The days that I get to spend time coaching another person towards greater success are definitely the better days out of the week.
In these sessions I get to bring all that I’ve been given to the table and provide a little bit of counsel and a lot of listening as I walk with another person to discover where they’ve been, where they are today, and where they want to be tomorrow.
It’s a total pleasure and I can’t believe I get to be a part of someone’s life in this very simple yet incredibly powerful way.
And thank goodness for technology, right? This gentleman was over in the UK so naturally a physical 1 on 1 wouldn’t be possible. But in an effort to close the gap we use Skype (as much as I do not necessarily like the app) to bring a little bit more character and human-ness to the interaction.
Here are five reflections on developing people one on one via video technology that I’ve realized over the past few months:
- It’s Not Perfect – Video technology still isn’t even close to being perfect but it’s getting closer every year. It’s one of those technologies that appears to be making advancements much slower than other technology fronts. I often wonder why that’s the case when it is clearly the future of what we’re doing online.
- Inflection and Body Language Matter – This is why I choose video other than just audio most of the time! The combination of someone’s body language as well as the connection of that body language with their tone of voice, their inflections, and speed of speech all play a part of “active coaching” – I can take it all in as best as I can.
- Dress Comfortably – Sometimes I’ll mention explicitly to wear something comfortable because historically I’ve had some people dress like it was a job interview – no need for that obviously! I want both of us to be incredibly comfortable, especially since we’re going to be talking about the hard stuff already!
- Prepare in Advance – I always send a list of questions and ask them to answer them in full before we meet. This provides context as well as allows them to process their thoughts ahead of time. That way we don’t meander too much during the conversation and are able to stay focused and on target. It’s amazing how quickly 120 minutes (a typical session) goes!
- I Love 1 on 1′s – There are some people who are more naturally able to coach and mentor in a group environment but I’ve discovered that I really thrive in the 1 on 1′s. I love it, even though it’s incredibly exhausting!
I’ve mentioned this before a few times but I want to encourage all of you to actively seek out both mentors and also the opportunities to mentor others. I currently do this professionally but you don’t have to – heck, I’ve been doing it on the side for years!
ChairCo, my coaching company has now been merged together as the executive coaching org of Action & Influence. I won’t be putting the brand to bed (because it’s so awesome) but all coaching now officially runs through A&I. Just a small housekeeping notice, nothing more!
Have a great week guys!