The previous blogpost listed media preferences and described experiences of our e-coaching members with various media, as they were shared in our linkedin group. This post focuses on e-coaching tools and platforms, which enrich the distance coaching process and may be used in combination with telephone, VoIP, email or face-to-face coaching sessions. These can be divided into three categories:
i) Text-based tools/ platforms, which are used in combination with phone or video coaching sessions or as standalone media for coaching. Text-based tools enhance clients´ self-reflection and provide a record of coaching interactions. E-coaching platforms offer multiple capabilities ranging from text-based tools, visual tools, management functions (e.g. booking sessions) and may also incorporate basic communication media such as video or instant chat.
ii) Virtual worlds and simulation tools, which are used to enhance phone coaching. This type of tools support the distance coaching process, by adding a visual element, offering the coach insights into the client´s issues and emotional states, and enabling simulation of solving an issue in a virtual environment before trying it out in the physical world.
iii) Tools not specifically designed for coaching, which can also be used to enhance the e-coaching process.
Below, a short description of all tools and platforms that were introduced in our e-coaching community.
I) Text-based tools/platforms for e-coaching.
1) Covocative ( http://www.covocative.com ) developed by Matt Poepsel, is an online coaching platform aiming to improve sales performance. It can be used by a team or an entire enterprise. The platform offers coachees the opportunity to complete a self-assessment to rate their own performance using a series of sliders and to set pre-configured goals in specific focus areas (i.e. pre-set coaching themes they wish to work on). Additionally, coaching exercises are used to support coachees in approaching their goals and feedback is given by the coach online or the completed exercise can be used as a coaching conversation starter in a telephone, Skype or face-to-face session. The platform also offers an authoring tool for coaches or subject-matter experts to create the content of their coaching modules, which are made up of the pre-configured elements: focus areas, goals, exercises, group discussions and resources. Finally, the manager or coach can pose open-ended questions to a group of coachees to start asynchronous online discussions. The purpose of discussions is to allow group members to contribute to the collective peer coaching process.
2) CoachCampus (https://www.coachcampus.nl/), developed by the eCoachPro (http://www.ecoachpro.nl/) consultancy, coaching and training company in the Netherlands, which focuses on business and leadership coaching issues for individuals or teams. The founders of eCoachPro, Anne Ribbers and Alexander Warringa use the Accelerated Behavioral Change (ABC) model (http://www.ecoachpro.nl/ecoaching-trajectory/onze-werkwijze2) for coaching, which consists of three phases: The analysis phase is used to map coachees´ current situation and to formulate clear coaching goals. The internalizing phase, during which, coachees work closely with their coach towards achieving their goal and towards internalizing new behaviors or skills. In the final phase, the focus lies on ensuring the sustainability of coaching outcomes. This model is used as a framework for facilitating text-based coaching sessions through CoachCampus. The CoachCampus platform incorporates an asynchronous mail function, a repository for sharing files, an objectives function to graphically display goals, instant chat and sms function. The coaching sessions are delivered by a coach of the eCoachPro network, either purely online or combined with face-to-face coaching.
3) CoachMaster™ ( https://coachmaster.co.uk/), by Bob Griffiths is a text-based tool, which can be used in combination with telephone or video coaching or as a standalone tool to facilitate online coaching sessions. Based on the GROW model, the CoachMaster™ software consists of question sets focusing on various coaching issues, such as time management, sales, career issues, intercultural issues, weight loss and other. It can be used synchronously, as a basis for a coaching session or asynchronously, between sessions.
4) The eCoach System ( http://www.enabling-genius.com/ecoaching/)– by Myles Downey, (co-creator with Tim Gallwey, of The Inner Game eCoach system and a Director at eCoach Ltd)- is a coaching system without a coach. It is composed of strings of questions that are linked – allowing the user to think and then ‘follow interest’. The system offers a Performance eCoach, a ‘Leading my Team’ eCoach and a Career eCoach plus many short versions e.g. giving feedback, and it can be configured to address specific aims or needs. Currently under development are also the Learning and Development eCoach, and the Sales eCoach.
5) Virtual Coaching -(VC) (https://www.virtuelles-coaching.com/) developed by Prof. Dr. Harald Geissler, is an online text-based tool designed to enhance telephone coaching. The tool consists of web-based sets of pre-determined coaching questions, which can be used in a synchronous mode, as a basis for a session, or in an asynchronous mode, between sessions giving the client the opportunity to reflect. VC offers several coaching modules, among which, goal attainment, decision-making, problem- solving, sales, leadership, transfer coaching as well as self-coaching.
II) Virtual reality platforms and simulation tools.
6) CAI® Coaching World (www.cai-world.com) – Dr. Elke Berninger-Schäfer, is a platform with multiple capabilities: Offering a virtual world with avatars, a pre-determined question framework and the option of user-generated questions, and a drawing tool. In addition, the platform incorporates video communication and text-chat as well as a mobile phone app, and also offers a space for storing contracts and for engaging in discussion with other coaches.
