How Technology is Changing the Coaching Business

How Technology is Changing the Coaching Business
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An investment in technology for your coaching practice is sure to pay you back in many ways, more so since we’ve been forced to comply with the virtual work culture brought in by the pandemic. You don’t even have to take my word for it – let me cite some research I’ve come across that validates this: 

  1. According to CoachSource LLC’s Executive Coaching for Results Survey 2020, “Coaching management systems (online tracking of coaching engagements) in greater use also increased in likelihood by 18%.” This is data comparison between 2018 and 2020 for the use of a coaching tools platform.
  2. As per an article by HBR, “the biggest impact of technology will come from how it enables individual executive coaches (or leaders who act as coaches) to better connect with and serve their clients. This will help to supplement their powers of recall, observation, interpretation, visualization, and encouragement.”
  3. As per the ICF 2020 Report, “A large majority of coach practitioners (71%) agreed or strongly agreed that “coaches will have to invest more in technology in the future”
  4. According to the Coach Source report – Trends in coaching – “Coaching management systems (online tracking of coaching engagements) in greater use. Increase of 50% in 2020 compared to 2018 wrt a coaching tools platform. (44% in 2018 vs 62% in 2020)”

 

Official research aside, here are some of our own observations around coaching and how the industry has changed in the recent years:

  1. Democratising of coaching means coaching has moved from the upper echelons of organisations to mid-management levels. We’re now seeing more and more organisations using coaching as an intervention in leadership development. 
  2. Coaching is no longer as standalone event. It is combined with leadership development journeys – young leaders’ cohorts or women leadership cohorts, wherein coaching is a part of the initiative.
  3. Coaching is not just limited to 1:1 engagements; more group coaching is now taking place.
  4. Clients are increasingly asking questions about the ROI of coaching.
  5. With the pandemic, more coaching is virtual. Technology is already getting used to facilitate this new-age way of coaching, and more upgrades will be needed to keep up with the changes.

 

How Coaching & Technology Come Together

 

Coaching is impacted by technology on multiple levels, and here’s how having a coaching tool to rely on can help you in your coaching journey:

Ease of scaling: A coach is working at both at an individual and at a group level. Having a tech platform that is able to enable both levels of coaching is basic at this day & age.

Organisation & structure: Earlier coaching used to be a lot more freestyle, where coaches would come in and have conversations with the client and leave.

Now with clients, organisations, and stakeholders asking for the ROI on coaching, coaches have to be more organised and structured in order to meet the goals set and see successful coaching outcomes.

Increased time saving & efficiency: A coach may need to bring in resources, tools, and coaching material into the conversation, which may otherwise be locked up somewhere on their desktop or archives.

For instance, if you’re working with a client on time management and you want to bring up a template of time logging, typically it may be on spreadsheet or file somewhere.

Now you can have it on an online coaching platform which makes the whole process much more integrated and accessible, without the need to scramble around for dispersed resources.

Creation of intellectual property & learning: As you work with more clients using a technology platform, you will be able to understand trends and patterns across your coaching engagements. For example: You might notice a correlation between rescheduled sessions or actions completed on time signaling a higher probability of success.

Also, you might be able to notice learning themes that could help add to your learnings and allow you to launch targeted programs or interventions. 

Increased cohesion and convenience: When you’re managing a coaching engagement you tend to use a number of tools – you’ve got email, some form of messenger for in-between communication, a shared drive, a booking calendar, a survey tool like Google Forms.

You utilize all these disparate tools for different clients and you’re constantly in the mode of cutting-pasting in your coaching journey, instead of using that time to deepen your coaching journey; you operate almost like an administrative professional more than a coach.

Technology allows you to access all these tools in one place, to bring it all together and cut the back & forth. And Simply.Coach is an effective online coaching platform for all that, and more.

Creating a consistent experience: As your coaching practice grows and you start working on larger engagements that involve multiple participants and coaches, there is a distinct need to ensure that the coaching methodology and experience is consistent.

Here, a coaching platform ensures that everyone is on the same page using standard templates & content.

 

Technology: An Investment, Not a Cost

 

This is not to say that you cannot manage to coach without the use of good technology that brings it all together. You can definitely manage without it.

But what technology can do for you is bring in efficiency – if you’re an independent coach, you need to see where you’re spending time.

Ask yourself, do you want to deepen your understanding of the coaching, the psychology of it all? Or do you want to get stuck in the data of it?

This is particularly true if you’re using some sort of journaling tool: once you have chronological history of what you’ve done, then you can learn from going back to it and see how you’ve performed as a coach, thus helping you see what could be done better going forward.

I’d say, don’t look at the online coaching platform as a cost, but as an investment. Any good tool will cost you money.

By investing in that tool, you are freeing up your time to focus on your coaching journeys, which will allow you to better yourself in your profession instead of getting stuck in the nitty gritty management. And that, I would think, is priceless.

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This is possibly the number one most useful & important value you can help add to new coaches like myself :-)