Today, for more people than ever before, a virtual coach is the secret weapon behind lasting personal and professional growth. In fact, few stronger tools exist for those who want to make lasting, positive changes in their lives.
As the virtual coaching space continues to grow in both size and popularity, new users understandably have some questions about how it all works. While not all coaching is the same and there exist a number of different methods and services, this post aims to educate, in a general sense, on what you need to know about hiring a virtual coach.
A quick disclaimer: Some insight included in this post stems from a)plan coaching’s own coaching method, which has unique features that are not found with every coaching service. To that end, take note of any a)plan-specific highlights as they may not speak for the broader virtual coaching space. With that, let’s jump in and get aligned on some of the basics.
What Is a Virtual Coach?
A virtual coach is a type of life and career coach who meets with their clients online, through a computer app like Zoom, or a mobile app, like the a)plan coaching app.
Until recent decades, there was no such thing as a virtual coach. Rather, coaching practices revolved around in-person meetings and training. But with the emergence of new, more efficient coaching platforms, a virtual coaching session can happen any time, any place, and with more flexibility for both the virtual coach and the client.
Virtual coaching is designed to support individuals in their pursuit of reaching new heights, and that can mean many different things. For some people, a virtual coach helps them get more out of their relationships. For others, it’s about navigating a workplace or transitioning to a new role. At a)plan coaching, the common denominator among our clients is that we always build on what is already working, instead of trying to “fix” what isn’t. This forms a foundation for our clients to experience powerful breakthroughs as they work towards their goals.
Who Uses a Virtual Coach?
The short answer is that anyone can benefit from working with a virtual coach. That goes for parents, young professionals, CEOs, managers, retirees, and more. With a)plan, finding a coach who looks like a good fit for you revolves around picking one of the 48+ coaches from our diverse roster. Then, after some initial onboarding, you and your coach hit the ground running with our launch exercises.
While this post mainly speaks to individuals, it’s also worth noting that virtual coaching is embraced by both individuals and organizations. In recent years, coaching has emerged as one of the best employee retention strategies for companies looking to double down on their most valuable talent.
Some of the most compelling evidence for the effectiveness of virtual coaching is the fact that today’s top companies are using virtual coaches to improve culture, performance, and employee engagement. For anyone interested in hiring a coach, it is reassuring to know that top institutions like Google, Deloitte, and Stanford University are investing heavily in this movement.
4 Virtual Coaching Best Practices
Whether you’re just beginning your coaching experience, or are thinking about starting, it’s good to get a head start with some virtual coaching best practices. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to get more out of coaching, faster. Here are four key virtual coaching best practices.
1. Invest in the Process
To get the most out of your virtual coach, you will need to invest time and brainpower. While virtual coaching sessions occur once a week for a)plan users, the impact of coaching extends far beyond those weekly sessions. Reflecting on what you really want in life needs to happen on your own time. Your coach will help you get there, but they can’t create that vision for you. Investing in the coaching process means training yourself to be more mindful and aware of your habits, how you’re currently living, and what you might want to change.
2. Find a Rhythm that Works for You
One of the beautiful things about virtual coaching is that the virtual aspect can take many forms. Some coaching clients prefer to sit down at a desk and video-chat with their coach every week. Others prefer phone calls. Maybe you want to FaceTime into a virtual coaching session while taking a walk around your local park. Finding a process that works for you will make it that much easier (and fun!) to fully invest in the coaching process. And since coaching is all about you, your coach will do everything they can to accommodate your preferences.
3. Write Down Your Goals and Habits
Some people already do this before starting their coaching journey. If that sounds like you, you’re ahead of the curve. The benefits of writing things down are well documented, and in coaching, your notes help provide a roadmap of where you’ve been and where you want to go. With a)plan, our method is designed and proven to help you reach your goals. One of the very first steps in that process is to get clear on your goals, then document them in the a)plan app so we have a few steady targets to work towards.
4. Lean on Your Virtual Coach
As your own dedicated thought partner, your coach is there to support YOU. And with a)plan, coaching clients gain access to unlimited texting with their coach. Our suggestion? Don’t sleep on this feature! This is yet another benefit of the “virtual” aspect of modern-day coaching. There are few things more powerful than always having a support system in your back pocket (literally… in the form of an app on your phone), and that support system can be used for anything. Need someone with whom to celebrate a big win? Text your virtual coach. Need a pep talk the day before a big presentation? Text your virtual coach. The point is, lean on your coach as much as possible to fully reap the benefits of the coaching experience.
Moving Forward with a Virtual Coach
The most challenging part of making a significant life or career change is simply to start. For any number of reasons, it can take a while to build the motivation and courage to take that first step. But once you do, some powerful things happen immediately. Most a)plan users report an immediate sense of accomplishment for making a meaningful life and/or career decision. Then, as they get to know their virtual coach, the sky truly becomes the limit.