Is Virtual Coaching Right For End Users?

1. The number one factor to consider in virtual coaching is the end users level of technology savvy. Are they comfortable doing video conferencing or instant messaging by themselves or do they require IT support?[7]

2. Does the medium fit the end users’ personality type? Studies show that introverts tend to perform well in electronic conversations and even prefer a healthy distance over face-to-face conversations.[8] (Note: If one’s goal is to develop interpersonal skills, this medium is not congruent with that goal).

3. Can end users build bonds and express themselves easily in writing? Aside from audio and video, much of your communication with a coach will be in asynchronous text.[9]

4. Can the end users coach keep up with them? Can the virtual coach follow an end users’ train of thought as they shift between phone, text, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter DM, and a myriad of other apps?

Response times and availability are key factors when coaching across multiple time zones and geographies. Is your coach available seven days per week? Do they offer a guaranteed response time for communications between scheduled sessions?

Virtual coaching and therapy is predominantly technology driven at the moment. At this stage, it is too early know how market adoption will play out. But it will be interesting to watch which end users will adopt virtual mediums and which end users will respond better to traditional methods.

Jeff Propoff is a successful executive who has served as vice president in a Fortune 500 company as well as several Silicon Valley startups. He is a LinkedIn Top 25 Executive Health Coach and contributor  to the Men’s Health Network. You can learn how to lead stronger and lead longer at The Healthy Executive.

References:

1Do You Read Fast Enough to be Successful? Forbes
2. Jeff’s profile on AngelList
3. Text therapy startup raises $9.5 million, CNN Money
4. Google Helpouts is Shutting Down, Forbes
5. The Myth of Multi Tasking C.Rosen.

6.Coaching Frequency Study ,Coaching Research Institute
7. p.295 Advancing Executive Coaching, Gina Hernez-Broome, Lisa A. Boyce, 2010
8. Hubschman 1996, Hamilton & Scandura 2003
9. Giadagno & Caildini, 2002

Smartphone conference photo available from Shutterstock