What are some of the opportunities that online coaching programs can offer coaches?
For those who haven’t had a chance to read my first post about Jennifer, I’ll recap: Jennifer, a star executive coach whom I supervised came to me one day very upset. She’d just found out that a company she ran leadership seminars for had “replaced” her with an online program, one of the new career advancement solutions.
Jennifer and I discussed this over a cup of coffee, in which I told her my point-of-view: Online coaching courses are a very big opportunity for coaches, as they’ll let us provide a larger number of career advancement solutions to a wider audience. This piqued Jennifer’s curiosity and we decided to meet again.
Yesterday afternoon, Jennifer walked into the coffee shop around the corner from my office with a smile on her face, a much different expression than the one she’d worn the last time we met. After a little bit of catching up and ordering our usual lattes, Jennifer began:
“Etika, I have to admit that I left our last meeting a little confused. I had come in so angry and hurt by my client but left with a glimmer of hope. It took me the whole weekend to really sort out how I feel, but I want you to know that I’m all ears regarding how you see online coaching tools as a vehicle to grow my practice.”
I smiled, as I was really pleased that Jennifer had taken on my advice, especially since I knew the potential that online tools could add to her already successful business.
“That’s what I like to hear,” I told Jennifer. “I’ve done a lot of research regarding online coaching tools and I want to share my main findings.”
Taking out a pen and notepad, Jennifer answered, “Ready when you are.”
“Great,” I answered.
“Here’s the headline: Online courses are not only going to increase in number but also develop in directions we’re not even aware of.”
“Got it,” Jennifer answered. “That sounds reasonable...like so many other technological developments.”
“It does,” I said, “But I want you to know how many coaches I’ve met who spend...no...waste valuable time discrediting online courses. What they don’t realize is that what they’re really doing is expressing fear.”
Jennifer nodded her head in agreement, but asserted, “Well, they are justified in being afraid. Look what happened to me!”
“Fair enough,” I said. “But categorically rejecting every online solution only because it’s online is ridiculous. Like everything, there are many different levels of quality.”
“I see what you’re, saying, Etika,” Jennifer said. “And it doesn’t put the coach in a very good light either, I suppose.”
“Precisely,” I said. “So rather than viewing online courses as the enemy and spending time putting them down, better to see how we can begin to accept them as real players in our industry.”
“OK,” Jennifer followed.
I continued, “Once we accept them as players, we can stop being afraid and start seeing the kinds of opportunities they’ll present to us.”
“Like what?” Jennifer asked.
“Well, the biggest one I’ve identified so far, Jennifer, is how online tools can help us, as coaches, provide the best solution possible for our clients.”
“Yes, I remember your saying something about this the last time we met,” recalled Jennifer.
“Good memory! Now, try to think about how many times your clients have cancelled or put off meetings because they said they didn’t have enough time.”
“Ugh. More than I’d like to think about. It always gets me so upset when I have to rejuggle my calendar,” Jennifer lamented.
“Tell me about it,” I said. “It always begins with a big apology and then spins into three or four text messages until we finally figure out when to meet...not to mention the loss in income.”
“You said it,” agreed Jennifer.
I continued, “But think about these busy managers, always under pressure. You know as well as I do that they really don’t control their own schedules.”
Jennifer reflected, “Yes, it’s not really their fault, is it.”
“That’s right. They sincerely want our help. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have taken the trouble to engage us in the first place,” I said. “Yet, circumstances seem to prevent them from keeping their appointments.”
“And what really happens,” Jennifer interrupted, “is that we stop caring as well. I mean, there’s a limit to how much we can chase our clients.”
“Exactly my point, Jennifer,” I responded. “That’s why I think that online tools offer us such a significant opportunity. Rather than chasing our clients, as you so rightly put it, we can actually provide them with solutions that suit their hectic schedules.”
“I agree, Etika, but from our point of view, aren’t we just handing over our business to online course providers?” Jennifer wondered.
“Not at all, Jennifer,” I responded. “Our job actually becomes more critical, as we will be the ones identifying the best online solutions for the managers. Don’t forget, if managers are too busy to come to meetings, they certainly won’t have the time to search for and try out online courses. That’s where we come in, equipped with our professional perspective.”
“So our role as executive coach actually expands,” Jennifer said.
“Yes, it does. In fact, not only will we be advising clients regarding online tools but also will be seen as much more professional, as we’ll be offering a much wider variety of solutions that we could in the past,” I answered.
Jennifer seemed to understand my point. “And as you always say, Etika, our business is to help as many people as possible to improve their lives.”
“Right on, Jennifer,” I responded. “And that’s why I think that partnering with online tools will provide us with a bright future.”
I looked at my watch, “Jennifer, I’m really sorry, but I’m due back at my office in 15 minutes. How about we meet again next week to take this further?”
“It’s a date,” Jennifer said, smiling as we got up to leave.
Join Etika and Jennifer next time as Etika reveals an important development she’s been working on.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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