05/01/2004

Becoming a Teleclass Leader

by Joanne Waldman


Who would have thought it would be possible to earn a living teaching classes over the telephone? That idea was not even on the radar screen for me ten years ago. But I find myself now leading teleclasses for various entities, speaking to students all around the world.

My adventure started in 1989 when I was hired by a human resources management consulting firm to counsel and coach clients over the telephone and later via the internet. At that time, the coaching/distance counseling ideas were in their infancy, so we pioneered the concept and learned how to "see" with our ears. By the time the telephone became more accepted as a delivery method, I had already compiled many years of experience and comfort using that medium.

One of the best career moves I made in the last six years was taking teleclass leader training through two groups: Coachville and TeleclassInternational. To become certified at Coachville, you have to lead at least 25 classes and have 1000 attendees. I am number seven out of 14 who has attained the certification to date. At this time, I have trained over 3200 people in my teleclasses, sometimes leading up to nine classes per week.

The teleclass leader training enabled me to apply for a job I discovered on the Internet, to become a teleclass leader for a life coaching school originating out of Australia. The school was impressed by my years of experience in making presentations, teaching continuing education courses, and my virtual coaching experience. After a lengthy training period, I led my first teleclass with much trepidation. But, I was hooked and as my teleleader trainer told me, "Your soul is happy that you are doing this". Since International Coach Academy (ICA) has students in 20 countries, I have had the wonderful experience of learning about other cultures, and meeting some amazingly bright and inspirational human beings.

Leading classes for ICA led to another teleclass leading opportunity. I serve as the Director of Training for Retirement Options, teaching several teleclasses per week training coaches and counselors who want to utilize the Retirement Success Profile (RSP), as assessment that measures the 15 factors necessary for a successful retirement. I also lead teleclasses for coaches who want to learn more career coaching skills, facilitate mentoring groups and run RSP distributor calls utilizing these skills.

I would be lying if I said that I have never taught a class in my pajamas, but that is the beauty of being a teleclass leader. Although I HAVE to brush my teeth and put on my lipstick before I teach a class, I don't have to get dressed up if I choose not to do so. I often tell people that the best thing about my job is that I get to go to work with my bunny slippers on and the commute is great. I go from my bedroom to my home office.

And there have been some fun experiences on the bridgeline, the medium used for teleclasses. Each individual calls the same telephone number and basically we have a big conference call. There are times that people forget we can hear them and all their background noises. And sometimes salespeople call the bridgeline and start selling their product, not realizing that they have dropped in on a teleclass and not understanding why there are 20 people laughing at the situation. Or the times that the lawn service starts to mow the yard outside my window just as I need to start teaching a class. My service now knows my teaching schedule, and although tempting, I have not allowed myself to ask the neighbors not to have their lawn mowed while I am teaching.

The exciting thing about being a teleclass leader is the ability to create and capture so much opportunity in the marketplace. Working virtually allows the whole world to be your potential client and more businesses are starting to see the value in teleclasses as a money and time saving medium. And finally, the most wonderful part of being a teleclass leader is that I get to touch so many lives by training individuals to help others, who then go out and make a difference in the world. What more could you ask for?


Joanne Waldman, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, NCGC, Master Career Counselor, has counseled and coached many professionals to help them change their careers, plan their retirement, or achieve personal goals. She also trains and mentors counselors and coaches. Call her at 314-469-2388 or e-mail joanne@newperspectivecoaching.com


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