Research Paper By Elizabeth Wheeler
(Management Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Case Study – Unexpected Results from Coaching
In this case study, I will present my experience coaching a fellow coach. My interaction with her proved to be challenging, rewarding and unexpected. After working with her, I have a greater understanding of the power of coaching to affect a person’s life. She made great progress in the area she initially chose for focus. She also gained awareness into other areas that were seemingly unrelated and surprised both of us.
Background and Introductory Session:
Janet is 57 year-old woman with a background in research analysis and a fellow coach (name changed to protect identity). We established an agreement for three style-coaching sessions. At the beginning of our coaching agreement, Janet was in the midst of launching a new coaching business and sought coaching to update her style and appearance.
Janet and I didn’t conduct a typical discovery session since we were already acquainted with one another. Instead, I sent her a survey with in-depth questions about her appearance and personal style. The questions investigated her thoughts and feelings around her hair, make-up, clothing and body image, her motivation for making changes in her general appearance, and the message she wanted her appearance to send to those she encountered. I also asked her to send me pictures of her wearing her usual choice of clothing, hair and makeup for different occasions such as a day-off, work, meeting with a client, and social occasions.
Janet completed the survey and I reviewed her answers before we conducted our first session. The segments below are the thoughts and beliefs that became focal points in our coaching sessions.
Q: What do I love about my appearance?
A: Not sure I love anything about my appearance…
Q: What do I want to improve about my appearance?
A: I feel I’m slowly fading into the faceless persona of a woman over 50. I don’t like it.
Q: Are the things I want to improve things I can change?
A: I want to improve my hair style and rethink my makeup… I haven’t figured out what looks reasonable anymore.
Q: What impression do I want my appearance to give? What message do I want it to send?
A: Intelligent. Approachable. Friendly.
Q: When I feel most confident: what am I wearing? how is my hair styled? how is my makeup done?
A: In business suit with silk blouse and simple pearls, say, with heels. Light make-up. Good cut in simple pageboy. But I rarely wear this!!!
Q: What is my biggest struggle with my hair?
A: Finding a hair stylist who will work with me…
Q: What is my favorite part of my body to accentuate with clothing?
A: hmmmmm. Now that I’ve lost over 50 pounds and kept it off for over three years, I’m not sure.
During the introductory session we went through the questions one-by-one and I used powerful listening and questioning to gain a richer understanding of how she saw herself and how she believed other people saw her. After completing and talking through the questionnaire, Janet had gained awareness of how her appearance was impacting other aspects of her life. She realized she was viewing herself as an aging woman in an unfamiliar environment struggling to know how to present herself to the world. She was excited about exploring her motives and underlying beliefs around her appearance. And she was eager to take action and make changes. She decided two more sessions would not be enough to complete the coaching process and committed to doing 11 more sessions.