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Posted in: Coaching Top Tips

Coaching in a constrained environment: considerations when coaching people remotely

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  • cblainukcoachingorgGDI6ZXZW

    Coaching Constrained: considerations when coaching people remotely
    by Craig Blain | Policy and Partnership Manager | UK Coaching

    I am bias, but it is my belief that coaching can and will have a significant role to play in helping everyone remain or return to a happier, healthier and more active way of living.

    Whether it is throughout this period of social distancing or self isolation, where we have become a community of super content generators (who tuned in PE with Joe this morning?) , or afterwards as we help communities rebuild their love with moving more, we all have a great responsibility to help in what ever way we can. 

    During this period, as coaches we are undoubtedly delivering under constraints. Personally, my view of what coaching is, and is not, is tested in these times. For me it is more than a pre-record of a workout or session. So, maybe we must take an approach to "not coach" in this period and simply do what we can by sharing content? But even when typing that, my intuition kicks in to say, "No, in relation to keeping everyone moving, coaching is exactly what we need". So lets find a way!!!

    To help inspire and develop a conversation with others i worked up this sketch note to share some thoughts......

    Tips for coaches

    Social Distancing

    Social distancing measures are VERY serious, we must make sure to follow these and break up group gatherings, avoid non essential travel, and stay at least 2m from other people to avoid the potential of helping the COVID 19 virus to spread.


    • Make sure to role model social distancing in any recorded or live activity. It can act as a gentle reminder to viewers, and keep everyone safe, that includes you!

    Signpost and check reputable sources for further guidance.

    Hi Gene. (for all those Partridge fans out there.)

    Practicing good hygiene has never been more relevant. As a coach you may have a significant ability to influence the behaviours of the people you have coached, we all have a role to play. Not forgetting this can help to keep you in good health too.

    • Wash your hands regularly
    • Personal use of equipment  (no sharing)
    • Cough / sneeze into your elbow, if needed.
    • No shaking hands or physical contact.

    Signpost and check reputable sources for further guidance

    Remote Sessions

    Providing people with some structured activity to follow can help in a number of ways. This can keep people active, help to sustain some elements of "normality" to routines, and provide a tool for connection with others in their household. 


    • When creating any content / sessions make sure to include alternatives to every activity to make it less or more challenging.
    • Rely on the power of effective demonstration, focus on two key points and repeat from more than one angle.
    • Make sure to only produce content / sessions that you are familiar with. If you are unsure use content / sessions from reputable sources and play a role in facilitating instead.
    • Online doesn't mean no need to risk assess, make others aware things to look out for and to stay safe.

    Social Media Question and Answer Sessions

    For me, this is the bit that 'makes it coaching' or at least more like it. Making yourself available to answer questions or respond to comments during or after an online session is a great idea. Although more of a challenge, it means you can adapt activities for people as well as emphasis connection for those taking part. 


    • Make yourself available to contact during or after your sessions.
    • Use social platforms rather than personal contact details, otherwise its a first come first serves basis very quickly. 
    • Try to build in extra time to your session plan to allow for Q&A so this isn't rushed.
    • Consider flipping the classroom and posting a session in advance then making yourself available for questions / empowering people to take part.
    • Try using voice notes, or videos in crease the sense of connection rather than text alone.

    Find more on the concept of coaching online here

    Mental Health and Wellbeing

    The benefits from being physically active are well documented, but the situation we find ourselves is not! Staying active with the support of a coach (that's you) is a brilliant vehicle for helping people our wellbeing. Both for those taking part and yourself as a coach. 


    Check out our infographic and animation series on how to promote good mental health through your coaching. 

    I hope my reflections and some of the links shared in this conversation prove useful. As we advocate in our general great coaching philosophy, i would love to use this as an opportunity to;

    Understand how you are approaching coaching others in this testing time?

    Connect to help share more ideas and support each other to stay positive and active.

    Help you thrive. 

    Got any tips of your own? I would love to hear them. Hit reply to share them with me below





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