The 7½ rules for virtual learning and training

No multi-tasking.

It’s not Netflix.

Be slick and quick.

These are just 3 of the rules we at red10 have learned as we increase our provision of virtual coaching and learning. Read on for the other rules as Piers Carter shares the red10 approach.

The average adult spends 1 day a week on their phone

We live in the age of screens. According to Charles Hymas, the average adult spends more than a day a week on their phones. Add to that our daily leisure and work computer time and it’s safe to say screen time is a huge function of our lives so we had better get skilful in the virtual world. Screens facilitate connection and learning and yet they frustrate parents the world over. They swallow our time like a black hole and they allow us to work at speeds unthought if 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Like them or hate them the truth is, for the foreseeable future, they are here to stay.

Phone Coaching? No thanks!

When I trained as a coach 15 years ago it was all face to face. A few radical types were phone coaching but I wasn’t keen. Even so, as part of my growth, I decided to try being coached on the phone, to prove to myself and everyone else it just didn’t work as well. To my horror, it was really powerful. I realised I’d have to change my opinion.

It’s not better or worse … just different.

The coach I used told me in the first session, “Don’t compare it to face-to-face, just experience it for what it is. “It’s not better or worse … just different.” And she was right. Different in really good ways. Intense, focused, sharp and to the point and at times intimate. There is a quality to the voice that you only truly appreciate when it’s the only input you have.

Piers Carter with red10 Coaching Community of Practice

Jumping forward 15 years and I’ve found myself both coaching and training using phone and virtual platforms more and more and never more so than this year. I’ve done 1:1 work where we’ve made breakthroughs and changed people’s lives, I’ve delivered training to groups of 20 for 2.5 hour interactive workshops on topics such as Running Effective Meetings, Demystifying Feedback and Working with your Unconscious Bias to name a few and I’ve participated in a week long online conference with over 1000 people.

She must be crazy

If my phone coach had told me I’d be in this position doing these virtual sessions 15 years ago I’d have stopped the coaching there and then because she must be crazy, and yet here I am.

I’ve come to realise there may be no limit to what you can achieve online if you are enthusiastic and a little creative. I’ve participated in yoga classes, taught leaders personal impact and presence and facilitated complex strategy meetings.

Here are the 7 1/2 things I’ve learned since I became a virtual fan:

1 No multitasking – emails are strictly banned.
2 It’s not Netflix – don’t sit there as a participant watching like it’s a box set, join in, participate and interact
3 Be slick and quick – The coach/trainer/facilitator must be skilled with the tech.
4 Minimal screen share – it’s the new death by PowerPoint
5 Display your name and use others names
6 Go Gallery – For group discussions use gallery view not speaker view
7 Be interesting and interested – if you aren’t an engaging trainer face-to-face you’ll be even less so virtually.
7 ½ Enjoy yourself – if you aren’t have a good time then your learners don’t stand a chance.

To be clear, I’m not saying virtual should replace in person training but with our modern companies spread across the world, the environment crying out for sustainable solutions and the ever increasing ‘busy is better’ mindset it’s true to say, being as skilled in the virtual world as we are in the physical world is essential if we are to make coaching/training/facilitating as widely accessible as possible.

As a development consultancy in the 21st century we at red10 believe we have a duty of care to be there in as many ways as possible for our clients.

If you’re running a virtual team meeting you may also be interested in:

4 Ways to Engage Virtual Teams
Virtual Meetings, Time for Change

If you and your organisation want to see the 7 ½ rules we’ve learned put into practice, get in touch.

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