A Research Paper by Juliana Barco
(Life Coach, ITALY)
I chose this case because it is and will always be one of the most touching cases for me, it taught me so much, and I believe that we can all learn from it, from the courage the client shows along the way and from all of the process itself.
I will use a fake name, in order to respect the privacy of my client, I will call him Dave. He is 31 years old, Italian, single, and has lived in Rome for the past seven years. He moved to Rome, he said at the beginning, because he loves to travel, he was bored of Bolzano, where he was born, and because he wanted to look for new possibilities in his working area, the fashion industry. He now is a very well known Visual (the person in charge of doing the shop-windows and visual merchandising in the stores) for the LVHM group in Rome. He is always under a lot of pressure, and very little time for himself.
He comes from a very catholic family, has a big brother and a big sister. He had always lived with his family and always been fortunate enough to have a stable economic situation at home (he comes from a wealthy family), as well as a favorite aunt that took care of him when his parents weren’t home, which was most of the time.
How we met
We had a friend in common, who introduced us at a working dinner; we started talking about life and our work, and he seemed very polite and well-mannered. He had this childish voice that made him look like a little boy wearing his father’s clothes, but yet, trying to act like a man. He said he had heard of me, about coaching and that I was studying to become one, but that he didn’t know anything about coaching, and that he didn’t want to do therapy; he wanted to understand what coaching was all about. We talked for a while, I explained to him as clearly as I could what I did and what a coaching relationship was all about. He smiled and said: “I would like to give it a try, see what this coaching is about, maybe it could be helpful…” That day we discussed when could we meet and set up our first appointment.
Goals and expectations of the client
In our first session he said his goal was to be better at his job, and to gain the confidence he needed to be better at what he did. He didn’t seem very focused on this subject, and the first thing I picked up from his body language, was that he wasn’t feeling comfortable, that there was something wrong, unsaid, something that was bothering him and that he wouldn’t tell me.
We worked up a plan of action, we brainstorm some ideas of what would make him reach his goal, and in the end of the session I asked if there was anything else I could do for him. He said: “Maybe, we’ll see”. I took that as a sign!
The first month, we met four times. At the beginning of our sessions I would ask him to close his eyes, and visualize himself; he would tell me where he was, how he felt, what he wanted to find, where he wanted to go. That would give us a start, a place to begin creating awareness, help him get in contact with his true self. We would brainstorm, and have so much fun discovering the answer to questions that I would ask, that he thought he didn’t know, but that he had always known. All he needs was to trust himself more, to get in contact with his inner wisdom: Dave was very smart!
He did seem like someone in need of support, listening, some help easing his thoughts.
We built a great coaching relationship, and I could see I had started to earn his trust. We made so much progress that month creating actions that it empowered him so that he could develop a better confidence, and so that he could deliver better at work.