What to expect from online coaching

Taking the first step and booking in your first coaching session can feel… big. Doing so is a commitment and investment to your own personal growth. And while this is, of course, an exciting time, it’s normal to feel apprehensive, especially if you’ve never had coaching before.

You may not know exactly what to expect from your coach or what will be expected from you during the process. Coaching can be transformational, but it requires action, work and intention. On top of this, if you’re introverted or shy, you might find the prospect of talking to someone new intimidating. As an introvert myself, I remember being nervous before my first coaching session.

I had the same butterflies I always got before talking to someone I hadn’t met before. As soon as we started talking however, those butterflies promptly flew away. My coach made me feel at ease, and because she’d told me what to expect before-hand, I felt much better prepared.

I should also point out here that my coaching session took place online, via a video call. Removing the barrier of distance, online coaching is an option many coaches offer. It allows you to choose who you resonate with, regardless of where they live and enjoy the coaching experience from the comfort of your own home.

We all have personal preferences and while for some, online coaching is ideal, for others face-to-face suits better. At the time of writing however, the pandemic means that the majority of coaching is having to take place remotely.

Whatever has prompted you to choose a coach who works online, it can be helpful to know what to expect. This can ease any unnecessary nerves you may have about the technology so you can focus on the coaching itself.

While all coaches will differ in the way they work, the points below can help you have a better understanding of what may come up when you get in touch with a coach.

Picking a time and medium

Many coaches will offer a free or low-cost consultation call, so you can get to know a bit more about them before deciding whether or not to hire them as your coach. But whether you’re booking in a consultation or your first session, you’ll need to book a time and understand what medium the coach will use for the session.

Booking the time may be done over email or your coach may use a booking system like Calendly where you can choose an appointment that suits you. If you’re living in a different time-zone to your coach, make sure you know what time your session will be in your time zone. Most coaches will account for this, but it can help both parties for you to double check you’ve got the timing right. 

In terms of how the session will be provided, there are a number of different mediums that can be used, from a simple phone call to video calls via Zoom or FaceTime. Before your first session, your coach will let you know which medium they use and explain to you how it will work. 

Using the technology

As mentioned, your coach should give you any instructions you need before your first session. Most of the mediums used to communicate online are very easy to use, but if you have any questions before the session, be sure to let them know.

If it’s a programme you haven’t used before and you’re able to test it out before-hand, you might want to try this so you feel more comfortable using it. Some programmes require you to download them or create an account with them before using, so make sure this is done if necessary before your session. 

Feel free to ask your coach any questions before the session via email and let them know once you start the session if you have any other questions. Some coaches like to use video so you can see each other, while others prefer an audio only call. You may have your own preferences as well. Your coach should tell you before if it’ll be video or audio only, and you can discuss your preferences here too. 

The online session

Hopefully by this point you’ll be feeling comfortable with how your session is going to work and reassured by your coach. If you have any questions, for example how to turn the camera on or off, be sure to ask your coach. They will be used to the programme and should be able to give you any guidance or tips you need.

Other than the technology side of things, online coaching sessions should be the same as face-to-face sessions. There’ll likely be a stage of getting to know each other, then diving into the reason you’ve chosen to get coaching. You’ll get the opportunity to talk about your goals and challenges, working with your coach to find a way to get to where you want to be.

Just like an in-person session, your coach may ask you to outline the action points you’ve gained from your session, ready to take them forward and review next time you speak. If you haven’t discussed it already, you’ll be able to talk here about the time of your next session and hopefully you’ll feel more confident about using the technology so you can enjoy the coaching process in full.

Email coaching

While it’s common for coaches to offer sessions via calls, some do offer an alternative – email coaching or coaching through a messaging platform like Voxxer. This can be a great alternative if calling isn’t appropriate for you right now. Email coaching or messaging support gives you the chance to craft considered responses and allows you more time to think about what’s being discussed.

If you’ve found a coach who offers this, they will likely let you know what to expect – for example, what times they check and respond to emails/messages.

One of the most important things about coaching is your relationship with your coach. How do you feel when talking to them? How do your sessions make you feel? Do you trust them?

Regardless of the medium, this connection will shine through when it’s the right fit. And at a time when connection matters more than ever, we wish you the best of luck finding what you’re looking for and hope you’re able to embrace everything coaching has to offer. 

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Written by Kat Nicholls
Kat is a Senior Writer for Life Coach Directory and Happiful magazine.
Written by Kat Nicholls
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