Coaching Case Study By Meriham Ghazal
(Youth & Career Coach, EGYPT)
My journey into coaching hasn’t only been a learning experience, but a deeper journey into my own self, my beliefs, values, a clearer vision of who I am, who I want to be and what’s standing along the way.
I had fascinating moments while attending my classes at ICA, moments, where I started to understand myself differently & was able to understand my limited beliefs and how that stopped me from achieving certain things in life. I became more self-aware and more conscious of my sub-conscious & its effect.
I was overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge & skills I learned in ICA classes, particularly reframing perspectives and appreciative inquiry was so powerful tools for me to learn that helped me personally in digging deeper into myself, that I can’t wait but apply in my coaching practice and help others to reach that self-realization & become who they want to be.
In this journey, one of the things I realized is that I want to apply what I have learned in coaching to help & support Youth, Young adults and Parents with their life goals, challenges, and become more self-aware of who they are and want to be. I hope that I can be a positive supporter and add value to this group of people who may be changes in the world to be a better place.
During this time where I started practising and offering coaching services to friends and acquaintances, a friend of mine asked me to start coaching sessions with me to help her in taking an important career decision that she is struggling with and that has major impacts on her life as well as other aspects that she was considering.
We agreed that we will start with 2-3 coaching sessions and then decide how she would like to move forward, and so we did – we agreed on the 1st session as a discovery session & determine whether or not she is ready for coaching and that coaching is the right approach to help her with that process.
We started the process with a discovery session where I shared with her what coaching is and is not, confidentiality of any information used during the session and ethics of the coaching profession (Although we are friends for so many years but I preferred to mention this information similar to what I would do with any other client) I sent her all the documentation of the coaching agreement: Code of Ethics & What is coaching by email so that she can go through after our discovery session.
She shared background about the subject, what she would like to achieve regarding her career and what was her goal that she would like to achieve from coaching, accordingly, we agreed on the next session date/time to start the process.
On the date agreed, I made sure I selected a place that is peaceful, barely noisy so that I have all my attention and listen carefully to what she would want to stay & stay focused (were Lucky that there was hardly anybody except us)
She started explaining what the situation was and how important it was for her to take a decision on what’s her next step should look like.
The situation she explained was that she has been in her job with the same employer for 11yrs, and despite the numerous achievements she had accomplished and the success she had in this company, moving from one level to the other she still feels that its time to move on and take a break from all the pressure & stress she’s been undergoing in those 11yrs.
The decision she was looking for was basically deciding on taking on a job which was offered to her, that is less stressful, flexible working conditions that could provide her with a great work/life balance, and on top of all that will provide her with good pay. The issue with that job is that it would be only for 1 year after which she doesn’t know what she would do! And whether or not taking on such a job would impact her career after this 1-year contract?!
The Coaching Agreement
After I listened to her situation, I started establishing the coaching agreement and make sure that I understand what she wanted to achieve from the coaching and the goal for the session was for her to be able to comfortably take the decision on that new job. I asked questions such as:
- Why is that situation so important for you?
- Where are you now in terms of that decision?
- Where would you like to be at the end of the coaching session?
- How would you know you’ve successfully reached the goal you wanted?
She had mixed feelings & emotions about the situation and the different paths that she was considering, she had doubts about whether or not this decision could harm her career, thoughts around financials and how to stay financially stable after this 1 year job and doubts about whether or not her family would need her support financially at a certain point in time & would she be able to do that then. Listening to all the emotions and struggle, I started asking questions like:
- Where this doubt is coming from?
- How is this change in jobs important for her?
- What are the blocks that aren’t allowing her to take a decision?
- What’s the Best Case Scenario?
- We did a visualization exercise if she would have taken the new job, how would that look like, and how does she feel about it?
- What are the scenarios that are worrying about her?
- How has she dealt with similar situations in the past, what can she bring into this situation as good learning?
Throughout the coaching sessions, I managed to build a safe environment for my client to have confidence and trust in the process & in me as the coach, to open up and share what her limiting beliefs and blocks were that is not allowing her to take the decision she wanted to take.
In the first session: I focused on establishing the agreement, used re-framing perspective and appreciative inquiry and by going with the flow with her I was able to ask her questions that made her think deep, which took us deeper into underlying beliefs and fear about her family and specifically her father and how she wants to be ready to support them financially at any point she would be required to do so.
In the second session: We started the 2nd session with short mindfulness exercise allowing her to relax, breath and get a sense of what she feels in her body. We then discussed what she felt from the exercise & what were her observations. We reached a point of realization that her fear about the family and financial stability was blocking her way from taking a decision to move to the new job.
I then used a visualization exercise where I asked her to imagine what a satisfying & fulfilling decision would look like to her.
In the third session: She started talking about what a satisfying decision could look like for her, and listed a number of scenarios and options for her that could support her in taking the decision which would allow her to take care of both her self, her well-being as well as the family financial support.
Those options were: Taking a leave from her current job that allows her to take a break from all the stress and think about the next move in her career, without losing her job Taking the new job as part-time and continue in her current job while agreeing with her current employer on that set up – this allows her to examine the new job.
At this stage, she has reached a realization that her belief that she is to support her family financially and fear about her Dad health was the real issue. And this is when she had reached better clarity and realization of the inner doubts and feelings.
I was wondering what were her insights about the coaching experience and wanted to listen to her observations and feedback, and she was very kind to share.
Through my deep listening and being present with her she was able to open up and dig deeper in her feelings and thoughts, giving her the space to express herself with no judgment, and through my questions she was able to identify her underlying beliefs that were stopping her from moving forward and taking the decision she wanted to take.
For me, it wasn’t easy to identify the issue at the 1st session and understand that what’s underlying behind the situation was her fear about her Dad and family support and that’s what’s holding her from taking the decision although she is 100% convinced with the move and that she wants to take a break from a that hectic job. But, through re-framing and being curious we were able together to unleash the real issue which was an eye-opener for her and made her think about the situation in a different way.
If I would look back at the sessions, I would have liked to start with the mindfulness exercise first, followed by a values exercise as this would have helped in the process early on to understand what my client’s core values and beliefs were and how they integrate into the issue she’s facing.
Through this experience, I have learned that it’s an art to know when to give space, when and what to reflect back, and when and what to ask a client to give them the ultimate transformational experience.
I saw first hand how powerful coaching can be and that by remaining curious and interested you can really get to the root of what has led this person to bring this issue to coaching and how they can move forward if you truly believe in them. I gained fresh confidence in my ability has seen the impact of my skills on someone outside of ICA. I also practiced staying in a place of objectivity and remembering to look for the differences between us and not the similarities.