Three steps to building rapport online as a coach

The best marketing strategies in the world won't mean anything if you can't click with clients. Here's how.

Wanting to know about building rapport online as a coach?

Two words: emotional safety.

This is a space where someone feels safe with someone else.

Think of a time you turned up for a doctor's appointment. The receptionist was busy and abrupt. You felt judged, as if the person didn't have your best interests at heart. You felt emotional and like you weren't important.

Emotional safety is the exact opposite, and building it is what you should be doing as a coach.

We want to be building rapport and creating a space where the client knows, 'I don't have to be on guard anymore.' Where they feel safe with you even if you haven't met them before and it's online through video.


Building rapport online as a coach happens when you create a space of safe exploration or no judgement.

When you're coaching clients, let go of judgement. Maybe you are a devout Christian and your client is an atheist. Or it could be the reverse. No judgement. Full love for your client.

They need to know you're not here to change them. That alone is amazingly refreshing for people because they're used to being with people who tell them what to do all the time.

Also let go of giving advice. Coaching is the opposite of giving advice.


It's all about evidence based framework, or models, based on a body of work we know makes a difference now. There's a study of love now, and Brene Brown studied shame, plus there's Dr Sue Johnson's work around attachment theory.

We're doing our own research right now as a school.


Ask questions based on those frameworks. Remember, coaching is the opposite of giving advice.

It’s about asking quality questions.

This is the thing. When we ask great questions we allow our clients to come up with the answers that are already within them. When we tell someone what to do, we're just giving them direction they already have from others.

When we ask questions, we're asking people to dip into their aliveness and pull out their inner resources.

Go forth! Start building rapport online as a coach today. You have it in you, and so do your clients.

Matt Lavars is one of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend.

Matt Lavars
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute