Recently, online coaching has become a leading form of individual personal development, both in the area of personal life (life coaching) and professional life (business coaching). You may wonder if this form of coaching has had a negative impact on the effectiveness and benefits of this method of personal development. Well, it turns out that NO!
Moreover, the development of modern technologies means that online coaching begins to revolutionize the approach to the development of leadership in companies, and coaching in this form becomes a permanent part of modern development programs.
Does online coaching work?
Can online coaching achieve the same results as face-to-face coaching? Definitely yes! Provided that certain criteria are met.
First, this form of coaching poses a greater challenge to the Coach than to Coachee.
It is the Coach who has to try in a special way to first build trust and convince the client. It is the Coach who has to deal with the limitations of the video conversation, especially when it comes to listening "with all of himself" and observing the Coachee's body language, his facial expressions and eyes, and the tone of his voice. It is the Coach who must wisely and cleverly influence the Coachee to make his face fully visible on the screen during the session. It is the Coach who has to be an example of how this should be done.
It is often the Coach who has to convince the Coachee that talking via a smartphone has a negative impact on the quality of the conversation and it is much better to talk on the computer in a stable, comfortable environment.
It is the Coach who usually adapts to Coachee's technical preferences and should be equally skilled with various communicators and video chat tools (eg Zoom, MS Teams, Skype, Google Meet, WhatsApp).
Online coaching - what does Coachee need? How to prepare?
So what does Coachee need for online coaching to be effective? First, secure peace, silence, privacy, and even intimacy. It is essential that the conversation on the Coachee side takes place in a room that allows you to feel 100% comfortable and safe. In a room where annoying sounds from outside will not reach you and one where you can talk openly and safely about your secrets - without lowering your voice.
Guaranteeing the same conditions on the side of the Coach is simply part of what we call "being professional".
Without going into too many technical details (e.g. light in a room, proper positioning of the desk and camera, using or not using a virtual background) I would just like to mention the headphones here. Better to use them, especially compared to a laptop's hands-free system. The headphones effectively eliminate sounds coming from the surroundings and provide much greater comfort for conversation.
And if the Coach is talking on headphones, Coachee is sure that what he is talking about will not be heard by anyone other than the Coach (I mean, for example, the Coach's household or colleagues in another room). This is part of the confidentiality guarantee.
At the end of this section, an essential digression. As we have already mentioned in many places on this website (e.g. in the section How to choose a coach?), coaching is a highly individual relationship. And the preferences associated with it are also very individual. So if you feel that online coaching does not suit you - look for a coach who works in the office. But before you make that decision - I suggest using a free online session first to form your own opinion.
Online coaching - does it really work?
There is already a lot of reliable information available confirming the effectiveness of online coaching - both in personal and business coaching. Moreover, a recent study by the leading organization International Coaching Federation shows that online coaching will remain the leading form of coaching in the near future (report published by ICF in January 2022).
For HR teams and company leaders, online coaching has become a proven, high-value investment. And, moreover, at present (January 2022) companies such as BetterUp, Torch, CoachHub, Bravely, SoundingBoard, Pluma and Ezra are becoming one of the fastest-growing providers in the corporate training market and revolutionizing the approach to designing and implementing leadership development programs in companies.