Telephone Coaching

by Bee Zingeni
(Midrand, Johannesburg)

Can someone give me advice on how to give telephone coaching sessions to people around the country, removed from me? This could be people with or without email addresses.

Am I right in thinking the coaching programme is more effective when used face-to-face with a client?

Comments for Telephone Coaching

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Sep 20, 2011
Coaching by phone
by: Wendy

Dear Bee
I worked for Lifeline for two years and developed a very keen ear for nuance of voice. Moreso than body language, the voice is usually pretty "honest" about what is really going on, or not. It also allows you to have your natural facial expressions without worrying about how you look, or are you being misread, or whatever. I have chosen to coach by phone, once qualified. The other positive aspect is that you certainly dont want "strangers" (however nice) visiting you in your home and getting to know your personal space, even if there are other adults around. So my second choice will be a coffee shop. You often see business being conducted there. Of course you will have to buy a coffee, minimum but I guess that is a very cheap rental when you think about it. I have a friend who is a clinical psychologist who makes sure her office ia on a floor with plenty of people around. She pays a lot for this but feels it is the safest of the professional options. Just look out for yourself by thinking and planning ahead and you won't have a problem.

Aug 06, 2008
Eye contact... good for some...
by: Bill Burridge

Hi anonymous,
Thanks for the comment. I think it would be well worthwhile reviewing Sharon Frith's very useful contribution earlier in this thread if you haven't already done so.

My own experience of being coached by telephone was amazing, though I was initially sceptical. The coachee has the advantage of enjoying it in the comfort of their home. They can sit in their comfortable chair wearing whatever they like and not have to 'worry' about how they might look to the coach or what their body language or facial habits might be conveying. For many people this is a great benefit.

Having said that, telephone coaching does not appeal to all coachees. Some will prefer to have a face-to-face interaction with their coach, if not in every session then at least in some sessions.

For the coach, of course, the benefit of 'reading' the coachee's body language is no longer there and the coach has to make up for that by being even more attuned to the coachee's tone of voice.

I'd be interested to hear the view of other coaches and trainees but I think it's safe to say that the success of a telephone coaching session depends, to a great extent on the coach, how 'present' they are in the session and how they use and project their voices to demonstrate compassion, understanding, inspiration, motivation, support, etc.

I am looking into the possibility of marketing a voice training programme for coaches - any demand?

Aug 06, 2008
Importance of Eye to Eye contact
by: Anonymous

Hi there all trainees. I have read through the various comments regarding telephone coaching and would just like to ask a question.

In our coaching we do cover a section on the importance of body language, being able to read people. I am finding that with coaching over the phone this aspect is obviously missing, when I do follow ups on those people who have only done a session one, one of the comments was that the telephone coaching seemed a little impersonal and that they would feel better being able to sit face to face and be able to build up a relationship with their coach on that basis.

Has anyone had any similar experiences.

May 27, 2008
ADSL vs 3G
by: Bill Burridge

Hi Dirk,
Thanks for your question which is a good one (though I think you mean 3G, not G3!).

3G like HSDPA and iBurst are wireless broadband offerings which have the benefit of allowing you to take your broadband connection with you (through your cellphone). ADSL on the other hand is a fixed line broadband connection (although you can use it with a wireless router/modem to set up a wireless network in your home or office).

Internationally ADSL is a far more powerful offering with greater reliability, faster speeds, etc. but in SA wireless broadband has become remarkably popular due to the mobility benefits and the advances in speed here.

If you are serious about Skype (or other VOIP) I would recommend the stability and speed of a good ADSL connection (e.g. Telkom 4Gbps). I found a good site that will provide you more information on the pros and cons of ADSL and wireless broadband. Use the URL below if you're interested:

May 26, 2008
G3 from Vodacom
by: Anonymous

Hey Bill,

I was wondering since I'm not that up to date with the internet stuff. Will coaching with Skype be a smooth process with a G3 modem? They tell me that it's the fastest connection in SA, but I still want to know what the difference is between G3 and broadband ADSL?

Thank you!


Mar 26, 2008
by: Bill Burridge

Hi Charmaine and other aspirant telephone coaches, just a few brief words from me on Skype.

Skype uses what is know as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology, which simply means that instead of telephone wires carrying the voice signal it is carried by the internet. Availability of high speed broadband has made VOIP extremely practical as a medium for chatting (and, if you have a webcam) watching each other.

In SA our broadband speeds are still relatively low compared with the US, UK and elsewhere in the developed world. For example, if you try watching a videoclip from YouTube or similar you'll probably find that the clip starts and stops a lot rather than playing smoothly from beginning to end. No matter, if you have access to decent broadband speeds (like the top end 4Gb ADSL offering from Telkom) you'll find Skype will work perfectly well.

Of course - and here's where Charmaine's question comes in - to talk for free on Skype, both you and your client will need to have it. If you have it and your client doesn't you can talk using what's called SkypeOut (Skype to landline). The cost of this in the likes of the UK is very attractive, but here there's no real advantage to it.

In short, I would recommend that every coach invests in high speed broadband and Skype (the latter is a free download). Then you can incentivise your client to get it. After all, if you can coach from home-to-home without the petrol and associated travelling costs then it makes sense.

