Building An Ideal Online Course Structure
There are many different ways to structure an online course, but the 2 key categories to consider are:
- The Deep Dive
- The Mini Offering
1. The Deep Dive
The Deep Dive is suitable for experienced coaches.
This is the category you pick if you feel ready to get to the core of a particular issue or topic in your area of expertise, and you're thinking of creating a signature online course or central course for your business that's built around your expertise and key message.
One of my favorite coaches in the world, Jason Goldberg, went with The Deep Dive with his incredibly popular, profitable 8-week course called Playful Prosperity.
Jason was ready to share his key message and show leaders how to create more impact and income in their business while having fun... and the results have been phenomenal.
Deep Dive signature courses are amazing but there's always the danger of sharing too much.
So many coaches give people way too much information, knowledge and ideas in their signature course. This creates overwhelm and increases the "Abandon Rate" which is when a big percentage of those who buy don't complete the course and see results.
But what if you're not ready to go deep just yet? What if you're not looking to build a signature course for your business?
Well, that's okay too because you can opt for a shorter, quicker online course with the Mini Offering.
2. The Mini Offering
Mini Offerings may not feel as exciting or as transformational as The Deep Dive, but don't be fooled.
In the age of social media where bite-size content is consumed on a constant basis, mini-offerings provide a wide berth for coaches to reach out to clients in an effective manner. You can also use min-offerings to redirect your clients to your Deep Dive offering if the need arises.
Focusing on a single, specific aspect of your niche or topic can create awesome transformation and results.
Mini Offerings are much easier to "consume" and experience. Abandon Rates are much lower and there's a good chance people who purchase your course will get the results they signed up for.
One more thing to consider while we're on the subject of structuring your online course...
How do you want to deliver your content?
Do you want people to watch videos, listen to audio, or read a series of emails or PDFs?
Maybe you'd like to offer a mix and match of two or even all 3 of those options?
The fun part is you get to choose!
The more people get to see and hear you and feel connected to you via video and audio, the more likely your course will help them create the results they want.
So, going with a course that's delivered only via email or PDF may not be your best bet.
One of the latest advancements in coaching is the advent of Online Coaching.
While it had been a long time coming, the adoption was accelerated due to the recent pandemic of 2020. By 2021, when schools and workplaces transition to online medium, it is only natural that coaching explores it as well.
Exploring and building an ideal structure for Online Coaching might look like a fairly new process.
However, once you look at online as just another stage, another physical space, rather than a new arena with a steep learning curve, it becomes easy to adapt your structure to online coaching.
The considerations you would take in real-life coaching could also be effectively applied to an online coaching business.
You can then employ the three methods — audio, video and the written material — to tweak your structure and add value to your coaching, instead of seeing it as a challenge. This drives more value into your offerings.
TAKE ACTION SECTION
Time to have some fun and make some decisions around structuring your course. Go ahead and journal/ answer the following questions:
- Which online course category feels right for you and your business at this time -The Deep Dive or Mini Offering?
- Which of the 3 methods - audio, video, written material - do you think is best when it comes to transmitting your personal coaching style and energy?
- Do you enjoy teaching via audio, video, through written material or a combination of 2 or 3 of those methods?
Creating Transformational Course Content
We've arrived at the heart of it...
Figuring out what to teach and creating your course content.
This is exciting but it can also be intimidating.
All great coaches are passionate about what they do so when it comes to delivering their material, message and insights in a course, they don't know where to start.
The important thing is to not let yourself be distracted and pulled in many different directions.
Define What To Teach
Get strategic by identifying your course topic at the highest level.
Here's what I mean...
Let's imagine you're a success coach and you're all about helping clients develop a success mindset.
Now, mindset is an enormous topic.
Think about it...
Our mindset affects ALL areas of life so a course on something like "developing a success mindset" will quickly become overwhelming and end up being ineffective.
The solution is to use the "Laser Focus" approach to come up with a great, focused topic.
Laser in on the area that you're especially passionate about - a specific aspect of your niche where you've helped clients the most or where you've personally experienced significant transformation in your own journey.
For instance, maybe you'd like to help people build a success mindset around money or a success mindset around their career or business.
When you're specific with your topic, it's good for your audience because they'll get a clear picture on the type of transformation they can expect from working through your course.
Plus, when your topic is focused, you'll have instant clarity on all of the content you need to include AND the content you can safely leave out.
Once you're clear on your topic, we go to...
Start Writing Your Content
Most coaches say that this is - by far - the most complicated and challenging aspect of creating an online coaching course.
That's true only if you don't have a clear framework to work with.
One of the most powerful ways to create transformational course content was developed by top coach and expert course creator, Jason Goldberg.
Jason calls his content creation method the "Moonwalk Process" not just because he's a Michael Jackson fan, but because it makes sense.
THE MOONWALK PROCESS
This technique is about moving backward or "reverse engineering" your course content.
You start with the end result or transformation you want people to experience from your course and then you work backward.
Most people do it the other way... they start at the beginning. They write Module 1, Lesson 1, followed by Module 1, Lesson 2, and so on.
This usually leads to all sorts of issues such as writer's block, because you could end up overthinking every step as you try to build up on one concept followed by the next.
But everything changes with the Moonwalk Process.
When you start at the end -- when you look at the outcome or outcomes you want people to achieve and work from there -- your content flows easily and naturally.
So, when it's time to write content for your course, use the Moonwalk Process.
Work your way, lesson by lesson, from the final transformation to the first step and, before you know it, you've written your entire course.
TAKE ACTION SECTION
Let's look at working with the 2 techniques you were introduced to in this chapter - Laser Focus and the Moonwalk Process. Take a few minutes to journal/answer the following questions.
Laser Focus Technique to Find Your Topic
- What's your coaching niche or area of expertise?
- What's one aspect of this topic that you're deeply passionate about?
- Where have you received amazing feedback or comments from your 1:1 clients?
Moonwalk Process for Content Creation
- What is the outcome or outcomes you want people to achieve when they're done with your course?
- What are the steps or systems or ideas or beliefs they need to have in order to experience the final transformation or end goal? (remember: work from the end goal, then think about the second to last lesson and work backward until you get to the first lesson)