Virtual training isn’t a new concept. People have benefitted from virtual learning environments for many years, but with recent global shifts there is no option right now to attend in-person training.
For you, there might be a little trepidation, and no doubt plenty of questions around undertaking virtual coach training. Perhaps you’ve only ever trained in-person before, or can’t quite imagine how it will work in the virtual space. Rest assured you’re not alone in these thoughts and feelings, many people will wonder what the benefits of selecting a virtual training course are too.
Shifting to virtual was also new for us, yet in the short time that’s passed, and as the feedback rolls in, we’re recognising more and more positives to this new reality. With this in mind, I want to share with you 8 surprising benefits of virtual coach training.
1. Content, takeaways & value remains unchanged
While training online might be a different experience for you, that is the only thing that will be different if it’s done well.
Take the Animas coaching course for example. The course content, the takeaways and even the way the day runs remains unchanged from our in-person version. It’s the same training, same trainers, same content, just a different learning environment. Maybe even a better one… More on this later!
I’m glad you asked!
Ultimately, if the right platform with the right features is used, there’s no reason that your virtual training experience needs to be any different to your in-person experience.
We’re using the Zoom platform and have found it to be excellent at replicating the in-person training experience.
It offers chat, whiteboarding and screen-sharing features. Virtual breakout rooms mean that in much the same way as in-person training, coaches are able to step into separate private rooms for discussion and coaching practice. The trainer can drop into these rooms to quietly observe and offer feedback before bringing everyone back to the group when the time is up.
This truly is a mirror to the in-person training. Nothing is lost. The virtual experience provides an exceptional way to connect, engage and learn with one another.
Don’t just take our word for it though!
‘There were some really beautiful moments of connection throughout the whole weekend, especially in the break out rooms.’
‘I did the Presence module with Marcus & Todd. I was quite sceptical of doing ‘virtual presence’ even having prior experience of online zoom training, but I must say that it exceeded all expectations & I left feeling I’d got as much learning as I would have in person! I do miss the chitchat & networking in the break times, and the energy of being in the room, but there were some really beautiful moments of connection throughout the whole weekend, especially in the break out rooms. I no longer have any negativity towards doing the rest of my training online.’
“Honestly it was quite brilliant!”
‘It’s true to say I embarked on the virtual training last weekend with Matteo Trevisan with some trepidation. Not only was I unsure how it would work, it also felt like I would be deprived of the wonderful company of my fellow coaches in training – something I had so been looking forward to. But honestly it was quite brilliant! A very different experience in many ways, but the breakout rooms worked particularly well and we really did keep to time (since Matteo just brought us back into the main group when time was up!) In these changing times there are so many reasons to think about how we might do things differently. This was a learning opportunity in so many more ways than the course content alone. And of course a far smaller carbon footprint!’
“Really Energizing! Preferred it to the classroom Experience!”
I found it really energising and I preferred it to the classroom experience as it was so much more convenient. I felt we could still connect as people.I also thought that the format enabled more voices to be heard. And of course Matteo Trevisan bad music 🙂 & dancing on the breaks made me laugh!!!
2. Everyone is just as present… if not more so!
This might seem like a surprising statement initially, to be ‘as present, but online’. Yet, based on our experience of delivering virtual training, and the feedback we’ve had from virtual training attendees, we can vouch for this!
In the training room we sometimes find that while everyone is physically present, some people get lost behind others, or perhaps hidden away in a corner. The trainer at the front constantly adjusts so that they can see everyone clearly and feel their presence.
With the Zoom platform participants can see one another face-to-face. A gallery of engaged and smiling faces, all as present as the next, meaning that everyone is equally as prominent in the discussion, and this really adds to the training experience.
3. Prepares you for future coaching relationships
You may or may not be aware that a majority of coaches actually coach online via Skype, Zoom etc. So consider the virtual training from the comfort of your own home as a warmup for when you’re potentially coaching clients from that very same environment. It is useful to experience the coaching sessions that are part of the training modules as they serve as good preparation for many of your future coaching clients.
