Coaching Case Study By Daniela Croitoru
(Executive Coach, ROMANIA)
The case study I presented below is about one of my coachees, let’s call her Andreea whom I coached between March-May 2019. The name has been changed, and some details omitted or changed below to protect client confidentiality.
This coaching program gave Andreea the opportunity to improve her leadership skills so that at the end of the program, Andreea was promoted as a manager – middle level.
Andreea was hired 10 years ago, at a company founded more than 60 years ago, as an engineer. She is a very ambitious and enthusiastic person and dedicated to the profession so that in the last 5 years she succeeded to be an expert in her field of activity.
In the context of a change management program within the company, taking into consideration professional competencies, the Division Manager decided to involve her in a coaching program to improve leadership skills so that she can coordinate a team as a middle manager.
Although the division manager really appreciates Andreea’s qualities and professional evolution, she noticed reduced flexibility in her relationship with her colleagues.
First session- coaching agreement: sponsor-coachee-coach
In this context, we established the first meeting with the division manager, Andreea and myself in order to establish the coaching program objective outcome and key success indicators. The main areas to be improved were related to communication skills and team coordination (take the responsibilities to be an informal leader in order to accomplish to complete assigned projects to this department).
During this meeting, I explained the coaching process emphasized the ethical standard of this profession: maintain the strictest levels of confidentiality with the client and sponsor information unless the law requires a release. We agreed on how coaching information will be exchanged among coaches, clients, and sponsors.
In order to establish the success factors, I invited both sponsor and client to explore and express what will be different in 3 months from that moment in terms of team performance, accomplished projects and agree together with the outcome.
The second session was a discovery one for the client, to identify potential ways toward to the program objective.
First, it was necessary to create a trusting space and a non-judgmental attitude within our coaching relationship. I’ve underlined that it is about her agenda, her objectives during our sessions. Also, I mentioned that I’m not mentoring or expert, she holds all answers and solutions and I will accompany her in discovering them.
With Andreea’s permission, I introduce her and we applied Wheel of Life and Job Performance Wheel assessment tools so that she was able to identify what is really important in her personal and professional life.
She identified three main areas for improvement:
- Team participation
- Get along with her colleagues
- Staying more organized with the implication in:
- Professional life – optimize time management
- Personal life – spend more time with her family, especial with her 6 years old daughter
In the beginning, she chose to explore how to get along with her colleagues, especially 2 persons.
Using active listening, powerful question, being genuine curios about her vision-related relationship with her colleagues, I helped her to discover that her behavior is judgmental related to other colleagues. Andreea would like her colleagues to be more focused on business-related discussions instead of personal ones. Most times, she made a confusion between sympathy and empathy.
Therefore, I kindly invite her to explore the relationship with herself so she could find out new approaches in create relationships with her colleagues.
After this exercise, Andreea succeeded to reconsider the relationship, to acknowledge her colleague contribution within team results.
Next 5 sessions
One of Andreea’s goals was to improve team participation and performance, so I invited her to discover what is really important for her in achieving this goal. What are the most important values that make her feel fulfilled? How could align the objective to her own values?
During these sessions, she was ready to play with curiosity at three levels: organizational context, self-awareness, and other-awareness, in order to create synergies within the team.
She discovered diversity in terms of values, different levels of knowledge, engagement of each team member, so she designed an action plan to assign new roles and tasks for team members.
Creating awareness, powerful questions and listening, were the skills I have used within the coaching session so that the client was able to change the perspective and design the action plan.
Another challenge for Andreea was the relationship with the formal team manager who didn’t want to help her in accomplishing projects’ goals.
In order to solve this situation, I invited Andreea to stop playing the blame game and take the responsibility to find out options to convince the manager to work together with the team toward the goal.
On this journey, Andreea succeeded to create trust within the team, to delegate tasks to her colleagues, so that she was able to cut the overtime 4 days per week.
Last 2 sessions
As a result, a new work structure she created, Andreea gained more time for her family so she succeeded to improve the relationship with her daughter and bring more lightness in her life.
Thanks to the new energy she felt, Andreea created a new work environment for the team: without judgment, recreation and fun moments, acknowledgment of each contribution and reward.
She learned to express gratitude for every small achievement and for what is working well in her life.
Creating structure, Acknowledging, Gratitude, Creating trust were the skills I have used. As power tools I used Lightness vs Significance, Reframing perspective.
Following the coaching process and the progress she has made as an informal leader, after performance appraisal, Andreea has been advanced as a department manager.
In addition, she found time for her family and joy to play with her daughter, this helps her to be more creative at work.
The coaching program was successfully one for Andreea. She felt fulfillment in the two dimensions of her life – personal and professional.
In this case, I don’t know if I could have done something different. Maybe I could be more confronting using more “direct communication” so that it helps the client to move forward faster.
- Combine skills and tools, be creative in the coaching process to help the client to discover new perspectives and have more AHA moments.
- Although a client has a declared objective only for professional life or personal life, being present in the process, coaching has/creates an impact in both dimensions of the client’s life
- Creating trust helps the client to open up, feel comfortable to ask challenging questions as it helps the client trigger shifts in her/his perception.
- The importance of self- and other-awareness within teams in a specific context/ situation. When we show-up a genuine awareness of personal and collective behavior and emotions people tend to naturally align better with each other and create synergies.
- The power of celebrating uniqueness and having respect.