Case study 1
My client, AJ, was a Marketing Executive within the media/broadcasting industry and was facing a lack of confidence in her own capability and wanted to work on an action plan to realise her ambitions by moving into a more creative role which capitalised on her talents and experience so she set herself a goal of finding a role as an Account Manager in a creative marketing agency and to have achieved this within six months. We set about exploring some of the challenges that she had faced in previous roles and also explored situations where she felt that she had been more successful.
Through working with her over 4 sessions over a 4-5 month period, we unearthed some past inhibitors which related to her lack of confidence and through a series of exercises exploring some of her self-limiting beliefs, she was able to build a “strategy for success”. We met face to face and also via Skype so it was a good combination of coaching media which she said she found useful. During her subsequent job search, we also focused one of the coaching sessions on interview preparation and presentation skills to give her some additional confidence during her job search.
She has since secured herself a twelve month contract in a creative agency and has recently updated me to say that it is going really well and she is hoping that this may lead to a permanent opportunity with them at the end of the assignment.
Here is what she had to say when I asked her for feedback when our coaching sessions came to a conclusion:
“I was facing some career decisions when I commenced coaching with Lesley. I really feel I benefitted because I was able to take away an action plan after each coaching sessions to assist with making decisions about my next career move and in particular Lesley helped me with how I can use my skills and creativity in a hands-on role which has resulted in me taking the decision to become a freelance Marketing Account Manager. I found my sessions with Lesley helped me to address my self-confidence and I was able to develop a coping strategy which has developed me enormously. I found Lesley a delightful coach to work with, she showed understanding and created a safe space within which to explore some difficult areas, I am looking forward to working with Lesley again in the future.”
Case study 2
My client, BF, is a self-employed business consultant specialising in bid writing and funding development – a very niche market and he wanted to spend a series of coaching sessions on the goal of “To develop careful profile-raising in wider, work-related for a and maximise each opportunity via more effective personal presentation skills by 1st January 2014 which would result in my utilisation being increased by 30%”. He used the catch-phrase of his “World Domination” !
As this was quite a wide and over-arching goal, we spent the first couple of coaching sessions breaking this down into smaller bite-sized chunks and then prioritising these smaller goals into short, medium and long term goals. I used a really practical tool – “Wheel of Life” to start the overall coaching process off and this helped him look at his wider “life” priorities. Details of this tool can be found in the Resources section of my website.
Working with my client in this systematic fashion suited his style and assisted him with prioritising not only his goals, but also his day to day working pattern in order to assist with ensuring that he was making effective progress within all the key areas of his role. My client’s sub-goals became more developed as we spent more time in coaching sessions and focused in the following areas:
- To develop a strategy to pull together and present winning presentations to sceptical audiences in readiness for the industry-wide conference in December 2014.
- To review the way in which he operates and in the context of his overall goal of having a dominant position in the marketplace, to review differing means by which he can achieve his overall goal, by using some out of the box thinking techniques.
- How “World Domination” in the field of bid management and consultancy was driving towards his overall life vision of a Boat in the Norfolk Broads and he lines everything up towards that goal.
I asked my client for some feedback as we started to near the end of the set of coaching sessions, to test out how he felt our coaching sessions had worked for him, he told me:
“Lesley has worked with me on a set of goals related to the development of my business of 15 years’ standing. These have evolved from high level aims down to practical steps and reminders to keep these in focus during a busy work schedule. The impact of Lesley’s coaching has been considerable and valuable where there were general aspirations, I now feel I have a more specific pathway towards them. During Lesley’s time with me, she has helped me reduce quite complex issues down to single words and phrases and rehears steps to implement the good and tackle the bad. The coaching period has seen considerable professional development in terms of more significant contracts won, associates recruited and my public profile raised and Lesley has helped me greatly to extract some of the patterns, actions and contributory thinking styles towards “more of the same” . Many thanks, Lesley, you have been a brick and a very intelligent, perceptive and skilled brick!”
