How many people are you hearing describe the tiredness and fatigue that they feel after a day, let alone a week of ‘Zooming’? And it doesn’t end with work Zooms either. There’s the evening social Zoom, the quiz Zoom, the weekend family Zoom. Video calling can be constant and ongoing due to increased connectivity with work and family (perhaps including across time zones.)
As humans we have a deep-seated survival need to connect with other humans. With COVID, working from home and lockdown (v1 and v2), a solution has been the video call. But are we over valuing its impact?
Pre-COVIDS (remember that) we had teleconferencing and 1-2-1 calls. Yet they seem to have diminished in use, with video-conferencing being favoured. Let’s not forget that voice conference calls and Zoom calls both need high levels of facilitation so all parties can contribute and remain engaged.
Telephone coaching is not unusual for Leadership Coaches
As a leadership coach, telephone coaching is not at all unusual and can be additionally insightful for the very reason that we have both cut out one of our senses – sight.
It may seem counter intuitive to think that not being able to see the person/people your are communicating with can be beneficial. But by removing your sense of sight, your brain can rest an element of processing that hardly ever gets a break in waking hours (assuming you are blessed with sight).
Have you noticed that when you really want to concentrate, you shut your eyes? Often you shut out the people and what’s around you, so you can be free from visual distractions and think in a more focused way.
As a coach, the telephone sessions cause me to listen even more intently. I can still pick up cues and signals beyond the words being spoken. A tone change, or change in pace in a client’s voice is an indicator for me to enquire into that change. How someone is breathing will impact their voice too – someone sitting upright and attentively will have unrestricted breathing, a stronger voice and often show more engagement with the conversation. Someone slouching is restricting their breathing and can then sound less energised, distracted or more distant. Both are worth noticing and providing feedback on. Without visual cues, I have to ask more questions to check I understand rather than assume.
You may believe that face-to-face or by video call will secure a contract. In my experience, I have many clients who I first meet by an email introduction and then a phone call. My first video call with them, if I cannot meet in person, is preferably our first coaching session, but it doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t have to be every session either.
My tips for leaders and teams
- Vary your connection methods throughout the day and where possible change some Zoom calls to voice calls.
- Offer voice call options. It can help those who may feel pressure and judgement over how they ‘should’ look or their surroundings.
- Try walking voice calls when, rather than getting into work details, you want to purely check-in on a team member (encouraging them to be walking too). Great for idea creation too by the way.
- Remember that thinking time is less pressured if someone isn’t looking at you!
If you’d like to work with me or learn more about what I do. Contact me at Dominique@reachnewheights.co.uk