If anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be working globally with my clients, using a video service that did not cost me anything, I would never have believed them.
For those of you old enough to remember, once upon a time video conferencing cost a fortune, and was only used by companies that could afford it. Now this service is open to anyone who has a good internet connection.
With online video services such as Skype, Google Hangout and Face time available free of charge (I know there are more, but these are the ones I use), the way coaching is delivered has been transformed.
When I moved to Dubai from the UK, I was able to continue working with my existing clients. To start with I worked online only with my existing clients, but I have now taken on clients from other countries I have not yet met in person!
The huge advantage of delivering business coaching online for your clients is the time they save. There is no traveling time and all that is required is a private room and online access.
It is important that you set out clear expectations about how you will coach your client online. Email any worksheets, such as the GROW Model and Wheel of Life in advance. Conduct the session as if you were both in the same room, setting a time and the expectations of the session.
When I coach over a few hours I set out break times, just the same way as if I was coaching face to face. I also find it really useful when I coach someone from their office. This way I get to see them in their own environment and they have to hand anything they may want to work on.
The advantage of online coaching for the coach is that you are able to pick up the non-verbal signals clearly through video. For me, the tiny delay in video transmission allows me to see and hear so much more than coaching in person.
I recently worked with one of my clients online. He is a Managing Director who had lost momentum and motivation. He had grown his company by over 200% over the previous two years and was feeling stuck.
When I was coaching him I noticed that he kept looking away from the camera and I asked him what he was looking at. He got up, took the camera and showed me the white board in his office.
When we set up his initial goals two years ago, he used this whiteboard to map out his plan of action and goals. He had just noticed that everything on the board had been achieved and was now out of date. He realised that this was the cause of his loss of momentum. For the last two years he would look at the board and get excited about marking his progress. This had become such a habit that he had not noticed that he was no longer motivated when he came into his office.
He said he wanted to clean the board and start fresh, so I got him to do it there and then! It was a joy to watch him transform as he cleaned off the old goals and started to get excited about setting new goals.
His energy came back and he is now working on the plan for the next stage of growth for his company.
If I had been physically in the room with him, I am sure he would have been focusing on what were working with and he wouldn’t have noticed the whiteboard and the coaching opportunity to get an amazing breakthrough would have been lost.
So, as well as the time advantage for your client, coaching online gives you the chance to observe and hear what your client is saying in ways that I believe can make your coaching outcomes even more effective.