You can recognize a pioneer by the arrows in their back“. This quote is very relatable to digital coaching companies that start something brand new, but fail at the end of the day, being unable to attract customers. Their competitors, on the other hand, borrow and improve these innovative ideas, succeed and prosper. 

Based on our experience in EdTech and human resource (HR) software development, we’ve put together a list of startups that may inspire you to build a coaching platform that will not meet the fate of pioneers. With this read, you’ll also learn what features you may need to add to make your business thrive on the market. But before getting started, let’s read about the market forecasts to gain peace of mind that you’ll build the right product at the right time.  

The explosive growth in the digital coaching market

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the unprecedented growth of digital coaching solutions. Entrepreneurs and school teachers began to rely heavily on coaching software to offer live classes to their employees and students, respectively. The online coaching platform market is soaring right now and projected to grow in the near future. In 2020, the market value reached 1,938.39 million and is expected to increase to 4,567.42 million by 2028. 

Today, when the global pandemic is more of a memory, online coaching businesses are challenged to make their solutions more personalized and client-oriented. Needless to say, no one would be willing to pay for courses they could watch free of charge on Youtube. The strategy for EdTech and HR companies that want to scale their businesses is to make the services free and then charge for more customized content. 

Benefits of online coaching programs

Online coaching offers many benefits compared to traditional coaching, so that many businesses have started to realize that it can be a sweet spot necessary to make a genuine difference. Let’s read some advantages that technology has brought to coaching. 

  • Access to top coaches from all over the world

People no longer have to leave the comfort of their homes to learn something new from the best field experts. Online coaching allows users to access top coaches, regardless of their location. Learning from industry leaders and talented specialists significantly increases coachees’ chances for positive educational outcomes. 

  • Easy progress tracking

With online coaching solutions, it’s much easier for users to monitor their learning progress and recognize little wins. These platforms are usually data-driven and offer statistics, reports, and dashboards to evaluate the impact of the entire course or specific session.  

 

Progress tracking functionality

Progress tracking functionality of a coaching platform

  • More relaxing setting for a coachee

Unlike traditional coaching where everyone is interacting at the cocktail party distance, online coaching doesn’t even require one to be in the same room with a coach. The distance that technology creates helps people feel more relaxed, so that they’re more willing to open up during sessions. 

Examples of online coaching startups that investors love

Instagram was not the first social media platform, and Skype wasn’t the first video calling service by any means. These companies looked at the pioneers, understood that there was a market need, and made the product better. We’ve gathered some powerful coaching startup ideas that you’d want to follow and/or improve. 

BetterUp

BetterUp is a reskilling coaching platform that focuses on all employees, regardless of their position, rather than on upper management only. The startup has become the biggest mental health and coaching solution after having raised a stagerring $300 million in series E. 

The solution assists users in becoming more resilient and mentally fit, which would later help them in personal and professional growth. BetterUp is convinced that it’s extremely important to holistically approach each coachee, concentrating on their mindsets and behaviors rather than simply skills that need to be improved. 

 

BetterUp app functionality

BetterUp app functionality

Medley

Medley presents a group coaching solution that tackles both personal and professional development. The platform has managed to raise $3.7 million in venture capital. Medley focuses on facilitating group discussions among people who have different backgrounds. To be more precise, a development coach forms groups in a way that includes users with different ethnicities, gender, and age groups, which helps to promote inclusion and diversity. 

 

Medley app functionality

Medley app functionality

 

Beyond that, the online coaching software has launched the initiative called Medley Moments. Coachees can now develop and pursue their particular goals with the help of this solution. Medley helps its members to successfully go through different life stages and face various challenging experiences, such as becoming a new parent, relocating, career changes, and so on. 

Sounding Board

A San Francisco startup named Sounding Board helps upper managers and business owners become more effective leaders. Its investors poured $13.1 million in a Series A funding. The marketplace provides coaching services not only for C-suite executives, but mid-tier and first-time managers as well. 

The solution enables users to get matched with professional coaches, schedule live sessions, make use of resources and complete assignments. Similar to objectives and key results (OKRs) software, the functionality lets both managers and coaches track goals on a regular basis.

 

Sounding Board app functionality                         Sounding Board app functionality                         

Types of coaching platforms

There are four common types of coaching platforms: open marketplace, managed marketplace, upskilling/reskilling, and cohort-based learning. Let’s see some prominent examples from each category. 

