Science validates why phone coaching works better than meeting in person


In the age-old debate about executive and leadership coaching services, there are those who feel strongly that coaching is most effective when done in person.  Part of my original coach training 25 years ago was focused on phone coaching, and over the years I’ve noticed that without the visual distractions of meeting face to face, I’m able to listen more deeply to my clients.  Now, there’s science to back up why phone coaching is so powerful and effective!  Check out the Washington Post article by to read more fully than what I’ve excerpted below:

a new study by Michael Kraus of the Yale University School of Management has found that our sense of hearing may be even stronger than our sight when it comes to accurately detecting emotion. Kraus found that we are more accurate when we hear someone’s voice than when we look only at their facial expressions, or see their face and hear their voice. In other words, you may be able to sense someone’s emotional state even better over the phone than in person.
The voice may be a far more reliable predictor than the face, especially if we can devote our complete attention to it.
Previous research has shown just how much information the voice can convey. Research led by the Greater Good Science Center’s Emiliana Simon-Thomas and Dacher Keltner shows that we don’t only detect basic emotional tone in the voice (e.g., positive vs. negative feelings or excitement vs. calm); we are actually capable of detecting fine nuances. We can distinguish anger from fear and sadness; awe from compassion, interest, and embarrassment. Many of the “vocal bursts” that signify emotion—from the ahhh! of fright to the ahhh of pleasure—are recognizable across cultures.
The human ability to perceive nuances in voices is extremely sophisticated, research shows.
In fact, vocal emotion recognition even has a separate brain region from facial recognition of emotion, a brain-imaging study found. When two people talk and truly understand each other, another brain-imaging study suggested, something quite spectacular happens: Their brains literally synchronize.

Thus, science now proves what many of us have known already; that phone coaching is MORE reliable and effective than in person or face to face modalities, contrary to popular opinion or assumptions otherwise.

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