Live and online communication: how should the coach go about it?
‘Communication’ is the trainer’s or coach’s middle name. When standing in front of a group, they know exactly which communication techniques to use. But an online environment demands a different mindset. While live communication usually comes naturally, blended learning requires you to consider the way in which you’ll facilitate communication beforehand. This is particularly important in the case of experiential learning (among other things), which expressly focuses on communication rather than on teaching materials. That, however, also makes it more difficult to anticipate. With that in mind, what are the best preparatory measures a coach can take?
Blended learning and coaching: use the online environment!
What knowledge will you convey, and when will you do so? When a training mainly focuses on learning skills, the trainer’s primary task is to answer this question in advance. But when coaching is central, the coach’s main task is to schedule discussion times. He doesn’t yet know the results. It’s essential to listen and difficult to plan ahead, because the coach should first understand the problems participants are struggling with.
Fortunately, the anticipatory nature of blended learning can help. The coach can, for example, use an assessment to identify what participants are struggling with prior to the live meeting. Furthermore, he can set up online dialogues on various topics, so he’ll know which matters are interesting to discuss in more detail during live meetings. And whenever he comes across useful content, he can easily share it with participants in the blended learning environment.
After each live meeting, the coach can upload additional information to the online environment. Based on issues that have emerged, he can, for example, stimulate participants with a tailored question, video, or assignment. This way, he keeps everyone focused.
Anticipating communication: does it enrich coaching?
If you use a blended learning environment and facilitate communication in a well thought-out way, it will undoubtedly bear fruit. This goes for experiential learning, too. Why? Because you keep participants sharp in between live meetings: they can reflect and comment on certain issues. As a result, you’ll increase engagement, extend communication, and keep it going!