If coaching is a continuous process, then it is not uncommon at all for coaching clients to email their coach about non-administrative matters. You may be wondering, how does this work? Is it coaching?
Today’s post explains how some emails are considered coaching and will discuss some best practices that can be rules for the road. These rules can also apply to voice mail correspondence.
Non-administrative emails can include such things as assessment results and “journal” entries. What do I mean by journal entries? Reflections connected to your coaching agreements (see Core Competencies, #2) and coaching goals. This can include reflections on the last coaching conversation or thoughts about an event like how a meeting you led went where you tried a new behavior or something surprising happened. I invite my coaching clients to use any form of communication they prefer to communicate between face to face meetings. You might choose email and a parallel coaching process can emerge through these email strings. However, what are the rules of engagement? Here is what I suggest to my clients so there are clear, mutual expectations.
If you don’t ask for a response you might not get one.
If you email me and don’t ask for a response then you might not get one. Please be assured that I have read your email and am taking in whatever you are saying.
If you don’t ask for a response you MIGHT get one.
On the other hand if I am struck in some way by what you send and feel that it would be helpful to respond before our next coaching conversation, I may try to respond in a way that is helpful even if you didn’t specifically ask for a response. I might pose a Powerful Question (see Core Competencies, #6).
If you ask for a response, I will respond in some way.
If you ask for a response I will respond in some way, at least acknowledging the receipt of the email and giving a coaching response of some sort.
I am all about using the coaching resources of my clients in the most fair and efficient way. For all between coaching session communications I generally use a fifteen minute rule. If my reading and response requires less than fifteen minutes, I don’t apply the time against their coaching contract. In my experience most exchanges of this sort aren’t billed for.
Please don’t hesitate to use any medium for communication about your coaching. All communications are subject to the basic rule of confidentiality with the following exception that might exist on your end.
A note about corporate email systems.
If you are emailing me from your organizations email server, you might want to check your company policy regarding privacy of emails. If you have any concerns about confidentiality use a personal email address for the types of emails I am discussing in this Blog. I am even willing to consider encrypted emails as an option, just ask. Also, hopefully the WikiLeaks phenomenon will not have a chilling effect on using email to communicate in a personally meaningful way.