Many coaches use the telephone for coaching, some even using the web to make internet calls. But when I first started coaching I was very clear that I wanted to work with my clients face-to-face. You may also prefer to work in person and may have a number of concerns about telephone coaching.
May be this is because we know that:
* In person you can pick up on a range of non-verbal responses – for example – body and eye movement, posture and balance.
* You can see as well as hear the silences in the conversation.
* You can use a physically separate and confidential space in which to work and eliminate distractions and interruptions.
* Making the effort to travel and meet in person can communicate the value that both you and your client place on the coaching sessions.
* It is easier use physical activities and to work through materials together.
I was introduced to telephone coaching by one of my clients who wanted to continue her coaching sessions while she was working overseas. So I started coaching over the telephone now think it is a great service to offer to clients.
Some of the benefits are practical:
- You can work with clients nationally or internationally, and this can really broaden your client base.
- You can be more flexible in the times you coach – late evenings and early mornings, for example, suit many of my busiest clients who can’t carve out sufficient time for a session during the working day.
- There is no travelling time for either you or your client – and you can spend more time on coaching.
Other benefits are that:
- As you have more flexibility over time, you can choose times of the day when you will be more focused, present or energised
- Telephone coaching sessions can be very intense and concentrated and you can achieve a great deal in a short session. This opens up the opportunity for your client to have shorter, highly focused sessions. Half-hour sessions are much less likely if you are meeting in person. The investment of time and money in setting up a face-to-face session often encourages you to plan and your client to expect a longer session.
- Some clients feel more comfortable in their own environment and on the telephone may not have a sense of being observed in the same way as in an in-person session. This can mean they are more open and the session moves more quickly. Of course, the same applies to the coach. For instance, a fellow coach once said to me that she is more confident when coaching over the telephone.
- Telephone coaching allows you to work with more clients, and with clients you would not be able to work with in-person. It is also less expensive – particularly in terms of the cost of your time – and you can pass these savings on to your client. This means that coaching can be more affordable and accessible.
- It is also really useful to offer to existing clients who want to continue their coaching sessions while they are away from home. It is also great for clients who are coming to the end of their coaching and benefit from a phased closing of the coaching relationship.
It goes without saying that telephone coaching makes access to coaching a great deal easier for clients with some physical disabilities or mobility problems. I also believe it is a great skill to be able to coach over the telephone as it requires excellent listening and rapport building skills as well as creativity in using activities.
So, if you get the chance to do some telephone coaching – why not give it a try?