Coaching Case Study By Sze Chia Yeng
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
John (not coachee’s real name) has recently been promoted to a Team Leader, taking care of a team of 5 technicians. In his new role, he encountered new challenges as compared to when he was a technician himself.
He found that not all his team members are giving him the support. Some will use perform a sloppy job when tasked, giving him more complaints from the customers. At the same time, his manager is pressing him to get in control of his team and at the same time reducing complaints from the customers.
He feels stressful in this new role. With all these new responsibilities, he is working late every day, making him spending less time with his family.
John would like to be able to better manage his team and gain support from all his team members. He hopes this will, in turn, improved the customer satisfaction. At the same time, he could better manage his responsibilities in his current roles, so that he could spend more time with his family.
John has to identify the issues he is having in which is currently important to him. As a coach, I will have to help him in creating awareness in achieving the result we have agreed upon.
What We Did
Setting the Foundation
Before we begin the coaching session, I explain the coaching agreement to John since this is the first time he has a coaching session. I let him understand that coaching is a partnership between the both of us and there will be a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires him to maximize his personal and professional potential.
Co-creating the Relationship
It is important to create trust with John, thus I have used one of the meeting rooms in the office for the coaching sessions and also I assure him that the conversation will be kept between both of us. We will be working together in discovering his intended direction in his current role.
In order to be able to communicate effectively and fully understand John’s message, it is important to discover the essence of what he is saying. To achieve this, I have applied the technique of Active Listening and Powerful Questioning. I learned that asking questions is a technique that allows me to obtain more information about the challenges that John is facing.
“What are the issues you are facing?”
“What is important to you?”
“What have you already tried?”
“How can that be solved?”
These questions give John a cause of reflection, helping him to clarify issues and aid in expressing thoughts. By asking the right questions, I can better understand the essence of what John is saying.
The other type of questioning which I have used is probing questions.
“What other methods are possible?”
“How is this better than the others?”
“Imagine you are at your most resourceful, what do you say to yourself about this issue?”
These questions allow me to know more about a topic and follow on from what he has just said in my next question.
I have learned that open questions, starting with “What”, “When” and “How” helps me to allow John to puts thought in his own words.
I have learned that summarizing is another important aspect of active listing. When I am summarizing during the coaching session, John will notice that I am actually listening to him. As a result, he can elaborate on what he is saying, thus resulting in more detailed information. For myself, as a coach, it helps me to verify that I have understood the essence of our conversation.
When he told me that those technicians who are not supporting him could not be reached when he needed them, they just would not answer or return his call. When I summarized to him that this technician irritated him and he feels frustrated and he replies “Yes…”.
Besides summarizing, I have also used mirroring, which allows me to put into words what he is feeling, that in turn feelings into the language. By mirroring John’s feeling, he will start telling me a deeper layer, which is the motivation behind the story will be revealed. When these feelings are expressed, we can return to the contents and be able to open to possible solutions and alternatives.
“Work just keep piling up and I always has to work late just to finish them”, John said. I tried to uncover the motivation behind his statement, by saying that “You are worried that working late will be affecting your family time”. Then he said, “Yes, but I wanted to finish up the day’s work so that it does not pile up the next day.” I reply to him, “So, you feel that you are stuck between having to complete your work and having family time.” At this point, John is lost and does not know what to do about this. I acknowledge that he has tried everything, and he is feeling desperate. He replies to me that he is not necessarily desperate, just feeling powerless to these things.
As the feelings have been poured out, at this time we could return to the contents and try to solve the original issues.
Facilitating Learning and Results
During the coaching sessions, together, we have explored the issues in which he is experiencing and letting him aware of the possible alternatives to achieve the results he desires. The Wheel of Responsibilities is used to map out what is important to him so that he could prioritize and focus on his responsibilities in his current situation.
We have set and agreed on the goals which he has planned according to the actions which are made to help him to realize; which are to better manage his team and prioritizing his work which needs to be completed so that he does not have to work late and could spend more time with his family.
Finally, John’s progress will be discussed and checked on the subsequent coaching sessions, and if necessary, making changes to better focus on achieving his goals.