There's nothing mysterious or intimidating about telephone coaching. Thank goodness for the mobile phone though.
Many people assume that all coaching interventions need to be of the face-to-face variety. In fact a lot of executive teams never consider the benefits of remote coaching at all. Yet, there are some good reasons that you should examine telephone coaching, and some real benefits of doing so.
WHAT DO EXECUTIVE TEAMS FEEL ABOUT TELEPHONE COACHING BEFORE THEY TRY IT?
In our experience many executive teams have reservations about the benefits of telephone coaching as a form of executive coaching. They worry that they will lose the immediacy of a face-to-face meeting. Some are concerned that the coach won't be able to get a proper read on them without the body language they display in a direct setting. Others feel that there's something “not quite right” about discussing issues over the telephone, perhaps they worry about security of the content.
WHAT DO EXECUTIVE TEAMS SAY ABOUT TELEPHONE COACHING AFTER THEY TRY IT?
We've found that in general once a client tries telephone coaching they find several benefits.
- First, many find it a very convenient way to conduct their coaching sessions, as it cuts down on travel time for both parties and can be conducted at any suitable time (including outside of normal office hours).
- Secondly, they enjoyed the freedom of being coached from home in some cases, where they felt their conversations couldn't be overheard.
- Thirdly, almost all clients say that they develop strong relationships with a telephone coach. In fact they say that because they feel like they are really being listened to (without the distractions around a meeting), often these coaching sessions are the most productive.
- Finally, executive teams also liked the fact that telephone coaching is cost-effective as it cuts down on the time spent away from their posts and can be purchased for a lower cost than face-to-face time.
WHAT DO EXECUTIVE COACHES SAY ABOUT TELEPHONE COACHING?
It's important to know that coaches are behind this form of coaching too. All coaches report that they find that telephone coaching cuts down on the distractions that can interfere with a one-to-one session in person. They feel that eliminating dress codes, visual signals, and so on. enabled a very equal meeting between coach and coachee.
Coaches report that telephone coaching is usually more business like, with more time spent examining issues and solutions rather than on the pleasantries of face-to-face meetings. One thing that is noticeable is that far fewer telephone coaching sessions are cancelled due to other work pressures than with meetings. That enables the coachee to progress faster and reap the benefits of coaching earlier.
They also note that it's important to set up effective communication prior to a session, so that they can notify the client when they are thinking through what they've heard – rather than just descending into silence.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- What do you think about telephone coaching?
- Have you had any experiences good or bad?
- How do you think telephone coaching might offer additional benefits to your own coaching experiences?