November 10, 2021

The alignment of Covid-19 and the emergence of reliable, stable and fast digital communications has seen organizations and coaches alike moving work online. For organizations this has resulted in new hybrid workforces which need new professional development, support and communication processes. For L&D professionals this means rethinking employee growth. Online coaching offers a robust mix of human empathy and flexible technology that makes it a perfect fit to fill these needs in the new world of work. But how to start?

Whether you’re an individual coach looking to make a difference in the world of work or a business leader looking to implement the best possible online coaching experience for your company — there is a lot of information that can make it challenging to know how to optimize these environments.

What makes an excellent online experience? What should I look for in an online coaching experience? They may seem like different questions, but in reality, the answers are the same. Below, we’ll be outlining our ultimate online coaching guide for coaches and companies. We’ll cover what it takes to create a practical online coaching experience and why those same qualities are what companies should look for in an online coaching experience. 

How is online coaching different? 

In-person coaching has been steadily losing popularity because of the time and effort required for in-person coaching sessions and the associated cost.  The pandemic has only amplified this decline. Nevertheless, these developments have only propelled the popularity of online coaching. To that end, online coaching has evolved with the world of work to offer a model that not only replicates the connection and results of an in-person coaching session but builds on it as well. 

So, from a company and individual coach perspective, what does it take to make an online coaching experience exceptional? 

Online coaches who are honest and authentic about working online

Authenticity means being honest in a way that builds trust. That means the coach and the coachee should appear as they are without pretense. If the medium is new and uncomfortable, the coach should be ready to acknowledge that. If you feel a client needs something they might not get online, there should be room to express that and build from it. Coaches should be ready to adapt their usual arsenal of communication and growth tools and help their coachees acclimate to an online environment. 

Online coaches who have a sense of purpose

While every business coach is dedicated to creating an income within their business by default, the best coaches are focused on supporting their coachees’ to make genuine and lasting change in their lives.

Online coaches who are good listeners

Being a “good listener” is essential for success in all professional roles, but what does it mean to be a good listener? The best coaches take an approach that focuses on the speaker. A good business coach treats their coachee as if they are the most important thing. They are fully present, fully engaged, and listen not only for what their coachees says, but also what they don’t say. As what they miss out can be just as important as what is said.

Online coaches who start with a positive mindset

As anyone in the coaching field can express, so much of building a successful coaching relationship comes down to having a positive and proactive mindset. This focus on being positive is one principle that holds true for both in-person and online coaching relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting with a coach in person or online, a positive and proactive viewpoint is crucial to helping individuals and organizations build trust, growth, and resilience. A good coach doesn’t see failures or pass judgments. No matter the medium, they help coachees’ to see new possibilities. .

Online coaches who understand technology

Before an online coaching session, the best coaches will not only know their own platform’s strengths but the coach will also be well versed in the technology. That includes understanding common online meeting functionalities (e.g., sharing screens, posting resources or models, use of whiteboards, etc.). As well as how to set up their own meeting space to help their coachees get the best from the online interaction. 

Online coaches who create safe spaces

To create a meaningful coaching relationship, building a safe environment for sessions is vital. Both the coach and coachee should have a safe, private space to meet digitally. It is also critical that both feels relaxed and free from distractions. 

Sometimes that requires the coach to notify the coachee in advance by email or within the platform itself about their upcoming session. These correspondences should include reminders about the date and time of the session, as well as reminders for the coachee to prepare for any possible interruptions that may occur from loved ones, roommates, pets or even their mobile devices.

Online coaches ready with contingencies for technical challenges

Poor broadband speed can mean that web cameras can’t be used. Additionally, power outages can lead to a lack of Wi-Fi connection. That’s why online coaches need to be ready with other options and resources that can pivot and meet coachees, maybe switching to a handheld device or rearranging a session if the client needs. Having a reliable online coaching platform can make a huge difference in consistency and resources, as such platforms provide the stability and security essential for clients.

Online coaches who put accessibility first

Technology limitations should never limit access to a coach. The best business coaches make themselves as accessible as possible to their clients. And by accessibility, we mean using a platform or process built to reach a diverse audience when and where they are. 

Online coaches who value clear communication 

For some coaching clients, online coaching can be daunting and even build a little anxiety. That’s why a good online coaching experience will spend a great deal focusing on building an authentic, goal-oriented relationship with the same level of insight and effectiveness you would expect from in-person sessions. That comes from coaches and coachees who abandon the distractions of email and phone notifications and lean into being present. Sometimes that means supporting sessions with tools like goal-setting and journaling. It also manifests as clear, kind communication around accountability regarding reaching those goals. 

An excellent online coach will also take the time to ensure that coachees feel familiar with the platform they will be using. Additionally, a good online coach won’t be afraid to educate coachees on what is needed to have an effective session, e.g., closing down applications, wearing headphones to support confidentiality, turning off mobile and house phones, etc.

Online coaches who trust the coaching process

Transformational coaching is built from the strength and honesty of the relationship between coaches and coachees. That’s true whether the relationship is in person or online. The best coaches can tune in and actively listen to their clients while letting each relationship guide goals and how they are met. 

How coaching adds value to an organization

Now we’ve seen how online coaching can provide individual, day-to-day value for coaches and companies, but that’s really only the beginning. Here are just a few of many reasons investing in yourself as a coach and investing in the right coaching platform as a company can deliver on the bottom line.

Coaching has a positive ROI

The personal benefits of coaching are wide-ranging. Perhaps the focus is on performance. Maybe it encompasses talent development, employee retention, DE&I, or well-being. No matter what, online coaching equips workers with new knowledge and skills to achieve their best individual and organizational outcomes. 

Maybe you’re a business leader. Maybe you’re a coach who is dedicated to building best practices. But now that you’ve read “Online Coaching: The Ultimate Guide for Coaches and Companies”, you’re a little closer to leading the way in the increasingly online world of work.

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