In the last blog we examined how as the means of communication have multiplied it is becoming increasingly more important for coaches to be aware of presence and how it can be maintained in different mediums.

We considered how less channels does not necessarily mean that the communication will be less effective but there were new dangers as the perceived ‘distance’ between coach and client increased.

Lets look at an analogy. Most of us are familiar with the ‘disinhibition’ effect that happens when we or others drive cars. I find myself calling other drivers all sorts of terms that I am sure I would ever call them face to face. (My son used to refer to them as the ‘driving words’). Somehow when we partially ‘hidden’ by the protection of a car it allows us to behave in ways we would otherwise never do. Most of us would never steal something if we needed money but we would speed a bit if we were in a hurry and thought we could get away with it. The speeding seems somehow more anonymous, victim free and somehow ok – as long as we get away with it. Yet they are both crimes.

Anonymity tends to disinhibit people. Sometimes you see the positive qualities like kindness and generosity come to the fore but you can also see negative hidden desires. People feel they are less accountable for their actions when they are not face to face with someone who might take offense at their actions.

So to bring it back to the coaching session, the less aware we are of the client’s presence, or believe they are not aware of ours, the bigger temptation there is to act on the disinhibition effect. While most of us would never dream of checking our emails when we are sitting directly opposite someone in a coaching session many of us know how tempting it is to multi task when we are on a phone call. The effect is even stronger when are having a conversation through text. The less the coach and client are aware of each other’s presence, the greater the danger.

In the next blog we will look at how coaches can guard against this effect and give effective sessions though all the different mediums.