E-coaching is coaching delivered through a combination of technological modalities ( telephone, email, video conferencing, and web-based “tools”.) It is becoming increasingly popular as it offers benefits, such as flexibility, time and cost effectiveness. However, there are deficits to be considered such as increased cost, hackers, a reduction in the ability to bond, impersonal, not seeing your client in his/her element.
Join our LinkedIn group “Technology for Executive Coaches“, in this group, members engage in discussions and exchange ideas, knowledge and information relating to e-coaching for the top tier of organizations..
I) Text-based tools for e-coaching.
1) Covocative ( http://www.covocative.com ) developed by Matt Poepsel, is an online coaching platform, aiming to improve sales performance. It can be used by a team or an entire enterprise. The platform offers coachees the opportunity to complete a self-assessment and to set goals in specific focus areas they wish to work on. This first step provides the context for subsequent online coaching conversations. Additionally, the coaching process is enriched by coaching exercises that support coachees in approaching their goals.
2) EcoachPro (http://www.ecoachpro.nl/) , developed by Anne Ribbers, Alexander Warringa and Marjanne Peters in the Netherlands, is a coaching platform, which allows text-based communication in both, synchronous (chat) and asynchronous (email) modes. The “CampusCoach” product incorporated in ecoachpro enhances the coaching process with various tools, such as coaching assignments, exercises, journaling. The coaching is delivered by a coach of the eCoachPro network, either purely online or combined with face-to-face coaching. The program can be used by individuals, by teams, or by managers in organizations. It is based on the ABC model and it consists of three phases: a) The analysis phase, mapping coachees´ current situation and formulating goals. b) The internalizing phase, whereby coachees work closely with their coach towards achieving their goal and internalize new behaviours or skills, and c) The final phase, to ensure sustainability of coaching outcomes.
3) The CoachMaster software ( http://thecoachmasternetwork.com/), by Bob Griffiths, is an online text-based tool, which can be used in combination with telephone or video coaching. Based on the GROW model, the CoachMaster software consists of question sets and processes focusing on various coaching issues, such as time management, sales, career issues, intercultural issues, weight loss and other. It can be used synchronously, as a basis for a coaching session or asynchronously, between sessions.
4) The eCoach System ( http://www.enabling-genius.com/ecoaching/)– by Myles Downey, (co-creator with Tim Gallwey, of The Inner Game eCoach system and a Director at eCoach Ltd)- is a coaching system, without a coach. It is composed of strings of questions that are linked – allowing the user to think and then ‘follow interest’. The system offers a Performance eCoach, a ’Leading my Team’ eCoach and a Career eCoach plus many short versions e.g. giving feedback, and it can be configured to address specific aims or needs. Currently under development are also the Learning and Development eCoach, and the Sales eCoach.
5) Virtual Coaching -”VC” (https://www.virtuelles-coaching.com/) developed by Prof. Dr. Harald Geissler, is an online text-based platform designed to enhance telephone coaching. The tool consists of web-based sets of coaching questions, which can be used in a synchronous mode, as a basis for a session, or in an asynchronous mode, between sessions giving the client the opportunity to reflect. VC offers several coaching modules, among which, goal attainment, decision-making, problem- solving, sales, leadership, transfer coaching as well as self-coaching.
II) Virtual reality platforms and simulation tools.
6) CAI (http://www.kic.berninger-schaefer.de/virtuelles-coaching/bedeutung-cai.html) – Dr. Elke Berninger-Schäfer.
The Karlsruhe Institute for Coaching (KIC) is offering coaching for organizations, teams and individuals by adopting a systemic, solution-focused approach and by using an innovative e-coaching system – CAI ( Cyber Anthropoethic Intelligence). The 3 elements of the program – cyber, anthropoethic, intelligence – reveal the principles of the institute: Offering intelligent and client-centered (anthropos= person) solutions and using technology to facilitate coaching, that is independent of location and time. The e-coaching program encompasses various tools, synchronous and asynchronous, such as telephone, email, video communication, instant chat and avatar-based 3D worlds. Aside from virtual coaching for individuals, teams and self-coaching, the institute is also offering professional e-coach training programs to prepare coaches for working in virtual environments.
7) LPS Cocoon® ( http://www.lpscocoon.de) developed by Christiane Grabow, is a virtual constellation business coaching tool, which enables coaching clients to visualize their thoughts and to simulate their developmental process. This 3D software is an interactive tool consisting of 13 symbolic, virtual sculptures in different shapes, and which is used during telephone or VoiP coaching sessions. The client version is a free download and the software exists in german and in english.
