One of the most basic questions we ask ourselves when we want to choose a coach is would it be a local coach or an online coach? What is better, online coaching, or local coaching?
Choosing online or local coaching depends on personal preference, mostly, but it’s important to choose the right method for you, as it might impact the effectivity of the process.
Online coaching means that the coach we talk to is not physically present in the meeting. He may not even be physically present in the same country we live in. The coach can seat somewhere in the world next to a computer (usually) or phone, and we can perform the meeting through the internet.
Online coaching is usually very easy to commit to. There is no need to go out or get dressed to the meeting. You can do it in the comforts of your own home, and you don’t need to spend time driving anywhere or look for parking. All you have to do is sit in front of the computer, and log on. That’s it! This makes the entire process easier, as it removes a lot of barriers for people who are not exactly sure if coaching is the right approach for them.
For some people, talking to an online coach is easier than with one face to face. This is another major upside in favor of online coaching. Many people share intimate things with their coach. For many it’s much more easy to share with someone who is not physically next to you and (if you choose to) don’t see your face. As openness and honesty is a key component in coaching, this may go a long way in improving the effectiveness of the process and makes the sessions more productive for both coach and trainee.
Another advantage for online coaching is greater variety. Sometimes (most of the times) the coach you want to share your journey with does not live in the same area as you. There are coaches with trainees which live on the other side of the world (literally). Online coaching gives you the opportunity of choosing the best coach for you in the world. No matter where you live, you are free to choose a coach. This is a huge advantage not only because of more variety but also because in some places, there are no local coaches at all.
The main advantage of online coaching may also be its main drawback. If a person can’t relate to the coach, since the coach is sitting 10,000 miles from him, the sharing and the expression of feelings might be lost completely. This could hurt the process and affect the results that are the main concept of coaching.
Another disadvantage is the technology barrier. All though the methods of communicating have undergone tremendous change in recent years, which cancels almost any effects of technology barriers, it is still evident that online connection is not perfect. Sound quality might be low which might prove difficult to talk and hear clearly for both sides. Disconnections are also not rare, which impacts the session completely. It could be frustrating trying to make a point on a skype call which keeps disconnecting over and over.
Local coaching is more “traditional”. This type of coaching makes the coach and trainee meet in a certain place. This place could be an office, or any other place for that matter, where the trainee can feel comfortable. The meeting is held face to face like any other meeting between two people.
The main advantage of this method is the fact you get to sit down with your coach and have a conversation with him. This goes long way in creating trust and openness, which leads to better results, and a satisfied trainee. When you sit down with a person, see his face, and feel its presence, it gives a different feeling to the conversation, and it might take off instantly.
Another advantage to the local coaching stems from meeting your coach face to face. There is allot of information which transmits in a non-verbal manner during a conversation. When you meet someone in person, all this information can be gathered and taken into consideration (if the coach is sensitive enough) while trying to help the trainee. In online coaching, since there is no physical presence of the coach, all this information is lost on both sides, which might affect the overall result.
Another factor in favor of local coaching is the fact that the place where the session takes place can be changed if the trainee prefers it that way. Online coaching usually forces the trainee to stay in one place (usually its house). Since local coaching sessions are 1-on-1 meetings, then they can be held anywhere. This means that both coach and trainee might choose a neutral place, where the trainee would feel more comfortable, and there would be less stress and fewer distractions.
Choosing local coaching over online coaching might prove to involve high maintenance of the process. Keeping the meetings on a certain schedule, having to show up and put an effort, might be discouraging, if the trainee thinks that he is not receiving the results he wants fast enough. This might cause the trainee to cancel the sessions on the first sign of difficulty, and sometimes before any real progress had been made.
So What to choose?
To sum things up here is a short list of all the pros:
- Easy to commit to and maintain
- Might be easier to open up to someone who’s not seating next to you
- Opens up a allot of possibilities to choose coaches from
- Doesn’t limit you if there are no local coaches in your area
- Gives a closer, warmer feeling when meeting face to face with the coach
- Can improve the process because of non-verbal information which is being transferred
- The place of the sessions can change all the time to suit the needs of the process and trainee.
As with all decisions made in the coaching process, what to choose is totally up to you. If you are outgoing, likes meeting people, and have a lot of coaches to choose from in the area, then local coaching might be perfect for you.
On the other hand, if conversations over the web do not give you any hardships, and you want the comfortable life, and the ability to choose from all the coaches in the world, then online coaching is definitely for you.
Either way, I think it is best that this choice of local or online coaching would be taken into consideration when choosing the best coach for you.
What do you think? Are there any points I forgot to mention?
If you have any questions, comments or anything else you want to talk to me about, you can leave them at the bottom, or mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org