Coaching Case Study By Ng Aik Saw
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
The client had been a Consultant for 20 years, focusing on Account Management and Project Management in the Financial Technology Industry.
Due to the current economic downturn which hit the Financial & Banking Industry very hard, his company’s business was badly affected and he was retrenched. He has been unemployed for over 9 months.
He has been actively looking for a job, and is now on the verge of getting a one, with 2 options in the pipeline. One is in his familiar area of experience of Consulting. The other is more in the Sales area, marketing a new product, but with the same industry customer set.
While the jobs have not been formally offered yet, the client is confident that both will likely be offered. He is now facing some uncertainty on which he should take up, and is looking for help from the coaching session to come to a decision.
The client’s family situation does not present any issues which would affect his decision on which job he should take. His wife is employed and self-sufficient. While he has 2 young children, their financial needs can be met by his wife’s income.
During the coaching session, I used my coaching model R E A P….
R Reach out to the client get him to relax, feel comfortable with discussing his thoughts with me, and to establish his trust.
E Encourage self-awareness, introspection, and thinking through each consideration in the decision making process.
A Activate actions and goal setting. The client confirmed that his goal is to reach a decision on which of two job options he should take up when they are offered.
P Plan the process towards achieving the goal using Project Management System concepts structure, with timeline, measurable results, etc. which the client was familiar with and comfortable with using.
As the client felt comfortable with the project management system that he was now incorporating into this model, he was motivated to start taking actions, as he could see near term measureable checkpoint targets instead of a far out goal target.
Using Project Management concepts was appropriate with this client, as he has years of management as well as technical experience and was familiar with PMS.
In the coaching session, the following was achieved:
Establishing the Coaching Agreement:
The client was briefed on the coaching process and was comfortable with the approach. He was able to freely discuss his thoughts and had no problem with trusting me to keep the confidentiality of the discussion.
He understood the difference between a coaching session as compared to a consulting or mentoring session.
Demonstrated my focus on what he’s saying with encouraging body language such as nodding and leaning slightly forward, and expressions such as ‘right’, ‘ah ha’ , ‘ok’
An example of powerful questioning was asking the client about the results of his Strength Finder questionnaire. This encouraged him to relate his personal strength characteristics to the job options he was considering.
With pertinent questions, the client was guided to think through and become aware of his current reality status. He was able to then verbalise his starting point and can then tabulate his asset base of skills, experience and strengths.
The client was able to relate this to his experience with PMS and taking stock of current status.
Got the client to consider and implement documenting the options and actions which he’s got in his head. He now believes that this can help him focus in his decision making.
In order to get the client to reframe his perspective, I asked this question: What if consulting job was offered before the sales job? This was an option the client had not considered in his possible scenarios on how he would react to the job offers which he expected to get.
The question got him to reframe his perspective of possible outcomes and to work on alternative action plans.
Encouraged the client to visualise the resulting career, work-life he would have with each of the job option. Having taken stock of his current reality, the client could now see the possible actions and solutions needed to get to his goal. He was able to visualise how he could fit these into a project management timeline with action steps and checkpoints.
Got agreement before suggesting options / techniques:
I informed the client that I would be putting on a different (consulting) hat on a couple of occasions, and got his agreement before offering the suggestions. This was necessary as the client on those occasions was not aware of the techniques / tools which he could make use of.
Use of coaching tools:
Got the client to map out his ‘Wheel of Life’ to reflect his current projects, priorities and choices for each area of his life. This helped him relate to the impact each of his job options would have on his life balance and help him towards a decision.
Another tool that was used is the Knowdell Motivated Skills Card Sort. This helped the client identify the motivated skills central to his personal and career satisfaction. Skills such as Portray Images, Sell, and Negotiate came out in the highly proficient, and enjoy using very much columns.
He was then able to relate his skills which gives him greatest satisfaction to the 2 job options.
The client had completed the Career Coaching Gallup StrenthsFinder assessment questionnaire. We discussed the results and how they could be used in relating to his current review of job options. Among his top strengths were Achiever and Arranger. These are Executing traits and seem to him to indicate a Sales role could be appropriate for his abilities.
At the end of the session, the client confirmed that we had met his objective for the session of giving him the ability to make a fully thought through decision on which job to accept. He was able to map out his action plan to achieve his goal.