Research Paper By Sridhar Laxman
(Executive Coaching & Life Coaching, INDIA)
Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional. Mark Sanborn
Seema is a bright,enthusiastic married woman in her early 30’s, she has a 4 year old daughter and works as a a Senior Project Manager in a a software firm.
Seema watched me speak at a seminar on personal development and then approached me. She was keen on getting coached and wished to know If I could help her overcome certain challenges and achieve more.
Seema came to me with a lot of anger inside her. According to her ,she was constantly in email wars, verbal slanging matches and had been warned by her superiors repeatedly for losing her temper at the workplace .
She felt her team had lost respect for her, her colleagues thought she was weird. Seema would have her lunch and coffee breaks alone in an office housing 300+ employees.
On the personal front, things were not great either. Her in laws hated her, she had no social circle, and her husband had grown tired with her temper outbursts over the years.
I initially felt some hesitation if I could help her. However I also saw a spark in her, a certain hunger to succeed, to do better, to break out of her limitations. I asked her if she had thought of meeting a therapist or a counsellor. She said she wanted to give coaching a try and then look at other options.
I told her there would be no advice or suggestions from my end, she would have to take responsibility and I would support her in her journey forward. She agreed, signed the contract, handed me the cheques and we were set.
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. Jim Rohn
As Seema started the journey of self-awareness, she realized she had three key challenges that were coming in her way of being happy and achieving more:
- Low self-esteem/Poor self-image
- Anger outbursts/Constant Conflict
- Lack of recognition at the workplace
We discussed the challenges, what made her feel those were her biggest obstacles, what it could look like if she didn’t have to live with them and then arrived at three key outcomes she wished to have by the end of our coaching engagement.
- Greater self-confidence
- Develop a pleasant & cheerful attitude
- Get recognized at the workplace
I started the coaching process by walking Seema through my A-PACT coaching modem, (Awareness, Planning, Action, Clarity, Tracking) the importance of each stage and what they would involve.
She seemed committed, open to learning, willing to take responsibility and most importantly keen on taking quick action.
I started off by getting Seema to spend some time working on answering the following questions:
- What are your strengths? What are you good at?
- What are your talents?
- What have you been successful at?
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- Who do you admire in life?
- What is working well in your life right now?
- What makes you happy?
- What do you know you are good at?
- What do people like about you?
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it. Pablo Picasso
The effort here was to start from a position of strength and help build on it. As she answered these questions, Seema started discovering a new side to herself, a side she had long forgotten, a side she loved but had chosen unintentionally to ignore all these years.
A tiny spark of confidence was lit, small at this stage but with the potential to grow and help her believe she was capable of more.
We discussed what her dreams were, how her perfect day would look like, what would she attempt if she knew she could not fail, what her favorite memories were etc…
Seema came up with the idea of looking at her list of favorite memories when upset, I encouraged her and it seemed to help her shift her mood from feeling low to being relaxed.
As Seema shared more about her life, my initial belief in her abilities were starting to be justified, she had won numerous awards at school, her academic records were excellent, she had received multiple awards during her 10 year working career. All this and yet my client felt she was not good enough, that her performance was being ignored and her co-workers didn’t respect her.
Planning & Action
We moved along, Seema was discovering even more about herself and enjoying the process. My constant effort was to keep her focused on what was wonderful about her, how she has achieved so much in her life, how far she had some despite the numerous personal and professional challenges.
We explored where she was and where she wanted to go. I nudged her to face her fears square on, to acknowledge them, to accept them, to be okay with having them.
Seema at this stage was working on answers to questions like:
- What are your fears?
- How do they stop you from being who you wish to be?
- How many of these are real and how many are actually imagined fears?
- How would you feel if you did not have these fears?
- What one action could help you be more confident?
- What does being very confident feel like?
- What see can you do to be confident?
When we are longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Victor Frankl
Seema started seeing possibilities and felt good about them, said her energy levels moved up, she would eagerly await the next coaching session, her commitment to the program increased.
She also started voicing some of her deepest desires, things she wished for but had been scared to acknowledge to herself. She wanted to study further, get a PhD, get a makeover, look stylish, wear more modern clothes, take dancing lesions, improve her social skills, learn to hangout with people and have fun without hear of being judged…