Coaching follows a pattern laid down long ago by medical practitioners — one-on-one consultations. Telephone conversations are a 140-year old addition to coaching. e-Mail is a business efficiency protocol in use some 30 years before the World Wide Web made it the public phenomenon we know today.
The advantages of e-mail are well known. We list here the advantages of e-mail as they relate to business coaching.
— e-Mail coaching is convenient, flexible, efficient, and takes a few minutes a day.
— e-Mail coaching requires no appointment – have a question, shoot off an e-mail and I’ll answer the same or following day.
— No fixed schedule to tie you down.
— No rearranging or stopping your work to be available for an appointment.
— No delay waiting a week or more before you can consult with your coach.
— No driving to your coach’s office or other meeting place.
— No sore ears from an hour on the telephone.
— No hour-long meetings at all.
— No (or less) miscommunication due to misspoken or misunderstood words. Written words in e-mail are specific and easily re-read.
— No forgotten conversations – e-mail is archived and easily referred to later.
— e-Mail coaching works best for continuous coaching covering multiple topics in an ongoing business.
Myths About e-Mail Coaching
Consulting by telephone is more attractive than e-mail coaching — it lets people set an appointment with their coach when it’s convenient for them.
— But then you must wait until the appointed time. You must arrange your business around the appointment, and make sure you are still available at that time. With e-mail coaching, you can send an e-mail at any time, day or night, as the thought comes to you. You will know your coach will receive it, read it and respond to you well before any telephone appointment you might have made.
People expect to get their money’s worth and the telephone uses their time more efficiently.
— Time flies when you are talking on the phone; not to mention the time dialing, waiting for the person to answer, greetings and salutations and small-talk before you get down to business.
If one e-mail takes 2 minutes to write and 1 minute to read, you can write and send 15 e-mails or receive and read 30 e-mail messages in that same half hour, an average of 22 e-mail messages in both directions. You can cover more business in 22 e-mail messages than in a 30 minute conversation: especially when you consider all the small-talk, pleasantries and tangents that happen in a telephone conversation, but not in e-mail. e-Mail coaching is focused, specific and efficient.
e-Mail Coaching is tedious. For people running a business every day, e-mails take up too much time.
— e-Mail takes up a huge amount of time, if you get a lot of emails. How much are you accomplishing with your e-mail conversations? If you are not covering a lot of ground and making your business more efficient by using e-mail, you are not using e-mail wisely. e-Mail was created as a business efficiency tool. You should be able to get more business done with a 2-minute e-mail than you do with a 2-minute telephone conversation.
The only time the telephone is superior is when an immediate answer is necessary and you know you can reach the person you are calling instantly. How often does that happen in your life? How often do you dial the number, wait for it to ring, listen to a long answering machine message about ‘more options’ and leave a message? e-Mail is designed for the careful exchange of precise information, not for when an immediate response is needed. (And much of the time the telephone doesn’t do that job well, either.)
It doesn’t get much easier than picking up a phone and talking to your business coach.
— If you spend much time on your computer, your e-mail app. is even closer than your telephone. If you are very mobile, your email app is on the same device as your telephone. You can even send an e-mail when you are in a meeting where a telephone call would be unacceptable. e-Mail coaching is discrete.
For time-strapped entrepreneurs, telephone coaching lets you maintain a coaching relationship on your terms and timetable.
— Except your terms and timetable must coincide with your coach’s terms and timetable. If your best time is 10pm. and your coach doesn’t work in the evenings, you’re out of luck. With email coaching, you can send your e-mail at 10pm, or even 2am, and your coach can respond the next morning. You can take the reply then or later when it is really convenient for you. e-Mail coaching is a time-saver.
IN A NUTSHELL—-
The telephone was invented in 1876 as a replacement for the telegraph. e-Mail was started in 1962 and was, from its outset, a business efficiency protocol.
The telephone is good for undefined issues and friendly chatter where instant but unprepared comments are acceptable.
e-Mail is good for thoughtful and precise exchange of ideas and information.
We use the telephone for what works best by telephone, and e-mail for what works best in e-mail. I hope you will join us.