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Coaching as a Digital Nomad

Posted by Anna Kmetova, ACC, CPCC | August 7, 2019 | Comments (8)

In today’s world, coaches are free to use advanced technology to become location free or, so-called digital nomads. It is technically possible to connect with our clients via video calls and perform our other tasks online. However, is it a realistic option when it comes specifically to coaching?

When leaving Europe to start my digital nomad adventure in Southeast Asia, I got bombarded with questions from my fellow coaches. Was it going to be possible to sustain my coaching business while working remotely? How was I going to get new clients? How could I make sure I have a stable internet connection everywhere? To be honest, it was overwhelming at the time. I had a plan, but was I sure it was going to work out? Not really.

Just like my colleagues, I had some limiting beliefs about running a coaching business while traveling. The nomadic lifestyle looked great on Instagram. But what was the reality going to be like? I did not know, but I chose to trust that I will be able to deal with the challenges this journey was about to bring.

Did I succeed? If success means have I been learning a lot? Has this experience expanded my range? Have I sustained my business, happy clients and my mental sanity? Then my answer is YES!

Would I recommend such an adventure to everyone? Yes and no. The truth is, once you are on the road, your business is not going to be the same. So, if you are considering running your coaching business while traveling, the main question is: Are you ready to embrace change?

And what changes can you expect?

1. Your environment will be different, and you will be the same person.

By saying yes to your dreams, you are not automatically saying no to your responsibilities. If you are a responsible person in your “real” life, it is not going to change once you become a digital nomad, not without your permission. However, if you are fighting an endless battle with your procrastination, working from a tropical island might not help you to focus on work.

What is your real motivation to change your lifestyle?

2. You might start attracting different clients.

Yes, there are people out there who think remote working makes you an irresponsible hippie. If you let your potential clients know about your lifestyle, what people will be excited to work with you? There is a chance that your clientele is going to change. This can impact the way you think about your business and your ideal clients.

Who are your ideal clients?

3. You are the one choosing your perspective on your challenges.

Working with clients in different time zones can be a challenge or an opportunity to redesign your idea of what your working day could look like.

Can you embrace change and explore the opportunities the transformation of your daily routine might bring?

4. You will let go of some of your standards.

Perhaps you are used to working with your clients in a meeting room, wearing freshly ironed shirts. As a digital nomad, you might be forced to coach from your phone, sitting on a trash bin, with lizards running on the wall behind you.

After eight months on the road, my imaginary list of must-haves to perform my work got reduced to three things: stable internet connection, (relative) silence and privacy. But even these simple things have a different definition in other parts of the world. So, it becomes essential to always have a plan B (and C and sometimes D).

This is an opportunity to boost your creativity and problem-solving skills and amaze yourself with your ability to stay grounded, 100% focused on your client, no matter what your working conditions are.

Are you ready to expand your coaching comfort zone?

5. Just like traveling, remote working is a journey, not a destination.

Each destination brings a new set of challenges. And that can be amazing and/or stressful. Staying in the present moment is the only way to enjoy your journey because you never know what will come next.

How are you dealing with uncertainty?

Final Words

Once you become physically distant from your clients and your environment, your fancy gear and pretty clothes, all that is left is you, your skills and your ability to be fully present for your clients.

Coaching as a digital nomad can be an intense boot camp of one’s own flexibility, self-management and resilience. It enables you to expand as a person and as a coach in many unexpected ways. At the end of the day, all you need to be a great coach is yourself. And the more you expand your own range, the more space you can offer your clients.

anna kmetova headshot

Anna Kmetova, ACC, CPCC

Anna Kmetova, ACC, CPCC, is a Life and Career Coach who empowers open-minded individuals to lead authentic and fulfilling lives through guided one-to-one sessions. When she is not supporting personal transformation, she helps companies implement a coaching culture. Anna is based in Amsterdam. From November 2018–August 2019, she has supported her clients remotely from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn or visit her website.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Comments (8)

  1. coach@brightrebel.co.uk says:

    As someone who has just moved to Australia but is keeping a mainly UK client base, this was a great read. Thank you.

  2. Silvia says:

    Great article Anna! I’m an experienced digital nomad and I agree with your points. It’s definitely possible to work while traveling… however, you have to know why you’re doing it and also you need to have lot of discipline 🙂

  3. Jeremy says:

    What a great article, Anna! This sounds like such an exciting lifestyle, but I appreciate you pointing that being a digital nomad is more than just the adventure we see all over instagram. Do you ever have trouble finding a quiet place and good internet or is that easy to come by nowadays?

    • Anna Kmetova says:

      Hey Jeremy, I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed reading my article!

      Great question! Honestly, it was quite easy to find a quiet place and good internet connection in most cases, but it also requires some preparation:

      – I find it essential always to purchase a local sim card with internet
      – I usually booked my accommodation in advance (after checking how the previous guests reviewed the Wifi quality) and asked the property to provide me with the screenshot of the internet speed test. I have also explicitly asked them whether there is reconstruction going on in the building (you would be amazed how many times this was the case!)
      – Before checking in, I always ran an internet speed test directly in my room. If it was not strong enough, I have explained my situation and kindly asked the staff to move me to a different room with a stronger internet connection. It was usually not a problem.

      In general, I would do my research before staying on small islands – the internet (including the mobile one) might not be strong enough to make calls.

      I hope this will help you the get the most out of your future adventures! 😉

  4. Suzanne says:

    Whilst not strictly being a digital nomad coach, I am a digital remote coach. I live on a Thai island (for 4 years now) and have corporate coaching clients that are all in different locations (mainly in asia but some in Europe and the US as well). I have been coaching for 10+ years now and 95+% of my clients have been remote. I love it and it’s VERY doable, ya just gotta want to do it!

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Anna Kmetova says:

      Hey Suzanne, I agree with you – you need to want to do it and enjoy all the challenges and accept them as a part of your journey.

      Thank you for reading my article, greetings to Thailand!

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