Research into online coaching is a growing field. The work referenced are two solid pieces of research from 2009 and 2011.
“Distance coaching: The relationship between the coach-client relationship, client satisfaction, and coaching outcomes.” PhD thesis, Marshall Goldsmith School of Management and Alliant International University, California. The largest empirical study on virtual coaching on distance coaching by telephone Conclusion: it is possible through coaching solely at a distance to develop and maintain a strong coach-client relationship that results in positive coaching outcomes. The majority of clients were satisfied with being coached at a distance and observed positive coaching outcomes that were confirmed by co-workers. The client-coach relationship in this virtual coaching program had an impact on client satisfaction and coaching outcome, which is in line with findings in psychotherapeutic literature.
“A comparison of face-to-face and distance coaching practices: Coaches’ perceptions of the role of the working alliance in problem resolution”. Published in Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. Berry, R.M., Ashby, J.S., Gnilka, P.B., Matheny, K.B. (2011).
Berry, Ashby, Gnilka, and Matheny investigated the relationship between the working alliance and whether face-to-face versus distance coaching resulted in a difference in coaching outcomes and problem resolution. The results of their study suggested that no significant differences were found between the reported levels of face-to-face coaching sessions versus distance coaching sessions. Coaches self-reported strong levels of working alliance in both conditions.
Jennifer Potten, Client Relationship Manager of Global Executive Coaching & Bente Thomassen, International Executive Coach at Hult EF Corporate Education
*Annual Coaching Survey, Sherpa Coaching, the University of Georgia and Howard University, 2019