Virtual Connection

Coach Workshop Silicon Valley.  March 2020.

Just three weeks ago, we hosted a one day KCS Coach Workshop taught by Dr. Beth Haggett, who developed the KCS Coach program.

We had a great day together: about 30 people exploring the role of a coach, and learning skills, techniques, and frameworks for effective coaching.

This week, Dr. Beth published a post about coaching in the new “virtual” reality. It is an excellent summary of how coaching can keep an organization’s immune system strong in times of change, and included a long list of tips for remote coaching. A handful of those tips especially stuck out to me as good advice for any virtual meeting:

  • ​Pay attention to facial expressions and body language (using video conferencing is preferable!)
  • ​Pay special attention to ​understanding culture and the environment
  • Avoid distractions
  • Allow for silences

Both the KCS Academy and the Consortium for Service Innovation traditionally host a lot of in-person meetings. As we temporarily transition to a virtual world, we’ve been keeping track of what we’ve learned. In the interest of knowledge-sharing, thought we’d pass it along.

We always try to help attendees get oriented when we’re kicking off an in-person meeting (talk through the day’s timing, point out the coffee location, etc.). When we want to connect people through a virtual meeting, it is helpful to start with:

  • a brief tutorial of the video conferencing features and functionalities
  • an invitation to do just one thing at a time (turn on your camera, and turn off your email/Slack notifications!)
  • an ice breaker question that leans more personal (to create personal connections virtually, we have to be intentional about it)

More thoughts for longer meetings:

  • don’t go longer than 90 minutes without a break
  • schedule more time for transitions between conversations and presentations – this is where personal connections occur
  • leave more room for silence – jumping in on a video conference can be awkward, so leave space for people to contribute

We’d love to hear what you’ve learned about creating and maintaining connections as we find our way through this new, remote world!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *