6 Challenges of Remote Working for Coaches | by Jennifer Britton MES, CHRP, CPT, PCC

An increasing number of coaches and our clients globally have found themselves needing to work remotely. While it offers an amazing amount of flexibility it includes several downsides, namely lack of direction, isolation, impact on our motivation, lack of feedback and disconnection from others.

Let's Look at Each of These 6 Remote Working Challenges in Turn:

Challenge 1) Lack of Direction

The autonomy afforded with remote work is wonderful, but if we aren't clear on where we are going or what we want to achieve, this can lead to the sense of being a "rudderless" ship.

An antidote to this can be to create a strong vision. As I wrote in Coaching Business Builder "Our vision pulls us through the chopping and sometimes turbulent waters of business and life" (Britton, 2018, Coaching Business Builder).

Action: Spend some time revisiting and clarifying - or creating a vision for your business.

Challenge 2) Isolation

Isolation and loneliness is a common feeling shared by many professionals in the remote space. The current COVID-19 situation means there are more people than ever experiencing this - you are not alone!

Some ideas to consider: What are you doing to proactively connect with others in your industry? Are you taking time to attend online learning events, participate in social networks, and/or reach out for virtual coffee dates?

Action: Schedule in time for outreach and online participation. Also consider collaborative work you could co-create with someone else online.

Challenge 3) Reduced motivation

We are all motivated by different internal and external motivators.

What are the things that motivate you? Is it the challenge of learning something new? Taking a deep dive with a client? Focusing in on a new project? Completing a long-standing project? Working with people who interest and excite you?

Action: Get clear on what motivates you. Journal or go for a walk outside and spend some time thinking about what gets you excited, what feels most satisfying. And then find ways to bring this into your remote working.

Challenge 4) Lack of productivity

When you work remotely, routine can be a key to productivity. In the remote space, boundaries between work and life can feel very fluid. So, have a plan, create clear start and end times. Are you more productive if you have variety in your day, or do you prefer to work on just one thing? What time of day do you have the focus to work on big projects?

Parkinsons' rule asserts that, "Tasks expand to fill the time we give them". So, without an external boss to say, "I need this by next Tuesday", it's easy for tasks to take as long as the time we give them. What buffers do you want to create to reduce this?

Action: Consider what habits and routines are going to support you. Learn what works best for you and implement a routine that maximises productivity for you.

Editor's Note: You may find our Supportive Daily Habits Exercise helpful here.

Challenge 5) Lack of feedback

Part of the isolated nature of working as a coach means we have minimal feedback loops as to how we are doing.

What feedback are you receiving? What are your clients saying? What other avenues do you have to pause and reflect on how you are doing?

Action: Ask questions of yourself such as, "What worked well?", "What should we be doing differently next time?" and "What should be celebrated?"

Challenge 6) Disconnection from others

Remote working may lead to a feeling of disconnection and isolation. Becoming part of a coaching group can help you to share best practices, and get feedback on your skills. These peer networks can be an important part of the development process of the coach, throughout all stages of our development. Use peer networks to grow your skills, business, to get answers to specific issues or questions - or simply for the connection!

Action: What coaching groups could you join and participate in?

Editor's Note: You may like the Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group here.

Wrap-up

There are many challenges with remote working. We need connection, variety, routine, clarity and  to find our own unique ways of being productive. So, explore different interests and activities that support you - like online learning, self-care, workouts and even virtual retreats! All of these can help boost our productivity - and motivation.

What are the things that are going to provide some variety for you as a coach? What are the things that are going to help you thrive as you work remotely?

Editor's Note: You may also like Jennifer's new Remote Working Whitepaper (helping you get up to speed quickly!)

Contributing author: Jennifer Britton is the author of 5 business books including the 2017 Effective Virtual Conversations and PlanDoTrack Workbook and Planner for Remote and Virtual Professionals. She's led a virtual business for 16 years, and prior to that led remote and virtual teams globally for the United Nations and Canadian and British humanitarian organizations. She's also the co-host of the Remote Pathways podcast, dedicated to exploring the people, places and pathways to exceptional remote work.

She also recently partnered with the International Coach Federation to do a series on virtual coaching in response to COVID-19.

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Image of Coach Working Remotely, learning online by Rawpixel via Shutterstock

4 Comments

  1. Steve Playford

    Thanks for doing all of these resources. They are extremely useful.
    It seems to me that at the moment Maslow's triangle has had the top taken off and we are all trying creative ways to put it back on!
    Stay safe
    Steve Playford
    Manchester UK

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Steve, thank-you for your comment - and I love your take on it 🙂 Remote working can be challenging for many! Stay safe - and creative 🙂 Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply
  2. Jacqueline Owensby

    Still enjoying these dropping in my email box, especially at this time in history. Thank you! Thank you for the constant motivation and tools Emma-Louise.

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Jacqueline! Lovely to "see" you again <3 🙂 And thank-you for your kind words - it really helps to know that you find our articles helpful! Warmly, Emma-Louise

      Reply

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