The Karlsruhe Institute for Coaching (KIC) is offering coaching for organizations, teams and individuals by adopting a systemic, solution-focused approach and by using an innovative e-coaching system – CAI ( Cyber Anthropoethic Intelligence). The 3 elements of the program – cyber, anthropoethic, intelligence – reveal the principles of the institute: Offering intelligent and client-centered (anthropos= person) solutions and using technology to facilitate coaching, that is independent of location and time. Aside from virtual coaching for individuals, teams and self-coaching, the institute is also offering professional e-coach training programs to prepare coaches for working in virtual environments.
7) LPS Cocoon® ( http://www.lpscocoon.de) developed by Christiane Grabow, is a virtual constellation business coaching tool, which enables coaching clients to visualize their thoughts and to simulate their developmental process. This 3D software is an interactive tool consisting of 13 symbolic, virtual sculptures in different shapes, and which is used during telephone or VoiP coaching sessions. The client version is a free download and the software exists in german and in english.
8) ProReal (http://www.proreal.co.uk), by David Tinker and Andrew Jackson, is a virtual reality platform designed for coaches, consultants and therapists. Using plain, androgynous avatars, clients can select different postures and captions to express their emotional states. In addition, the software offers a metaphoric landscape and a variety of tools, such as a clock, a key, a wall etc. in which, clients can visually represent their situation. This virtual reality platform enhances the coaching process, as it provides a visual and dynamic element and allows the distance coach to gain further insights into the client´s issue.
9) CoachAccountable (http://www.coachaccountable.com) is an e-coaching platform, developed by John Larson. The purpose of this platform is twofold: Firstly, it supports coaches in organizing, securely storing and having easy access to the information they have about their coaching clients. Secondly, it enables asynchronous communication between coach and client through an in-built email system, as well as through a shared repository, consisting of coaching sessions´ plans and notes. CoachAccountable can be used to set coaching goals, to develop action plans, to set reminders and use metrics to visualize progress. Moreover, the platform allows the entry of notes, coaching assignments and journaling, all of which is shared by both, coach and client. John Larson explains the rationale for creating this software in his article “Why I Think Coaching can be So Much More: The Reasoning Behind CoachAccountable”
10) CoachingCloud® (www.coachingcloud.com), owned by James Stokes, is an online platform for both mentors and coaches. Through this platform, coaches and mentors can book their sessions, add and save session notes, have conversations online, view clients´ goals and outcomes and create online coaching modules. The platform supports clients between sessions, helping them to manage their goals, activities and outcomes.
11) JournalEngine Journaling as a way for clients to write their reflections and share them with their coach is the main focus of the platform JournalEngine (http://www.journalengine.com/) developed by Kim Ades in Canada. The platform can be used for coaching individuals or for group coaching. Coaches using this platform typically send the client written questions, which the client answers with a journal entry. Clients may choose if they wish their entry to be private or to give the coach read permission. JournalEngine software also has an in-built function for sending out private messages to clients for scheduling telephone or face-to-face sessions. For group coaching, coaches can also create seminars for groups of clients, and set up a coaching community, which interacts through a discussion forum between group coaching sessions.
12) Lifecoachhub ( https://www.lifecoachhub.com) is a platform for life and business coaching. Clients select a life or a business coach and book a free initial appointment. Coaching is delivered exclusively online, using a variety of tools , such as journaling, goal tracking, homework assignments. In addition, it offers free access to articles and tips written by coaches on various coaching themes.
13) My360 plus (www.my360plus.com) provides reports and coaching suggestions based on feedback given by clients´ work colleagues. It also facilitates on-going dialogue and online peer coaching. After completing a survey to assess their strengths, clients choose their online network of “observers” ( boss,and peers). As clients work on their developmental goals, their observers provide feedback online, with detailed explanations and coaching comments. The tool can be used for individual, team and organizational development.
14) Pario Associates (http://www.pario-innovations.com) ( CEO David Sharpley) offers online resources for coaches, such as options to set up questionnaires and to create series of coaching modules. The modules are delivered at intervals and may include links to other resources (e.g videos). The Pario online Leadership Course uses this approach, but also offers Clients the option of an initial, two-day, face-to-face workshop. Subsequent Skype coaching is another option, and 360 degree feedback might follow 3 – 6 months after the programme has been completed.
15)The Coaching Tools Company (http://www.thecoachingtoolscompany.com) , owned by Emma-Louise Elsey, offers over 80 coaching exercises, templates and tools for coaches, as well as a lot of free resources. These tools are intended as a support for coaches, and for clients to achieve their goals. The website includes tools for career coaching, life coaching, time-management, business coaching and tools for workshops.
16) CoachingSpaces (http://coachingspaces.com/de/), by DelighteX GmbH is an online platform for coaching offering virtual constellations in a minimalistic virtual environment with avatars in 3D. The platform also incorporates video calls and instant chat communication.
17) Coaching Apps:
The following tools can be used for sharing files and session follow-up:
- SurveyMonkey ( www.surveymonkey.com) for pre-/post-session follow-up
- Google Docs ( www.docs.google.com) – useful for shared Word/Excel docs.
- Dropbox ( www.dropbox.com) for document sharing
- Sky Remote ( http://shop.skype.com/apps/Desktop-whiteboard-sharing/SkyRemote.html) and Webex ( www.webex.com) for shared document view
- IDroo ( http://idroo.com/) whiteboarding for sharing notes