Open marketplace

An open marketplace refers to a platform that lets any coach, mentor, or speaker place their courses once their identities are verified. Udemy is one of the well-known examples of open coaching marketplace. The solution enables coaches to create courses by using different tools, such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, PDFs, ZIP files, audio, and live classes. Its video player has some prominent features like note-taking and closed captioning. 

To-date, the platform offers more than 130,000 video-based courses. The topics vary widely, from learning Python to dog-training. Even though Udemy provides users with certificates, they are not college-aligned or accredited. 

 

Udemy app functionality

Udemy app functionality

Managed marketplace

A managed marketplace is a totally different ball game. Unlike open marketplace, it aims at improving users’ experience by offering only vetted courses and services of approved coaches only. Crehana makes a great example of a managed marketplace. This solution helps employees identify their skill gaps, address their weaknesses, and monitor their progress. 

Its main difference from Udemy is the way the company manages content. Crehana thoroughly chooses teachers that will offer courses on its website. Therefore, companies opting for Crehana’s services can feel more confident that their upskilling initiatives would lead to good results. 

 

Crehana app functionality

Crehana app functionality

Upskilling/Reskilling

Upskilling platforms aim at improving users’ existing skills, while reskilling solutions target people who want to acquire new knowledge and competencies. A Berlin-based company named CoachHub offers its users both upskilling and reskilling services. The platform relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to match users with 2,500 coaches living in seventy countries. 

With CoachHub, users have access to sessions conducted by top business coaches. They can also benefit from micro-learning by choosing to complete assignments between sessions. On top of that, CoachHub members can chat with their coaches 24/7 in the application. 

 

Coachhub app functionality

Coachhub app functionality

Cohort-based learning

Cohort-based coaching presupposes that users learn in small groups or also known as cohorts. Coderhouse is a platform that delivers cohort-based live sessions in topics, like design, coding, and marketing. Its users gain new knowledge and skills in small-group classes based on curriculum created in collaboration with top companies.  

Coderhouse offers its services to people who seek promotion, people who are searching for new jobs, and business owners who are interested in mastering a new skill, such as, for instance, copywriting and marketing. Students can take as many courses as they want, while teachers have to undergo a range of assessments to be accepted to instruct on the platform. The material is delivered in small chunks to make it easier for the group of students to digest it. 

 

Coderhouse app functionality

Coderhouse app functionality

Trending features to include to your platform

To build a successful coaching solution, you’ll need to include features that are on trend right now. This will help you appeal to your audience and earn a high market share. 

Skills benchmarking

Skills benchmarking helps to identify best performing users compared to other learners registered on a coaching platform. Thanks to machine learning (ML) algorithms, this functionality can offer a bird’s-eye view of an organization’s talent benchmarks in comparison to a particular employee. 

Businesses can personalize their evaluations based on their size, industry, and geographic location. Employers can align a curriculum with specific learning needs, thereby increasing employees’ strengths and addressing weaknesses. 

 

Skills benchmarking feature

An example of the skills benchmarking feature

Dashboard

The dashboard feature helps coaches to keep an eye on what’s going on across their coaching practice. Teachers can benefit from configurable widgets that allow them to personalize what they see once they login. The dashboard can show them such important information as their send out assignments, scheduled sessions, or to-do lists in one place. 

The following functionality helps career mentors and life coaches understand what goes as planned, what needs to be done, and when a corrective action is necessary. The use of dashboards improves teachers’ efficiency making them more organized and well-informed.

 

dashboard feature

The dashboard feature

Goal setting and feedback

The given feature allows coaches to create personalized goals, action plans, ask for stakeholder feedback, and evaluate users’ progress over time. Users can also build theme libraries to choose coaching topics aligned with their needs.

The goal tracking feature enables coaches to produce reports on topic progress. This helps to measure the coach’s impact, as well as shows the value of the coaching program

 

The goal setting and feedback feature

The goal setting and feedback feature

Bottom line

Even though face-to-face meetings have become possible again, digital coaching isn’t going anywhere. Coaches have realized that they can teach people from all over the world remotely, while more and more coachees have started to perceive online platforms as both efficient and convenient. 

Given the increase in the market need, it’s high time to build a coaching online platform that would appeal to investors as well as the target audience. To achieve this, you’ll need to cooperate with a reliable software development company that has enough competence in creating coaching programs

JatApp has been specializing in developing HR and EdTech software for six consecutive years. We pride ourselves on the fact that the average duration of our projects is three years. Moreover, our clients report a 99% satisfaction rate after cooperating with us.

If you want to partner with JatApp, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll reach out to you at the earliest time possible.