I recently booked in (and paid) for a session with a business coach on Zoom – she was advertising a coaching program that looked interesting and I decided to see what her coaching style was like before I committed to buying her program.
When we connected, the first thing I noticed was that she was a in a room with an unmade bed behind her! There were also piles of clothes on the bed and on the floor. Now, I am going to assume that she wouldn’t see a face-face client in that room – so why did she assume that it was OK to be in an untidy room for an online call? The reality is – I was really distracted and kept thinking “how could she not at least make the bed?” I also thought that if she couldn’t be bothered checking what was in the background for our call, then I also assumed that she was probably messy in other areas of her practice as well!
My fears were confirmed when her husband opened the door and wandered into the room during our call – I couldn’t believe it! One of the first thing I learnt as a coach was the importance of privacy and confidentiality – issues that this coach really needs to address! Is it just me or do you agree that our online presence must be as professional as if we were working face-face?
When I am with clients, whether face-face or online, I always ensure that the space that I am in is professional and is neat and tidy. The door is shut and if anyone is in the house, I ensure that they know not to disturb me until I open the door – that is a fundamental practice that all coaches need to instigate.
However, I also know that sometimes things can happen (e.g. a guest staying in the office space or a sick kid at home) – if that is the case then the best thing you can do is to let your client know before you begin – most people are fine with unexpected emergencies. However, when seeing clients, a professional appearance must be a priority!
So … don’t get slack when you are on an online call. Ensure that your space is neat and tidy. An easy fix is to have a backdrop that you can place behind you when you are on a call – backdrops can be personalised to your brand and colours and provide a consistent presence for your clients (and the room can be messy and no-one will be the wiser)!