Self-employed business consultant
Since we finished the formal block of coaching sessions, BF has come back and asked for some more coaching in 2015.
Case Study 3
JE: This particular client is a senior medical officer within the Royal Navy and the challenges that he was facing in terms of career direction and opportunities were immense and appeared to be affecting his wider life in terms of work/life balance, fitness goals and time management. We worked together over the space of four months in 2013/2014 over six sessions which were all face-to-face owing to his local proximity in Portsmouth. As with all my clients the introductory session is a complimentary session to explore the goal(s) in more detail and to prioritise them to ensure that he got the very best possible outcomes from the coaching sessions. The first session was very interesting as JE was used to using a consultancy model with his patients and obviously the main difference between coaching and consultancy is that I would not be offering advice or suggesting solutions. We arrived at the point that JE understood that the solution was within himself – being brought out by questions and reflections from myself.
JE tackled three main goals during the course of the coaching sessions these were:
- Overall career goal of his long term ambition to achieve the most senior rank as a Medical Officer in the Royal Navy by 2024
- Time Management and Procrastination
- Fitness Goals – to be back in the Royal Navy Hockey Team in the 2014 season and to be running a minimum of 10k per week with his running buddy by September 2013
There were a number of sub-goals contained within each of those three overall goals and despite the enormity of these, we were able to establish milestones with timelines attached so that he had substantial challenging actions to take away and work on in between the coaching sessions. As part of the Coaching “package” I offered telephone and email support given the spacing of the coaching sessions to assist JE in maintaining momentum in between sessions and I think he found that very helpful especially when he was facing conflicting pressures at work. One of the techniques that worked really well with this particular client was “visualising success” at the end of the coaching journey and in particular this encouraged him to really stretch himself with regards to his career goal and then enabled him to link his sub-goals to that overall goal.
I was delighted to receive the following testimonial from JE:
“As a senior medical officer in the Royal Navy, I am used to consultation models as part of my role, for example the Pendleton Model, so I was intrigued to see how Coaching could work for me. The differences are obvious in that Lesley was facilitating my thinking through her questions and helping me focus on the key activities that I wanted to address, rather than her problem solving or finding solutions for me. My overall goal was to look at my work/life balance however this was in the context of my longer term career ambitions in relation to my military medical career. I felt that Lesley’s coaching really helped me focus on some immediate objectives, whilst thinking about my longer term career goals and also my own fitness levels. By helping me through effective questioning and goal-setting techniques to address procrastination and time management, I believe that I achieved significant progress in all three areas. I completed some medical exams successfully, I have secured my next major career move and I am now focused on my fitness goal which includes hockey, running and wake-boarding! I would like to continue coaching with Lesley although that would have to be via Skype or telephone as I am now on an international two year deployment.”
Senior medical officer, Royal Navy
Case Study 4
ER is a senior Marketing Executive in the Automotive industry and had a couple of goals that she wanted to explore in particular “Managing burn-out” and her overall “Life Plan” including what retirement might look like for her. We had four sessions spaced out from late 2013 though to late 2014 – three of which were face to face and the fourth was by telephone. Here is her feedback following the four sessions:
“Lesley’s Coaching helped me explore a couple of challenges in the areas of managing burn-out and wanting to develop a coping strategy for that, and a wider goal of looking at my overall “life plan” including what retirement might look like. I wanted to look at a number of different areas and through Lesley’s guided questions we covered a lot of ground. Key points for me are: 1. The Coaching framework that Lesley used worked naturally. 2. Lesley took care to set up the coaching environment to make it as comfortable as possible. 3.Lesley uses active listening very well and linked previous discussions into the current coaching session which helped me enormously. 4.The coaching conversations were natural and I felt I had plenty of space to talk things though. As a result, I feel that I achieved a number of things through the coaching sessions including recognising the signs to spot “burn-out” early and finding ways to manage that, improving my work/life balance by reclaiming my evenings and taking time out to do the things that I want to do e.g. yoga, learning to play the saxophone and I have also bought a Camper Van! The four sessions were ideal for me in terms of helping me address these challenges.”
