How can digital tools impact your coaching?
Today, there doesn’t seem to be any aspect of our lives that isn’t addressed by a variety of digital tools. This goes for our coaching practices as well. In a series of posts, I wrote about Jennifer (post 1,post 2 ), one of my coaching mentees, who was hesitant about the “invasion” of digital tools into her coaching practice. Among her fears was that digital tools might actually take away some of her business, negative affecting her executive coaching rates.
My take on digital tools is that we should embrace them. Once we decide that they aren’t a threat but a friend, we’ll be open to seeing how they can benefit the three main stakeholders of most coaching relationships: the coaches, the clients, and the companies sponsoring the clients.
For our coaching practices, digital tools help coaches like Jennifer Doyle Vancil, M.Ed., owner of Communicating Strengths, LLC “stay in strong communication with her clients, share files, and give tasks to complete between meetings,” facilitating the coach and client to “reach specific goals.” For my own coaching practice, these capabilities are important for my “anytime, anywhere” coaching philosophy, where clients should be able to access the coach’s knowledge when it is convenient for them. With digital tools, the coach’s knowledge is there for the taking, without the coach having to email documents, hold impromptu phone consultations, etc, in effect also diluting executive coaching rates. This allows, in the words of Kirsten Meneghello, JD, PCC, owner of Illumination Coaching, to “deepen her relationships with corporate clients,” often leading to “repeat business.”
On the client side, Kirsten Meneghello points out how using digital tools allows clients to “get real-time feedback about what they are doing well and what behavior they need to modify.” In this way, they can keep track of their achievements and naturally “feel more successful as a result.” Digital tools can also facilitate self-directed development. Jennifer Doyle Vencil, notes that not only do her clients “embrace” such tools but also “give themselves tasks,” which she can monitor through their posts of “notes, research, and tasks,” allowing her to “know the progress they are making.” Having such a feedback loop that extends beyond the confines of the weekly meeting can boost the coaching process significantly. This type of 24/7 growth is possible only with the help of effective digital tools.
Company sponsors benefit greatly from digital tools as well. Companies spend significant budgets on coaching and until recently, might have found it difficult to track the progress of every manager. According to Kirsten Meneghello, digital tools can help companies gauge and assess their managers’ coaching processes, as they “can show metrics about the leader's improvement and that the coaching investment is making an impact.” This informs management of the ROI that specific coaching programs yield.
Another thought I’d like coaches to consider is the image of our profession. Competently and confidently using digital tools sends a message to our corporate sponsors and managers that our profession is up-to-date. Remember that those we serve have most likely embraced digital tools in their own industries and in turn expect us to do the same. Digital tools are equated with well-run businesses. We owe it to our corporate sponsors and managers to ensure we are using everything at our disposal to provide the highest level of service possible.
As a final note, I hope that if there are any other coaches who are hesitant about integrating digital tools into your practice, then the insights provided by the highly competent professionals in this article have encouraged you to explore how digital tools can help your practice, your clients, and your corporate sponsors.
I’d like to thank the generous and professional voices from the field that helped inform this article.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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