Getting used to having such meaningful and powerful interactions via a screen will be a great taster for the early days of your coaching journey. It gives you a chance to settle into this way of working and even some time to fine-tune how you might like to do your online sessions with your practice and future clients. You can start to think about things like which platform you want to use, which features are useful for coaching conversations and where the best spot in your house is for holding virtual coaching sessions both for internet connection, and lighting.
In the early days of your coaching journey there will be lots of things to work out, tweak and get in place, so why not give yourself a little head start?
4. Allows you to be more relevant in an ever-changing and uncertain world
Life can be uncertain at the best of times, but the present moment emanates more uncertainty than ever. The world is ever-changing, and so how do we keep up and become more relevant or impactful in our own lives and the lives of others?
While many people’s plans grind to a halt in the current crisis, the availability of virtual training means there’s nothing to stop you. Now is a great opportunity to spend time on upskilling yourself. We have this unexpected extra time, why not use it to grow?
Adding new skills to our expertise is a great way to develop, and can allow us to become more relevant in an uncertain world. With everyone currently in lockdown no matter where you reside, many people are uncertain, anxious and fearful and more than ever there is a need for coaching to help people navigate these thoughts, feelings and assumptions.
Training as a coach online can give you a greater sense of purpose and relevance and equip you with the tools to make a difference no matter how uncertain the world is.
Want to make a difference?
5. Can increase learning retention
That’s right, learning in a virtual environment can actually improve your retention of information.
What I mean by retention is simply how much of the information you remember once the training is over. The Research Institute of America found that eLearning can increase learning retention rates by between 25% and 60%.
If we can retain information more efficiently then we become more effective learners, and remembering what we’re taught requires less effort to recall. So, with virtual training you’re not just able to maintain your momentum and learn from home; you might even learn better!
6. More classroom diversity
At Animas, community is a huge part of what we do. We’re proud to have coaches from so many different countries and backgrounds make up the vibrant and beautifully diverse group of changemakers that is Animas.
With this in mind, we feel that one of the greatest benefits to virtual training is that individuals are no longer deterred or bound by geographical location. The opportunity to study, train and grow opens up to a global audience. This means that people who previously wanted to train as a coach but were unable to make the distance can now join a module from anywhere in the world.
As a coach-in-training, this means that you can expect greater diversity in your training group. Diversity in nationality, race, creed, backgrounds and beliefs. We know from experience that this diversity helps to create a richer learning environment. And if you’re someone that enjoys meeting and building relationships with new people from all around the world then there’s a good chance that in undertaking virtual training you’ll be in your element.
7. Less cost for you and for the environment
The cost of Animas training remains the same online as in-person, because as we mentioned earlier, the value, content, takeaways and setup of the training remains unchanged. However, being able to study from home, means that there are no other costs to you attending the training.
Students join our coaching course from all over. As a result, we often have people travelling for hours on trains from more remote parts of the country, and some even stay in overnight accommodation because of the distance. Throw your lunch and coffees on top of this and you can end up spending a small fortune on your expenses. But in doing the training from home, you remove these costs and it’s more money in your pocket.
It’s not just less harmful to your pockets though, it’s also less harmful to the environment. A study by the Open University found that producing and providing e-learning courses consumes 90% less energy and produces 85% fewer CO2 emissions per person than face-to-face training.
With many of us becoming ever more environmentally conscious, undertaking your training in a virtual setting contributes to reducing the environmental impact that we’re having on the world.
8. You can create your perfect learning environment
Maybe you love the classroom environment. It energises you, keeps you focussed. But even then, there are ways that you’d improve it right?
Well undertaking virtual coach training places the power with you to create your perfect learning environment. You can create the space that best facilitates your learning. Comfort will of course be key if you’re spending a weekend doing virtual training, but what else makes a great space for you to learn? Colour? A setup with a window? Inspirational quotes dotted around the walls?
Each person will have their own version of an ideal learning environment, but training virtually allows you to experiment and create the space that best facilitates your learning and development on your path to coaching greatness!