Coaching in a Flexible-Hybrid World
As a coach at Redgate I spend much of my time in one-on-one coaching conversations. These have been over Zoom for a while, but some people are keen to have these conversations face-to-face.
With Redgate embracing a flexible-hybrid way of working, I’ve been experimenting with coaching sessions outside our usual workplace settings rather than relying on Redgate offices for co-located coaching.
Walking Meetings are nothing new, and people have been discussing the benefits of them for years.
More teams having regular co-located days in a Redgate office presents opportunities to meet not only in meeting rooms, but also to take it outside and enjoy a walking coaching session.
For days we’re not already in the same location I’ve found meeting at a half-way point, ideally a nice park or walking route, can lead to an even more relaxed, enjoyable, and insightful conversation.
Coaching Over Coffee
The Great British Weather doesn’t always give the best opportunities for coaching conversations, so sometimes we’ve arranged to meet at a more weather-proof location.
A café or coffee shop can be just as effective a meeting place as a country park or meeting room, with the added atmospheric buzz of other conversations around you. Whether that buzz is welcome ambiance or an unwelcome distraction is a matter of taste.
Pubs may be pushing it a little, though.
What’s gone well?
Giving ourselves so much freedom on where to meet has made co-located coaching sessions easier to arrange, while also being far more appealing, safe, and natural.
The relaxed settings have certainly made for some more engaging conversations and insightful moments than we’ve had in meeting rooms or over Zoom.
They also engender a strong feeling of commitment during the conversation. We’re solely there for each other and our coaching conversation, and able to focus on that commitment entirely.
We’re able to find locations that work for both parties, either capitalising on existing co-location or sharing the burden of travel equally.
What’s been challenging?
Meeting somewhere away from an office will have limited facilities, so we’ve had to plan upfront for any collaboration or note-taking needs.
Informal atmospheres can make it easier to stray off-topic. We’ve had to ensure a meaningful discussion topic or agenda is in place and be disciplined in staying on-track.
We need to give a thought to confidentiality, too. Meeting in public venues seems to have benefits, but some topics simply require a greater level of discretion.
Both people I’ve been coaching and I have found these public-place coaching sessions can be even more impactful than meeting remotely or in an office space. They’ll stay a part of my flexible-hybrid coaching toolkit going forward.
Coaching over Zoom or in a Redgate office will still be the default. A bohemian career of hopping between parks and coffee shops to coach people isn’t beckoning quite yet, but public spaces are proving a powerful tool to make the most of flexible-hybrid working.