Our kind of coaching whether pure Executive Coaching, Communications Coaching or coaching around Career Orientation is, by definition, very personal. We are after all dealing with issues that are intensely personal to each individual client. So, does it really work to coach remotely?
The technology is there; the phone of course and Skype which brings video conferencing to everyone’s desk top, subject to the vagaries of broadband, but can it really surpass face to face, in-the-same- room coaching? The answer, obviously, is that face to face coaching is optimal; there are just so many almost subliminal communications factors in play which are lost in technology translation particularly on the phone (voice only) and even with Skype where you can see each other.
A key factor is that it is enormously helpful if the coach and client have met so they at least have had some “normal”, technology free, interaction. Not to say we haven’t had success with remote coaching meeting the client for the first time via Skype. It’s just harder.
Another key factor is verbal discipline. We need to slow down our delivery and, in particular, be aware of the need to speak in shorter bursts to give the other side time to keep up, absorb and chip in where necessary. A good coach will also put in far more “check understanding” lines to ensure key points have been absorbed and understood.
So in summary: use the technology if face to face is not practical but don’t let it dominate. So if the Skype doesn’t work as is still the case all too frequently, go quickly to the phone rather raise the frustration levels with too many abortive attempts to raise a Skype connection.