Coaching Case Study By Gek Cheng Chew
(Life Coach, SINGAPORE)
Who are the main players in this case study
Alana is 50-years old, is currently out of job and is trying hard to find one. Alanawas an IT professional and doing IT consulting projects for his company’s clients before he was retrenched. He has considered a few options, namely becoming a freelance Consultant or Trainer. He found difficulty in going back to the corporate world, due to discrimination on his age. Recently he came across Coaching as an alternative career, through his friends recommendations he decided to take up a Coaching course and explore this possibility.
What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to?
Alana felt rather discouraged since his retrenchment and he realized that it is so difficult to find a job that he is good at, due to his age. The reason why he took up coaching course was that he thought that since he was in consulting for many years it will be very similar and that he could be a good Career coach.
After Alana has started this coaching programme, he realized there are some stark differences and begin to wonder whether this is the right career choice and whether the money spent is worth it.
- Why is it a problem?
In consulting work one is knowledgeable with the topic or subject matter and applies the knowledge and experience to solve clients’ problems. However, in coaching he realized that coaches do not give advice and coaches need not be “know all”, but know where to find resources. This makes him uncomfortable for not being able to dish advice and share his knowledge to help clients
- How long has it been a problem?
During the course when trainees were told of a Coach role, he started to question himself and his choice.
- What is the worst thing about this problem?
Alana need a drastic change of mindset and understand why coaches do not dish out advice and still can help clients. His other concern is that he may, out of habit, dish out advice and breach the code of ethics and protocols of a coach.
- Why has no one been able to solve it so far?
As coaching is fairly new to Alana and also fairly new inthis part of the world, most people here do not really understand what really coaching is. The perception of a lot of people is that is it helping clients and similar to mentoring or advising. It is only when he attended the coaching course that he realize the differences.
What specific coaching skills or approach did you use in this case?
My approach to this case to have an active listening skill and try to understand his concern and worry. To come out with powerful questioning to explore with him – what if he can help people even without dishing out advice but through other means. Work on his strengths, and try to reframe his perspectives, creating actions for him to try and see how coaching are able to help without doing the consulting part.
Explain your process in detail
Basically Alana fear is that,as a coach, he is not able to dish out advice and solutions like when he was working as a Consultant and even if he tried not to, he may fall into his old habits. He is now also wondering whether he would make a good Coach.
To address his concern of whether he can be a good coach, during the first session, I went through with Alana his strengths in accordance to the assessment that he did at Gallup StrengthFinder.
I used the Name It; Claim It and Aim It technique.
His three top strengths:
He mentioned that it resonate strongly to him as he likes to “think”.Doing mental and intellectual activities excites him.
Likes to ponder and process information that he gathers on a daily basis.
Realised that he has been using this strength to learnt and share his knowledge and skills with people either his professional life or personal life.
His career as a consultant and now a trainer to students in 3D modelling
Realised he at times people with Intellection strength, likes to be alone to think and ponder things and do not wish to be disturbed. Can be at times grumpy and angry when being disturbed. Due to this realisation, he aim to be more communicative and explain people around him that at times he prefer to be alone and undisturbed, rather that showing anger. With this people especially his family members may understand him better and leave him alone.
Has a craving to learn more and more things. Read a lot of book and collect them in soft and hard copies. He likes to analyse information and data.
His work as a consultant helped people and organisation with his knowledge that he acquired
Able to continue with his current role as a freelance trainer and doing short term projects are due to his ability to accumulate and input knowledge.
Learn new things and gather new information, besides book and news media but also other form of social media. This is to help to explore new path in careers – like coaching or training or consultancy.
His religious background leads him to believe that one’s actions are connected to things around him.
Felt that things happen for a reason and that he would like to build bridges for the people around him..
He was surprised that friends at times seek his advice on “career”. He mentioned an example of a friend seeking his opinion and knowledge about a short term project.
Taking this Coaching course, he sensed that there must be a reason. He used to help helping organisations as a consultant. Is there a connection that he may move toward helping individuals instead?
Explore his mission and strength – to be a coach or trainer or continue to be a consultant.
At the end of the first session, he was tasked to list out the Pros and Cons of each career path that he is considering using his Top 5 Strengths.
At subsequent sessions, we discussed the challenges and barriers that he is facing and his vision for his future.
It was during these sessions and his other sessions with more experience coaches on-line that he realised that Coaches does not dish out advice or solutions.
He noticed that coaches uses Active Listening; Powerful Questioning; tapping on client’s strengths; create an awareness of the client’s underlying belief and reframing of thoughts and some other techniques in helping clients to make changes to their life on their own willingly – and this is the core foundation of Coaching.
This makes him feel more confident and he was able to overcome his scepticism of not having to dish our advice and solutions as a coach.
If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?
I would like to polish my power questioning techniques, as sometimes I struggle on how to ask a certain question so as to invoke him to think deeper and on a different perspective.
Besides Gallup StrengthFinders, there are other assessment tools which clients may already have taken and an understanding of these tools may be useful. However, Gallup StrengthFinders is by far the most comprehensive and details in finding the strength of an individual. I would personally recommend this tool where possible.
What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?
- It is important to build trust and be transparent to the client on what is coaching all about. Coaches must spend the first part clarifying and agreeing with clients on his/her expectations. Failing this, the coaching sessions would not yield any good results. .
- Be prepared to listen actively and not to get distracted. This needs a lot of practice. More often than not, we tend to think of what to ask and say, thus distracting and missing out what the client is telling us. Do not worry and think about what questions to ask, just listen actively and with practice, powerful questioning will just flow. If in doubt paraphrase to confirm your understanding. Most of the time, if you paraphrase correctly, client will feel that you are listening to him/her.
- The client always can find a solution and know what he/she needs to do. Resist any tendency to suggest any solution or answer. What the client need is sometimes affirmation of what he/she already has in mind. In this way the client will “own” their solutions and be responsible for any plan they come up with.Besides just talking about the plan, be sure to commit to an action to be done by the end of the session, or else nothing will happen after the session