Leaders need to take one-on-one’s with their reports very serious

Very often we hear from our coachees that they do not get enough time with their managers. A fundament of managing people is to create moments of undivided attention on a regular basis. We call them 1-2-1’s.
These meetings – live or online – are not just nice-to-have’s that are easy to plug into the calendar. And then as easily moved around or cancelled.
Direct reports are not only needing time from their manager to know what is going on at the higher management level. They sometimes need to ventilate, they need mentorship, they need coaching. Direct reports are human beings with needs, and human beings are mission critical to companies (Thank you Tom Peters).
So, our advice to everyone having people management responsibilities: Make your standing meetings with your direct reports sacred. Fix the rhythm (weekly, bi-weekly), fix the right time of the day. Get into the right mindset: Empathy, willing to make your direct report successful. All other business matters will have to go on pause during that meeting. You will be respected as a leader, you will really know what is going on, and your department will have success. It is not rocket science.

Coaching via webcam

We are in April 2020, in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Social life is heavily disrupted. Businesses are as well.
We were in the middle of some coaching projects with newly promoted marketing leads and medical affairs leads. Since non-essential travel was not allowed and physical distancing was in place, we pivoted to Zoom sessions with our coachees.
It felt a bit awkward at first, and it came with some technical challenges, but quickly it became an effective method to continue the coaching interactions.
It would not have worked we think, in the absence of an existing rapport between the coach and coachee created in real live thanks to some earlier face-to-face meetings.
So, the future of coaching is definitely not 100% online. But it could play an important role to gain some efficiency halfway the coaching session (less travel, no office rental). Start and end, in our opinion, will require physical presence in the same room in order to be really effective.