Research Paper By Caroline Wu Beloe
(Parenting Coach, Life Coach, CHINA)
The aim of this case study is to highlight the results of a coaching issue or problem that you have applied coaching skills to. It may be a positive or negative case study, ie maybe the coaching worked, maybe it didn’t. Either way we are interested in your PROCESS and LEARNING more than your result.
1. Who are the main players in this case study.
The main player is my friend April. She has a 7 year-old son Dan.
2. What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to? Really dig into this problem, use these questions as a guide:
- Why is it a problem?
- How long has it been a problem?
- What is the worst thing about this problem?
- Why has no one been able to solve it so far?
April was having a hard time to handle Dan’s moody temper. According to April, Dan is a sensitive and grumpy boy. He often came home from school with gloomy and unhappy face. He could be unhappy for little things. April tried hard to be patient with Dan and to make him be more positive thinking. She hated the fact that her effort to solve the problem often became an emotional struggle between Dan and herself.
It has been a problem for about 6 months.
The worst thing about it was that April seems lost confidence to handle the problem. She started avoiding Dan when he was fussy about things and when he had tantrum, which made Dan even unhappier.
She had already taken a couple of parent effective course and actively discuss with her husband regarding the situation. But nothing seems worked. She also realized that her anxiety and anger often made the situation worse. So she was so afraid of confronting with Dan when he became moody.
4. Explain your process in detail.
It was during a catch up lunch, I told April that I was very passionate about coaching and shared with her my amazingly rewarding learning experience with ICA. She became very interested in it and asked if I could coach Dan (7 years old). I explained to her that coaching only works when the client desired for certain outcome. Children at 7 years old are not old enough to be coached.
Then she asked if I could coach her. I felt her eager to find answer for some problem. So I suggested we could have a 20 minutes laser session to see how it goes. She could decide if she wanted to have a formal contract with me afterwards. She agreed.
We were in a very quiet place with no interruption. I first explained about the confidentiality and reiterate about what is coaching and what is not etc. Everything we practise in MC class become so handy.
By using attentive listening and being non judgemental, I immediately sensed the frustration April was experiencing. I noticed her voice become heavy and energy level went down when she started describe Dan’s temper and characters. I reflect back what I heard to validate my understanding of the issue. I then gave her an acknowledgement about her awareness of her emotional change and especially her effort to calmly handle Dan’s tantrum.
It took me about 5 minutes to validate what the issue was. My invitation for her to set goal for the session made her shift from venting to vision setting. Then I asked a few exploratory questions around the things she had tried. Her effort to help often ended up with anger and stress. Continual failure drove her to despair. She recently changed her strategy to avoiding direct confrontation. Because.
I expressed genuine sympathize with her suffering. I also acknowledged her hard work on finding the right solution. She then said she always felt big pressure to prove to her husband that she could handle the problem. At that moment, she suddenly realized that her despair mainly came from her desperation to prove to her husband. When she had tried to prove herself, she totally ignored Dan’s feeling. I then followed to ask if she noticed her own emotional process during Dan’s tantrum or moody behaviour. She said whenever she sensed Dan has a temper coming up and she would get nervous or angry even before Dan really starts his temper. She suddenly paused and then said, “Oh, may be I should let Dan express himself or listen more calmly about his real needs instead getting cross about it.’
5. What were the results of your process?
Was your coaching/program effective? Why? Why not? The result of the process was that April obtained awareness about the impact of her reaction towards Dan’s behaviour. My coaching was effective because by supporting her in a no judgemental way, I provided April a very safe space to explore her own emotional change during those difficult moments and the consequence of her own reaction. She changed her perspective from looking at Dan’s behaviour as a problem to looking it as an opportunity for communication. Her take away from the 20 minutes session was she decided Coach Skills Course Outcome to accept Dan’s temper and also try to find out his real needs behind the temper in the future.
6. If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?
One thing I would do differently is to pay more attention to April’s body language. This is my first time to coach somebody face to face. I was used to listen to the client on phone and use a lot of time taking notes. I noticed her facial expression changes a lot during the conversation, from stressed, puzzled, despair to encouraged and calm.
7. What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?
First, it is very valuable to build up client’s trust in me and in coaching, especially before coaching session start. By explain to April that I won’t be capable to coach Dan demonstrated my coaching ethics. I also told her I could not promise to find the answer to her issue and I won’t give advice and suggestions as a coach. Trust is the oxygen of coaching.
Second, a client needs to have the desired to change. April had been looking for the answer for a few months. She had built up some awareness around the problem made our session more effective.
Third, being non-judgemental and being curious is very important. At the beginning of the conversation I had urge to give advise to April when she expressed her concern. As soon as I notice my urge, I replaced it with giving acknowledgement and asking clean questions. Acknowledgement boosted April’s confidence in finding the solution by her.