The global business environment has, temporarily, moved to the virtual world. While many businesses will likely go back to their physical office when the environment is safe again, I have a sneaking suspicion that many will emerge from this crisis realizing the benefits to working virtually.
As coaches, we have to adjust, pivoting if we want to survive. We have to bring our executive and leadership coaching practices into the online space.
The silver lining in this current crisis, as in any, is that it forces us all to think differently about our leadership and executive coaching businesses – from how we go to market to how we deliver our services.
What I do know, is that in this environment leaders need our coaching more than ever. They need our positive light. They need a sounding board. They need to know how to be more human in a world that feels disconnected.
The good news is that coaching leaders virtually is an extremely effective way to provide coaching services. Even better news – coaching leaders remotely can be as intimate, as vulnerable and as meaningful as coaching them in person. In many ways, there may be even more connection – the veil of the corporate office and the status of the executive leadership title vanishes when you see a leader’s kid suddenly appear in background of a Zoom meeting or hear a dog barking in the distance, all while homeschooling is in full swing for everyone. There is something so vitally human about that.
Ultimately, moving your coaching practice into a virtual or remote format isn’t that difficult.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Define the Coaching Structure
In many ways, you can keep much of the same structure you used when coaching executives in person. You’ll still conduct regular coaching sessions. You can still observe the leader. You can still utilize various assessment tools and profiles. But you might consider making some adjustments. For example:
- How should the cadence of your sessions change? Do they need to be more frequent to support leaders through this crisis? Should they extend beyond the current contract? Should the cadence vary throughout the engagement to adjust to the real-time needs of your coachee?
- Does the duration of the coaching sessions need to change? For example, you might have one longer coaching session in a month and two shorter check-ins.
- How will you observe the leader? You can still shadow a leader, but instead of being onsite, you’ll be shadowing the leader while she is leading her virtual teams.
Tip #2: Utilize an Online Coaching Platform to Organize the Engagement
Getting everything organized online will be extremely important so that you don’t bombard your leadership coachee with word documents, spreadsheets, emails, access to Box.com, Dropbox and Google drive. Having a central online leadership coaching software tool like Coachmetrix will optimize the entire coaching process so that your leader or executive can go to one place to access everything related to their coaching engagement from discussions to resources to their action plan, content and behavioral measurement.
Tip #3: Add New Elements to Your Online Coaching Offering
Coaching in this virtual world may now prompt you to add new offerings beyond the coaching conversation. By the way, when we do get back to coaching in person, all of the work you do now will only serve as a value add later on. You’ll have content, tools, frameworks and new components of your leadership coaching offering that will set you apart from other coaches in the marketplace. Here are two ideas that you can create using an online coaching software tool like Coachmetrix:
- Create simple micro-learning courses from content you already have. Most coaches have a ton of tools, frameworks and resources already. Leverage those resources in new ways to provide pre and post-coaching content that your client can access on-demand from any device.
- Check in with your coachee online. Simply say hello. Create a nurturing sequence that gets scheduled throughout the coaching engagement. Follow up on action items. In many ways, the virtual world allows coaches to do this more efficiently than in person, and you can provide the critical support leaders need in between coaching sessions to make sustainable behavioral change.
Tip #4: Extend a Coaching Engagement
With an online virtual coaching platform, you can extend your coaching engagement beyond the existing contract in multiple ways based on your coachee’s budget. Perhaps you modify the cadence and scope of the engagement, continuing coaching, but with less frequency. Or maybe you offer an online-only coaching option to provide ongoing online check-ins and access to the coaching software platform that still gives the coachee access to critical resources. From here you can create a passive revenue source that adds value to your engagement without taking much of your time.
Tip #5: Create Multiple Coaching Packages
Executive and leadership coaching doesn’t just have to be for executives and senior leaders. Maybe now is the time to offer different coaching packages that work for leaders at different levels. Just because the global business environment has moved to a remote working situation doesn’t mean that people don’t need leadership training and coaching. You can offer different levels of service with different coaching packages, with each level addressing the needs of different leaders in an organization. While your executive coaching package might include confidential interviews, a 360-feedback profile and observation, maybe your manager coaching package includes online micro-courses, less frequent coaching sessions and a personality style profile like DiSC.
Tip #6: Measure Better
In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, executives don’t buy coaching, they buy results. If you can prove that your coaching works, that it actually makes a difference and results in sustained behavioral change, you’ll always set yourself apart. An online software coaching platform like Coachmetrix measures behavioral change by engaging stakeholders in the leadership development process. You’ll know your coaching is working and so will your clients.
What to do next?
These are just a few ideas on how to move your leadership and/or executive coaching practice online and into the virtual world. All of the innovations you create now will be fully available to you when we are able to meet in person again in the future.
Check out Coachmetrix. You can start a 30-day trial for free. It has all of the features you need, and nothing you don’t, to make a seamless transition to coach leaders in a virtual world. And, we’ll be happy to help you onboard your first clients.