As a coach one of my most powerful coaching tools is the phone. Most of my clients are busy executives with punishing work and travel schedules who appreciate the flexibility of being able to have our coaching discussion via phone no matter where in the world they might be.
Here are the three key points to making sure your telephone coaching sessions are successful:
- Set the ground rules
Your time and their time are valuable. Don’t be afraid to set the rules of working together early on in the relationship. Some of my rules include using only landlines whenever possible for clarity and also because I want my client to be in quiet, undisturbed place where they can connect and concentrate. Your time together includes no interruptions…no email…no sms messages, etc. You cannot have a meaningful coaching conversation with a distracted client.
I also stipulate that they must be on time and committed to the session, which means having completed whatever they have agreed to in previous sessions. The purpose of these rules, which both parties agree to before coaching begins, is to ensure that there is a respect for the coaching relationship and to give it a full chance at success.
- Listen and Hear what the client is saying
Too often as coaches we are trying very hard to impress clients with our brilliance. On the phone you have an opportunity to really focus on the voice and what the client is saying, what they are not saying, the changes in timbre, the hesitations. It’s much easier to hear without the distractions of body language, dress, and décor. You hear the purity of what they are telling you and as a coach it makes it easier for you to interact with your client both from your head and your heart. The phone also provides you that moment of silence so you don’t feel you need to leap right into the next comment.
- Be prepared to fully engage with your client
Review your notes from the previous sessions and make sure you are fully ready for the next client. This for me means some physical movement and a concentration and focus on whom I will be speaking with and where they want to go in their coaching work.
If your client has sent you notes/documents between coaching sessions make sure you have read them and are ready to discuss as needed. I like to check in with clients in before calls to determine if they have set a specific agenda for our next coaching call. It helps to focus their attention prior to the call because I want them to be prepared too.
Although these points are for coaches they work well from the client perspective too.