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  • Sophie Drechsler

What’s the best option for coaching: telephone, video or face-to-face?

Methods for coaching have never been so vast with many coaches offering telephone, video or face-to-face options for their clients. The way we work and where we spend our time has changed dramatically in recent times, accelerated by the pandemic. According to the 2021 survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the number of those working remotely in the UK has increased to 37%, up from 27% in 2019. Of those working from home, 85% would prefer a hybrid approach of working both from home and the office going forwards. How we approach self-development is similar, with different methods appealing to different individuals. In this blog I’ll explore the benefits of each one:


The benefits of coaching via telephone


With the rise of Zoom, Facetime, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, telephone calls can feel quite traditional. However, there are numerous benefits to coaching via telephone. Firstly, it can provide you with an extra degree of privacy. This may be particularly important if you are exploring sensitive topics with your coach. You may feel more comfortable without worrying about being seen, where you are or what your backdrop is.


The freedom of a telephone call also means that if you have a varied work schedule or travel with work, you don’t have to skip any coaching sessions as these can be easily accommodated. As long as you have a quiet, private space to make the call from, you can choose anywhere without worrying about having a strong internet connection or travel times to an appointment.


Taking away sight helps to heighten other senses. The verbal and vocal cues of what you say and how you say it can be more acutely picked up by your coach. A coach will be astute in hearing any change in the tone of your voice and use their intuition to gauge how you are feeling and listen out for what is not being said.


In my previous blog post: 5 questions to help you choose the right coach for you, we deduced that one of the most important factors is to find someone you are happy and comfortable working with. Coaching via telephone ensures that you can work with a coach that you click with - whether they work in the same city or in a different country!


The benefits of coaching via video call


Working with your coach via video call offers you similar flexibility to telephone calls, with the additional criteria of having a good internet connection. Like the telephone option, it allows you to do your sessions from wherever you are most comfortable: at home, in your office or in a shared workspace. It also still allows you to save on the cost and time of travelling to an agreed meeting space.


The visual aspect of a video call offers additional benefits. Arguably, being able to see each other can develop the connection between the coach and the client more quickly. Your coach will be able to read your body language through changes in facial expressions and gestures, reading subtle changes in communication and responding effectively.


There have been numerous studies into the importance of body language. People often quote the 55/38/7 rule from a 1967 study by Dr Albert Mehrabian that 7% of communication is spoken word, 38% is through tone of voice and 55% is through body language. This statistic has been disputed by some professionals as it is often used in a more general context than intended. However, it is still regularly quoted and whilst some may disagree with the exact figure, the importance of body language is widely agreed in regards to how we interpret and react to communication. Coaching through video calls means this aspect of communication is not lost.


The benefits of face-to-face coaching


Coaching traditionally was a face-to-face experience and this still stands as the preferred option for some for several reasons and many assume this is the most effective method.


Some find extra benefit in meeting the coach face-to-face to quickly build a rapport. The connection between you and your coach is maximised through visual, vocal and verbal communication with no risk of a dropping internet connection or network problems. This ensures the session can flow with ease and without interruption.


You may prefer to do coaching sessions in a neutral setting removed from your home/work life. This allows you to explore certain topics with more honesty, without being influenced by the environment around you, or to be inspired by a new environment altogether.


It is also arguable that engagement levels stay higher in a face-to-face setting as it’s harder for you to become distracted when you’re in your own space, for example by checking an email or seeing notifications pop up on your phone.


Summary


Does it matter which method you choose? Ultimately, no. The key is finding a coach you want to work with and the right approach for you so that you optimise your coaching sessions. Whichever method you choose your sessions will be highly effective as long as you have considered the implications and set-up required for each one. A free initial consultation with a coach can help you to decide what’s best for you if you’re not sure.


Which one would be your preference and why? If you’re interested in coaching and self-development please subscribe to my blog for more useful insights and information.

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