Virtual Coaching Definition
The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
Virtual Coaching is holding that same trusted partnership with clients via telecommunication tools and equipment, such as telephone or Internet connections. The participants connect from different locations, instead of physically being in the same room.
The classic version of Virtual Coaching was telephone coaching, or using Skype without video, in case of limited Internet bandwidth. Experience telephone coaching to find out how our ears can compensate for the missing eye contact.
Coaching over the phone requires a coach to excel in the ICF core competencies such as Active Listening, Powerful Questioning and Direct Questioning.
With affordable access to Internet based video communication, Virtual Coaching is no longer limited to telephone coaching. Adding the visual element, the ability to hear and see clients, coaches now listen to the client's words and verify with their body language. Fortunately technology overcame the limitations of the first generation of video conferencing, where low quality lost nuances of facial expressions or even body language. At that time, the experience was less than satisfying, if not completely distracting from the process of coaching.
High-definition (HD) video created a complete game changer. The coach and client are now able to clearly see each other and interact almost as if they are in the same room. Testimonials from coaches and clients who have used HD video conferencing extensively confirm that the virtual conversations are as effective as being in the same room.
Collaboration tools provide a set of functionality for enriching virtual coaching sessions. For example, the client and coach can share documents, images, or presentations directly from their computer. Using virtual whiteboards for brainstorming ideas, being able to annotate and comment directly in documents, and communicate with chat tools are some of the available functionalities.
In group coaching or webinars, the “raising hand” feature offers a non-disruptive way to signal interest, and voting features allow making ad-hoc group decisions.
Connecting through the distance is easy with these new functionalities as communication technology becomes intuitive and user friendly.