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In the traditional model of executive coaching, sessions are conducted in person with either the coach traveling to the client’s workplace or the client meeting in the coach’s office. When face-to-face meetings are not possible, sessions are conducted by telephone. This traditional model assumes the availability of time as well as a healthy budget for leadership development.

However, current business trends have made these assumptions increasingly harder to justify and have challenged the traditional ‘delivery’ method for executive coaching.

The 2008 recession resulted in a significantly reduced workforce but not with less work. This increased the amount of workload per employee. Concurrent to these challenges, competition only became fiercer.  To keep pace, many organizations shifted toward more aggressive strategies, be it in their pricing, expanding into unknown global markets, or engaging in opportunistic M&A. For many organizations, the combination of aggressive positioning and more disciplined spending largely paid off for the bottom line. However, the human capital bottom line has felt less plump. Executives navigating in this demanding environment have described feeling like a candle being burned at both ends. They are working harder than ever just to stay afloat in their overflowing email inboxes, let alone maneuver unknown business territories and confront treacherous competition head-on. In this business paradigm, the need for strong leadership competencies, management skills, and personal proficiency is vital. While executive coaching is a compelling solution for cultivating these skills and capacities, today’s executives have increasingly less time, bandwidth, and resources for executive development.

Coaches have addressed some of these constraints by implementing two strategies:

  1. Increase telephone sessions: Telephone is the cheapest and most convenient way to engage a coaching session. However, the most honest of coaches will acknowledge the painful feeling that arises when muted pecks on a keyboard or a blackberry can be heard during a session. Multi-tasking has been a go-to strategy for coping with so much demand, and a coaching session can supply an executive with a very convenient window to pull out their blackberry when visual feedback is not present.
  2. Utilizing a consumer-grade video-conferencing system: To combat the multitasking issue and achieve aspects of a face-to-face scenario, some coaches will utilize Skype, Oovoo, or alternative consumer level video-conferenceing tools to engage their coaching sessions. While this eliminates the multitasking issue and captures aspects of non verbal behavior, wide variability in audio and visual quality can significantly diminish both the exchange of information as well as important relational cues that get lost through an echo, delay in data transmission, and/or blurry/pixelated video resolution.

Personal telepresence is a third solution that is highly underutilized due to perceived barriers for entry. Personal telepresence delivers the convenience of a telephone conversation while capturing the invaluable relationship-building elements of a face-to-face meeting. Unlike its consumer-grade peers (i.e. Skype), telepresence is an enterprise level solution that transmits high definition (HD) video and audio so that meetings are nearly life-like. Up until several years ago, telepresence solutions required large capital investments into hardware, server units, and IT Support. More recently, however, personal telepresence soutions have been developed that eliminate most of the expensive  hardware and enable secure, HD video conferencing meetings to occur from a desktop, laptop, or tablet.

For an executive coaching engagement, this enables high-impact, near face-to-face coaching, but without the immense sacrifice in time, costs, and carbon footprint that the traditional delivery model entails.

To learn more, please contact us and one of our consultants would be glad to discuss how an AIIR solution can meet your development objectives.

Jonathan Kirschner, Psy.D.

CEO, AIIR Consulting, LLC