Online coaching is critical for today’s world. Organizations have teams that work across the globe and more and more people are connecting online. Telecommuting and ‘work from home’ are also more common today. These non-traditional work settings bring many benefits but personal, face to face connection isn’t one of them. For this reason, online coaching is more important than ever.
As a leader, if you haven’t mastered online coaching you might find yourself behind the curve. Having coached people online for years I have a few tools I would like to share with you, hopefully you will find one that you’ll add to your leadership tool box.
Establishing Expectations For Stronger Online Engagement
There are inherent challenges to working online vs in person. For example, delivering coaching or complex training can be difficult when team members are not in the same physical space. I have found that making sure my team operates from the same set of expectations helps mitigate these challenges.
For example, multi tasking is very tempting when you are participating in an online training or meeting. Having a team rule related to this can help keep team members engaged and avoid frustration. There is nothing worse than being called on in a meeting and having no idea what the question is because you were answering emails — YIKES!
Expectations are the framework for your day to day operations and coaching with your team members. Remember, making sure everyone knows the rules of the game will help the team succeed.
Use Tech Tools to Make Your Coaching Easy
Technology companies have developed a slew of tools to help leaders, like yourself, succeed in this new online world. Tools, such as Skype, offer video conferencing, instant messaging and computer screen sharing. Each of these solutions can be used to improve online coaching and day to day operations.
One of the best tools I have used is video conferencing. This is supremely effective as it allows me to see the team member and gauge their engagement. It also allows them to see my sincerity in the coaching. There is nothing worse than having a tough conversation when you cannot see the other person and tools like this really help!
The connectivity that technology brings to online coaching will enhance the coaching session. It will also help improve the engagement and team environment over the long term. Just remember — make sure you look your best before you turn on the video chat!
Check for Understanding to Make Sure Your Client Gets The Message
Even with advances in technology online coaching is difficult at times. There’s just something different when you aren’t in person. Given this, is it important to check in with your team members during the online coaching session to make sure ‘they get it’ and are still engaged. This goes for both constructive coaching and online coaching that may be focused on training.
As I prepare the agenda for an online coaching session I am mindful to build moments into the agenda to check in with the participant. I ask open-ended questions to make sure they are engaged and to check for their understanding. I also avoid simple yes or no questions — I want to know they are still with me!
How to Set Next Steps at The End of a Session
Online coaching is no different from other methods of coaching when it comes to setting next steps. Developing next steps for everyone is key to all types of coaching. As a leader, your team should have clear expectations of what’s next, what action items they have and what you are going to deliver on as their leader.
There are many tools you can use to document and track next steps. Excel has always been my favorite — it’s easy to use and a lot of organizations use it. You can also use tools like Trello, Google Sheets, or MS Project. Even if you are old school and use a notepad — find something that works for you and your team… and use it!
Online Coaching in Action
Online coaching is an art form.
Mastering different techniques to enhance your approach to online coaching will help your team be more effective. Being a great online coach will also make you a more well-rounded leader. Hopefully you picked up a few tools for your leadership toolbox here — if you have other tools you have had success with share them here — let’s help each other be great online coaches!
Master’s in Business Leadership
Guest Writer, Coaches Training Blog Community