Coaching Case Study By Gerard Chee
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
Lena is a successful marketing executive performing a regional role at Multi-National company.
She had been performing well in her existing job and achieved strong performance ratings for the past 2 years. She was on the look out for a promotion to a senior supervisory role, she had gone for several interviews but she had lost out to other candidates.
Her morale was low and she was considering leaving the company or taking a break from from work. Her husband is a freelance consultant and she has 2 young children. She had approached me for help to clarify what she should do next to get out of the ‘rut’ that she feels she was in.
Coaching session goal
Lena’s goal for the coaching session was to gain clarity on what she should do next to get out of the ’rut’ and take steps to feel in control of her situation.
Opening discussion and questioning
Our initial questioning discussion revealed that Lena needed support to overcome her bout of negative thoughts. I began by asking her about recent achievements. She began to increasingly light up and smile as she began to think and list down a string of successful assignments she had completed. I realised that by asking her to do this it was a powerful means for her to express gratitude for the good work and strong contributions she has made to the company.
We then moved into exploring details of the different jobs that she had applied for and ask what the hiring manager was looking for and why she thought she lost out. She described that many of these jobs were for leadership jobs calling for management experience which she did not have. She then proceeded to lament about not being given a chance given the limited opportunities for roles in the department.
To address this negative emotion, we shifted to using reframing to put ourselves in the shoes of the hiring manager. By doing this she began seeing the interview process in an entirely new light. She realised that she had been emphasising too much on her achievements as an individual and did not include the fact that she had experience leading various project virtual teams.
She realised that the limited number of opportunities in her department also meant that she should cast her net wider to other suitable jobs in other departments in the company.
We found time also for Lena to complete a Rainbow chart based on Super’s theory of Life stages. She realised that her priority at this stage was to find the energy to focus on the best and most effective means of progressing her career as her husband’s income was not predictable and her priority was financial to build up a nest egg to secure a stable future for her young family.
She came to the conclusion that she liked her present company and the best way forward to make headway in her career was to find a way to progress within the company.
She agreed upon the following;
- Use her existing role as a team lead she will look for opportunities to demonstrate her ability to effectively lead a team and gain a positive reputation as a leader. Her focus areas will include developing her team members, team-building and emphasizing employee recognition.
- She planned also to expand her network get to know leaders from other departments so as to maximise her opportunities to be considered for jobs beyond her department.
- Finally she resolved to act and behave like a manager. She decided that there was a need to upgrade her professional image by taking more care in her grooming to come across as a professional and confident manager.
Within 6 months of making the above changes Lena managed to gain a promotion to a manager in a different department but leveraging her experience in marketing and demonstrating her readiness for a supervisory role.