8) ProReal (http://www.proreal.co.uk), by David Tinker and Andrew Jackson, is a virtual reality platform designed for coaches, consultants and therapists. Using plain, androgynous avatars, clients can select different postures and captions to express their emotional states. In addition, the software offers a metaphoric landscape and a variety of tools, such as a clock, a key, a wall etc. in which, clients can visually represent their situation. This virtual reality platform enhances the coaching process, as it provides a visual and dynamic element and allows the distance coach to gain further insights into the client´s issue.
III) E-coaching platforms
9) CoachAccountable (http://www.coachaccountable.com) is an e-coaching tool, developed by John Larson. The purpose of this tool is twofold: Firstly, it supports coaches in organizing, securely storing and having easy access to the information they have about their coaching clients. Secondly, the tool enables asynchronous communication between coach and client through an in-built email system, as well as through a shared repository, consisting of coaching sessions´ plans and notes. CoachAccountable can be used to set coaching goals, to develop action plans, to set reminders and use metrics to visualize progress. Moreover, the tool allows the entry of notes, coaching assignments and journaling, all of which is shared by both, coach and client. John Larson explains the rationale for creating this software in his article “Why I Think Coaching can be So Much More: The Reasoning Behind CoachAccountable”
10) CoachingCloud (www.coachingcloud.com), owned by James Stokes, is an online platform for both mentors and coaches. Through this platform, coaches and mentors can book their sessions, add and save session notes, have conversations online, view clients´ goals and outcomes and create online coaching modules. The platform supports clients between sessions, helping them to manage their goals, activities and outcomes.
11) JournalEngine ( http://www.journalengine.com/) , developed by Kim Ades offers coaches a variety of tools: Journaling, is a way for clients to write their reflections and share them with their coach. The platform also allows coaches to share content, give homework to the client as well as, to set milestones and check the progress made, social networking and private messaging. It can be used for coaching an individual or group coaching.
12) Lifecoachhub ( https://www.lifecoachhub.com) is a platform for life and business coaching. Clients select a life or a business coach and book a free initial appointment. Coaching is delivered exclusively online, using a variety of tools , such as journaling, goal tracking, homework assignments. In addition, it offers free access to articles and tips written by coaches on various coaching themes.
13) My360 plus (www.my360plus.com) provides reports and coaching suggestions based on feedback given by clients´ work colleagues. It also facilitates on-going dialogue and online peer coaching. After completing a survey to assess their strengths, clients choose their online network of “observers” ( boss,and peers). As clients work on their developmental goals, their observers provide feedback online, with detailed explanations and coaching comments. The tool can be used for individual, team and organizational development.
14) Pario Associates (http://www.pario-innovations.com) ( CEO David Sharpley) offers online resources for coaches, such as options to set up questionnaires and to create series of coaching modules. The modules are delivered at intervals and may include links to other resources (e.g videos). The Pario online Leadership Course uses this approach, but also offers Clients the option of an initial, two-day, face-to-face workshop. Subsequent Skype coaching is another option, and 360 degree feedback might follow 3 – 6 months after the programme has been completed.
15) The Coaching Tools Company (http://www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com) , owned by Emma-Louise Elsey, offers over 80 coaching exercises, templates and tools for coaches, as well as a lot of free resources. These tools are intended as a support for coaches, and for clients to achieve their goals. The website includes tools for career coaching, life coaching, time-management, business coaching and tools for workshops.
IV) Other supporting tools
16) Face Pattern Recognition (http://www.facepatternrecognition.com/) by Naomi Tickle, is a tool for coaches, to identify clients´ traits from photographs. The method can help the coach tell some things about the client from a photo thereby enriching the remote coaching process.
V) Sharing files and session follow-up
17) The following tools can be used for sharing files and session follow-up:
- SurveyMonkey ( www.surveymonkey.com) for pre-/post-session follow-up
- Google Docs ( www.docs.google.com) – useful for shared Word/Excel docs.
- Dropbox ( www.dropbox.com) for document sharing
- Sky Remote ( http://shop.skype.com/apps/Desktop-whiteboard-sharing/SkyRemote.html) and Webex ( www.webex.com) for shared document view
- IDroo ( http://idroo.com/) whiteboarding for sharing notes