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Fans of the work of Ingmar Bergman, will appreciate the importance of silence in human interaction. In coaching too, silence can be golden. But just how does that work in a telephone session? John Charlton explains Silence is a really important part of good coaching. A good coach knows silence indicates reflection,” says independent coach Marianne Craig. However, coaches need to know how to work with it, particularly if they’re coaching over the phone. Those new to phone coaching, and even the more experienced, may wonder whether the client is reflecting, distracted or even if the line has gone down. […]

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2 replies
  1. Mrs Anji Marychurch
    Mrs Anji Marychurch says:

    A very useful article which summarises and mirrors my experience as a career coach and mentor. I initially transitioned from working with individuals face to face in 2002 and was a bit sceptical of it’s benefits. About 75% of my clients are happy with this way, even tho’ we usually find a way to meet if they are in the UK or Europe.
    I am now a firm believer that working remotely can certainly achieve as great an intimacy and depth as I’d experienced previously when working F2F with individuals.
    With now more than 3,000 coaching hours I would go further and say that greater disclosure is the norm on calls, helped by the fact that more people are used to this way of working.
    Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with Ruth that the quality of the coach is key especially in the areas of creating a safe environment, building intimacy and trust with the client and using excellent listening – core coaching skills par excellence!

    Anji Marychurch

  2. Ruth Paris
    Ruth Paris says:

    Thanks for a useful article, John. I was sorry to notice that nobody had commented so thought I’d break the silence so you know there is somebody here!
    I’d like to echo the points made by Erik and Glynis about the positive aspects of telephone coaching: the freedom to dive straight to the heart of a specific issue with an intense focus enables people to achieve results that can surprise them if they haven’t experienced telephone coaching before.
    At Coaching on Call, where we offer on-demand telephone coaching, we consistently receive positive feedback from people who were intitially sceptical about how useful a half hour telephone conversation could be, saying afterwards that they were able to feel safe to explore much more deeply than they would have in a face to face situation. Of course this is a testament to the calibre of our excellent coaches – I completely agree with Professor Clutterbuck about the quality of the coach required for this work but our experience strongly challenges his assumption that telephone work is shallow.
    I’d be interested to know other people’s experience or thoughts on this. Best wishes, Ruth Paris

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