Coaching Case Study By Rizk Mawass
(Life Coach, LEBANON)
Who are the main players in this case study
The main players in this case study are me, as the coach, and my friend, who also happens to be a coach, I will call her woman X and she is the main player.
What is the core problem or challenge you applied your coaching skills to?
X is a young woman who wants to stop smoking.
She never smoked, but then she started smoking 1 to 2 cigarettes a day, and now she is smoking a full pack a day.
X called me to support her because she believes that coaching has a huge power to trigger her awareness of what’s going on and she is looking for a partner in her journey to get back to being healthy and in control of her behaviour. This is the first time in her life that she becomes addicted to a substance and she feels frustrated about the lifestyle she is experiencing.
- Why is it a problem?
For her, it is a problem because she used to be healthy and sportive. She is a leader in her circle and she inspires people to take care of their lives and to do what’s right and healthy. She hates her smell, her breath, and she is losing her friends because she doesn’t fit anymore and she sees herself as an intruder. This is where she started losing her confidence, and the good image she has about herself as a healthy inspiring leader.
- How long has it been a problem?
It has been a problem since she broke with her boyfriend and it’s been three months that she is not feeling good where she is losing control of her behaviours, habits and life.
- What is the worst thing about this problem?
The worst part is the way she is looking at herself, the image of the leader that she is losing. She lost her friends, she is already away from her family and now she doesn’t have a boyfriend. So she is feeling LONELY as she described the situation, she is very unsatisfied and extremely down.
- Why has no one been able to solve it so far?
X is living alone away from her family who are located far in the mountain, as well, her friends are not a good structure for support, and no one has been able to solve the problem of smoking because she doesn’t like to feel weak and ask for help, as she used to coach people or mentor them, and she believes that it’s all up to her.
Then it’s not the problem, it’s just a symptom while the main problem is Loneliness which is the hidden stimuli of smoking, as we discovered later.
What specific coaching skills or approaches did you use in this case?
First of all, I acknowledge her for her trust to share with me her challenge and her desire to regain balance.
Second, I was deep listening to the feeling of the person not just to her conscious words, and then I danced with the client to reach the root of the problem by the powerful questions, and what changed in her life to regain this new unpleasant behaviour. I was listening to the emotions and what the cigarette is replacing. Then we moved to create the supportive structure to reach her desire of getting healthy and totally getting rid of the cigarette, and finally, what actions will drive her to live the life she is aiming for and being the image she desires about herself through visualization.
Explain your process in detail
X is my friend; she wasn’t a normal client, so I was sure to be very objective and to create a safe secure comfortable space to allow her to open herself freely.
We are friends for two years. However, she expressed certain concerns for the first time, the biggest challenge was to release judgment and let her define her own goals.
I was deep listening, showing her care and attention to what she is expressing. Here I used my Neuro-Linguistic Programming knowledge because I know that her representational system is primary kinaesthetic, then visual and finally auditory, so my questions focused on her feelings because she counts primarily on her feelings to understand the world and I asked her how can I support you?
Her answer was:
Awareness of what’s going on with me to be able to define what’s pushing me to smoke, and why I can’t control my behaviour.
Q: since when you smoke?
A: Recently I started smoking 1 or 2 cigarettes a day, now I am smoking more than a pack a day. I am not taking care of my health; I smell bad, my hair, my clothes, my breath… I am so disappointed by my behaviour, and this is all started when I broke with my boyfriend.
Q: What are the benefits of stopping smoking?
A: I want to regain my image as a leader, I am losing my friends because they avoid smokers and I am so sad for what’s reached.
Q: what is the relation between losing friends and smoking?
A: we, as friends, have special criteria to be met when having a relationship to discuss topics and have fun. But they cannot handle my smoking anymore.
Q: you said your smoking habits have been increased since you broke with your boyfriend. What happened then?
A: Since we broke, I started feeling so lonely; I am not close to my family, my friends are just for fun, and they are not real. I just had that boyfriend. Since we broke I am feeling so lonely and cigarette is a very good companion for me.
Q: would you like to elaborate more about the feeling of loneliness?
A: there is no one to talk to, I feel that I don’t have support, I feel bored and disconnected, I am so lonely.
Q: what would you like to do, to leave loneliness?
A: I was thinking about going to the gym, to make more connections, I want to attend workshops and I think I need to expose myself instead of hiding at home.
He doesn’t deserve me, and I am happy to leave him. As well, I deserve to enjoy my life and live with who deserves me.
(Here the energy shift took place; she becomes dedicated with a strong voice to restart instead of crying over what has been gone).
Q: What is the one step you will take?
A: tomorrow I will register at the club and start making new connections.
Here the client had her eyes wide open, shining with hope, a huge energy shift was very obvious, her smile is back, and she wants to jump out of the chair to put her plan in action to start having results and find a new boyfriend to enjoy and to be happier.
N.B: this is a brief of the coaching conversation just to highlight the main shift.
What were the results of your process? Was your coaching/program effective? Why? Why not?
She discovered that smoking is not the problem, it’s the loneliness. She already doesn’t care about her friends, she cares about having a boyfriend and she is holding the image of a leader, but at the end of the day, she discovered that she is a human being with feelings.
It was very effective because I didn’t coach the situation, however the client and her feelings. She reached a different outcome because her initial goal-as most cases- is not the real challenge.
Now she is excited, she is hopeful, she is happy, she is aware, she is full of energy to beat her loneliness, and live a happier life.
I believe I was able to provide X with space where no one was judging her and she could talk about her concerns and loneliness. The coaching helped create awareness on the real issue, which she later realized that the real problem was not smoking.
If you could approach this problem again, what would you do differently?
For me, I am so proud of what we’ve reached. However, for next time I will dig deep down from the beginning, but I first wanted to be sure that it’s not about cigarettes or friends.
What are the top 3 things you learnt from this experience?
First of all, the main goal of the agreement mostly is not what the client is looking for.
Second, people’s emotions are the highway to reach the main root of the imbalance that someone may be experiencing, so we need as coaches to connect to his subconscious mind to support him in the discovery of those thoughts that are generating such emotions.
Third, the behaviour of the client is just the result of a thought, so creating awareness in the client is so essential to help him find the right thought.