Coaching Case Study By Sing Meng Leong
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
Kelvin is a 27 years old fresh graduate from a local polytechnic. He was doing internship in my company for 6 months since Sep 2017 till Feb 2018.
He is a matured learner as his age is much older than his peers in the polytechnic. He has gone through many setbacks and failures during his teenage years. Hence, he took a longer time and multiple paths in his education from primary, secondary and ITE (Institute of Technical Education) before arriving in his polytechnic study. His main regret is that he mixed with wrong companies and ended up spending time in unproductive activities during his younger days. He indulged in futile activities and wasted his prime time to study and develop himself. However, he was able to turn over a new leaf when he was studying in ITE and given the second chance to excel in his study. He studied hard to get into Polytechnic and managed to achieve excellent result to secure a scholarship as well. With the given scholarship, he was given the chance to do his internship in my company.
During my interaction with him, I observed that he is a keen learner and taken great initiative to learn and try new things on the job. Hence, I started to engage him in conversations to know him better. In the process, I gained his trust to discuss about his background and challenges he faced in life. I began to probe further to explore what he wanted to achieve in life and his future plan. He shared that he is at a lost after graduation. He was unsure about his career plan ahead. He kept telling me that he had wasted his time during his younger years and took a longer path to graduate from Polytechnic to join the workforce. His peers were doing well and much ahead of him in the business world. He felt useless and disappointed with himself. He needed help and seek my guidance to coach him on his career direction ahead.
I explained to him what is coaching. Coaching is oriented towards goal setting and encourages him to take actions to achieve his goals. The main focus is on him and for him to set the agenda. I am playing the supporting role as a coach. He was very surprised to know that there is such process to help to understand his current situation and explore possible options ahead by his own will and initiative. Hence, I shared with him on the coaching agreement to gain his commitment to participate in this coaching process. He was very interested and enthusiastic to embark on the journey. I also assured him that all our sharing and discussion is private and confidential. This gives him the peace of mind and safe space to open up himself in sharing. After the initial discovery session, we agreed to begin the first session in the following week for an hour and catch up on weekly basis for a month.
Coaching Process and skills applied
I have used following process to coach and guide him:
- EXPLORATION – self awareness on his strengths and V.I.P.S(Values, Interest, Purpose and Skills)
- DEFINE – define his career goals based on his self awareness
- ACTIONS – plan on the tasks and actions to achieving the goals
During the EXPLORATION stage, I applied the powerful questioning technique to elicit his feedback on his current situation and let him clarify his values, interest, purpose in life and his skills.I allowed him to share about his past achievements in life. Those were good memories which set the foundation for him to repeat the successes going forward. I listened attentively to his sharing and nodded in agreement on areas he felt proud of himself. On the other hand, he also shared that he still fears of failure and felt that it was holding him back from taking actions. He was stuck with the underlying belief that when he was ready to take actions, he would definitely encounter obstacles to cause him to fail. At times, I observed that his eyes shifted away and fell silence in deep thoughts. His voice was low and he was murmuring to himself. These were signs of low self-confidence. I asked him to look at his strengths and passion over the years of study in schools. He was able to quickly identify those subjects that he had scored well with distinction such as programming, web development and e-commerce. He was passionate in online business and specifically in search-engine optimisation. I asked him what were the brand names that he aspired to be associated with. He immediately highlighted Amazon, Alibaba, Lazada and Carousell are companies which he wanted to join. He visualised that he will join one of these companies and applying his strengths to make profits and improve the brand market share. On the other hand, he also foresees that he would be able to setup his own company and establish his own online business to compete in the industry as a market player. Now, he realised that he had more options for his career path ahead.
Then, we moved into the DEFINE stage of the process. I guided him to apply the S.M.A.R.T goal setting approach to define his career goals. He was able to define his goals specifically, with measurable outcomes, assess whether they are achievable and realistic, then plan the schedule and time to achieve those goals. He has decided on following 2 goals for his career plan:
- Apply for a job in one of the ebusiness companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, Lazada and Carousell to gain working experience in the organisation immediately after graduation.
- Develop his own ecommerce website and apply his knowledge and experiences to establish his online business for at least 3 years before planning his next move.
Finally, we arrived at the ACTIONS stage. I asked him what actions needed to achieve his career goals. He highlighted that he needs to work on his CV and Resume to apply for a job. Also, he requested my help to review those for him and give him feedback. In addition, he also needed to search for contacts or friends who can refer him to join those companies. He also taken the initiative to create his LinkedIn profile and shared with his contacts and friends for referral. In addition, he also wanted to start setting up his ecommerce website while waiting for the job interviews. That allowed him to work on his own schedule and pace, he was able to put his passion to work concurrently.
At the end of the coaching session, he was full of smile and able to visualise the successful outcome of achieving those goals. With a bigger picture for his career path in the long term, he felt confident in his future knowing that he has clearer vision ahead. Given his motivation and passion in doing the work, these goals would be within his reach.