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Developing Leaders and Teams

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Telephone Coaching

Telephone Coaching

Telephone coaching or remote coaching as it is also known is a valuable development tool with obvious advantages. Telephone Coaching and Skype Coaching are increasingly seen as excellent alternatives to face to face coaching.

Telephone coaching is a very efficient use of time, is cost effective and, removes geography and logistics from the selection criteria for a coach.

It enables easy global delivery and gives you greater flexibility. Done well, it’s just as effective as face to face coaching. In fact, some people prefer telephone coaching to face to face coaching.

“Caroline is an extraordinary coach. We have only met face-to-face on one occasion and yet she has been invaluable in helping me transition to a more senior role, where I needed to adapt and learn new things to focus on what is important. Her ability to listen, understand and with a few key questions trigger thoughts and actions that are needed has been of great help to me.

Her ability to challenge whilst maintaining a constructive relationship is excellent. In particular, her help in reflecting back on other people’s motivation and issues to enable me to get the most out of situations as really helped shape my interactions with people.

Caroline’s coaching has also allowed me to develop better techniques for constant “self-coaching” which I truly believe helps gain traction and makes the coaching more valuable.”

Dr Steve Dalton

Vice President Research & Development, Diversey Care

Criteria for telephone coaching success

Make sure to work with a telephone coach who is familiar with this approach, also ensure the person being coached is comfortable with the phone. Set up the right environment making sure the quality of the technology is good. Where possible, have an initial face to face meeting, and, most of all, prepare the person to be coached so they get the most from the telephone coaching session.

Some people will always feel more comfortable with face to face coaching. However, for many people, telephone coaching or Skype coaching, once experienced, becomes a preferred option to face to face coaching.

Coaching continues to evolve. Telephone coaching, expanding with webcams and video conferencing, is growing in popularity as organisations seek to reach more people with restricted budgets and time becomes increasingly precious.

What clients say about our Telephone Coaching

“Telephone coaching is very liberating. It frees me up to be more honest and, to my surprise, it’s extremely intimate”

“I find it easier to be really open without my coach sitting opposite me, in whose face I may read judgement”

“In the absence of visual contact, I get more creative in how I communicate which expands my thinking”

Tips for successful Telephone Coaching

Allow time to prepare for each session

This applies to all coaching but perhaps even more so when working remotely with your coach

Take a pause before you start the call

  • Build in a little time, even just 5 minutes to switch your mind off from what you’ve been doing, the last meeting, the annoying colleague etc. to collect your thoughts
  • Get somewhere quiet and focus your mind on coaching – take deep breaths or whatever works best for you to refocus yourself


  • Think about your objectives for the session
  • Review any notes from the last session, what’s been done, what actions have or have not been achieved
  • Review any notes that you’ve made since your last session and consider situations to discuss with your coach
  • Consider what you want to get out of this coaching meeting and what will make it successful for you


Set up your environment

Remove distractions, this is particularly important for telephone coaching

  • Clear your desk of any possible distractions such as papers or files
  • Ideally switch off your PC or screen. At a minimum switch off emails
  • If you’re in a meeting room, ensure your back is to the outside office area so people don’t distract you

Be comfortable

  • Make sure you have some water with you
  • Have paper and pen to take notes of thoughts, reflections and actions

During the coaching meeting

Get creative

  • Using metaphors is a great way to get your message across on the phone. If you’re not naturally a metaphor user, consider it when planning for your session
  • Share images or drawings with your coach as a basis for a discussion. This can be similar to metaphor in its value and can lead to very valuable conversations

Enhance communication

  • Take this opportunity to develop your listening skills. Listen hard to your coach and notice changes in pitch, tone, pace, breathing etc. If you think you notice a change, mention it to get feedback on your listening. Many leaders spend time on conference calls so this is an excellent opportunity to develop a critical skill
  • Get comfortable with silence. This is a big element of telephone coaching and silence is essential for thinking time. So don’t rush to find an answer and tell your coach if you need more time. It’s a good idea to agree some way to manage silence so you both know that there is thinking going on

Check in and feedback

  • Without visual cues both you and your coach will rely wholly on your auditory sense. Sometimes you’ll both want to check that you’ve heard what you think you heard or validate your interpretation of what the other said. Don’t be afraid to do this as often as you need to. Also, help your coach when they check something with you
  • At the end of every session, it’s a good idea to give your coach some feedback about what worked well and, perhaps, less well. Ask for some feedback for yourself if you’d like it. This is particularly important in the first few sessions for
    telephone coaching

We hope these tips are helpful. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of telephone coaching don’t hesitate to get in touch

Telephone Coaching Works

I have always believed that the best coaching was done face to face. As an extrovert, this is partly a personal preference. I also found it hard to believe that a relationship could develop deep trust without the personal contact. So, I was mildly apprehensive when selected as a coach to support a leadership development programme, via telephone coaching, for a US client. However… read more

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