Client Perception: “Life at Crossroads”:
At this point he truly felt, he was at his wits’ ends. He faced crisis on every aspect of his life. He felt the world was against him. He was struggling to juggle all the roles. His short-temper and aggressive, natural way of life, only complicated stuff. Though very religious, he lamented ‘even God did not seem to be with him’.
The Coaching Process: A summary of the coaching process, model and tools
- The sessions were spread over a year, over multiple sessions, F2F and remotely. One to one included few ‘urgent issues’ or a planned discussion. It would happen at his cabin, at coach’s office, coffee-shops, over business-lunches or over phone, during week end.
- There were few laser-coaching sessions too.
- Having built immense mutual trust, he opened up all the issues he was facing which enabled them to look at all possible issues/problems/opportunities together, holistically.
The key process flow was usually in the following structure:
Background at macro level:
Arab world has been in the cusp of an uprising over last couple of years. The youth have been aggressive and more than assertive. This has been the manifestation of strong emotions, arising out of multiple reasons:
- Demographic, economic ( global melt down) – a high percentage of youth, educated and with exposure to media, social media.
- Others: Ineffective leadership, developments out of Sept 11, Iraq war, stereotyping of youth, etc.
These factors had a strong impact on the youth of Arab youth. Ahmed was no exception.
The coach had used a simple, but very powerful model based on GROW model.
- Goal: Through the interactions, the goals were very clearly drawn. Ahmed was very clear about a successful professional career, backed with happy and peaceful personal life. He would work hard to achieve his goals.
- Reality: Through the problem statements by client and questioning by coach, Ahmed was able to see the situation, as though a reflection on mirror. The gaps were evident for action.
- Options: Ahmed could identify various options to go from stage 2 (reality) to stage 1 (his goals). Though various Coaching techniques, mentioned below, he was able to chalk out a process to reach the goal. The obstacles were clear too, external and internal.
- Will: The way forward was then a matter of choice and persistence. The self-confidence and determination, backed by coaching, helped the client to get the maximum benefit.
The Coaching Approach
- As was the practice in that part of the world, the greeting was usually very elaborate.
- At a high trust level, there was explicit faith for between them. Still the coach would invariably remind the client, virtually at every discussion, ‘strict confidentiality would be maintained’.
- One of the key areas coach got the client to work on was acknowledgement. The coach, over the questioning process, would acknowledge him on specific ‘good news’, at home or work. That helped him to look at things improved awareness and empathy. People around him started seeing the difference. He started looking at new areas, such as his colleagues or external partners may be battling with problems just like him. He started offering gratitude in his prayers
- Usually he would come up to discuss specific client Issues. Together, through questioning by coach, they would briefly analyse the issue and understand what was the expectation of outcome, from client’s point of view.
was the most important part of the coaching session(s).
- One big difference the coach made to the client was through active, patient, empathetic listening. The client will come out in detail about his version of the problem and add his views/expert opinion and even the solution, all from his perspective.
- The coach would explore the matter deeply, through questioning, re-framing and para-phrasing. He would never judge the client nor make a rude remark, but would occasionally challenge, as part of the exploration process.
- There would be prolonged discussion on various options to each of the problems, to enable him to look at various facets of his problem, to empower himself and elicit options.
- The deep discussions enabled to build awareness of self and also look at problems holistically. At times, the problems will be reviewed at this stage with the awareness and acceptance.
Some of the solutions that came out of deep analysis, discussion and exploration were:
- He overcame the strong emotional loss of his mother’s death. Through visualization exercise, he understood his mother would not be happy to see her favourite child not on top of things and suffering.
- To send his son to Germany for treatment. This was totally unthinkable at one stage, to take him out of their ‘comfort zone’ of best treatment available, locally. That was not explored at all. The coaching exercise enabled Ahmed to look at various options, in this case thinking out of box.
- Through the Role Play exercise, he was able to understand the battles his father was going through and unable to handle the pressure of managing the big, joint family. Through Perpetual Positioning he was able to overcome some of the anger and other extreme emotions against his other family members. He understood at times the problem was his expectation of a particular type of reaction from them.
- With the family support and blessings, he moved to a new house of his own. They love the place.
- At work, his boss helped him, as he discussed with the boss some of the key crisis points. His peers stepped in to help out in case of any important work, in his absence. One of his initiatives was implemented by the bank and the product innovation was a big success.
- After a minor surgery, he is on mild medication, more preventive & vitamins. He has cut down on his smoking, goes through periodic medical tests, plays soccer with his kids at the lawn of his new home.
- He has a plan for his self development, which includes a MBA. He is now working on his English language and presentation skills. He manages his time a lot better
The client & coach interacts once in two months.
Coach does not make every interaction a review session, but still checks out if his client is on track.
He was given additional responsibility, tested briefly and promoted last year as head of all loan products. The family moved in to the new house. Wife is recovering and the eldest son is back, has joined the American international school, where his younger brother is studying. He is at peace with himself.
Biblio & Acknowledgements:
Sir John Whitmore - Coaching For Performance
ICA website and other related sources
The Inner Game website
Mr. Ram Ramanathan, India