More than most of the other emerging human service endeavors, professional coaching is a product of the new technologies. Many coaches do most of their work over the telephone and through use of their computers. It is almost a prerequisite that an article written about coaching include a picture of a coach sitting on her deck in Wyoming looking over the magnificent Grand Teton mountains, while phone-coaching her client in Pittsburg or New York City. Rachel could be on vacation in Wyoming or even Peru and still coach Sam, just as Sam could call Rachel during his trip to visit a hospital in Tokyo. Of course, there are major boundary issues for both Rachel and Sam. When is Rachel truly on vacation and shouldn’t Sam concentrate on the major cross-cultural challenges he is facing in Japan rather than hiding out in his room and calling Rachel?
Technology is likely to continue its influence on professional coaching. It may even profoundly change the character and dynamics of professional coaching. We are likely to see not only telephone-coaching, but also videophone coaching in the near future. Coaches are already making use of Skype and other computer-based communication tools so that they might not only reduce transmission costs but might also be able to see their client and be seen by their client via inexpensive video-cameras attached to their computer. Will Rachel and Sam soon subscribe to Skype and purchase web-cams to supplement their in-person and telephone meetings?
As the speed of transmission increases, we can anticipate even more extensive and skillful use of video-coaching and video-conferencing. We will also witness the expanded use of various hand-held communication devices, such as the Blackberry, IPad and IPhone, and the concomitant use of brief text-based interactions between coach and client—a form of just-in-time-coaching that will be valued in particular by younger, computer-savvy leaders who like to address and resolve issues quickly and want a coach at their side (on their IPad) who can move just as quickly in engaging this issue-resolution process. Rachel and Sam may be “too old” or too much out of touch with the mega-fast world of text-messaging; however, they will certainly have to be conversant with these new technologies if they are to work successfully with younger clients (Rachel) or younger employees (Sam).Download Article 1K Club