I am a convert to Skype & Facetime for very personal and private coaching sessions. I was meeting with one of our mentors, Paul Oertel, yesterday as he prepares for the UK Discipline of Freedom courses, and on the same day with Frank, a lecturer turned counsellor from Southampton. Both conversations turned to one-on-one coaching. We explored the merits of sitting opposite the client in a real shared space versus using skype or facetime. I’d welcome other thoughts.
For me the obvious practicality of this ether-connection is that we can both be any place we need to be (provided its quiet and private). I have clients in the USA, in Scotland, Cornwall and England. I don’t have to travel – neither do they. This keeps the costs down for both parties.
What became clear was that we all shared a feeling the coach/client relationship is enhanced by skype. I was with a client last week who took 2 minutes of silence to contemplate a knarly point before answering me. With skype there was a sense of calm between us which allowed the space. They were in their own home, own space, and own thoughts. I was just a small face on the corner of their screen calmly aware of their thinking and available when they were ready.
Maybe the client can be more honest with me in their own space. Maybe they are willing to go deeper and think harder, because they can click-me-off at any point they need to operate the “flight” mode. Maybe because they can, they don’t.
Practically we can both write notes without distracting our eye contact. They can refer to charts on their wall, or a book or notebook they need in their space. I can do the same from my space. We can even refer to shared documents on the screen in front of us if needed.
For 7 years I have mentored/coached with my CGO Surgeries from a coffee table at the National Theatre with many hundreds of creative and small business entrepreneurs. I’ve been aware that I’ve been in London most of this time, and people have travelled. Maybe my Surgeries can also happen on-line sometimes. I relish the unexpected passing person at the National, and I love the connection with a real new person in their full glory – but maybe some of my sessions should be bookable on-line. Your thoughts are most welcome.
Over coming weeks I will talk with my clients for Coaching online. We will usually meet once face-to-face if we are in the same place/country. I will remember to add to my feedback forms a question about this process. I welcome understanding what I am missing by not having the live encounter. And is the loss counteracted by the gain in personal-space-safety which skype offers.
New clients, talk to me about how you like to “meet”, and international readers of this blog, remember I’m on the end of the line across time zones and continents if my kind of Coaching would be useful to you. www.chrisgrady.org for more information.