Oh, and a last thought. If, as many South Africans do, you have relatives in other countries you can talk to them for free and gratis, anytime you like, if you both have Skype. How about that then!

Mar 26, 2008
Does the client have to have Skype as well?
by: Charmaine

Hi Sharon and all the other coaches who coach via the phone.

I notice that Sharon mentioned coaching by Skype. Does this mean that the client will have to have Skype as well. What happens if they dont? Has anybody else had experience with phone coaching who can enlighten the forum on how they did it, what it was like, how the client felt about it, etc.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Bye for now

Mar 19, 2008
My email address
by: Sharon

Hi guys

My email address is - I think it was incorrect on the last posting I sent.



Mar 19, 2008
Telephone coaching continued
by: Sharon

I'm back :-)

Sorry this posting is so long but I haven't been here for a while so hello and keep posting guys - if you ask me something, I'll answer but remember to keep posting, keep talking, keep connecting.

I'm about to do my next blog posting so no doubt Bill will send that to you soon too.

Ta ta for now


PS: I'd love to hear from anyone who takes action and does this.

PPS: By the way, I have a busy practice - if you want the same then speak to me about getting some coaching sessions from me - I don't offer free sessions as I need to devote that time to my existing clients however if you KNOW you are ready to step up and you want my help to get your practice up and running, then use the form on the 'find a coach' page on this website. I only have room (and it's gonna be a squeeze) for 2 more clients at the most, so if you want me, be quick.

Mar 19, 2008
Telephone coaching (From Sharon Frith)
by: Anonymous

Hi Andrea and all you other superstar coaches out there

It is ABSOLUTELY possible for you to practice your sessions over the phone. Your outcome is to communicate effectively enough with your client to inspire them to go for the goals they truly want in life and you can do this EASILY over the phone by ensuring you have a warm, friendly tone of voice and you speak at a pace that suits your client. Remember to listen out for words that will help you to understand whether your client is visual, auitory or kineasthetic and then match the language that they use. Use your natural rapport skill talents - you are coaches and so you will be naturally caring towards other people - let this come across over the phone. I have done very few face to face coaching sessions - it has become normal and automatic for me to coach over the phone and as a result I can coach anybody in the world from anywhere in the world. (This is VERY handy because my boyfriend lives in Germany at the moment and I live in the UK soI'm always hopping on planes with my laptop so that I can be with him and still run my business - it is the ULTIMATE freedom and you can work whenever you choose to (though make sure you remember what time zone your client is in)

My biggest tip to all of you is to become very aware of your chatterbox - that little voice in your head that limits your possibilities because of fears and limiting beliefs.

My ULTIMATE tip is this - if you haven't already got a life coach to work with already, GET ONE! I have had a life coach for 2 years and I would not have got where I am today without the support and accountability to reframe my own limiting beliefs and push through my fears(which still crop up by the way.

I remember being terrified before my first session one but you know what - it felt great when I'd done it cos I knew then that I could practice and get better - remember this! Energy is Completion! The thought of doing something can be scary and then when you've done it you feel amazing! Set yourself a deadline for when you will do your first session one (make it within 7 days) find someone you are comfortable with and DO IT! This is your training ground and who cares if you make mistakes - you are training - you are learning and if you don't make any mistakes you simply will not learn so the more mistakes you make, the better - hooray!!

The most important thing is you DO IT!!!

Set yourself a reward for when you have done it and then enjoy the fruits of your labour (which is just practicing doing something that you are passionate about anyway - whey hey)

Sorry for the length of this comment ....

OOPS - ran out of space so I'll continue on another posting - I'll be back in a sec


Mar 19, 2008
Telephone coaching
by: Andrea


I was about to post the same question here, and would like to know, Sharon, if it is convenient/realistic to do the practice sessions by phone. The thing at the moment is I cannot drive for the next month and would love to start my practice sessions. I have not done any yet. I found people are reluctant to travel to me (I am not far but still people don't like it when you ask them to travel to do a practice session). So can/should I do coaching over the phone even for my first session?

Thank you

Jan 18, 2008
Telephone coaching
by: Anonymous

Hi Bee

It's Sharon here. Since completing the New Insights course in 2005, I'm now an International Life Coach and do all my coaching using Skype (internet phone)

Coaching over the phone is just as effective as face to face coaching (sometimes as people feel comfortable being coached in their own surroundings and it feels less like a 'session'

All you need to do is e-mail your client the coach and the client notes prior to the session and ensure that they know which page to refer to during the session then you can coach exactly as you would face to face.

I've coached hundreds of student coaches in this way and indeed my own coaching with my coach is also done over the phone.

I feel at this point I must re-iterate how important it is for you to have your own coach if you intend to get a thriving practice. I've had a coach for the past 2 years and now have a thriving business which I can run from anywhere in the world. I know, without investing in a coach and my own personal development I would never have acheived this goal. If you are to truly inspire your clients then you have to continually learn and grow yourself and this can be done very very easily over the phone.

My advice is to practice coaching over the phone. Practice is the breakfast of champions so take the action and just do it! Go for it!

Talk soon guys

Sharon Frith

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