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The environment for the online coaching session

It is important to make sure that all conditions are met to make the online coaching session a comfortable one.

One might think that an online coaching programme starts the moment the call is on. In fact, as I have explained in other posts, the online coaching session is just a portion of the engagement that coach and coachee commit to in the programme.

While actions agreed upon during the session are extremely important for the coachee, because they constitute an integral part of the advancement towards the objective, the coach must take care of many other aspects.

These include well preparing the online coaching session, and by this I not only mean the fact of reconnecting on tmie with the content of the previous session, but also preparing the right environment.

I am talking about online coaching, i.e. of a session that will take place through Skype, phone, or other online communication software. In case you use the webcam (and I strongly recommend it), it is important to make sure that light and frame are correct. This is to avoid that the face occupies the whole frame. The light must be pleasant but not too strong, and not dazzling. It is also advised to have a background that does not cause distraction, for example a neutral colour wall.

During the online coaching session all kinds of interruptions, disturbances and interference must be avoided. This seems obvious, but it is not. One must inform all other persons in the same house, office or space that she will not available for no matter what reason while the session is on. I always shut the door of my office, and when I know someone might pop by the house unexpectedly, I always stick a small panel on the door which warns about the online coaching session.

However, interruptions come in many forms. It is imperative to turn off (or silence) the smartphone and maybe even place it in a drawer to avoid distraction when it lights up, close all e-mail programmes and notifications of the various websites you use, put the Skype status on occupied, so that no one can contact while you are in the session. If, like me, you have a sabotaging cat, do everything possible to place it somewhere where its meows won’t interfere with your concentration.

When I talk about the preparation of the online coaching session, though, I am not only referring to the external environment but to a condition that must make the coach as relaxed as possible. Each of us knows what his needs during the sessions are. For instance, I cannot start without a bottle of water beside me, and enough space to write down my notes, if needed. For someone else it might be important to draw the curtains, or have candies close by.

Material must be ready and perfectly organized for the session. I personally always prepare a page with the name of the client, the number of the session and the date, on which I take notes to be able to write a precise summary afterwards. It is also important to have all exercises and results of the previously agreed actions at hand, and keep any website, document and image related to them open.

When the coach is comfortable because she has carefully prepared the environment of the online coaching session, she will give the best of herself, and will remain focused on the client with the necessary depth.

Claudia Landini
May 2017
Photo credit ©rachael-gorjestani

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