There are many ways to experience coaching, but most of us have the classic face-to-face one-to-one model in mind. The practice of coaching proves there are numerous ways to access its benefits. This article seeks to identify the different modalities and to highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each.
1. Face to face, one on one
As this is the most popular and well-known approach to experiencing coaching, it makes sense to start here. In this approach, the client and coach meet face to face at a pre-agreed location for 60 to 90 minutes. Coaches usually price these appointments at a premium, because of the book-ended travel time.
The advantages of a face-to-face one-on-one session is that the focus is exclusively on you and the coaching topics you’ve agreed to focus on. Confidentiality is secured between you and the coach. It’s personal attention at its ultimate.
There are few disadvantages to this approach. As mentioned, the travel time required to get to and from the coaching appointment is one disadvantage. That being said, clients appreciate the time before a coaching session as an opportunity to gather their thoughts, and post session to process the session’s contents.
Even though experiencing coaching in a face-to-face one-on-one setting is superior, there are significant benefits to be gained from other modalities too.
2. One-on-one remote sessions
This approach could see the coach and client interacting telephonically, via Skype, Video Conferencing or any other connecting technology. This modality delivers all the personal benefits you’d expect to receive through private attention.
Some people believe the energy changes when the coach and client are not in the same room. As a result, clients fear that the quality of how they experience coaching may be diminished. This concern is mostly unfounded, but does depends on the coach’s comfort with using technology for remote sessions. Many coaches are as competent remotely as they are in situ.
3. Group coaching sessions
Group coaching sessions is where individuals facing similar challenges, or wishing to improve in a particular area or skill set, are joined together either in person or remotely to experience coaching. Business schools regularly employ this coaching modality, and for good reason. Clients build up incredible camaraderie. Friendships blossom and clients coach and support each other towards achievement of their mutual goals. Due to economies of scale, group coaching is the most cost-effective modality.
From a disadvantage perspective, group coaching needs excellent facilitation to ensure that all voices in the room are equally heard. It is easy for one or two people to dominate the process, and allowing this diminishes the value that others may be seeking to gain. Whilst one on one sessions are flexible around when the coach and client are available, group coaching sessions are pre-scheduled. Sessions are unlikely to be moved to accommodate individual diary clashes, due to potential inconvenience to other participants. With less personal attention, the discipline required to achieve the results sought increases as the onus falls on the individual to take the agreed actions.
4. E-mail coaching
E-mail coaching is an approach which is gaining in popularity, due to the hectic schedules of clients. Significantly more cost-effective that one-on-one personalised coaching, e-mail coaching enables the client to email reflections and questions to a coach, according to a pre-agreed schedule, for example once a week to which the coach responds.
Whilst many may not perceive e-mail coaching as a preferred way to experience coaching, it offers excellent value and strong benefits. The first advantage is that the client needs to find the time to prepare their weekly e-mail to the coach. This practice alone is valuable, as it creates the opportunity for the client to think and reflect. Upon receipt of the coach’s feedback, the client has time to digest the feedback, apply some actions and monitor the results before the next coaching occurs. With the frequency of communication being weekly, clients may enjoy accelerated results.
The disadvantage of e-mail coaching is that the nuances that are often evident in face to face coaching may reduce. As a result, underlying conditions therefore may not be as readily identifiable or easily surfaced. Accordingly, e-mail coaching may be best suited to less complex issues.
5. Action learning coaching
Action Learning coaching is also group based, with the key difference being that it is project and group focused. The team works on a project for a pre-determined time, solving a complex problem. At the same time as the team works on the project, they utilise the opportunity to develop themselves as leaders. Action Learning coaches need to be skilled facilitators, choosing selectively when to intervene and when to allow the free flow of work. Coaches must also be highly skilled in identifying and managing team dynamic issues, assisting the teams to achieve performance and delivery of the project by the given deadline. To learn more about Action Learning, go here.
In2Great Coaching offers all of the modalities described above. If you’re ready to start your journey, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Contact Us here.