How digital tools enhance personalized coaching
At a recent workshop addressing digital tools for professional coaches, I was asked an interesting question: Can using digital tools detract from the coach-client relationship?
This was a really big question, but I decided to address the elephant in the room: our fear of adopting something new. With this in mind, I began to share my own approach towards digital tools, which is based on how I view my coaching practice in general, especially career advancement solutions.
From the beginning, the number one driver of my coaching practice has been to bring added value to as many managers as possible and tailoring solutions according to their needs as part of their career advancement solutions. As all of us can imagine, over the years, I didn’t always succeed in adjusting myself or my approach to every single potential client. This meant turning clients away - until I discovered the benefits of integrating technology into my practice.
Technology is often seen as the evil “competitor,” lurking around our coaching practices, ready to steal business from us. But let’s go back to marketing basics we learned a long time ago. Any “competitors” in our market will serve us well because they still raise awareness of the benefits of coaching. So even if you view digital tools as competitors, they’re actually good for business. But, as I hinted above, digital tools are more than that.
As I said before, I was turning away clients, as I felt that I wasn’t the right solution for them. But then digital tools entered the picture. While not all tools are created equal, the good ones, based on the professional knowledge and experience of their creators, allow me to provide solutions for clients I previously would’ve referred away. And it gets better. My clients are very thankful to me that I’ve helped them tap into a world of coaching they wouldn’t have discovered on their own. This leads me to my next point.
Coaches are often concerned that technology will rob the coach-client relationship of the personal dimension. Ironically enough, the opposite occurs. Because of the plethora of digital tools out there, I work closely with my clients to fully understand their needs so that I can recommend the right technological solution or solutions. This also requires staying in touch with the client during and after they use the tools, so as to assess progress and examine further options, if needed. The result is that technology helps to both intensify and extend the coach-client relationship, much beyond a series of isolated weekly sessions.
So now that I’ve covered the practical aspects of how technology can both enhance your practice and deepen the personal touch you want to give your clients, I’d like to say a few words about innovations in general. I can’t tell you what’s on the horizon, but our world is changing at an extremely rapid pace. It’s important to embrace change as a way of life. Fighting it will only leave you behind.
In my own practice, I realized that it’s not enough to be a savvy user of digital tools. I decided that if I was still going to be loyal to my vision of bringing benefit to as many managers as possible, I needed to create digital tools as well.
Some of you might know that I recently developed the Executive Mirror Program, a neuroscience-based online learning program that helps managers achieve their next promotion - a common need for many of our clients. It’s based on over three decades of my own field research and experience with managers looking to get promoted. And what’s great is that as an online learning program, coaches worldwide can tap into my research and experience to help their own clients get promoted.
Another benefit of the EMP is that the typical manager seeking promotion is so busy trying to impress decision makers, they often cancel coaching appointments. This, of course, slows down progress. In other cases, managers seeking promotion are hesitant to expose their weaknesses and so avoid coaching altogether. As the EMP can be taken completely online, clients can work through it at their convenience - anytime and anywhere - and in complete privacy. There’s even a hybrid option, which includes live progress checks with a coach.
And it’s great for organizations, too. As companies become increasingly global, the need to prepare as many managers as possible for more senior positions has increased. With the EMP, companies can easily scale such preparation, something that previously would’ve required teams of coaches.
Another benefit of the EMP is that it is designed to be used at work, thus breaking through the barrier that often separates coaching sessions from “real” work situations. Managers can interact with the EMP exercises and diagnostics during their workday, thus applying what they’ve learned in real time. This allows for both meaningful learning while saving the time that live coaching would require.
But I’ve left the best thing for last. Remember when I spoke about different client needs? Well, it’s not simply a matter of choosing the right digital tool. Good digital tools should be able to be personalized as well. When managers begin using the EMP, they answer a 200 item questionnaire. Using sophisticated algorithms based on neuroscience, the EMP generates a personalized detailed manager profile, complete with a learning program and roadmap. Then, each week, the manager follows a tailored course based on the questionnaire. This kind of personalized learning and scalability wouldn’t be possible without cutting-edge technology behind it.
So there you have it - my 21st century solution to a vision I formed almost four decades ago. I hope I’ve shown you all that technology is not a threat to our business, it’s actually a blessing. But you have to be willing to open the door!
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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