Coaching Case Study By Katja von Glinowiecki
(Diversity Coach, CHINA)
The aim of this case study is to highlight the results of a coaching issue or problem that I have applied coaching skills too.
1. Who are the main players in this case study?
The main players in this case study are myself, as the coach, and my client, an expat spouse. Let’s call her Barbara.
2. What is the core problem or challenge I applied my coaching skills to?
Barbara recently moved with her husband from Germany to Beijing on a 3 years expat assignment. She is looking forward to this experience and feels open to a new adventure in her life. For the time of the expatriation she took a sabbatical on her job in Germany. She started coaching to find a new purpose of her life in China.
Why is it a problem?
Barbara moved to another culture, another country, completely different environment with a lot of changes in her daily life and her contact to friends and family. She was looking forward to explore her new life and her free time and make new friends. But at the same time she wanted to define some goals she could focus on for her time living abroad and to prepare her return into her job in Germany after 3 years.
How long has it been a problem?
Not really long as Barbara took the opportunity to be coached right away, in the beginning of her expatriation and financially supported by her husbands company. We started with our first exploring session when she was still in Germany about 8 weeks before her departure. The first coaching session took place 4 weeks after her arrival in Beijing.
What is the worst thing about this problem?
Barbara feels overwhelmed about the options and is at the same time very hesitant to truly enjoy her new freedom. She is a very organized and structured person and wants to make sure that the people in her close environment feel comfortable and pampered. She underestimated the impact of geographical distance to her parents and the rest of her family. Distance and emotional disapproval by some close family members make her feel guilty to enjoy the new opportunities.
Why has no one been able to solve it so far?
Barbara is the only person to solve her problems by herself and to get sorted out her feelings. My task as her coach is/was to support, to listen, to dig deeper, where necessary.
3. What specific coaching skills did I use in this case?
- Visualization (for example Coaching model “wheel of life”)
- Challenging & powerful questions
4. Process explanation
In the beginning of the coaching Barbara was focusing on exploring and defining goals for her time living abroad. Short term steps and long term goals for the next 3-4 years. In our third session her focus changed and she got very emotional about the influence in her decisions of some of her family members in Germany. She allowed me to explore the deeper emotions behind that guilty feeling she expressed.
5. What were the results of that process? Was my coaching effective? Why? Why not?
I felt that my client Barbara was very grateful for my listening skills. She felt comfortable and was able to open up and talk about deeper emotions, values and underlying beliefs. By using techniques for visualization, my client Barbara was able to get a better understanding of her emotions towards different relationships. That helped her to distinguish who is important and who isn’t that important to her. When she realized the shift in her thoughts she expressed her gratitude towards living in the moment and enjoying her current situation. In our last session she was able to come back to her first focus and defined her own action plan for the projects she wants to start or explore in China.
By using the above mentioned coaching skills I was able to support my client in her journey. I experienced the powerful atmosphere of being present and enjoyed the trustful atmosphere as much as my client Barbara.
6. If I could approach this problem again, what would I do differently?
I would use a tool like the “Wheel of Life” or the “Personal Signpost” in an earlier stage of the coaching. I found that the most effective tool with my client to visualize and to create a higher awareness in her. (see above No. 5)
7. What are the top 3 things I learnt from this experience?
- It’s crucial for the success of the coaching to set up the coaching agreement for the coaching properly AND in every session. Check back during the sessions and at the end of the session.
- The client sets the agenda and if he/she feels like changing the topic, I am aloud to ask for permission and explore a little bit the “why”. But overall I have to follow my client when he/she wishes to change the topic or focus of the coaching.
- Focus on the client 100%. It means listening with the intention to know what to explore with my client. Focus on the words, intentions, energy level, tones and body language. Focusing for 60 to 120 minutes is hard work!