But We’ve Never Even Met!

The Unexpected Value of Telephonic Coaching.

When friends and colleges ask me how I attract enough clients in our area to sustain a full-time personal and professional development business, they are surprised to learn that many clients are actually out-of State, that I never meet them in person.

Telephonic communication as a venue for coaching, different than video conference and in-person coaching, has many unintentional yet very valued attributes. While I must share that shadow coaching and on the job coaching methods for a variety of job and work related coaching is invaluable, many career coaching services are served well telephonically. It has also been my experience that video coaching sessions can be effective however that venue has some drawbacks that telephonic sessions enjoy as valued features.

The separation in time and space that the phone provides increases the ability for the coach to practice “detached involvement” successfully which means that the coach is personally “detached” from the client’s outcome yet remains completely professionally “involved” in the process which can provide more objectivity for the client. Some coaches struggle with detached involvement methods causing them to befriend and advise their clients too subjectively. Though I am compelled to report that many certified professional coaches go through rigorous training to master detached involvement and excel with in-person coaching sessions. This post is intended to highlight the attributes of telephonic communication for coaches and clients and in no way is meant to suggest in-person sessions are of lesser value.

The client can also optimize the “distance” that the telephonic communication provides to be more vulnerable. In my practice, vulnerability and as complete openness as possible assists the client in achieving their goals more efficiently and effectively. Several telephonic clients have shared with me that in the most vulnerable moments of self reflection and sharing, the separation of space by the phone allowed for a more complete and deep-vulnerable sharing on their part thus allowing them to reach clarity more fully and authentically.

Relying on at least some, if not all phone-call sessions tends to open availability of schedules allowing for more creative and efficient use of time for both the client and coach. I have worked with very busy clients who appreciate the ability to schedule session calls at times where an in-person meeting would have meant time invested in travel or preparation that could be avoided. It is critical to be fully prepared for every session no matter the venue however some clients report not having to feel the need to dress more professionally to make an in-person meeting.

When choosing a coach, try not to limit yourself to coaches in your immediate area. Do focus on the coach’s complimentary session towards ensuring the best coach-client fit you can afford. Counterintuitively, a deeper connection between coach and client and client and their goals can be achieved through never meeting in person for many clients.

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