If you’ve ever wanted to try coaching, but found yourself a little scared to start, email coaching might be a good starting place for you. It works exactly like in-person or virtual coaching, but it’s a more relaxed and low-pressure approach. Like regular coaching, you get all the support, encouragement, and challenge you need, just through the convenience of email.
What is email coaching?
Email coaching is a modern approach to traditional coaching, where coach and client exchange a set number of emails around one specific issue or topic. The work and expectations are the same. You (as the client) still own the problem and the solution and the coach is there to support, challenge, and encourage. You can cover the same topics through email as you can in person or virtual – career, transitions, mindset, achieving goals, changing habits, and so on. The subject can be small or big.
If you like to think deeply about your life, writing can be a great vehicle for investigation. How well you write something won’t be the interesting thing – it’s about how honest you are with yourself. Are you being truly curious about yourself, your goals, your motives? That’s where it gets fun!
There are many reasons you may be attracted to this type of arrangement. It’s a no-rush, no-pressure engagement you can really sink your teeth into. You do the work – the writing, the exercises, the activities – on your own schedule. There is no clock to work by, no limits of geography, and no camera or audio to fiddle with. You can write on the train, in the backyard, or on vacation. This type of coaching reduces many constraints.
Email coaching gives you a lot of time to think and respond. This is especially nice if you’re a little uncomfortable on the phone or on camera. It also gives you an added layer of privacy if you’re on the road a lot, or don’t have a private space in which to have sensitive conversations.
Perhaps one of the more appealing benefits of email coaching is the clarity you can gain from writing. When you take the time to think and respond carefully, the act of writing can be therapeutic. You may be surprised by what comes up when you take the time to unpack something. Then, in the end, you come away with a written record of the entire interaction. Both you and your coach can review and keep building on the work you’re doing. On top of all that, it’s less costly than traditional face-to-face coaching.
If you don’t like writing, I suggest taking a hard pass on email coaching. You don’t have to be a good writer (heck, even bullet points will get your thoughts across), but you should probably like the act itself, otherwise, you’ll find yourself worn out by the process.
The next important thing to keep in mind is that this will take time. In other words, you need to be committed to a longer process and really engage in the communication. That means sitting with what you receive (from me) and then thoughtfully forming your thoughts and behaviours in response. I’ll still be challenging you to take action, just like I would in a face-to-face engagement. There will be homework, tools, and techniques for you to play with.
The biggest challenge, however, may be around how you and I develop trust and rapport. If we’ve already worked together, we’ve got a leg up, but if we’re new to each other, it may feel impersonal at first. That’s why I send you an elaborate welcome package, through which I hope we learn as much about each other as we can. Another way we can develop our rapport is to have a free (optional) online discovery call, where we get to know each other first. We’ll talk about the process, expectations, and get a good feel for each other.
The coach is not a problem solver, a teacher, an advisor, an instructor, or even an expert; he or she is a sounding board, facilitator … who raises awareness and responsibility. John Whitmore
How does email coaching work?
As a coach, I’ll be reading between the lines, paying attention to the nuances in your writing. Words are powerful, which is one of the strengths of this form of coaching.
For each exchange, I will compile a few meaningful questions for you to consider. Each email is custom-written and tailored to your needs. At the end of every exchange, I will ask you to come up with actions and report back on your progress. Remember, this is your work. The actions (choices, behaviours, etc.) you decide to take will ultimately be your successes. I may offer tools, techniques, and worksheets if I think those will help you reach your desired outcome.
Coaching can take you to uncharted territories that you never thought you would go. Betty Lam, CPCC, PCC
A few common questions
How frequently do we have to write?
The timing of the communications is entirely up to you. You may like the rigour of a weekly schedule, or the flexibility of writing when something arises for you. You may even like the idea of writing urgently at the beginning, and then adding more and more time between communications, as you dig more deeply into the work or become more action-oriented.
This is your program and how you arrange it is up to you, but I do have a suggestion: Start right away. Once you initiate the relationship, dive in. There will likely be some natural momentum right upfront. Use that energy to spark your curiosity and creativity.
How much do I have to write?
You will get out of this process what you put into it. That’s not to say the more you write, the more you get. This isn’t about volume, it’s about quality. Are you being honest with yourself, skirting around the questions, or avoiding yourself? Worry less about how much you’re writing, and simply write until you have nothing left to say.
Are you going to tell me what to do?
Nope, I won’t give you advice. The most important thing to know about any coaching, including email coaching, is all the decisions come from you. The coach is there to observe, carefully consider what you need to break through and encourage you to keep taking small steps towards your goal.
How to get started with email coaching?
It all starts when you request a detailed welcome package. This starter pack helps us get to know each other better and gives you a chance to get clear on what you’d like to work on. Once I have your completed welcome package, and payment is received, you’ll receive your first email from me, initiating the exchange process. If you’ve elected to have a free 30-minute discovery call, we’ll set that up before our first email exchange.
Choosing a coach and a method that suits you is a personal thing. You know yourself best. What would work for you? Do you want a flexible arrangement, where you can work at your own pace? Or do you need a face-to-face experience, with a set schedule? Do you want a complete record of the exchange at the end, or do you prefer to let things go?
There are no wrong answers. Email coaching is just one more option. If you’d like to learn more, book yourself into a complimentary 30-minute discovery call. Or just dive in and request a welcome package today.
Summary of benefits:
- It can be less costly
- It opens up your schedule
- Not limited by geography or time zone
- Lots of time to think and respond
- You get a clear, written record of the entire interaction
- Writing gives you clarity
- It can be therapeutic
- Low pressure and relaxed
- The benefits and advantages of email coaching, on LinkedIn