We hear a lot about ‘disruptive innovations’ and observe
how technology has precipitated a major shift in the coaching
landscape. While the purists resist and the early adopters
adopt, we have found that adapting to this new medium
while being consistent with our coaching methodology and
values has been an important part of our growth. Remote
coaching has allowed us to expand into the U.S. and Asian
markets and support remote areas of our own geographically
dispersed country here in Australia.
From a background in business psychology, our coaching
solution has been designed around the fundamentals of
behavior change. This combines the art (soft skills) and science
(measurement) of coaching to facilitate tangible and
observable development outcomes. Adapting the art while
also sticking to the science has allowed us to deliver the same
compelling outcomes for our remote clients as our ‘in person’
clients. For example, in our career transition business,
our remote clients transition their career in the same timeframe
with the same increase in remuneration compared to
clients whom we meet in person. 

In this article, I will share the three key elements that have
had the greatest impact on delivering powerful outcomes for
our remote clients.

1. Maps & Outcomes

Having structured Master Action Plans [MAPs] in place for
each coaching engagement adds the rigour that we need to
define and measure behavior change with specific on-thejob
examples. Each client works on two to four MAPs detailing
the action plan in ‘observable behaviors.’ Translating
actions into observable behaviors takes discipline from the
coach, and this is particularly critical in measuring outcomes
for remote based clients.
An example of this is the action to “connect more with
my staff”. While the right intent is there, in this case the observable
behavior is “I’ll have a weekly meeting or call with
each staff member”. The action is subjective, the observable
behavior is objective and binary, meaning it is either
achieved or not; yes or no; 1 or 0.
This structure allows the remote coach to have targeted
and focused meetings with the client based on the achievement
of these MAPs with specific examples and the impact
that this has had. Barriers to achievement are also discussed
with the same level of focus on the actual objective.
With a well-structured MAP and regular reviews, the
‘outcome report’ generated at the end of the engagement is
a celebration of the accumulated progress and success. The
client now has a large bank of evidence that we can use to
demonstrate the incremental actions taken, specific evidence
of behavior change and the tangible impact that this has
had on the business. Finally, correlating this evidence with
the desired business outcomes allows us to achieve that elusive
measurement of return on coaching investment [ROI].
In addition, managing the outcome report process remotely
allows us to stay connected with both the client and
the customer in a compelling and commercial way. This also
protects our brand from the local competition, resulting in
repeat business even though we haven’t met the key procuring
stakeholders in person.

2. Wellness at Work

The neurological science and our own experience shows that
a client’s wellness profile is either a facilitator of their behavior
change or a barrier to their success. As such, we have built
a wellness model that can be deployed in person and remotely.
The focus on cognitive, emotional and behavioral wellness
ensures that clients are making good decisions on all fronts.
The behavioral component of this is defined by a wellness
guide, which we use with our remote clients to scorecard
their wellness profile By engaging in a conversation about
wellness at the start of the program, we are able to facilitate
a client’s wellness plan in parallel to their MAPs. Further, an
online wellness check at the beginning and end of the program
keeps remote clients accountable and provides us with
the evidence that we need to assess the impact we are having.
Our research study in 2014 showed that clients were able
to reduce their stress levels by eight percent and their workload
pressure by 16 percent in six weeks just by making
good decisions on their wellness plan – both statistically significant
results at .05 and .01 confidence levels respectively
for the statisticians.

3. Meeting Cycle & Length

To maintain momentum and accountability, we have found
that both a shorter meeting cycle and meeting length have
been highly effective for our remote clients. While our faceto-
face clients have one- to two-hour meetings weekly, biweekly
or monthly, our remote clients have 30- to 60-minute
sessions more frequently. This regularity embeds the
coach into the client’s life, and the consistency of contact
makes up for any inherent engagement or rapport loss due
to proximity. Overall, the time utilization is the same across
the program; the style is adapted to suit the need.
Every client is different. However, we have found that these
three elements have allowed our remote clients to experience
the same powerful development results linked to tangible
business outcomes. In fact, the added convenience of this medium
has driven an increasing proportion of our local clients
to request a blend of in person and remote sessions.
As a business, the discipline and rigor we have implemented
in remote coaching has opened up new markets and
increased our scalability exponentially. We are by no means
an early adopter, but we are not the laggard either, and remote
coaching is an embraced feature of our solution mix
that we see increasing over time. •