Coaching is a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or a team that supports the achievement of results, based on agreed goals.

Area of application

Coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, results-orientated and systematic process that aims to unlock a person’s or a team’s potential to strengthen their work performance. It is a professional partnership between a qualified coach and an individual or a team that supports the achievement of results, based on agreed goals. It might focus on, for example, leadership and team coaching in virtual collaboration to strengthen the effectiveness of project implementation.

Coaching in projects implemented by PTB in cooperation with partner organizations can address various levels. For example:

  • Executive Coaching:
    One-on-one coaching to support executives (e.g. in National Metrology Institutions and laboratories) in fulfilling their management tasks and leading teams in a virtual context.
  • Team Coaching:
    Working in virtual teams requires a different approach and mode of collaboration. Team coaching supports virtual teams to establish or strengthen trusting relationships, (re-) define their communication and work processes as well as their roles and responsibilities.

Role of the coach:

On both levels, the coach, as a sparring partner and a facilitator, introduces and supports executives or teams via a creative and targeted process of problem-solving. The coach has good knowledge and experience in the use of virtual platforms (e.g., DFNconf, Tixeo and others) and tools (e.g., virtual whiteboards, live polls, quizzes, word clouds) to be able to work creatively and interactively with the client. Moreover, he or she provides support in the process of improving the professional situation and the shaping of roles under demanding conditions. Coaching combines expertise from leadership, communication, teamwork, and consulting.
Coaching takes place in a safe environment that reflects trust, appreciation, and respect and also allows humor.

Virtual mode

Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of the virtual coaching mode as compared to the ‘traditional’ one


  • Executive coaching, in particular, is easier and more flexible to organize.
  • In contrast to other activities that cannot be replaced in the context of contact and travel restrictions, coaching is based on conversation, which can be easily organized by video conference.
  • Many video-conference platforms offer opportunities for creative and interactive work achieving similar results as in-person coaching.
  • For urgent questions or upcoming events, virtual coaching sessions can be held at short notice.
  • Shadowing of an executive or a team is possible also in the virtual space (e.g., a coach participates in virtual events such as workshops, video conferences,. gives feedback and reflects afterwards with the team or manager).


  • Building trust and confidence between the coach and the client (either an individual or a team) is more challenging and takes more time.
  • The dynamic in virtual coaching differs from face-to-face coaching. It is more difficult to perceive the client holistically as a person, because important cues through body language, gestures and facial expressions can only be used to a limited extent.


Coaching Process

The description of the coaching approach below refers to the virtual implementation without describing the technical options in each individual step. Throughout the coaching process, video conferencing platforms and whiteboards are used for discussions, visualizations, creative work and planning to ensure interactive work.

Selection of a coach

The key to successful coaching is a trusting, eye-to-eye relationship between the coach and the client. When choosing a coach, especially for team coaching, it should be ensured that all team members can engage with this coach and thus with the process. In virtual coaching, more time has to be set aside for building relationships.


At the beginning of any coaching session, it is important to establish what outcomes the coachee wants to achieve as a result of the coaching. At this stage, a goal might reflect the bigger picture and what the coachee specifically wants from the session itself e.g., identify a strategy or specific actions for moving forward or identifying options. The coach is opening up the discussion using a video conferencing platform, establishing the scope of the coaching and setting ground rules for working together in a virtual space. Ground rules include switching on the cameras and microphones, active engagement, being on time, relationship building, and reducing anonymity.

Goal setting and exploring

This stage is about helping the coachee to gain an understanding of their situation and of how the situation is impacting them. The coach is challenging the client to think through possibilities for future action in resolving the situation.

Identify options and take action

At this stage, the coach supports the coachee to identify the various options available to them and assists in choosing a way forward and deciding on the next steps.

Review and way forward

In a final stage, the coachee selects the most appropriate option and commits him- or herself to action. In addition, the coach also encourages feedback from the coachee on what was helpful about the coaching process, what was difficult, and what they would like to do differently in future coaching sessions.





The length of the coaching sequence depends on the issues and the clients (individual or team). Experience has shown that an initial package of 10 coaching sessions (1 hour each) has proven effective.

In virtual coaching, sessions can be split into shorter meetings as well.



Professional coaching fees



In virtual coaching, sessions appropriate video conferencing platforms and tools that allow creative and interactive work are an essential prerequisite. In particular, during virtual team coaching sessions a stable internet connection and an easy access for team members should be ensured. 



  • Virtual Executive Coaching: 
    one-on-one coaching with one coach and one client 
  • Virtual Team Coaching:
    one coach and a team (Team coaching can done with all team sizes. However, a maximum group size of up to 12 participants is recommended.)


Gudrun Becker

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