Coaching Case Study By Lynde Soh Yian Tan
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
I received a call from Miss Belle who knew that I am taking up Certified Coach Skills Program after I retired from the same company as her after my 30 years of service.She understood that I am very new in this field and I agreed to take the challenge to coach her with all the knowledge and skills that I have learned at that point of time.
When we met, I went through the Coaching Agreement with her to align our understanding and the purpose of our coaching session. I also make it clear that I am there to encourage her self-discovery and exploration, from where she was now to where she wants to go. I will be there to support her in her journey.
Miss Bella (not her real name) works in the hospitality industry in the same company for 21 years and currently hold a position as a Section Leader. In her company they use 365 appraisal method and she has always been the top percentage employee. She often deputized the senior role beyond her job scope. She is a divorcee with a 12 years old son who is smart with high IQ. They are living with her parents after the separation with her husband.
Recently, there was an opening for promotion for Senior Section Leader positions. Based on her appraisal, she is fully qualified to apply for it but was shocked and disappointed when it was rejected by Mr. Onn, her Section Leader Performance and Development Manager. She felt let down as she was looking forward to this promotion. She is also feeling frustrated at home especially with her son laziness and has lost interest in his education. His health is also affected with chronic diseases.
During our conversation, she started pouring out all her grievances without any barriers as she has trusts in me. I listened actively and could sense there were frustration, disappointment and she seemed to be burnt out. She has too many things in hands and did not know how to move forward. She is under tremendous pressure from both her work and family.I could hear a lot of emotion in her voice.After letting go her grievances, I let her take one-minute time out (silence), followed by asking her to inhale 6 times and exhale 6 times.
I asked her if she willing to do a Wheel of Life to get some clarification of her current reality. She must be honest on each part on how satisfied she is at that moment, from the scale 1, the lowest and 10 very satisfied. She agreed, and we worked on the 8 values and priorities that are important to her.
With the key areas of her wheel of life being identified, I adopted the powerful questioning to let her think and processed her reflection carefully before she filled each segment:
- What she likes about her work?
- How satisfied is she at her position?
- How important this promotion mean to her?
- How satisfied is she in her finance position?
- What kind of bills she need to pay?
- What is she doing for her personal growth?
- How often she spent time with her son and family?
- How is her health condition?
- What was her son’s preliminary school result?
- What is her son’s health condition?
- What is her relationship with her family?
With clarity established in her wheel, she could see clearly where are the areas she must focus to improve and set her priorities to make changes. As a coach, I encouraged her to take small steps to make progress in reaching her goals and to bring her life back to track.
Coaching Model – GROW
Goal – Bella has few goals to achieve:
- Her promotion was hindered by her punctuality at work. She was late for 13 times during the rough period of her marriage. Now that her divorce is going to finalised, she is no longer troubled by it. She can visualize and work out her pathway to reach her goal as Senior Position. Onn has given her a grace period of observation for her to work on her punctuality at work. Bella has decided to leave her house an hour earlier than normal.
- Her promotion has also motivated her to look for a Leadership course to attend and be ready for the next promotion opening.
- She will look for “Motivation Class for Children” instead of nagging and dragging her son for tuition.
- To work out a routine to exercise with her son.
Reality – From the conversation we had, Bella has the underlying beliefs, fear of failure and the guilt of not providing complete family love to her son. Thus, whatever her son wants to eat or play, she will give in to him. That has affected his health issue, he is a diabetic with high cholesterol. He is obese and refused to exercise. His education is also affected badly.With the acknowledgement of her underlying belief, she is committed to find a better way to balance her shortfall of family love. As a coach, I could only help her to discover her own solutions and she came up with:
- To go to a family counseling with her son or use the Company EAP service
- To work with a dietitian on his diet
- To cycle and explore Singapore together, making exercise more interesting
- To find a motivation class for her son and shift his mindset
- To sign up for courses that he is interested rather than playing computer games at home
- She can also leverage her parents to shower grandparents’ love to him
Option – After exploring all the possible options, I could see Bella nodding her head and came up with an action plan using S.M.A.R.T. to achieve her goals, working out things one at a time, slowly but surely.
Will –After gaining clarity and a marker for Bella to reach her goal and aspiration, Bella is committed to overcome her “fear of failure” underlying belief and works towards her promotion so that she can provide her son and family needs better.
Result of Coaching Process
When Bella came to me, she was very confused and frustrated and not knowing what to do next. By getting her to work on her “Wheel of Life”, it has helped her to focus where are her priorities, values and the challenges she must work on. With powerful questioning techniques and probing, that was when she received her “Aha” moment. She has a clearer picture and was able to come up with her own solutions. With her determination to work towards her goals, she can spend quality time with her son and manage her work all at the same time.
At the End of the Session
I was happy to see Bella smiling again. She was glad and grateful that she did this coaching session with me.She has gained back her confident with a positive attitude.
Before I meet Bella, there were many thoughts that came into my mind. I went through ICF Core Competencies and Related Behaviours, Coaching Presence and Coaching Model, taking down notes and trying to work out the framework to use. Once the coaching started, I did not use any of the methods that I planned to. The Coaching Presence (Wheel of Life), Powerful Questioning and Coaching Module (GROW) just flowed in. As a coach, I realised that we must consolidates all the information and be flexible to make any adjustments to the plan according to the situation needs.
Although I did practice active listening skill throughout the session, there were many times I wanted to give suggestions and advices. I kept reminding myself ‘WAIT’ (why am I talking), I am doing coaching and not a friendly advice. I will need a lot of practices before I can remove the word “WAIT” from my pen.
By adhering to ICF Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standard, I was able to help and guided Bella to find her self-awareness and change her perspectives in solving her issues. I also hope this coaching session can help to enhance her happiness and life satisfaction.
This is my first coaching with client and it has given me valuable experience that I can use for my future coaching sessions.
I would like to thank my peer coaches who has guided and supported me during our peer coaching.
Thank you, Coaches.