Coaching Case Study By Tommy Tan
(Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
My client is a 20 plus year old Oscar, who resigned from his previous job in accountancy field and was in the midst of exploring another field in logistics. Having referred to me by a friend, I proposed to spend 2 coaching sessions i.e. 1 hour each with him, who accepted this proposal due to some constraints.
In the first session, which was face to face, I presented to him both the coaching agreement and the ICF code of ethics for him to understand what he could expect from the coaching sessions.After the mutual understanding, I broke the ice by first and foremost introducing myself, having gone through my work experience. Then, it was Oscar’s turn to share his past work experience.
As Oscar expressed he would like to have coaching from me to work on his current state of job search journey, he shared with me his 2 page resume he did when he attended a workshop conducted by both e2i and SCALA (Supply Chain And Logistics Academy). As it looks, the resume was properly written although the job achievement section needs to be beefed up. In any case, it seemed that the SCALA workshop he attended did not elevate him in his present job search journey.
Throughout the first session, I noticed that Oscar was unsure of his strengths although he had done a Myer-Briggs personality Type Indicator (or MBTI). I then went through with him his strengths that MBTI had indicated. I tried to relate these strengths to his past job achievements as indicated in his resume by asking him many open-ended questions for him to ponder upon and lead himself to understand his strengths better, followed by realising what kind of job would be more suited for him.
As I sensed that he had not been confident with his strengths, I decided that more time should be given to him to work out this part of his discovery. Incidentally, he was called for a job interview in 2 weeks’ time. Therefore, the action plan for this session was to have him preparing for his interview by applying his strengths.
Next, I introduced and recommended him to do up a gratitude journal on a daily basis as another action plan before we meet in the next session. Tried many questions to lead him to a more appreciative state of being or mind so that he could see the world differently and hence help him gain more positive energy and confidence, having moved him away from some kind of fear.
The second coaching session was an online one.Gratitude journal was referred to start off the session. I could feel that Oscar was more ready to share and sounded happier and livelier, especially with the gratitude that he had jotted down in a journal although he said it was not on a daily basis yet.
I subsequently asked him for the homework he had done. In fact, he did communicate with me through email exchanges before this session on his homework and I could see improvements in writing his past job achievements in his resume, especially having related them well to his strengths. After more questioning, I was pleased that he could relate to his strengths better this time round, with reference to the job descriptions of the interview he was going to. At the end of the exchanges, I asked him how he had felt about himself going for the interview. He could relate to me how much more confident he had become by now.
Nearing to the end time of this coaching session, I told him to work on the wheel of life by identifying 4 key areas of his current life stage. He came out with finance, career, family and learning. I encouraged him to understand how he should make use of this tool to know his current state better and where he wanted to go, and then how to go. Unfortunately, due to some constraints, this is the last session we had for coaching. And I wished him well, lastly. (In a few weeks’ time, he WhatsApped me that he had found a job.)
I could sense that the coaching sessions started well by spelling out the ethical guidelines, and establishing the coaching agreement, trust and coaching presence (or journeying with the client), at the outset.
Creation of awareness is critical in that my client was in the first place not very certain of who he was even after he did an MBTI. Having helped him to further explore his strengths through his past and present experience, he became more aware of himself. However, this wasn’t a linear process. In between, having encouraged him to work on a gratitude journal had helped him to change his mindset in viewing the world and hence he had become more confident of his strengths and less fearful of his weaknesses.
Guiding him to come out with his own planning including action plans and setting of goals had made him owned and practiced what were to be done. For example, his own hands on exploration of his strengths through the preparation of his upcoming interview and the doing up of a wheel of life had made him gain more knowledge about and confidence in himself.
Of course, all the above-mentioned were done through the practical application of active listening, powerful questioning and direct communication.
With the fact that he became a more confident person particularly in both written and verbal expressions, it is evident that this coaching program had been successful. This is further proven by the facts that my client is so appreciative of what I did in the coaching sessions with him as well as the result of him getting a job.
The setback is the constraints that he had that prevented me to do more for him in the wheel of life and many other possible explorations like uncovering his underlying beliefs to clear him from more fear.
Should there be something I could do differently, I would want to spend another 2 sessions with my client to help him discover more applications of his strengths, go through the wheel of life properly and uncover his underlying beliefs to get rid of more fear so that he could be a better man.
The 3 things (that I did with effective communication skills through active listening and power questioning by using open-end questions), which I learnt here are:
- Setting the foundation;
- creating awareness;
- planning, which includes both setting of goals and designing of course of actions.