Coaching Case Study By Jean Tan
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
My client, Estelle (not her real name) is an experienced HR Manager who joined a large local company about 6 months ago, managing a team of 3 HR practitioners. She reports to the HR Director. She has done well in her past 7 years of her HR career, moving up the ranks.
I started the coaching session with an introduction of coaching and what is and is not. I shared that coaching is an action oriented, future focused relationship where she decides the issues to explore, outcomes and her own action plan. I shared that I will engage her in direct, personal, honest yet powerful conversations in a safe environment. Intent is give her the space to explore the depths of her authentic self and through non-directive, non-judgmental approach with active listening and asking powerful questions, elicit solutions from her and encourage action.
I learnt that not long after joining the company, 2 out of the 3 of Estelle’s team members were not supportive and cooperative. Her HR Director was, in her view, making things difficult. She tried to speak to her HR Director who brushed her off as being overly sensitive. Estelle was worried as she felt that her confidence level has started to dwindle. She was wondering if this was the right job for her.
I applied the GROW coaching model as follows:
Goal – Estelle enjoys her work and is motivated by the vast learning opportunities. She hopes to be able to build her confidence and contribute more effectively as an individual and with her team.
Reality –As I explored her situation through active listening, powerful questioning and paraphrasing, she had an underlying belief, that of the fear of failure. Because of this, she hesitated in taking action to improve the situation. I asked Estelle to list down her top 3 values and with that understanding, started exploring options with her.
Options – Estelle listed 4 options and prioritized 2 to work on. She came up with an action plan for each of the 2 options with clear timelines. Estelle’s WOW moment was when she realized that since joining, she has not had the opportunity to sit her team down to understand them and their work better. Her focus was on understanding the business. As an immediate step, she will arrange a one-to-one discussion with her team to understand their key challenges and how she can support them in these areas. She will also set aside time for lunches with the team to get to know them better on a more social setting. Her 2nd action plan was to solicit feedback from her HR Director, in particular on team management and areas where she can improve.
Will – Estelle demonstrate her willingness to keep an open mind and keeping to her commitments and action plans.
I concluded the session with assurance to Estelle that I will continue with the coaching journey with her. I encouraged her to remain open minded and to challenge her own thoughts. I also encouraged her to stay committed to her action plan and to provide an update on her progress at the next coaching session.
Estelle’s greatest take away from the session was how one’s underlying belief could hamper action taking. She was glad that through coaching, her underlying belief was drawn out.