Senior Marketing Executive
My client was very intuitive and is a trained NLP Practitioner in addition to learning to coach so it was a great experience for me to work with someone who was an experienced coach and I found that I gained a lot from our sessions also. It became much more of a coaching conversation and I blended some other capabilities into the sessions so that she took more from the sessions for example, we white boarded a “Mind Map” (see Resources for Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping techniques) to help with defining her overall goal and the sub-goals. I offered a number of self-development tools/books as she is a very resourceful person and she enjoys reading and learning and this became an essential component for her during our coaching sessions.
By really unpacking her wider goals into “journey goals” she was able to really focus on the sub goals and as a result generate new and exciting options for her to follow through on (the Camper Van being an example!) and also accelerated her progress towards achieving her goals of “managing Burn Out” and working towards her overall “Life Plan”. I met with ER informally in December 2014 and was delighted to hear about her continued progress and success in managing her work/life balance. She was just off to Burma on a two week exploration trip! It was a real pleasure to work with her and to see her plans come to fruition.
Case Study 5
My client HG is a highly successful Business Strategy Consultant and also specialises in Bid/Document writing and is a Trainer specialising in Presenting with Impact – he came to me with the goal of bringing his business website up-to-date by the end of 2013 in order to showcase his achievements and introduce multi-media to his website. During the course of the nine coaching sessions (via Skype and Telephone) he also wanted to address business development opportunities for Presentation Skills training, leveraging contacts within the Construction Industry to build his coaching business and develop a proactive networking plan to increase his business coverage across his three business streams.
It was a fantastic experience coaching with HG, he was a delightful client and was so passionate and focused on his goals and achieved so much through the course of the eight months that we worked together. The key to this success was making sure that I had gained my client’s trust in order to be able to gently challenge on his current thinking whilst making sure that he was understanding the impact of what he was striving to achieve on his overall business strategy and direction.
Here is what HG had to say about our coaching sessions:
“Lesley’s coaching for me has been fundamental in how it’s helped me to make progress with my business. I’ve managed to achieve significant advancement in my marketing, bid-writing activities, blog posts, generating new contacts and increasing my confidence as a relatively recently self-employed consultant. Working with Lesley has been such a powerful experience and I’m delighted to have had that opportunity. I look forward to my coaching sessions with Lesley because I knew positive outcomes would be the result. She asked questions that challenged me to think hard about how my experience would help me to move forward and about I could find ways around blocks by myself but with her there as the person whose coaching influence kept me moving. As a result, I secured several new project assignments in 2014 which have raised my profile with new clients. I can see clearly how this is attributed to the momentum generated by Lesley’s coaching for which I’m very grateful. Lesley has a great ‘way’ about her and knows how to push clients but keep them engaged so that progress is cumulative between sessions. She uses insightful questions to respond to my comments, which means I’ve had to think deeper about what’s really mattered. I very much look forward to continuing an ongoing dialogue with Lesley.”
Business Strategy Consultant
I think HG’s feedback sums up our coaching engagement – we worked together over seven months from November 2013 to July 2014 however we have an ongoing informal coaching arrangement which I find really inspirational. Working with clients such as HG brings so much to my Coaching experience.
Case Study 6
My client SF is a senior Learning & Development Manager within the health sector and come to me with a number of challenges relating to possible career changes that she was being offered. She wanted to have made a decision on her career choices by early 2014. We had ten coaching sessions over the period November 2013 to June 2014 as the original goal mushroomed into other areas that SF wanted to cover within our coaching relationship. She was an absolutely amazing client to work with – she was proactive, engaged, funny and really honest with herself in relation to what was happening in all areas of her life which were affecting her goals. The three main areas that she wanted to work on were: Current job role and how that is developing, her professional development and studies, and her longer term goal regarding part-time work as she neared retirement (some way off, I might add!).
