The Benefits of Phone-Based Coaching for Millennials

Sep 17, 2019

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

Millennials want to be coached and rate coaching as a top workplace benefit. As you already know, coaching can be delivered in-person or online. But have you considered phone-based coaching? It is less personal than face-to-face engagement and more intimate than online interaction.

Coaching people over the phone reduces transference of emotions

Emotional expressions guide everyday behaviours. They reflect our emotional states, attitudes and intentions. In a coaching situation, our facial expressions also create perceptions about a given situation. This is a double-edged sword: inability to correctly process facial expressions can lead to the wrong perceptions, poor judgements and adverse consequences; positive or encouraging facial gestures can communicate support, harmony and acceptance.

During in-person coaching sessions, the impact of engagement is dictated not only by the content shared but also the coach’s body language and physical presence. It can put the coachee at ease and sustain focus OR feel intimidating and judgmental. Coaches who are aware of body language cues and have adapted to a friendly style of coaching are better positioned to win coachee’s trust than those who are unaware of the effect of their non-verbal expressions.

Phone-based coaching reduces the transference of emotions, helping create an environment for non-judgmental engagement. This is not to suggest that in-person coaching inherently creates negative emotions, rather, positing phone-based coaching as a better option for millennial workers.

Are millennial workers judgmental?

No one generation is more judgmental than the other. Millennial are not a rare breed as is often sensationalised. Sure, they may prioritize experiences over ownership and crave collaboration, but millennial workers aren’t a whole lot different from counterparts from other generations. An IBM survey finds that millennial value transparency, ethics and consistency in leaders. Extending these results to perceptions of coaches, millennials can be expected to be more comfortable and accepting of coaches who engage them openly and honestly.

Other benefits of phone-based coaching

Coaching over the phone is convenient; it can be scheduled conveniently and efficiently. There are no geographical boundaries to worry about, and telephonic systems are easy to implement (and already in place globally).

Phone-based coaching offers coaches the opportunity to modulate their breathing and pauses, as well as understand coachee’s mood and attitude through similar expressions over the phone, perhaps even grasp what is unsaid to conduct effective sessions. Coaches can also choose their expressions more carefully and provide sharper insights without interference from facial and hand gestures.

In-person coaching comes with certain obligations: to arrive well-groomed and appear completely invested in the session. When the same session occurs over the phone, both the coach and coachee can relax in their own space and connect comfortably without worrying about how they might come across.

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