The Covid-19 pandemic forced a rapid switch to online work for many workers – including coaches. But while the pandemic led to a quick and widespread switch to online coaching for many, it was not immediately clear exactly how to coach online most effectively.
Indeed, many coaches would probably tell you they are still learning when it comes to how to coach most effectively online. But some sense of good online coaching practices is emerging, based on the collective experience of coaches and clients from the past two years and beyond. Let’s take a look at a few recent articles on good online coaching practices.
The International Coaching Federation offers in an article on their website these seven things to think about with regard to online coaching:
1. Revisit your offerings and create a plan. Are your current coaching offerings appropriate for virtual work? If not, how might you adapt them?
2. Choose which technical options best fit your offerings while creating a safe, supportive environment encouraging ongoing mutual respect and trust.
3. Upskill your comfort level with technology (e.g., hardware, software, tools and trends).
4. Revisit and learn ethical and legal standards, best-practice and virtual challenges.
5. Update your communication according to your adapted offerings on your website, client agreements and social media.
6. Always offer a complimentary “get to know you” session to test and explain your virtual specifics and agree with clients what they feel fits best about the coaching process and relationship.
7. Request continuous feedback from clients. Be flexible, confident and spontaneous to change and ongoing improvement in your coaching delivery.”
Liz Palmer and Damion Wonfor at Catalyst 14 shared on the Catalyst 14 website an article offering twelve tips for online coaching based on their pandemic coaching experiences. Be sure to read their whole article, but some of the things they focus on include:
-Carefully considering the differences between online and in-person coaching as part of the planning for online coaching.
-Being sure both coaches and clients are adequately prepared for the online coaching experience – both technologically and in terms of expectations for the experience.
-Anticipating potential problems that may arise in online coaching – both technological and otherwise – and thinking ahead about how to handle those problems.
-Work on being mindful and present in online coaching sessions – while acknowledging online coaching may make that more challenging for both coach and client.
As more and more coaches and clients gain more and more experience with online coaching, no doubt more will be written about good online coaching practices. This is an emerging field, and it will be interesting to see how it develops and what other good practices are identified over time.