Designing an appropriate office is one of the keys to effective coaching. The physical layout of a learning environment plays a significant role in the learner’s comfort level. In turn, the learner’s comfort level has a direct bearing on how receptive he will be to what is being presented. Keep this in mind as you sketch out the tentative layout of the coaching office you are designing. Observe and follow a few guidelines to maximize the learning comfort of your office.
How to Design a Coaching Office
Make it as roomy as possible. Do not crowd the face-to-face coach/learner interaction area. Situate your desk so that it is not between you and the learner when one-on-one interaction has to take place. Do not block your exit or the learner’s. Plan and know in advance the most direct exit.
Allow for maximal air flow through the office. Avoid overheated, stuffy air quality. If the office has more than one door, open both to increase air circulation. Make sure that, in addition to fresh air, you have sufficient lighting in place. Learners need ample light to read. Keep the office clean. Do not use strong smelling cleaners, but do use antibacterial cleaners.
Provide physical separation between public places like the lobby and bathrooms and private areas like coaching offices. Use prominently placed signs labeling those areas. Create a feeling of privacy by using acoustically sound building materials. Build the walls of learning stations that utilize computers, videos and audio recordings to the ceiling to maximize privacy.
Use lamps and softer colors in the coaching office to give it a homey feel. Steer clear of a cold, institutional look. Work to make the learner comfortable, but still retain a learning atmosphere.
Install comfortable furniture, but do not buy plush furnishings. Do not invite lounging, but do make the seating comfortable. Provide ergonomically correct viewing, writing, reading and learning-related furnishings. Situate the furniture correctly, leaving room to move around without having to squeeze by chairs or desks. Clearly delineate different areas and how they are used by how you space them and set them up.