Coaching Case Study By May-Tuck Wong
(Leadership & Transition Coach, MALAYSIA)
1. Who are the main players in this case study
Mr Z is an Agency Manager with a renown Unit Trust Funds Company. He started with the company as a Unit Trust Consultant (UTC) in his early twenties, and over 10 years or so, he successfully worked his way up to being an Agency Manager.
In late 2016, he found himself having to make a decision on his next career path. It is important to him to make the right decision as it ensures that he maintains his good standing and performance with the company. After much consideration Z decided to pursue attaining Group Agency Manager-ship by end 2018.
2. What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to?
In order to attain Group Agency Manager level by December 2018, Z needs to achieve 2 goals. The first goal is, increase personal and group sales, and secondly, increase the number of UTCs on his team by another 6 persons.
Z soon realized that UTC recruitment was a challenge. He had a few prospects who were on the verge of joining his team, but they backed out at the last minute. He tried on different occasions to recruit, but did not make any headway. He was discouraged by the lack of success, and did not enjoy having to strike up conversations with strangers to recruit them on his team.
Z also felt letdown by his Upline who was only interested in how much sales he brought in, and did not provide any guidance or advise on what he should do to be successful at recruiting.
The situation was clear to Z. He needs to see results from his recruitment efforts. However, nobody has signed up yet nor was there anyone close to doing so. He felt lost, dejected, not knowing what to do differently to breakthrough,, and began to doubt himself.
Fortunately Z is an optimist and a fighter. He consoled himself and used his own experience and wisdom to soldier on, with or without his Upline’s guidance. He also decided to get a coach to support him in achieving his goal.
3. What specific coaching skills or approach did you use in this case?
The coaching skills that were consistently used all the time were power listening, powerful questions and acknowledgment.
As and when it was appropriate, in line with Z’s focus and context of the coaching conversation, I would use unlocking the intent, creating structure, accountability, visualization, creating action and creating trust.
4. Explain your process in detail
I would start each coaching session by getting clear on the specific topic and set the goal/outcome for the session in the time given.
Throughout the session, using active listening and powerful questions, I would help Z clarify, deepen and get specific with his outcome. We would also identify the obstacles, re-frame perspectives, visualize possibilities, explore options and solutions, subsequently leading to an action that he would design for himself to start with.
At opportune moments, I would acknowledge, enthuse, validate and celebrate his successes. In doing so, it helped build Z’s confidence, belief in himself, and motivation to persist.
Just before we close the session, I would ask Z for his take-away for the session and what further support around this matter he would like to have.
In every coaching session, I found that power listening was essential to knowing his point of view, priorities, preferences, character, values, beliefs, aspirations and challenges. It allowed me to hear what was said, how it was said and also what was not said.
What I learned about Z in the process is, he is optimistic, observant, curious, reflective and quick to apply new insights. On the other hand, he lacked confidence to recruit successfully due to certain limiting beliefs. These insights enabled me to empathize with Z, put myself in his shoes, but remaining detached, and stay curious to ask pertinent questions.
Powerful questioning provided the means to help deepen Z’s reflection and awareness. For example, it helped him to realize his fear of approaching strangers to join his team stemmed from fear of rejection. The fear was so strong that it caused him to default to his comfort zone, which is to do sales instead of recruitment. Each time this happened, it only served to reinforce his underlying automatic commitment (UAC) to stay safe and stick with what he is best at … closing sales, not recruiting.
This UAC was a hidden invisible structure that derailed his recruitment efforts. Upon discovering this, we started to explore structures that he could put in place to empower him to achieve his goal.
The structure that Z identified and used was to go on the recruitment drive with two of his consultants. He reported that in doing so, it enhanced his confidence significantly resulting in two prospects that he could follow up on. In addition, it gave him the opportunity to mentor and strengthen his relationship with his consultants.
There was a session when Z sounded subdued and low in energy level, On probing, I found that he was discouraged and disappointed that he was not able to turn the prospects into recruits. Although there was some progress, it was not enough for him to see how he could achieve his goal by December 2018, To shift him out of this state, I invited him to visualize his success in recruiting UACs. Through this technique, he was able to bring creative thoughts to life, increased the sense of possibility, encouraged his heart and hope of achieving the goal.
5. What were the results of your process? Was your coaching/program effective? Why? Why not?
Z is making steady progress now. At our last coaching session we identified a couple more structures that were needed to help him stay on track, motivated and energized to achieve his goal in December 2018.
The journey continues.
Z confirmed that he benefited from the coaching sessions. This indicates that my coaching process was effective.
I attribute the coaching effectiveness to my focus on understanding and applying the ICF competencies. For this focus, I want to thank my ICA trainers for drilling the importance of ICF competencies into me during the mentor coaching sessions.
6. If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?
I would pay closer attention to the progress made relative to the final goal and pick up on the level of satisfaction of the client with it. I may even choose to challenge their level of satisfaction just to test if there are underlying beliefs or distractions that may be potential obstacles to achieving their goals and outcomes.
7. What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?
a. Focus on the person, not the situation.
b. Hold the space, be curious, and hold the the spotlight for the client to make their self-discoveries.
c. Dare to be vulnerable. For example, listen to my gut and take the risk to challenge the client