Traditionally, video conferencing has been regarded as second-best to meeting in person. Sure, you get to see each other and with decent quality, using the latest video technology. However, it’s often on a small screen and with a zoomed-out camera the far-end attendees can appear very tiny and distant. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. John Vickerage reports on an interesting new application using video as the means of communication in a coaching business.
There are certain things about a face-to-face meeting that video cannot replace. You can’t shake hands or embrace, pass the time of day small-talk whilst making a coffee or share jokes and stories before the meeting starts.
I have always countered that video conferencing allows us to see our colleagues, customers and suppliers more frequently; video calls should be regarded as an upgrade to a telephone call rather than a substandard face-to-face alternative. I work in the industry today and still strongly feel that this is true.
However, is it possible that in this new YouTube-obsessed, smart-phone punctuated, Wi-Fi-everywhere, app-for-everything day-and-age, that video is becoming a preference for some people? If so, why?
Delivery of services
A friend of mine mentioned a company called Brave Productions to me. Brave Productions is a business that concentrates on executive development and coaching. I learned that they have been using video conferencing as a tool to help deliver course material and coaching. The use of videos to help deliver development programmes is not new or unique (although it is underused in my view). However, I have not often seen video conferencing used as a tool by coaching and training companies.
This has always struck me as odd; both the trainer and trainee can benefit enormously. I met with James Stringer and Andrew Hambly-Smith to help me understand what they saw as the benefits.
In describing their business, James and Andrew put the emphasis on coaching as opposed to training. In their view this is a very involved and personal process. It is also iterative and can’t be successfully conducted in a single PowerPoint-led course.
“Coaching is a very engaging process and tends to work really well-using video technology” James explains “The quality of video calling has improved in the tools we use today. Skype and Zoom, for example, are easy enough to use and the quality doesn’t overshadow the call.”
“A proper coaching experience is very personal. In order to get the most out of it, one has to bring one’s ‘whole-self’ to a session. That means being completely open about your concerns, anxieties, goals and ambitions” Andrew expands “Our clients can sometimes experience strong emotions and so feeling safe to share things in complete confidence is vital to the process.”
Video technology has allowed Brave Productions to offer their clients more flexibility, which has a positive effect on the coaching process. “It’s important to reduce distractions, and feel you have time for the coaching session within a busy schedule,” explains Andrew. “We are able to conduct regular video coaching sessions at the client’s convenience, inside or outside the general working day. This has the added benefit that sometimes our clients are more comfortable and open than they might be in the office.”
Traditionally, video conferencing has been regarded as second-best to meeting in person. Sure, you get to see each other and with decent quality, using the latest video technology. However, it’s often on a small screen and with a zoomed-out camera the far-end attendees can appear very tiny and distant.
“I have conducted three different coaching sessions in three different countries sessions all in one day” says Andrew. “One in Poland, one in Hungary and then another in the UK, all over Skype”
They have had positive experiences using video technology for training too. Often, they will use webinars as a way to achieve this: “The key is to ensure that the training experience is engaging,” said James, “and technology can enable this to work very well remotely. In contrast, a poorly designed training with death by PowerPoint is every bit as hard to endure in person as it is remotely.”
About Brave Productions
Brave specialises in coaching and training for both the private and public sectors. We empower leaders to be courageous and creative in pursuit of their true potential and develop their ability to inspire others to do the same.
We call upon techniques and models supported by the latest neuroscience research, although our greatest value is how we apply and adapt these to real-world, high-pressure environments.
We challenge others in the same way as we are willing to challenge ourselves. All significant progress takes place outside one’s comfort zone, so naturally fear plays its part. The key is not to ignore or deny fear, instead to accept it and use its energy to progress and excel. Our industry-leading coaches use their wisdom and experience to engage and inspire our clients to do just that. Through the alchemy of proven techniques and reactive discovery in a controlled environment, we find creative ways to help our clients move beyond what is most familiar toward what is most effective.