Sometimes it seems like our entire lives pivoted to digital in the last few years — everything from meetings and happy hours to workouts and baby showers now occurs online..
A Pew Research study found, as a result of the pandemic, 90% of Americans now consider the internet integral to daily life. This is a major shift from pre-pandemic habits; 81% admitted they rarely did video calls before 2020, and 40% started using digital technology in new or different ways since the outbreak. As more of our work takes place exclusively online, business leaders are leveraging different opportunities to train and unite their employees. A major part of this trend is the major shift toward digital coaching. The industry is growing rapidly and valued at $22 billion.
Here are some of these advantages to digital coaching that are accelerating its rise.
What is digital coaching?
Digital coaching occurs entirely online, through web-based video or audio chat sessions that run between 30 to 90 minutes. Digital coaching sessions are led by a professional certified coach and trained to facilitate growth and development for coachees. The coach can provide objective feedback, and recommend further steps for growth.
Keep in mind, digital coaching is different from online counseling or therapy. Counseling has a therapeutic focus; most people looking for counseling or therapy hope to get emotional or psychiatric support. Coaching is focused on guiding a person to achieve future objectives.
The importance of digital coaching today
Hybrid approaches to work have now become standard throughout most of the world. In the U.S. alone, nearly 5 million people are working fully or partially remote. This drastic change to the way we work has meant business leaders from all industries have been challenged to innovate their approach to people development. This is especially urgent considering the flexibility and resilience needed amongst employees given the uncertainty of our current global marketplace; changes to supply chains and the impact of global instability have prompted organizational pivots that impact the daily tasks and workloads of many employees.
Whereas once technical skills were the primary focus of employee training, now organizations are prioritizing behavioral capabilities. In the 2022 CoachHub Global HR Study, 40% of business leaders indicated their employee development plans are built around a blend of technical and behavioral skills for individual roles. Over a third said their development programs focused on individual technical responsibilities, and 23% said theirs was built around behavioral skills alone.
Employees themselves are looking for professional guidance now more than ever, especially in the wake of the Great Resignation. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 4 million Americans resigned from their workplaces in July 2021 — combined with higher than normal resignation rates in the preceding months this left a record-breaking 10.9 million jobs open by the end of July. Turnover has been highest amongst mid-career employees; the Harvard Business Review found resignation rates in this group increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021.
It’s clear that managers need to do a better job providing employee development in a hybrid workplace, in order to help employees adapt to today’s pressures and thrive in their professions. Nine out of 10 executives expect to continue blending on site and digital collaboration using a hybrid working model post-pandemic, according to McKinsey. Finding the right digital coaching program to maximize employee engagement can be fundamental. It can have a significant impact on your employee’s experience and progress. Not only have organizations realized the valuable investment of online coaching, but employees themselves are looking for professional guidance now more than ever.
Pros of virtual coaching vs. in-person coaching
Coaching is a valuable tool to improve work performance, relationships and communication skills. The International Institute of Coaching has found 86% of companies saw a return on their investment in digital coaching.
Here are five key advantages of digital coaching:
Alignment with business goals
It’s easy to focus your digital coaching strategy to align with your business goals — this is part of our expertise at CoachHub. As a digital coaching platform, we work hand-in-hand with your team to understand business issues and pain points, then develop customized KPIs to help measure the progress of your team and arm your leaders with the information they need to maximize the behavioral strengths within your workforce. With the advanced metrics enabled through digital coaching you can determine your organization’s unique version of success and measure this throughout the program.
Choosing your coach is one of the most important steps to a successful coaching program; not only does your coach need to support your corporate culture, but it’s essential for coaches and coachees to feel a personal rapport. This is where traditional coaching programs often fail, as companies typically hire one coach to meet with multiple employees, without giving employees the freedom of choice to find a coach who best matches their values.
In a digital environment, employees have access to coaches across the globe, with diverse backgrounds and experiences. CoachHub’s proprietary algorithm leverages technological advancements to match coachees and coaches, allowing every manager, leader and executive in your company the flexibility to choose the best coach for them.
Our world has become increasingly personalized and employees now expect tailor-made programs and incentives. One of the key benefits of digital coaching training is that each session is highly customized to the individual needs, schedules, goals and preferences of each employee. With tailored digital coaching, the pace of each session and the instructional approach are optimized to enhance individual engagements, resulting in a more practical session and a higher quality experience for the coachee.
Comfort and convenience
Digital coaching makes it possible to engage in personal and professional development at any time, from anywhere. Coachees can manage all aspects of the program online, during work hours or on personal time.
Participating in coaching sessions from the comfort of your home could allow for more privacy and fewer distractions. The freedom to choose and control their environment can help them bypass the psychological challenges of going out for coaching sessions.
Workplace diversity and inclusion has become a high priority for organizations. With digital coaching, this becomes even easier to achieve. There are fewer boundaries in a digital world, allowing coachees to access coaches in any language, walk of life or global region. This creates a more diverse and inclusive online space for all coaches, coachees and organizations looking for a global experience.
How is virtual coaching transforming organizations?
Virtual coaching is one of the best tools companies can use to help their workforce elevate their wellbeing and reach their best potential. The International Institute of Coaching found 70% of workers who have access to coaching improved their work performance, relationships, and communication skills.
Digital coaching has transformed the way companies approach the development of their managers and employees, helping them look into more personal areas that go way beyond work. As Mike P. from SoundCloud said, “My CoachHub coach has surpassed my expectations in helping me focus on one of the most commonly overlooked areas in the fast-paced environment that is the tech industry — myself… To be able to focus on my personal tooling and having the ability to dive even deeper into individual growth has been a much welcome experience among all the successes and challenges here at SoundCloud.”
Self-development and self-work are vital for employee growth and better work performance. Online coaching allows employees to set healthy boundaries around their work-life balance. It helps them establish strategies to manage their time and energy at work and in their day to day lives.
Certainly, one of the most compelling ways to improve employee engagement is through coaching. It elevates the morale of the whole organization and helps create alignment between the core values of a company and the unique personalities of all its members. Now that it’s widely available through the virtual world, more companies of all sizes and from different industries can enjoy its benefits.
Virtual coaching encompasses all the tremendous perks of standard coaching plus more significant advantages that make it a well rounded tool.