The online world has transformed just about every industry, and the executive coaching industry is no exception. With some industries, including executive coaching, there are risks associated with the saturation of the business world with connected technology.
For example, coaching is largely unregulated, so there’s not much stopping the motivated charlatan from hanging out a virtual shingle and declaring themselves to be an executive coach. That can tarnish the reputation of legitimate executive coaches who have invested in accredited, formalized training.
This is a great reason for executive coaches to pursue accredited training programs, because they help clients avoid scam artists so they can get the very real services they need. At the same time, however, coaches can make use of technology, including the web, to improve their coaching, as long as they’re careful not to stamp out the human touch, which is what makes the difference between lasting results and momentary enthusiasm among clients.
Communication Technology Definitely Has a Place
Unless all your coaching clients are local to you, then you’re sure to rely on communication methods including email, online chat, SMS, and basic phone conversations. Video conferencing using popular apps like Skype and Google Hangouts are other terrific tools that can help the busy executive coach communicate (virtually) face-to-face with clients without having to be in multiple places at one time. In executive coaching relationships, it’s important that clients make their communication preferences clear, and that both coach and client determine at the outset which communication methods are preferable, and how frequently communication should take place.
Reporting and Invoicing Technology Makes Business Flow More Easily
The executive coach that develops a good invoicing process endears themselves to clients by making the client’s accounts payable process easier to administer. Coupled with multiple payment options, including direct funds transfer, credit cards, and old-fashioned checks, clients are generally pleased to be able to make the mechanics of the coaching transaction as simple as possible.
Reporting technology is something executive coaches need in their tool kit. Measuring baselines, planning “homework” and documenting progress are all crucial to a strong working relationship between an executive coach and client, and random sticky notes are no way to adequately document progress. Fortunately, a range of apps for the desktop and mobile environments exist to make note-taking and documentation faster, easier, and more secure for both parties.
Great reporting tools help clients and coaches document results and see how far they’ve come.
Coaches May Even Consider Investing in App Development
Not every executive coach has the resources with which to have a custom app developed for clients, but app development costs are coming down. The executive coach that can offer clients a custom app for checking in, documenting milestones, and collecting data currently has an advantage in landing executive coaching clients who are used to using mobile technology all day.
The important thing about whatever technology an executive coach chooses to employ is that it is always used in service of the goal of providing outstanding coaching services to clients. Technology for its own sake does little except waste time.
The Most Important Factor Is the Human Factor
Unfortunately, there will probably always be online scammers pretending to be executive coaches because they think it’s an easy way to make money. On the other hand, most businesses are far savvier about working with providers of all types than they were a few years ago. Any company considering investing in executive coaching for its senior leaders knows that technology is a tool, and must be used toward the human service of one-on-one coaching, which is what actually produces results.
As an executive coach in the information age, you will undoubtedly have to learn many technological applications so that you can provide your services in the most effective and efficient manner. Choose your technology carefully, without letting the tech itself substitute for human communication, and you can help your clients get the results they want without needless delay or expense. My long experience in leadership coaching has taught me that there is simply no technology that can replace the human connection that executive coaching requires.