When you think of coaching, what comes to your mind? Maybe you see a room with a couch and a flipchart. And most likely, you see a face-to-face conversation.
I have been offering coaching over the phone for several years, and often people I talk to (but not the clients!) are skeptical. As it is currently recommended that you reduce personal contacts because of the pandemic, many people ask me curiously why I don’t do video conferencing or use other online tools, but still the “old-fashioned” telephone.
I like video conferencing, and I am also enthusiastic about online tools. I love the possibilities they offer: Whiteboards, maps, chat, video, and much more. But I don’t think that they are necessary for coaching.
From my point of view, these tools do not help to focus on what matters. The telephone is the most efficient tool for focused coaching.
Transport of emotions via the voice
You do not have to see your dialog partner. By concentrating on the voice, you can hear the current emotional state much better. You can hear whether someone is stressed, relaxed, feeling happy, or depressed through the voice.
One is not distracted and deceived by the appearance.
Some people also find it easier to talk about their feelings when they do not feel observed.
Body language and facial expressions sometimes deceive, as experiences from the past influence them. By concentrating on the voice, we perceive what is now.
Trust is an essential prerequisite in a coach-client relationship. How can this be established over the phone? As a coach, I can recognize my client’s feelings through his voice, but the client also perceives my voice. Therefore it is crucial to plan the telephone coaching accordingly, ensure that you are not in a hurry, have peace, and put aside your own topics. I prepare myself for a telephone conversation just as if the client were sitting in front of me.
Other advantages of coaching by phone
Coaching by phone has even more advantages over face-to-face or video coaching:
- The focus on the topics is stronger on the phone than face-to-face. Therefore you get to the point faster. You are not distracted by visual stimuli, and the small talk at the beginning is also shorter. Clients find solutions more quickly.
- There are only low requirements: A quiet place and a telephone are enough. No driving time is necessary. Your client does not need to install any software and does not require a stable internet connection.
- Due to the flexibility, even calls at off-peak times are possible, which otherwise could not have been integrated into the daily routine.
Holding space, being present, developing trust, truly listening — all this is supported by the phone. Therefore for me, it’s a perfect way to coach.