Right here, right now: The advantages of being coached online

It’s not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.

Steve Jobs

If, like me, you prefer meetings in-situ, being able to connect in person, shake hands and share hand-written doodles and notes, then you may be hesitant about on-line connections, especially when it comes to working confidentially with a coach.

I still am a touchy-feely person, preferring to meet friends for a drink or curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book, turning the pages with my fingers, feeling the paper and enjoying the book through the different senses, rather than downloading to an e-book reader. However, now I’m all for using technology to bring us closer to people who we otherwise wouldn’t interact with, due to our busy agendas and/or geographical distance.

Trends

Scott Wharton (Logitech) shares the following insight into the video-conferencing trends

“Video as a primary form of communication is becoming mainstream, and adoption rates continue to increase thanks to mainstream applications like Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts.”

My technological transformation

I was first introduced to the ‘on-line experience’ at a company, where the policy was to reduce travel costs in favour of video conferences. One of the highlights was a successful one-day event I organised. It comprised of four video-conferenced seminars, enabling a coach/mentor to train the leaders in the offices across the globe, from Sydney to Sao Paolo, to become mentors themselves.

In a less formal environment, just last year I enjoyed a lovely Christmas lunch with my family across the miles, as, for varying reasons, none of us were able to travel. I was very pleasantly surprised at how close we felt, albeit connecting via technology (in this event we used Skype) and we shall definitely be repeating the experience!

On another occasion, a friend who had recently moved to another country reached out for help on the job front: preparing for the interviews and building self-confidence to facilitate the whole, often daunting, process. We connected (again by Skype) and she felt that the session really helped, providing me with even more evidence for my case study of moving more into the technological realms of on-line coaching.

This all stood me in good stead and gave me the confidence in the system and set-up to take on my first on-line coaching client, Ana, a lady in desperate need who lived in the mountains and for who travelling just wasn’t an option. This time we connected via Zoom.   

Immediate action plan implementation leads to immediate results

As one of Ana’s challenges was to put order in her life, I suggested that she started by simply moving the pile of papers from one side of her desk to the other; giving her the option to switch off the camera if she felt more comfortable in case there was any personal or delicate information.

While she was moving the papers, she saw some that she had forgotten about and even said “these can be thrown away”, which she promptly did. These folders had been there so long that she didn’t even acknowledge them when entering the room. They had become part of the furniture.  She had felt “comfortable” with them there.

I then asked her to leave the room and come back in and she had a different impression of the environment. She felt a new energy, able to see the results of just one small step and then found the motivation to continue putting in order.

Keep up the momentum

So, the on-line experience, allowing coaching in the comfort of your own environment, whether that’s in your home or office, enables the coaching process to produce really tangible visible results on the spot. It reduces home-work time and to do lists, making the most of the momentum created during the session, as it actually happens, rather than risking losing motivation and focus on the way back to home or the office due to the rest of life’s distractions!

Bring the future to the present

How often have we heard people, and ourselves, say, “oh yes, I’m going to do that” and then just never seem to find the time or the inclination, once that initial buzz has subsided? With an on-line coach, you can bring the future actions to the present as many of the action points decided on can actually be implemented there and then.

Benefits of on-line sessions

  • Be coached in the comfort of your own environment
  • It’s more time-efficient, no travelling to the appointment
  • Even if you are travelling, you just need a quiet room and an internet connection
  • Action can be taken immediately (as mentioned above),
  • You can take privacy breaks during the session by switching off the camera
  • Sessions can be recorded, with the consent of both parties

Things to remember to make it the best possible experience

  • Ensure you won’t be interrupted. You may remember the viral video of a BBC news interview interrupted by playful children!
  • Allow set up time and test connections prior to meeting (camera setup and configuration)
  • Put the camera as close as possible to screen showing the incoming image so you can look at the camera when speaking and still feel that you are talking to each other.
  • Have a plan B, such as audio dial-in options, in case of technical challenges
  • As soon as you are ready, connect and start to mentally prepare for the session. See this page for a checklist of my recommendations pre and post session.

How to get started

  • Practice with friends, family or close colleagues with a mobile video connection application such as whatsapp video, facetime, skype or zoom, just to name a few.  
  • Organise a virtual dinner or coffee!  Connect with friends and family who you haven’t seen for a while.
  • Book a free introductory session with me for a taste of how the connections and communication will really be.
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Lindsay Nixon

Emotional Intelligence coach Lindsay helps clients take their personal, sports and professional lives to the next level.

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