As the news shifts from implementation of lockdowns to the new norm of WFH and how to get the best out of it, there is also chatter about lockdown extensions and the rise of the flexible work arrangements on a permanent basis. What does this all mean for coaching?
Video-coaching isn’t new to the industry by any means; I even had the opportunity to practice video-coaching several times when I was training to become a coach. I video-coach my overseas clients, and had to occasionally do it for local clients who couldn’t meet in person for some reason. So, it was natural for me to extend this option to all local clients when Hong Kong started socially distancing much more broadly.
I observed that while some clients readily took me up on this, realizing they needed coaching more so now than ever before, others have opted to wait until ‘things are back to normal.’ There is no right answer, it only matters what’s right for you.
This got me thinking about why some people may be averse to video-coaching. Some are taking a timeout from everything right now: coaching, gym memberships, work projects etc. are all on pause, because there is a feeling of impermanence in the current situation. Understandably, others may feel that coaching is so very personal that they just prefer to do it face-to-face even if it means postponing it a little.
I reflected on how I felt about switching to video-coaching as a client many years ago for the first time when my own coach moved back to the UK. There were primarily two reasons I was so comfortable with the switch: (a) I had been coached before so knew what to expect and didn’t think the video would be an obstacle (b) I had a trusting relationship with my coach and wished to continue with her on video, rather than switch to a new, local coach. The trust existed on multiple levels: we had a trusting relationship therefore I wanted the continuity with her (not relevant to my blog entry as such), but also, I trusted in her ability to deliver as a coach over video.
Years later, I’m observing my own clients as we switch from in-person coaching to video, and wondering about the presence of the two factors I had observed in myself as a client. As I transition over with them, I find myself reassuring them subtly, allowing them space to experience and settle into the new norms, but never pressuring them to adopt it. Truthfully, Hong Kong’s numbers are improving, which means we will likely transition back to in-person meetings sooner than some other cities perhaps. And yet, because of the convenience and agility it offers, I’m also sensing that, even for some local clients, video-coaching isn’t going to go away anytime soon, much like WFH.