3 Steps To Empower Your Telephone Coaching

head-phoneAs 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


Alanea Kowalski
Alanea Kowalski
ALANEA Kowalski is an executive coach with over 25 years of international business experience who focuses on startup or high-change environments particularly with expatriates, women leaders and executives working toward developing global understanding and presence. Her areas of expertise include Financial Services, Pharma and High Tech. She coaches numerous C-suite clients and executives managing cross-cultural teams and working in multinational companies. Alanea has worked for Citibank, and as a consultant in Executive Search, Talent Management and Career Transition. She has worked with clients throughout North America, China, Hong Kong, Russia, the U.K and Europe. Alanea has lived in the UK, Canada and currently she resides in France. She holds multiple coaching certifications: The Coaches Training Institute, Lore International, The First 90 Days (Michael Watkins), The Team Intensive and Coaching Ourselves (Henry Mintzberg). Alanea is on the Advisory Board for ACEC, Association of Corporate and Executive Coaches. She is described by her clients as having the ability to interlace the strategic and creative with the practical. She pushes and challenges her clients to reach the next level using humour as well as her deep understanding of people and business. She takes her work seriously but, not herself. Often Alanea is described as a hybrid Coach and Consultant. One of her favourite phrases is “what if”.

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