Heights Platform The Difference Between Online Coaching and Online Courses: Which is Better?

The Difference Between Online Coaching and Online Courses: Which is Better?

6 minute read

There are many ways you can choose to start your own knowledge business. Online courses and coaching are two of the most popular business models preferred by creators.

If you are a beginner in the world of eLearning, you might be confused and not sure which method to choose for your business.

In today's article, we will explain the difference between creating online courses and creating online coaching programs, and which business model is best for your particular needs.

What is the Difference Between Online Courses and Online Coaching?

Before we try to figure out which approach is best for you, it is important that you understand the difference between online courses and online coaching.

With online courses, you are teaching a specific topic by pre-recording video (or another medium) lessons that your students will be able to access on-demand through a designated platform.

Generally, with online courses, students can move through the lessons at their own pace, and they may not receive much individual assistance from the creator. Online courses allow you to reach a broader audience and potentially teach hundreds of students at once, which is why online courses are considered a business model that can provide leveraged income.

On the other hand, with online coaching, you are teaching one client (or a few in the case of group coaching) at once, and you are directly focusing all your energy on helping one person achieve a goal. As you are providing extremely personalized service, online coaching allows you to charge a higher price compared to online courses or other eLearning tools.

Choose between online courses and online coaching business

When Should You Choose Online Courses?

Now that we explained the difference between online courses and online coaching, it's time to figure out which approach is best for your business. Let's start with online courses.

Depending on your goals and needs as a creator, online courses may or may not be the perfect fit for you. Below you will learn when online courses can be a great option for you:

You Want to Create a Leveraged Income Stream

One of the main benefits of online courses is the potential to gain leveraged income. What is more commonly known as "passive income", leveraged income includes earnings that are not directly tied to your time.

With an online course, you work to create and record lessons, put them together and promote the course. After that, when students start buying the course, you are gaining new income without putting in more work, because your online course is ready for your students!

This is what we call "leveraged income", instead of "passive income", as you still have to put in some work from time to time, to keep your online course up to date and improve its content from your students' feedback.

If this is what you are looking for online courses are a great choice for you; while with online coaching, for each new client you gain you need to focus 100% of your time to help them, so while there is potential to charge a high price to each client, there is no potential to create a leveraged income stream.

Your Topic of Expertise is Better Suited for Online Courses

The topic you are going to teach can also impact which medium you choose between online courses and coaching programs. This is because certain topics may be more suitable for the structure of an online course, while others require a more personalized approach.

Online courses are a fantastic choice if you want to teach a topic that is more practical, requires the students to follow a certain number of steps, or there is a learning curve involved.

For example, if you are an expert in cooking and want to teach others your recipes, an online course is probably the better choice as it offers an easy way to structure your content, you can insert additional resources and students can access your recipes anytime they need.

That said, most topics can benefit from different types of service: you could always choose to offer both online courses and more individual online coaching programs around the same topic.

Your Topic Doesn't Require Extensive Individual Interaction

As we said, some topics are better suited for online courses than others. If you are not sure which business model to choose, ask yourself if your topic requires a high amount of one-on-one interaction with your clients, or if students can achieve their goals simply with self-study.

This is because online courses at their core do not offer any individual interaction with the creator. However, many course creators still choose to provide some amount of individual coaching by offering periodical group calls to their online course students, and by reviewing student progress and checking in with them when neccessary.

So if your topic does not require any one-on-one teaching (or only a small amount) it can work with online courses.

You are Good at Teaching and Recording Videos

A big part of starting an online course business is creating its content. While you can offer content in the form of text, the most interactive medium for better students' learning is video.

So to create a beautiful online course that actually helps students achieve their goals, you need to be able to create professional videos that clearly communicate your content.

Your videos do not necessarily need to have Hollywood-level special effects, however, they need to be professional enough to convey your message to students without any technical problems.

If you are new at this, check out this article from our blog: OBS Tutorial - Create Awesome Videos for Your Online Course With Little to No Editing

Online Coaching

Online coaching offers a different experience from online courses. Let's see below when you should choose to focus on coaching - or offer online coaching programs as well as online courses!

Your Topic Requires Personalized Approach

The online coaching business is all about individual interaction with your clients. This personal approach is what makes coaching effective - and many times - expensive.

So obviously your topic needs to be suited for online coaching. Try to understand if your topic can benefit from one-on-one teaching, or simply do some research to see if there are any other coaches in the same niche.

Competition in your niche is not always bad, it helps you validate your idea and provides proof that there is a market and some demand for your services!

So if your topic requires a highly personalized approach, you should think about offering coaching programs as well!

You are People-Person

If you already have an online course but you miss that one-on-one interaction with people, coaching is for you!

With online coaching, your job is to directly help your clients by talking to them. So even if these interactions happen remotely, you still have direct contact with people and get to help them achieve their goals.

Online courses have the same end goal, and they too help students achieve a result. However, the lessons in an online course are pre-recorded and there is less interaction with the students.

You can Dedicate Significant Time to Your Clients

How much free time do you want? Is online teaching your full-time job or a side income?

Online coaching will take up a lot of your time, as you need to constantly look for new clients and you can only help one or a few clients at a time.

On the other hand, with online courses, you need to invest a lot of time in the beginning to build and create your course, however, once it is ready, there is no more work involved even if you get hundreds of new students (aside from marketing and some customer service).

So before you get into online coaching, evaluate how much time you can spare to focus on this business.

You are Looking for a Higher Ticket Price

With online coaching you are offering your unique expertise and focusing on one client at a time, so you can set the price you want for your coaching sessions.

Generally, one-on-one coaching can become very expensive. So if you are looking to earn more per client, online coaching is a good idea.

That said, with online coaching your revenue is tied to your time, and this business is harder to scale and to gain recurring leveraged income.

Conclusion: Offer Both Coaching and Online Courses?

Online courses and coaching have the same goal: to help people achieve a specific result. However, these two business models are extremely different in their execution.

As a creator, it can be hard to choose between one or another. Our suggestion is to start with online courses.

Online courses can help you grow your audience and gain more clients, and get your ground ready for online coaching. Once you have established yourself as an expert and grown an audience, you can then start selling more personalized, high ticket coaching programs for your most loyal customers.

If you are looking for an online course platform where to host your eLearning program, sell online courses and coaching sessions, Heights Platform offers you all the features you need.

Create Your Online Course Today