Coaching: Phone or Face-to-Face?

phone(I just added this to my Coaching Starter Kit. And it occurred to me that it would make a useful stand-alone post. If you want to get the entire Coaching Starter Kit, click here.)

As you consider choosing a coach, you come to a decision point: phone or face-to-face? You may be flexible, you may have a slight preference for one or the other, or it may be a deal-breaker. Think about what you need in order to do your best work.

What I can share with you here is why all my coaching is done by phone: It offers you the ultimate privacy, and it saves you travel time. Coaching by phone reduces my fee because I don’t have to pass along the cost of office overhead.

Most importantly, I coach by phone because it’s more effective.

When I began coaching, I did both phone and face-to-face sessions. I quickly learned that the phone offered greater intimacy and deeper connection. On the phone, we don’t have to deal with the distractions of social interaction. The outside world falls away, and you become the center of the universe.

In the age of the ubiquitous smartphone, we forget how intimate a phone call can be. A whisper in your ear. Like pillow talk. Secrets we’ll share when we’re not being stared at.

I listen not just to your words but to the grain of your voice–that rope of breath that joins us. Through the grain of your voice I connect to that deep place, somewhere between heart and soul, where change and growth begin.

Listening is the center of my coaching practice. I listen to you so that you can hear yourself.

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2 Responses to Coaching: Phone or Face-to-Face?

  1. Mary May 29, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    I usually like what i read from you, but i have a problem with this post. That is one very strong statement in the middle of this post. Phone coaching or counselling is different, has its pros and cons…not “proven” more effective. There is no way the phone can transmit the reddening of the eyes and the fighting back of tears as a client talks a strong talk….I have to SEE this in order to go “get” it, work with it and use it. I have to SEE that the eyes are telling me something different than the voice. Our voices are powerful too, they can transmit depth of emotion, and ambivalence, etc…but the phone does not permit the physical and nonverbal communication, and the experience of visual dynamic processes that are such an integral part of human interactions, and of the intimacy, deeper connection, and trust that you are claiming to try to establish. And on a personal note…I hate the phone!!!

  2. Paul Strobl May 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    As someone who got into coaching envisioning himself in front of people face to face, I, too, have found the phone a very powerful tool. Clients drop their facades and projections faster and we can get to the heart of issues more efficiently when I’m “just a voice in the dark.” I continue to be blown away by how much you pick up on by just voice that I may miss when there are more visual distractions. I think it comes down to that idea that when you cut out some senses, the others are heightened.

    From an ergonomic standpoint I like it too–I use a wireless headset and walk around the room, talking with my hands while in session–something that would be awkward in person. Not to mention the fact that I can work with individuals and executives all over the world which would obviously be impossible if I only worked face to face (I think video conferencing is by far the worst method of having a coaching session–simply distracts from the coaching conversation).

    Great little piece.