It is often said that the world is becoming a smaller place. With the advent of the Internet and later social media, it has begun to feel increasingly like even someone on the other side of the world is at the other side of the road.
Business has mirrored life in this respect. More and more work is now internet-based, so it’s not always necessary to stay in the office, with many now working from home more often than being in the office. Similarly, this has affected the distribution of internal teams. No longer is it particularly necessary for everyone on a team to be based in the same office, the same city or indeed even the same country. Even if they are, the team’s Manager may be frequently away on business thus unable to always be available to monitor what their employees are doing or be available in person to solve problems and delegate work.
As one can imagine, this brings about certain difficulties in itself, and while there is much debate on the topic as to just how much of an effect these have, there is a reason why most bosses prefer to be there to mentor their staff face-to-face rather than have to take measures to be able to distance coach. Video calling with the likes of Skype, of course, can be used to mitigate some of the difficulties and create a more face-to-face feel, but nothing is quite the same as simply being there.
Why is this the case? Well, without getting into too much detail, let’s apply this in the context of a Sales team. Matters in a busy environment such as this usually revolve around what’s reasonably convenient and quick. If both parties get 15 unexpected free minutes out of a busy day, an on- the-fly coaching session can be arranged to go through a staff member’s performance. This is not so easy when the Sales Manager is a few thousand miles away on a business trip, and a meeting must be scheduled for both to stick to (let’s not even go into the potential time differential making things that much harder) and when one has to cancel, the meeting ends up being put back to the point where the conversation’s subject matter has lost relevance over time. There is also a degree of being unsure of whether the person is paying enough attention and properly understanding – can the coach be sure that the rep is actually retaining and taking on board what is being said?
What can be done to combat these problems? We need to really think of a way in which coaching does not lose any value due to being over a distance, but still giving that relevant, in-the-moment feeling? One way is to be able to give staff something to keep – something that enables them to go back and relate their coaching notes to the exact moment they refer to and make improvements based upon that. If this can be done at any time with an accessible bank of best practice, Managers at a distance can rest assured that their points are still getting across effectively, not to mention not having to board a plane to make sure that’s the case!
If you’ve experienced the above headaches and are looking at how to make coaching over a distance easier and more powerful, check out Enable to see how it can help drive your team’s performance.comments powered by Disqus