Virtual coaching can create a particular kind of intimacy that allows many clients to open up faster. Beyond delivering their services online, leadership coaches can use online communication channels to model the skills and behaviors their clients need to lead in a virtual world effectively.

The still ongoing global pandemic brought radical changes to how we interact on every level. Remote work is, beyond doubt, one of the winners of the chaos that Covid-19 created. Remote leadership coaching has gained prominence. And although some may still not have warmed up to it, it presents some clear advantages.

Remote work is more widespread than ever. 

The Advantages of Remote Leadership Coaching

Executive coaching experts agree that nothing can replace the intimacy and vibe of a face-to-face coaching session. Nature has designed us to communicate not only verbally but also through gestures, expressions, and subtle body language.

That said, remote executive coaching opens up unexpected opportunities in this regard.

An online communication environment sets the stage for an interesting kind of close but removed interaction. Many people find it easier to connect with their coaches or clients this way, being able to go deeper faster.

Talking with someone through video chat is a lot like being face-to-face with the interlocutor, yet at the same time, it is certainly not like being in the same room with them. This added distance creates a sort of safety that many people find comforting.

Virtual Coaching Forces Focus

A virtual leadership coaching session forces the parties to maintain focus on each other. Although conveying non-verbal communication through an online channel may be more challenging, this difficulty often translates to better focus as the parties try to read each other’s expressions and gestures.

Remote Coaching Bridges Boundaries

In my leadership development books, I have always insisted on the importance of bridging functional, cultural, and geographical boundaries. While it may not do much regarding cultural boundaries, online interaction can overcome geographical hurdles and open up options for clients and coaches alike.

Through effective virtual communication, leadership and business coaching professionals can provide a positive example to their clients by modeling the communication-related behaviors they teach them.

In an increasingly digitalized world, the ability to convey essential leadership competencies like integrity, honesty, and character through an online channel gains more and more importance.

Virtual Coaching is Convenient

Convenience permeates virtual leadership and business coaching on every level. Clients no longer have to travel significant distances to benefit from the physical presence of the coach of their choice. They can now sharpen their leadership skills and gain a new understanding of themselves from the comfort of their homes.

Data access and feedback are more convenient online as well. Solid online communication platforms incorporate technologies such as whiteboarding that allow the interacting parties to exchange data as conveniently as they would in a face-to-face setting.

Pulling up relevant data to lend substance to the conversation is easier online than in a live discussion.

The Disadvantages of Remote Executive Coaching

Remote communication robs the parties of the perks of nonverbal communication.

Coaches and clients use various devices to communicate. Such devices may feature distractions that can disrupt the meeting, such as in the case of a Texas attorney who ended up in a virtual courtroom meeting with a cat filter on his face.

Virtual coaching does not allow the coach to see the client interact with colleagues, peers, and reports. This scarcity of clues and relevant information may make it more difficult for the coach to understand the client.

A leadership coach is not a psychiatrist. 

The added intimacy online communication offers may prompt clients to derail the coaching relationship, bringing up issues that exceed the scope of leadership coaching and stray into psychotherapy. Remote coaches should be extra cautious to avoid such traps and keep the coaching interaction on the intended track.

Virtual coaching and remote leadership are both here to stay, whether we like them or not. Leaders have to be comfortable leading in the virtual world, and coaches have to model their clients’ behaviors and skills to succeed.


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