How to create a sense of belonging online

Sure, everyone's on Zoom or Teams taking care of business and personal stuff, but not everyone is flourishing. Coaching is—here's why and how it's making a virtual impact.

Life coaching is exploding during the pandemic and has fast adapted to happening virtually—so here’s how to create a sense of belonging online:

This is where life coaching is heading. As the world is shifting and evolving, so is coaching in some really wonderful and positive and much-needed ways.

One of the ways coaching has really shifted in positive and much needed ways is it has become much more global than it’s ever been and much more accessible through the world of online video coaching.

I work with all of my clients online now, all through video coaching.

I can be anywhere and they can be anywhere. It’s one of the silver linings of the situation now. People are able to connect with their coach from anywhere in the world.

In the last week I had conversations with people in Canada, Dubai, Vietnam, the UK. It’s amazing how coaching has become a global community and it’s a massive benefit how coaching is evolving in that way.

It’s also evolving in the way of business coaching, and here's where it's vital to know how to create a sense of belonging online.

There are two major arms to coaching: personal and business. The latter is a coach going into a business and helping an owner develop their leaders, teaching them about communication, the importance of relationships and how they can raise their culture.

Businesses are also learning they don’t necessarily need their coach to be inside their business—like personal coaching, you can do it virtually which is really exciting.

According to Human Resource Executive, coaching is “exploding” since COVID-19. The pandemic has prompted both employers and employees to recognize the need for, and value of, coaching, says Ben Brooks, founder and CEO of software-based employee-coaching product PILOT.

At first, a lot of companies thought they would just use Zoom and Teams and everybody would be fine to just open up their laptops and work at the kitchen table. But once employees factored in caring for kids, keeping engaged and fostering innovation, it made managing interruptions, time and environment challenging.

A number of studies have highlighted the burnout that many professionals—particularly working women—are facing since the pandemic started.

 “When we were in the beehive, it was, ‘How do you succeed in the beehive?’ Now, it’s ‘How do you succeed out on your own?’ ” says Brooks of how workers are managing their own corners of the world.

It means coaching is being seen as less of a remedy for a problem and more of a “virtuous process and experience that brings out the best in all of us.”

That paradigm shift is helping the field of coaching to better fulfil its potential for advancing career development, Brooks says. The practice too often used to focus simply on the job—helping employees succeed in a current work assignment or project—whereas now it’s being looked to more as a way to enable workers to integrate more satisfaction into their job.

Think of it as an opportunity to hold a “board meeting for your life.”

With the accessibility of coaching increasing all the time, another exciting change up is that we're helping people really connect emotionally through the world of video.

We’re all experiencing social distancing in some form and one of the things coaching speaks to is we are wired for emotional connection. We truly need to be connected to other humans so coaching is providing a phenomenal vehicle to help the client feel truly connected so they know they belong, they matter, they have significance and they can feel okay.

They can vent, relax, get the support they need when it suits them, which is really powerful.


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 life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute