work a nine-to-five job before transitioning to a full-time coaching business. In this case, they need to schedule sessions for after work. Though challenging, you can do this without burning out.
In this example, coaches conduct one-on-one sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays with weekly webinar classes on Wednesdays to promote and market their services. There’s space for four weekly coaching sessions in this example.
Ready to create your ideal schedule? Let’s go through the steps!
Easy Steps to Create Your Ideal Coaching Schedule
Follow these steps to create your ideal coaching schedule.
- Set up your calendar. Google Calendar, Outlook, iCalendar, or Office 365 are the best choices because they’re compatible with online schedulers.
- Identify your prime times. Populate these with the tasks that require the best productive times. These times are perfect for product development and client sessions.
- Schedule nonnegotiables. These are your highest priorities, like family and self-care, and set times, like morning and evening routines. Nonnegotiables also include commitments to yourself, like marking off unavailable times.
- Schedule your big chunks. Insert the tasks that require large chunks of uninterrupted time, like weekly content creation and planning for marketing.
- Schedule remaining tasks. Put everything else in your schedule. If you have too many remaining tasks, look at the tip above about reducing your load. Consider what you can eliminate, reduce, or delegate.
- Set up your scheduling tool. Configure the types of calls that you want clients to initiate. Sync your scheduling tool to your calendar.
The key to creating an ideal schedule is to decide how to use your time to support your priorities and dreams. Your plan doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. If your best times for coaching are late in the evening, you can create a schedule that supports that.
- What particular challenges do you face?
- How have you learned to adapt your schedule to that challenge?
- What tips are you looking forward to implementing?
Leave a comment below and let us know.