Coaching Case Study By Deborah Shipley
(Career Coach, UNITED STATES)
Who are the main players in this case study?
Chelsea, a manager looking to develop confidence and her management skills in order to effectively manage and get the best out of her team.
Marissa, Chelsea’s director.
What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to?
- 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?
Chelsea has 2 years of experience as a manager prior to joining her current team and only after being with her new team for less than 6 months was promoted into the line manager role. Her previous manager left unexpectantly and the director wanted to fill the position quickly. After a number of unsuccessful interviews, the director could not find someone to fill the position so she temporarily promoted Chelsea. Very keen to take the role, Chelsea accepted but soon found herself struggling with her confidence in the new role.
Not long after, during her mid-year-review, Chelsea received feedback from her director that she was concerned about Chelsea’s abilities to effectively manage the team. Specifically, Marissa wants to see Chelsea be more assertive and communicate more effectively with the team. If Chelsea could not make changes with the feedback received, she would be demoted and if she could effectively change, her temporary status would become permanent.
Very keen to improve, Chelsea contacted me after remembering that I offered to coach to her during a management development workshop she attended. Chelsea learned about coaching as a line manager during the program and remembered how much she took away and enjoyed it.
What specific coaching skills or approach did you use in the case?
Power listening, Acknowledgement, Powerful Questions, Creating Structure and Creating Action
Explain your process in detail.
Initial Intro Meeting: To get to know one another, ask questions, discuss the coaching process and next steps
Session 1: Establishing the Coaching Agreement
The stage was set with the coaching agreement taking precedence which began with Chelsea and I meeting for an hour. I asked Chelsea questions and powerfully listened as she guided me through the conversation sharing her desire to be an effective manager, especially after the feedback she recently received from her director.
Making sure not to coach the issue but the client, I went deeper to find that her underlying issue was about her lack of confidence in herself and that she wanted to keep the position as manager. We took time to explore more what was most important to her and she said it was to be more confident. Her time as a manager before coming to this organization was a very positive experience and she said she thrived in the two years she experienced. “What is the difference now”, I asked. Chelsea believed that if she developed and improved her management skills her confidence would also improve and therefore, the feedback would also improve and she would be able to remain as the manager of the team.
“What would developing your management skills do to increase your confidence?” Chelsea focused and said that if she could improve her communication skills and had the ability to have difficult conversations with her team, that would be a great start as she struggled with finding the words to say and overcoming the feelings of inadequacy.
“What would success look like?”, I asked her. Believing in the value I have to offer the team and the communication skills I can develop to better myself and the team.
From there I began to use the Coaching Model: VALUE (belieVe, Accept, expLore, uniqUe and decidE).
belieVe: We spent the rest of our time focusing first on what Chelsea believed the skills are of a good manager when it comes to effectively communicate. We dove into her current communication skills and the impact she believes she is having based and the impact she desires. Chelsea also identified that she can only control herself and not those around her. However, a big ‘ah-ha’ was that she could influence others by adapting her communication to the needs and communication styles of others.
As we transitioned into Accept, Chelsea already accepted her low confidence in herself, however, inspired to address the feedback she received and recognizes about herself and her communication skills.
The session concluded with a recap from Chelsea with her biggest take away that she could use her own communication strengths to flex to the communication styles of others to get the desired outcome.
Session 2: Coaching Model: VALUE cont.
Wanting to continue with improving her communication goal and where the last session left off, Chelsea expLored ideas on what she could do to develop her communication skills. She decided to develop a Communication Learning & Development Plan and asked my assistance, as I am a Learning & Development consultant and expert with a management development focus. After Chelsea brainstormed a robust list, I added to her list with the information I was an insider too. She then mapped out a 70-20-10 L&D Plan. This excited and motivated Chelsea as she began to see her journey take off.
Next, without having to ask the next question, Chelsea began to identify some of her own uniqUe talents and how they could help her with her development plan. Specifically, she identified her Myers Briggs (MBTI) preferences, ability to see the big picture and strategize and to see the best in others.
How to move forward was not easy for Chelsea to decidE. She identified on her L&D Plan dates of completion, but also a list of people and resources she felt comfortable to reach out to, especially if she wanted to role-play a difficult scenario to work out how best to have the conversation. She also asked if we could use our next session to review the team’s MBTI results and focus on communication.
Session 3: Myers Briggs
Since the entire team participated in a team Myers Briggs (MBTI) session, Chelsea asked to spend time reviewing the team results with a focus on each team members communication style and how she could use her own communication style strengths and ‘flex’ to get the best out of each team member. As a qualified MBTI facilitator and coach, I blended my skills to help Chelsea recognized her own preferences of getting information and making decisions and how that was different than most of the team. Her big ‘ah-ha’, the importance of taking the time to customize how she presents information(more Sensing) to team members and to consider more the impact of others (more Feeling) when decisions are made and how she herself can use coaching skills by asking more questions and spending more time listening.
Session 4: Check-In
Chelsea and I met to check in on her L&D Plan and to see how she was doing and progressing. She was progressing with her goal and found the coaching sessions helped her focus on what was important to her. She shared she now uses coaching skills more when communicating with her team and has found it very successful. She looks to schedule more coaching sessions after her year-end-review.
What were the results of your process? Was your coaching/program effective? Why? Why not?
The feedback from Chelsea was that she became re-energized and motivated to take action to be the manager she knew she could be. Three months after our last session, Chelsea received her end-of-year review, she now is the full-time manager of the team and her director highlighted three specific comments from stakeholders acknowledging Chelsea’s improvement to communicate more effectively not only with her team but with other colleagues in the department.
If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?
Offer Chelsea to take the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) to look at her motivating values, strengths and strengths overdone and the impact they can have. In addition, offer to run an SDI session for her and her team to provide an opportunity for the team to learn more about themselves, about team members and create an action plan on how to use their results to work more effectively together and celebrate successes. Unfortunately, for the time we had available to meet before Chelsea’s year-end-review, I nor my team had the space to schedule and run an SDI session. We did offer to run it after her review when both her team and I had availability.
What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?
- Creating a coaching agreement is essential.
- Stay focused on the client and not the story.
- Coaching skills are valuable not only as a coach but also as a consultant. Looking to help my client get the best of what they are looking for to meet their goal.