The first few sessions really focused on her career opportunities and during those early sessions I was able to get to know my new client and build up a good relationship with her, this laid some good foundation stones for what was to become a much more complex coaching relationship as she uncovered some deep-rooted beliefs which turned out to be somewhat self-limiting. What I mean by that is that there were things holding her back which hadn’t surfaced in our earlier coaching conversations and by uncovering those it meant that SF could leap forward with her goals and desires.
SF gave me the following feedback once we concluded the formal ten sessions:
“The key benefits that I found though my coaching sessions with Lesley were as follows:
1. The sessions were very concentrated however I felt we covered a lot of ground and in particular I felt that the time gave me space to concentrate on what I wanted to cover which is quite unusual for me within my busy work/life schedule. 2. Lesley built excellent rapport which encouraged me to share thoughts, anxieties and ideas, in the knowledge that she would not judge me and that it was a safe confidential space to think things through. 3. Sometimes I would give reasons why I hadn’t been able to achieve certain things since the last coaching session, however, in the nicest possible way, Lesley always encouraged me to address these and to find out the underlying reasons or possible obstacles to me moving forwards. 4. I liked the way that we could switch topic from session to session with our any pre-conceived ideas on Lesley’s part about what might come out of the session. 5. I always came away with a clear plan of action which is not something that is natural to me – that was a real bonus for me! 6. Lesley also had the knack of asking me questions such as how certain things would make the biggest difference going forwards, what small step might begin to move me forwards – which I found really helpful in terms of overcoming possible obstacles”.
Senior Learning & Development Manager
SF is still continuing coaching sessions with myself and has achieved a remarkable career development opportunity which has meant that she can make great steps forward at work and she has achieved a huge amount with her own personal development as well. It was so satisfying to listen to Sue talk about what she has achieved over the eight months that we worked together – in all aspects of her life. Coaching can start on one particular goal and spread across a whole range of aspects of your life.
Case Study 7
CB: This was a fabulous opportunity to work with my client who’s passion is to work within Sustainability and the Environment arena however she was facing a real career dilemma regarding her next job move. Over the space of just three telephone coaching sessions she achieved her ultimate ambition to work in a dream role and having met with her again recently – she is loving it!
CB had completed her degree and Masters and had commenced a role with a large corporate conglomerate however was feeling that it was at odds with her personal values and ambitions, so we explored those initially and then through a combination of coaching, mentoring and career advice, she embarked upon finding her dream role. She was very thoughtful and intellectual in her approach so making sure that I allowed her time and space to think issues through was vitally important. However, once she had an action plan – she was really focused on it and it was lovely to see her move forwards and achieve so much from session to session. She had some real “light bulb” moments when thinking about the conflict with regards to her career drivers and personal motivation in relation to her passion with regards to Sustainability vs her Career ambitions – it was fascinating to learn so much about this.
Here is what CB had to say about our coaching sessions:
“When I started the coaching sessions with Lesley, my prime aim was to look at my career development options as I was facing a number of different opportunities and I was unclear as to how to make key decisions in relation to which direction to follow. There were a number of things which really worked well for me with Lesley’s approach – I loved her “magic wand” question and also I was able to develop a “me” technique of being to analyse the pro’s and con’s of how to make a decision on different options. It was also helpful that Lesley kept our coaching sessions on track in relation to my overall career goal within Sustainability and ensuring that my value of ensuring reputation within the industry was also maintained in whichever role I moved into going forward. I am continuing coaching with Lesley and I find the combination of face-to-face, telephone and Skype coaching really easy. I’m recommending that my partner takes up the opportunity to have some coaching with Lesley for his career development challenges!”
I was delighted to meet up with CB in November 2014 and to hear how her fantastic new role is evolving – she is loving the opportunity and it truly is an influential role within a high-profile “organisation” – well done to her. For your information the “Magic Wand” question is a fabulous Coaching question that many of us use – want to hear more – then get in touch!