Online life coaching, is it better than local coaching?

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

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.

The pros

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.How an online session might look like

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 cons

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

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 pros

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.

The cons

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:

Online coaching:

  • 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

Local coaching:

  • 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 ido@findingacoach.com

9 thoughts on “Online life coaching, is it better than local coaching?

  1. DanielHauge

    What you’re doing here is so useful! It is very exciting and helpful. A lot of people need to educate themselves, and a life coach is the perfect tool for that. In my opinion, everyone should get life coaching. I also like that you write in a very detailed and thorough manner. Also, it is written in a very easy to understand language. I am definitely going to bookmark this page.

    • ido

      Thanks, Daniel,

      Like you said, life coaching can help anyone grow and experience life more vividly.

      That’s why i’ve started this blog, and i’m so glad that you find it useful!

      As a coach myself, I experience changes that people are going through on a daily basis, and the energy and satisfaction to know that someone in this world lives better because of my help, just fills me up.

      Enjoy the blog, and share with us any thoughts on the matter.

  2. Yeah. I agree. Coaching online is much better then in person.

  3. Tyler Redlev

    Online coaching is an interesting concept. I haven’t heard about it until i’ve read your article. I don’t know if it’s good or bad or effective enough, but in this new era of internet domination i think it’s one great alternative that’s trending.
    Considering that your coach doesn’t need to be with you physically 24/7, it may be a good idea.

    • ido

      Like you said, the fact that the coaching sessions don’t actually need to be face to face, than online coaching via skype, for example, makes life coaching that much more accessible for people. A lot of people are using this alternative since it’s usually more convenient in terms of time and energy.

  4. Simone

    You mention some very good points regarding online life coaching vs in person or local life coaching. I agree that the convenience of online life coaching is a really big seller for most.

    I decided to seek counseling via a social worker a few years ago. At the time my schedule was so packed I had no idea how I would fit these sessions into my life. But I knew I needed to. This person was local, however she offered evening phone sessions. It was because of this that I decided to move forward with it. I probably would not have gone if it had to be in person.

    I think the perfect blend between online and local would be a skype call with video. That way you can still be in the comfort of your home, but both the coach and the client can see one another. Of course, there can still be technology drawbacks, but as technology advances for many of us, hopefully this will not be an issue for much longer!

    • Ido

      I agree that doing a skype call with video would be the best fit in terms of integrating local and online approaches.

      It all depends on the trainee, and with what makes him feel more comfortable. The main issue in coaching is to have the trainee reach the set goals that were agreed upon in the beginning of the process. If he feels that online coaching would get him more progress, even though the sound quality is less then perfect (for example) then, by all means, do it!

  5. Anh Nguyen

    Hello,
    I haven’t considered finding a coach yet, this post gives very good overview on these 2 services. Personally, I prefer it be someone in real life rather than online. But I think, depending on the location, the coaches may be not as good and you might want to search online.

    I think about that because I live in a small country so maybe it’s harder to find better quality coaches.
    All the best!

    • Ido

      Interesting point.

      I truly believe that “good” or “bad” is relative to the way the trainee perceives the process, in terms of getting the results he wants.
      I think that since the focus of the process is the trainee, the most important thing is that he would feel comfortable.

      If you feel that it would suite you better to speak with someone “real”, then what you might consider is trying the local coaches first, and see if there is a connection with any of them.

      If you still don’t find the right coach for you, then you can try online coaching instead.

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