The coaching process is critical in any workplace relationship. In fact, we’ve found in our leadership development and executive coaching programs that coaching is a critical element to helping people ignite their potential and elevate their success.
We’ve also found that many of our clients struggle to effectively coach their people when they work in distributed environments, where team members may span the globe. As a result, people often “feel alone” and miss out on key opportunities.
Although face-to-face interactions can’t be perfectly replicated, here are three ideas to helping you make your remote coaching more effective.
Set clear agreements
Great leaders establish clear agreements with their people - whether its goals and expectations or the desired outcome of any given coaching conversation. When team members are remote, clear agreements are even more important. To get your coaching started on the right track, establish clarity on when your 1-1 coaching sessions will occur, the format for the sessions, and expected outcomes.
Mimic “in office” reality
Coaching doesn’t just happen in formal 1-1 coaching sessions. Great coaches find coachable moments everyday as they connect with people. These opportunities are more difficult when team members are remote, so leaders have to look for creative ways to uncover those coachable moments. They might occur immediately before or after a conference call; they might be found in informal daily check ins; they could happen through internal social media channels or even collaborative platforms like Basecamp or Sharepoint. The key is to find simple ways that mimic “walking the halls” and “managing by walking around.”
Get clarity on your technology
As much as we’d love for technology to make things easy, there are often frustrating snafus that get in the way (think entering your 2-digit pin, accidentally being on mute, not being able to connect, or the annoying echoes when people speak). Take time to establish the technology platforms you’ll use to communicate, and, when possible, use HD video so that you can see each others’ facial expressions.
What are some tips and ideas you have toward making your remote coaching efforts more effective?