Friday, July 8, 2011

Alternative venues for you and your coach

Coaching by TheHopscotch
Coaching, a photo by TheHopscotch on Flickr.
Some people aren't ready to use a coach's services because they haven't determined that the payoff (or the consequence avoidance) is big enough yet to make an investment in personal growth and change.  Sometimes they don't hire a coach because they aren't sure how to select one.  But sometimes they don't take action because they can't imagine how and when the coaching process would take place.
There is really good news about the means by which coaching can take place.  You're only really limited by your preferences and your comfort zone.  Here are some venue options for you and your coach, and some of the benefits of each:
  • In your office.  It's the ultimate in convenience for you, because you don't have to break your daily routine to access the coach.  In addition, time in your office with your coach can help to connect the issues you discuss to the application of action ideas.  Downside - some people might ask questions about the person who routinely comes and goes from your office.  In addition, you make your coach selection from choices located reasonably near you, which can limit your options in some locations.
  • In a coffee shop.  You can meet on neutral ground to avoid the in-office curiousity.  You have the opportunity to be confidential.  Downside - Be selective in choosing your location, because some coffee shops have a climate that generates interaction among customers.  You don't want constant interruption as five of your neighbors pop in for their morning brews.
  • On the phone.  Phone coaching enables you to access resources located almost anywhere, and gives you access at any time of day that suits you and your coach.  Some of Summit's coaching clients like to talk early in the morning (5:30 or 6 a.m.) so they can prepare for their day.  Others prefer 10:00 or 11:00 at night because they work 3rd shift and align their coaching time with their work schedule.  You or your coach can have the flexibility to travel and still keep your appointment.  In addition, the privacy of phone coaching prevents the "who was that?" question, and can help you feel comfortable being candid, even on tough issues that don't exactly place you in a positive light.  You can be coached while you're wearing your pajamas!  Downside - if you're reliant on cell signal you can negatively impact the quality of the coaching experience.  Connection is critical to the interaction, and it involves more than simply paying attention.
  • On Skype - For some people it's important to see the other person to have an intimate conversation, and Skype solves the logistics problem of the in-office session.  When communicating computer to computer it's free.  Downside - You will need a webcam, and sometimes the bandwith available won't support a good connection with both voice and video.  And you probably won't want to be coached before you make yourself presentable.
  • Via Instant Message - Your coach asks you questions to help you gain clarity in your thinking, and to help you to determine "right action" - the next appropriate steps - to take.  You can "talk" things out via the keyboard just like you can do using your voice.  Downside - If you aren't a good touch typist you might find yourself frustrated at the slowness of the conversation.  Also, be aware of your predisposition to be distractable.  Your coaching process won't be as effective if you try to carry on other IM conversations simultaneously - you won't be engaged enough to make the mental connections that will help you build greater confidence and competence.
  • Via Twitter - This is another version of coaching via instant message.  In this situation, your coach can even do group coaching by opening a "#" stream for a group of coachees.  Downside - You would probably only choose this venue if you are already comfortable with the 140-character world.  You might want to know some Twitter shorthand to save you keystrokes.  Plus you won't be able to ramble - you have 140 characters per Tweet - although you can, of course, Tweet several times in a row to communicate a more complex point.
Some coaches have a preference in their venues.  You may make your coach selection partly based upon whether they use the mode that you prefer.  Be open to the options, because you might not know ahead of time which venue works better for you.  For instance, even "non-phone people" have found that they can be focused and comfortable in phone-based coaching once they try it.  And consider changing your venue from time to time, because different sensory stimulation can provide new connections and insights.


Jim Poland said...

Thanks for information that can put folks into "oscar mike" mode! That's "on Mission" and "On The Move!"

More people want to take the most "correct" action and hold themselves up from launching faster and further on the road to achieving their goals, their dreams.

Using a coach in a way that works best for you IS the best possible way to accelerate achievement.

If you want some coaching but don't have gobs of time & buckets of cash, check out the newly launched text-based coaching available at @140coach on Twitter.

Coach Jim

Mark Sturgell, CBC said...

Julie, I appreciate this article. Not only does it help people who are seeking to hire a coach, it helps me to keep an open mind about coaching venues as well.

You always get me thinking, and in this case you inspired me to write about another possible obstacle to people getting the coaching they want and need: How Much Does Change Cost?

I always enjoy and learn from your blog. Keep it up!

Julie Poland, certified business coach said...

Jim - For those non-military folks out there, Oscar Mike stands for Operational Mission. That's how to move your hands and feet to achieve your goal.

Mark - Thanks for commenting. There are a lot of obstacles, real and perceived, that prevent people from making a move toward real and sustainable change. There's no reason why venue should be one of those obstacles - it's surmountable. As for cost of change, interesting to contemplate. There's an investment in time, energy and action (and of course money)that should get at least a commensurate return.

Sometimes even harder for people to consider is the cost of not changing. What are the consequences asssociated with standing still? Green and growing or ripe and rotting, those are the two big choices.

Have a great day!