Tuesday 25 June 2013

Remote coaching - is it possible to be present using technology?

What is remote coaching?

It's using communications technology to connect with your coaching client who is elsewhere on the planet. That could be using:

  • telephone
  • mobile phone
  • Skype or other Video/Voice over internet software
  • Telepresence systems
  • or even texting and instant messaging

Remote coaching sounds like the opposite of what you want to achieve with a coaching client. "Remote" indicates not being present. Whereas we always want to be "present" for the client and gain trust through building rapport which allows for a successful coaching intereaction.

Why would we persist with remote coaching if it is not ideal? Because the benefits make it worth trying to get the best out of remote coaching. The benefits include: flexibility, reduced travel time, cost and CO2 emissions and the ability to remove geography as a barrier to a coaching relationship.

So the real question should be: "How do we maximise rapport and gain trust with our remotely coached clients?".

A few key things to consider, in my view are:

  1. Do a practice session with the client to overcome difficulties with the technology
  2. Explain how the session will work
  3. Set a clear agenda and timing for the online session
  4. Leave some time at the start to fully engage with each other - warm up to the focused coaching session
  5. Have a back up plan in case of technology failure - e.g. have each other's mobile phone numbers
Here is a link to Daniel Goleman's take on "Can we be emotionally intelligent online?"