I have found that the debate on skype coaching can cause a number of reactions both positive and negative. More often in the past, I have had the feeling, that people feel a little let down if the person that they are paying to assist them whether it be a coach, a psychologist, a doctor or a colleague has not made the effort to physically be in the same room as them. Nowadays, I see a shift happening, as the realisation that the same, and sometimes better, outcomes can be achieved when working via a virtual platform such as skype coaching.
As humans we have a primal need to feel worthy, needed, connected and understood. So the question arises, can we still feel this connection if working from a virtual platform? Can the same results be obtained or are we fooling ourselves? Personally, I believe it is possible to feel connected as long as there is the vital ingredient called chemistry between the two parties. Chemistry is the gut feeling, it’s an intrinsic emotion that is often felt far more than it can be verbally described. This chemistry can over-ride religion, race, age, culture and one doesn’t have to be physically present in order for it to be felt.
Now chemistry between a coach and client is crucial whether coaching in person or virtually using skype coaching which leads me to my key point. Ensure that every standard one expects from a coaching session in person is demanded and expected from a virtual coaching session. If you allow it to be treated as a sub standard option you’ll probably end up with a sub standard coach and coaching session.
We are already living in a virtual world that is destined to become more so with each passing year. It is important that we are aware and make use of the benefits of this relatively new way of living and at the same time keep in mind any negative connotations that it can cause.
On the positive side, working with a client virtually is a huge time saver for both parties. No travel time to be considered, no traffic jams to sit in, it certainly is the green way to coach, we both actually have the freedom to be where ever we wish to be. For example, I have coached individuals whilst they sit on a beach on vacation and another whilst they took a sabbatical in a remote part of Scotland. So, the number one pro has to be the element of freedom with our time and movement that the virtual world allows us. The restrictions of whom we choose to work with have also largely been eliminated. We literally have a global pot of professionals to choose from, ranging in qualifications, experience, cost and specialisation. From the coaches perspective our competition has increased. We now compete globally. Personally, I think competition is healthy and ensures we as professionals must maintain our standards and stay up dated with new ideas, models and methods.
On the negative side, one needs to have a higher degree of vigilance. The virtual world opens a far larger door of possibilities both for us to have access to and for others to have access to us. When looking for a coach ensure you are selective as to whom you let through your door. Do not allow your standards or expectations to lower or be taken in by clever marketing or appealing websites. Follow through with your enquiries, ask crucial questions before you work with anybody. Check that testimonials, qualifications and memberships are authentic and up to date.
To conclude, I embrace the virtual world and all the possibilities it allows us. I find it enriching and I never forget how fortunate I am to work with clients from all parts of the globe. But for that one hour I am coaching them, they are not in Spain, India, Kenya or Canada, instead they are sitting right opposite me in my coaching studio receiving my full undivided attention that they expect and rightly demand of me.